Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad

A relatively easy salad with wonderful textures, this serves one as a main course or two as a side. Great for packed lunches, but pack the dressing separately so that the lettuce doesn’t become soggy.

250g baked and cooled sweet potato, cubed
1/4 cup cooked black beans
5 leaves romaine/cos lettuce, shredded
2 scallions/spring onions/green onions, diced
2 tbsp unsalted pistachio nuts, shelled
1 tsp each toasted sesame and pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
2 tbsp dressing of choice (e.g. Miso-Ginger dressing)

Directions
1. Add the romaine lettuce to a large bowl. Top with sweet potato. Sprinkle over black beans, scallions, nuts, seeds.
2. Top with dressing. Toss, and sprinkle with nutritional yeast.

Sushi Salad with Wasabi Dressing

This colourful salad balances the flavours of crisp, refreshing vegetables with the sweetness of pear and the unique flavour and health benefits of sea vegetables. It makes a perfect packed lunch; just carry the nori in a separate container and add it before serving. Serves 4.

Ingredients

For the salad

2 cups dried sushi rice, cooked and cooled
1 red pepper, finely diced
1 yellow pepper, finely diced
2 pears, finely diced
1/2 courgette, finely diced
1/2 cucumber, finely diced
4 sheets nori, shredded

For the dressing

2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp white or yellow miso paste
3 pea-sized blobs wasabi paste, or more to taste

1. Mix all salad ingredients. Add the nori just before serving.
2. Mix all dressing ingredients.
3. Serve the salad with the dressing.

Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup

With only a few ingredients, this budget recipe is relatively fuss-free, and produces batch of flavoursome and healthy soup that will serve 6.

Ingredients

2 onions, chopped
1.5 litres vegetable broth
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

1. Dry sauté the onions over a medium-low heat until caramelised, adding a splash of water if they start to stick.
2. Add about 1/4 cup vegetable broth to deglaze the pot.
3. Once the bottom of the pot looks clean, add the butternut squash, carrots, and the rest of the broth.
4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and allow to cook for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are fork-tender.
5. If you have a blender, you might like to try the soup smooth. If not, it will be just as delicious with the vegetables in chunks. Season to taste.

Miso-Carrot Dipping Sauce

A simple, budget recipe that’s great fun for children, and very versatile. It can be used as a spread, or even a sauce for pasta or vegetables. This recipe makes a large batch, but it keeps in the fridge for up to a week in a sealed container.

Ingredients

2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 heaped tbsp yellow miso
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1-2 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp yellow or Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic

Directions

1. Boil the potatoes and carrots together until the potatoes are tender. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid.
2. Place all of the ingredients into a blender with 3/4-1 cup of the cooking liquid until you achieve the desired consistency.

Creamy Potato Dressing

This oil-free dressing is incredibly cheap and easy to make, and it’s a fantastic spread for sandwiches, dressing for potato salad or a dip for french fries, if you like potatoes with your potatoes. You can vary it by adding some sriracha for a spicy dip; 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley and 1 tsp garlic powder for a garlicky version; or even some smoked paprika for a smoky dip. This recipe makes 2 jars’ worth, so scale it down if desired. Because there is no oil, it will separate when stored, so just stir it back together again.

Ingredients

500g potatoes, peeled, boiled and cooled
2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp maple syrup
3/4-1 cup water

Method

Blend all ingredients in the blender, adding the water a little at a time until you like the consistency. The dressing will thicken in the fridge.

Smoky Black Bean Soup

The smoky flavours of this soup pair perfectly with the black beans and sweetcorn in the recipe, and the miso adds umami notes that bring it all together. This is a budget recipe that serves 4, and it takes under 15 minutes to make

Ingredients

1 red onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1l vegetable broth
2 x 200g cans or 4 cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
3 tsp smoked paprika, or 2 tsp smoked paprika and 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsp tomato purée
pinch cayenne pepper
200g frozen sweetcorn
1 tbsp yellow miso

Optional toppings: more sweetcorn, thawed; bell pepper; avocado; squeeze lime juice, etc.

Method

1. Sauté the onion over a medium heat for 3 minutes, until softened and lightly browned. Add the garlic for another 30 seconds.
2. Deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup of the vegetable broth. Add the rest of the broth, the beans, the paprika (and liquid smoke, if using), coriander, cumin, tomato purée, cayenne pepper.
3. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid, lower the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the sweetcorn and continue for two minutes more.
4. If desired, transfer half of the soup to a blender with the miso and blend to smooth. Transfer back to the rest of the soup and reheat. Do not allow to boil. If not blending, remove from the heat, add the miso and mix well.
5. Serve, if desired, with a squeeze of lime, chopped bell pepper, sweetcorn, and avocado.

Leek, Potato, and Cabbage Soup

A budget recipe that serves 6. This soup is filling, hearty, and very simple to make.

Ingredients

2 leeks, halved lengthways, sliced, and then washed
1/2 green cabbage, shredded
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 medium potatoes, chopped
1.5 litres vegetable broth
Sprig or 1 tsp each thyme and rosemary
2 bay leaves
Salt and white pepper

Method

1. In a large soup pan over a medium-low heat, sauté the leeks and cabbage for about 7 minutes until softened. Add a splash of water or broth to prevent sticking, if necessary.
2. Add the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds.
3. Add the potatoes, broth, and herbs. To prevent the herbs getting lost in the pot, you can put them in tea infuser hooked onto the side of the pot, but if you don’t have one, you can retrieve them with a spoon when the soup is cooked.
4. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked. At this point, if you want a thicker soup, you can transfer up to half of the mixture to the blender and blend until smooth.
5. Season to taste, and serve.

Moroccan Chickpea Salad

This is a budget and speedy recipe that’s perfect for packed lunches; it makes enough for a large plate for four, or for a starter for eight.

Ingredients

For the salad

1 red onion
2 cloves garlic
2 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cucumber, finely diced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
Pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 small cooked beetroot, finely diced
5 cherry tomatoes, finely diced
1 spring onion, finely sliced
3 dried apricots, finely chopped
3 dates, finely chopped

For the dressing

1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp soy sauce
Small bunch fresh coriander, torn

Method

1. Sauté the onion over a medium low heat in a nonstick pan for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds more.
2. Add the 1/4 cup vegetable broth to deglaze the pan, and add the chickpeas and spices. Cook over a low heat until the liquid is evaporated (5-7 minutes). Allow to cool.
3. Meanwhile, mix the rest of the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
4. In a smaller bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together to combine.
5. When the chickpeas are cooled, stir through the salad ingredients. Serve with dressing.

Serving suggestion:
Beetroot hummus
Toasted seeds
Pita bread or cooked grains (e.g. rice or couscous)

Rainbow Grainbowl with Balsamic Maple Mustard Dressing

A flavoursome and filling main dish that serves 2.

Ingredients

For the grainbowl

2 carrots, grated
1/4 red cabbage, grated
1 parsnip, grated
1 red onion, finely shredded
1/4 cucumber, finely sliced
1/2 red pepper, finely sliced
1/2 yellow pepper, finely sliced
1 avocado, sliced
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, toasted
1 cup cold leftover grains (e.g. spelt, buckwheat, rice, quinoa)
4 large handfuls salad greens (e.g. rocket, spinach, watercress)

For the dressing

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp suitable-for-vegans Dijon Mustard

Method

1. Layer the base of a bowl with salad greens.
2. Top with the shredded and sliced vegetables, with the avocado and seeds on top.
3. Sprinkle grains over.
4. Mix all dressing ingredients. Serve with salad as desired.