Pizza Tots

This is a fun way to serve potatoes and is a perfect recipe for serving vegetables and beans to children who may be reluctant to eat them otherwise. The recipe makes 20 tots

Ingredients

1 x 400g can cannellini beans
1 cup fresh basil
1 large clove garlic, minced
4 medium potatoes, baked and cooled
1/3 cup olives, finely chopped
1/4 cup slow-roasted or sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup nuts of choice, finely ground (if allergic to nuts, use ground oats instead)

Method

1. Preheat oven to 220C, and line a baking tray with a silicon sheet or parchment paper.
2. In a food processor, pulse the cannellini beans and basil until smooth.
3. Halve the potatoes, and scoop the flesh from the skins. Mash the flesh with a fork and add to the basil and bean mixture with the rest of the ingredients.
4. Taking a heaped tablespoon of the mixture, press it firmly between your hands to bind it, and form it into tater tot shapes. Place on the silicon sheet or parchment paper. Repeat until all the mixture is used up.
5. Bake for 15 minutes, turn the tots, and bake for 10 minutes more.
6. Serve with some tomato sauce or suitable-for-vegan yellow mustard.

Pea and Mint Soup

Fragrant and delicate, this pea and mint soup makes for a beautiful summer lunch. This recipe serves 6, and is inexpensive.

Ingredients

1 large onion
1 stalk celery
3 cloves garlic
1.2 l vegetable stock
1 large potato, washed and roughly diced
1 large parsnip, peeled and roughly chopped
500g frozen peas
15g fresh mint, divided into 10g for blending and 5g for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method

1. Heat a pan over a medium-low heat, and sauté the onion for 3 minutes. Add the celery and sauté for 1 minute more. Add the garlic for 30 seconds.
2. Deglaze the pan with about 1/4 cup of the broth, and then add the rest.
3. Add the parsnip and potatoes, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potato and parsnip are very soft.
4. Add the peas and simmer for a further 3 minutes.
5. Add the mint, and blend the soup, thinning with additional broth if required. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Caramelized Red Onion and Asparagus Tart

This rich and decadent tart is ideal for a festive dinner. It serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a substantial starter, and is very simple to make, relying on store-bought, ready-rolled suitable-for-vegan puff pastry.

Ingredients

2 red onions, sliced into thin rings
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp maple syrup
100g fresh asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 1-inch lengths
350g silken tofu
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp garlic granules
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pack ready-rolled suitable-for-vegans puff pastry

Method

1. To caramelize the onions, heat a nonstick pan over a medium heat. Add onions and cook for 5-10 minutes until browned, stirring frequently. Add the balsamic vinegar and sugar and cook, stirring, until onions are softened. Set aside to cool.
2. To make the tofu filling, place the tofu, yeast, herbs and spices, and mustard in a blender and blend until smooth. Season to taste.
3. Cut the sheet of puff pastry as desired, or leave whole. Spread with the tofu filling, leaving an inch uncovered around the edges.
4. Top with red onions and asparagus. Return to the refrigerator for 30 minutes to cool again.
5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C. Bake on a parchment- or silicone-lined tray for 20 minutes until golden.

Spicy Stir-Fry Vegetable Soup

This spicy loaded soup is ready in 15 minutes and serves 8, so feel free to halve the recipe. If you don’t like spice, reduce the amount of chili or omit altogether. Feel free to use the recipe as a roadmap: no ingredient is essential, so experiment with the vegetables and see which flavours appeal to you.

Ingredients

1 red onion, sliced
3 bell peppers, sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 inch piece of ginger, quartered and thinly sliced
150g button mushrooms, quartered
2 bok choy, the white ends sliced and the green tops left whole
2 red chilis (optional), sliced
1/2 block tofu (approx 150g), cubed
2 litres vegetable stock
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp yellow miso paste

Method

1. Sauté the onions in a large soup pot over a medium-low heat. When they start to colour, add the peppers, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, bok choy whites, and chilis.
2. When the vegetables have started to soften, add the tofu, stock, and soy sauce.
3. Don’t bring the soup to a boil; instead, allow it to simmer over a low heat for about 5 minutes.
4. Add the bok choy and the miso, and stir. Simmer for two minutes more.

Japanese Marinated Tofu

This budget meal is perfect with noodles or rice and stir-fried vegetables as an accompaniment. There is an air fryer option available. Serves 4.

Ingredients

1 block extra-firm tofu (approximately 350g), drained and pressed
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
4 tsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp shichimi togarashi, or Japanese seven-spice spice mix
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp rice vinegar

Method, Oven Option

1. Preheat the oven to 170C. Line a baking tray with parchment or a silicone sheet. Cube the tofu, and arrange it on a single layer on the tray.
2. Bake for 20 minutes, turning once.
3. While tofu is baking, mix the rest of the ingredients for marinade.
4. Remove the tofu from the oven and combine with marinade in a shallow dish. Toss to coat well. Leave for 10 minutes at least, and increase the oven temperature to 190C.
5. Remove the tofu from the marinade, return to baking tray, and bake for 5-10 minutes more until sauce has caramelized.

