Spinach and Basil Orzo Stew

A 20-minute easy meal with a side of sweet roasted tomatoes; you’ll be glad you made this when you see how little washing-up there is. It serves 2-3.

Ingredients

250g cherry tomatoes on the vine
1 yellow pepper, medium dice
2 tsp Italian herbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, fine dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
250g orzo
3 cups vegetable stock
1 x 400g can tomatoes
100g baby spinach
½ tsp suitable-for-vegans sugar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
15 g basil leaves, torn

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 220C. Line a baking tray with a silicone sheet. Toss 125g of the tomatoes and yellow pepper in 1 tbsp vegetable broth, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and 1 tsp of Italian herbs. Transfer to the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Remove the yellow peppers after 15 minutes, and roast the tomatoes for 5 minutes more.
2. In a large saucepan, sauté the onion over a medium-low heat for 2 minutes until just softened. Add the garlic for 30 seconds more, and deglaze the pot with about 1/4 cup of the vegetable broth. Add the orzo, the rest of the broth, the remaining de-vined tomatoes, the canned tomatoes, the sugar, and the balsamic vinegar, and simmer 8-12 minutes, stirring frequently, until cooked.
3. Stir in the spinach, yellow pepper, and basil until the spinach is wilted. Serve with the roasted tomatoes.

Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oats

Ideal for those who don’t like to cook, this is more a breakfast suggestion than a recipe. It’s really simple to put together, and although it’s a single-serving, it’s easily doubled or even quadrupled for a great family breakfast.

Ingredients

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chocolate almond milk (or other chocolate plant milk)
1/4 tsp fairtrade vanilla essence
1 banana
1 tbsp peanut butter
Cacao nibs or suitable-for-vegan fairtrade chocolate chips to garnish, if desired

Method
1. Stir the milk and vanilla essence through the oats. Leave to soak overnight or for at least 20 minutes.
2. When ready to serve, add a little more milk through the oats, if desired. Layer with peanut butter and banana, and top with chocolate chips.

Speedy Chocolate Mug Cake

Rich, spongy, sticky: this chocolate mug cake is wholewheat and free from refined sugar. However, if you’re feeling decadent, you can serve it with some suitable-for-vegans chocolate sauce and/or peanut butter. Serves 1-2, depending on how much of a sweet tooth you have.

Ingredients

Suitable-for-vegan spray oil, for greasing the mug
1/2 small banana
70g dates, pitted and soaked for 5 minutes in boiling water, then drained
4 tbsp wholewheat flour
1 tbsp fairtrade cocoa powder
3 tbsp plant milk
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 tsp bread soda/bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
1/4 tsp vinegar

1. Grease the mug with some spray oil, or a kitchen towel dipped in a little vegetable oil
2. Blend the rest of the ingredients until smooth.
3. Transfer to the mug, and microwave on full power for 2-3 minutes until cooked.

Fragrant Orange Cauliflower Bites

A healthier and budget version of a takeaway favourite: baked breaded and battered cauliflower in a spicy orange sauce. Ready in about 40 minutes, and a perfect accompaniment to rice and plenty of sautéed mushrooms and greens. Serves 4.

Ingredients

1 medium head cauliflower, in florets

For the coating

35g breadcrumbs
75g flour
1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
150ml (approx.) unsweetened plant milk

For the sauce

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, grated
1 red chilli, sliced
1 scallion, sliced
Juice and rind 2 oranges
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp cornflour

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 220C. Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or baking parchment.
2. Mix the breadcrumbs, flour, and five-spice powder for the batter. Add the plant milk gradually until the batter is firm.
3. Dip the cauliflower florets in the batter to coat. Lay on the baking tray and bake for 30 minutes, turning once.
4. Mix all sauce ingredients in a saucepan. Simmer gently until thickened.

Sticky Lemon Cauliflower

A make-at-home meal that will rival the takeaway version and that’s ready in about 40 minutes. The battered cauliflower is baked rather than deep-fried, but we wouldn’t class this as healthfood nonetheless. Serves 4.

Ingredients

1 head cauliflower, in florets

For the Batter

120g wholemeal flour
65g cornflour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
2 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp rice vinegar
100-140 ice cold water, or enough to make a thick batter

For the Sauce

3 lemons, zested and juiced
1 tbsp soy sauce
100 ml water
80g rice, date or fruit syrup, or to taste
1 tsp Chinese five spice
1 tbsp cornflour

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 220C. Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or baking parchment. Mix the dry ingredients for the batter. Add the tamari, rice vinegar, and enough liquid to make a thick batter.
3. Prepare the sauce by placing the lemon juice and zest, sugar, water, spice, and cornflour into a small saucepan. Bring gently to the boil, stirring to dissolve the syrup. Allow to simmer and thicken.
4. Coat the cauliflower in batter, shaking the excess back into the bowl. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping once.
5. Serve over rice, and top with the lemon sauce.

Tempeh au Poivre

A rich and decadently-flavoured dinner that takes just 30 minutes to prepare, including marinating time, this tempeh au poivre is best accompanied by roasted vegetables and potatoes, or steamed greens and French fries. It serves 2.