Method, Air Fryer Option

1. Preheat the air fryer to 160C. Cube the tofu, and arrange it in the pan. Bake for 8 minutes, turning once.
3. While tofu is frying, mix the rest of the ingredients for marinade.
4. Remove the tofu from the oven and combine with marinade in a shallow dish. Toss to coat well. Leave for 10 minutes at least, and increase the air fryer temperature to 180C.
5. Remove the tofu from the marinade, return to pan, and bake for 4 minutes more.

Besan Dosa

This is Besan Dosa–a gram flour pancake–with a difference: sun-dried tomatoes and spinach. Multiply the quantities of the dry mix and store in a lidded container in the fridge for easy and quick breakfasts. This takes about 10 minutes to prepare from start to finish, and serves 2.

Ingredients

For the dry mix

1/2 cup gram flour or besan
1 tbsp ground flaxseeds or linseeds
1/2 tsp onion granules
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
Pinch turmeric
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch black pepper
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp nutritional yeast

For cooking

Small handful of spinach, shredded
1 green onion, finely sliced (1 tbsp reserved for garnish)
3-4 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped with a kitchen scissors (1 tbsp reserved for garnish)

Method

1. Preheat a lidded frying pan over a medium heat (we don’t have a lid for our frying pan, so we use the lid of our soup pot, which fits just inside the rim of the pan).
2. Mix all dry ingredients.
3. Stir the spinach, green onion, and sun-dried tomatoes into the dry ingredients.
4. Add 1/2 cup water to the mix and stir well to combine. Now, a little at a time add more water until the mix becomes a pouring consistency.
5. Spray the frying pan with a little oil (if it is not a nonstick pan), or wipe over with a piece of kitchen towel dipped in oil.
6. Pour half of the mix into the frying pan and tilt the pan to allow the mix to form a circle.
7. Cover the pan and allow the dosa to cook for 2-3 minutes until little bubbles appear on the surface and the underside is slightly browned. Turn, and cook on the other side 1-2 minutes more. It must be fully cooked, because raw gram flour doesn’t taste good at all.
8. Keep warm in an oven on a low heat until the other dosa is cooked. Serve, if desired, on some of your favourite toasted bread with more spinach, and garnished with the reserved tomatoes and green onions. We spread our toast with a little of the cream from the top of a can of coconut milk for the interesting flavour.

Sweet Potato Coconut Curry

This fragrant and warming meal takes under 20 minutes. It serves two people on its own, or four served with rice.

Ingredients

1 tsp suitable-for-vegan red chilli paste
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1.5 tbsp soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch ginger, grated
400g sweet potato, peeled and in medium dice
1 small cauliflower, in florets
150g mushrooms, quartered
1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper, medium dice
4 green onions, chopped
100g spinach
Handful basil, torn

Method

1. In a lidded frying pan, or a wide-rimmed pot, mix the red chilli paste, coconut milk, vegetable broth, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger. Simmer for a minute or two until the sauce becomes fragrant.
2. Add the sweet potatoes and cauliflower, cover, bring to the boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Add the mushrooms, peppers, and green onions, re-cover, and simmer for 2-3 minutes more until cauliflower and sweet potato are cooked for your liking.
4. Turn off the heat, add the spinach and basil, recover, and allow to steam for about 2 minutes, until the spinach is wilted.
5. Serve and enjoy.

Sneaky Macaroni

This dish takes under 20 minutes, serves 4-6, and is a hearty budget recipe. It’s called Sneaky Macaroni because the sauce is rich in phytonutrients, but you’d never know it from the taste!

Ingredients

75g pasta per person
2 heads broccoli, cut into the smallest florets you can manage

For the sauce

400g sweet potato, peeled and diced
200g carrots, peeled and chopped
1 can white beans (e.g. butter beans)
4 cloves garlic
2 tbsp yellow miso paste
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp suitable-for-vegans Dijon mustard
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce, or more to taste
4 garlic cloves
1 tsp onion granules
1 cup soy milk
1-2 cups vegetable broth, or as much as needed to thin the sauce to the desired consistency
Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

1. Make the sauce by placing the carrots and sweet potato in a large pot of cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer until fork tender–about 7 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions, adding the broccoli in the last 3-5 minutes of boiling time, depending on your preferred doneness.
3. When the sweet potatoes and carrots are cooked, drain, and add to the blender with the rest of the sauce ingredients. Blend to the desired thickness, adding enough vegetable broth to reach a smooth consistency.
4. Add the desired amount of sauce to the pasta, and stir through to warm. If the sauce has been sitting for a while and has thickened, stir through some more water or vegetable broth.