Ingredients

1 block tempeh (approx. 250g), halved

For the Marinade

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp onion granules
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dill

For the Sauce

1 1/2 cups soy (or other all-plant) milk (1/4 cup set aside)
2 heaped tsp suitable-for-vegan Dijon mustard
2 tbsp crushed peppercorns
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp cornflour

Method

1. Steam the tempeh for 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, make the marinade by mixing all the ingredients in a shallow bowl.
3. Place the tempeh into the marinade and turn to coat. Leave to marinate for 15 minutes while you make the sauce. Meanwhile, preheat a griddle pan or health grill to high, or a regular frying pan to medium.
4. Mix 1 1/4 cup soy milk, mustard, peppercorns, soy sauce, and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a simmer, whisking. Mix the cornflour into the remaining 1/4 cup soy milk. Add this paste to the sauce, whisking all the time. Allow to thicken, and turn off the heat while you cook the tempeh.
5. Fry the tempeh 3-5 minutes each side until golden and heated through. Serve with the sauce.

Speedy Tortilla Pesto Pizzas

These pizzas take 20 minutes, including the time needed to preheat the oven. The vegetables listed below are only a suggestion; feel free to use up the leftovers. If you don’t want to make the pesto, shop-bought suitable-for-vegan pesto or hummus will do just fine. Serves 2.

Ingredients

For the Pesto

1 large bunch basil (about 2 cups, tightly packed)
400g cannellini or other white beans
3 cloves garlic
50g kale leaves
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp miso paste
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
3/4 cup water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Pizza

4 mini or 2 large suitable-for-vegan corn or flour tortillas
Tomato purée or suitable-for-vegan pizza sauce
1 courgette (spiralized, sliced, or shredded)
1 each red and yellow bell pepper, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 220C.
2. Blend all of the pesto ingredients. Season to taste.
3. Place the corn tortillas on two baking trays or on pizza stones. Spread with the desired amount of tomato purée or sauce, top with pesto, and load up with vegetables.
4. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating or rearranging once to make sure they are evenly cooked.

Easy Oaty-Coconut Cookies

A very simple cookie that’s perfect for those new to cooking. Not much can go wrong with these (apart from the inherent wrongness of the fact that you have to allow them to cool before tucking in!). Makes 26 cookies.

Ingredients

1 cup plain flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup dessicated coconut
1/3 cup brown suitable-for-vegans sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegan vegetable fat spread
3 tbsp golden syrup (if you want your biscuit chewier, use less)
2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C (fan 160C).
2. Sift the flours into a mixing bowl, and add the oats, coconut, sugar and salt. Mix to combine.
3. Melt the margarine in a saucepan over a low heat. Turn off the heat, and add golden syrup, water and bicarbonate of soda.
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix well.
5. Roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls, flatten between the palms of your hands, and place on a lined baking tray (I needed two), leaving some space in between each as the biscuits will spread slightly as they cook.
6. Bake for 15 minutes (if, like me, you had to use two trays, give them 8 minutes on their respective shelves and then swap them over).
7. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes or until completely cool.

Gobi Manchurian

A rich and spicy recipe that serves 4; feel free to halve the amount of chilli.

Ingredients

1 cauliflower, broken into florets

For the sauce

1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 bunch scallions, chopped
2 green chillies, chopped (1 of these reserved for garnishing)
1 inch ginger, peeled and grated
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth, plus 1/4 cup extra for making a cornflour paste
1 heaped tbsp cornflour

For the batter
1 cup flour
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ginger
1 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp chilli paste
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
Enough cold water to make a really thick batter

Method

For the cauliflower

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, turn off the heat, add the cauliflower and allow it to blanch for 10-15 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.

For the sauce

1. Heat a nonstick pan over a medium-low heat and dry-sauté the onion and scallions gently until the onion is just turning translucent.
2. Add the ginger, one of the chillies, and the garlic and continue to fry until aromatic.
3. Stir in ketchup, tomato purée, soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce, black pepper, and vegetable broth, and bring to the boil. Allow to cook together for a minute or two.
4. Mix the cornflour with enough water to make a smooth paste, and stir in. Allow to cook for a couple of minutes until the sauce thickens and is glossy, and remove from the heat.

For the batter
1. Mix all the ingredients, apart from water, together in a large bowl.
2. Add water a little at a time, whisking with a fork, until you have a thick batter that doesn’t drop easily from the back of a spoon.

For the cauliflower

1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
2. Dip the cauliflower florets into the batter one at a time, and place on a parchment- or silicone-lined baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes at, turning once.
3. When all florets have been baked, reheat the sauce and add the battered florets to it, mixing them in carefully to avoid breaking the batter. Allow them to warm through in the sauce (about 4 minutes).
4. Serve with rice, garnished with the reserved chopped green chilli.

Lime-Marinated Tempeh Skewers

A very simple dish that’s perfect for barbecues and al fresco dining. This serves 2.

Ingredients

1 tbsp hot lime pickle (if you can’t find this, use the juice of 1 lime, 1 tsp mango chutney, and a pinch of chilli flakes
2 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp dried mint, or 1 tbsp of finely chopped fresh mint
lime rind, to garnish
200g tempeh, steamed 15 minutes and then cubed
1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
1 red onion, coarsely chopped
8 cherry tomatoes

Method

1. Soak four bamboo skewers in boiling water.
2. Mix the pickle, tamari, vinegar, maple syrup and mint in a large, shallow bowl.
3. Add the tempeh, and toss to coat. Leave to marinade for at least 30 minutes.
4. Load your veggies and tempeh onto the skewers, brush with some marinade and griddle, grill or barbecue until cooked. These were cooked on a griddle pan for 10 minutes.
5. Serve with rice, with remaining marinade poured over, and garnish with lime rind.