The Kindly Vegan

vegan recipes - it's easy

Cottage Pie

Cottage pie(2)

Another all time favourite made with vegan mince and lots of mushrooms!  I love cottage pie because it can be varied to suit all tastes…. use peas or broad beans instead of mushrooms; bung in swedes, celery, leeks or whatever is available and have a variation each time you serve it for dinner.  Or eat some and save some for another day as it is fine to freeze.  Make it dry or add a tad more water for a gloopy version.  Got a glass of wine on the go, well pop some into the mince mixture and you have luxury cottage pie for a special occasion.  Vegan mince can also be replaced with an adequate amount of lentils – brown or green lentils have an earthy flavour and work very well.

Do experiment – it is fun and you never know until you’ve tried.  Most of all enjoy cooking it – food prepared with love always tastes better!

I’ve served mine with the last of the Blue Lake French beans from the garden – as you can see they’ve gone a bit knobbly! but Blue Lake is a magic bean and remains tender and tasty at all stages of growth and the seeds are wonderfully tender.

Ingredients

1 kilo potatoes, boil in salted water and mash with a little olive oil (floury potatoes like King Edwards)
1 large onion, sliced
1 large carrot, sliced
300 grams approximately mixed mushrooms (use some white button mushrooms and leave them whole, good for texture)
2 cups frozen vegan mince (Linda McCartneys, Tivall or Vegideli)
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 teaspoon Marmite or similar
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon dry thyme
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons cornflour
3 cups water

Method

  1. Gently fry onion in the oil for few minutes until translucent
  2. Add sliced carrots and fry for further couple of minutes – remove and set aside
  3. Add chopped and whole mushrooms to the same pan and fry for few minutes – put onions and carrots back in the pan with the mushrooms
  4. Add mince, bay leaves, thyme and water and bring to boil
  5. Add Marmite and tomato puree and give good stir. Reduce heat and simmer covered for about 10-12 minutes
  6. Mix the cornflour in a little water and add to mince mixture – cook for further 2 minutes to allow the gravy to thicken
  7. Check seasoning, pour into ovenproof dish and cover with mashed potatoes and smooth the top
  8. Bake at 200C, 400F or gas mark 6 for 35 minutes (these temperatures are for non-fan assisted oven)

Tip: Add a cup each of frozen peas and broad beans instead of mushrooms if you wish

Minty potatoes & cabbage

Potatoes with mint

Another simple hearty potato bake served with cabbage flavoured with caraway seeds

4 servings

Ingredients

5 large potatoes, sliced thickly (about 800 grams)
2 large onions, sliced thickly (about 350 grams)
3 large tomatoes, sliced thickly (about 500 grams)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried mint
¼ cup water
Salt and black pepper

Method

  1. Layer an ovenproof casserole dish with onions, tomatoes and potatoes in this order
  2. Mix the oil, water, mint and salt and pepper in a mug and pour
  3. Bake at 200C, 400F or gas mark 6 for 45 minutes (non-fan assisted oven)
  4. Serve with pointed cabbage as below

Pointed cabbage with caraway

Ingredient

1 pointed cabbage, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
Salt

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a wok and add caraway seeds followed by cabbage
  2. Add 3 tablespoons water, a little salt, cover and cook for about 8-10 minutes
  3. Remove lid and fry for a further few minutes

No-egg spicy scramble

No egg spicy scramble

Here’s another tofu miracle perfect for weekend breakfast, brunch or a light meal.  One of my favourites and very satisfying.

Use black salt if available as this gives it an “eggy” flavour – but if you don’t particularly like the eggy flavour then best to use ordinary sea salt.

Ingredients

Quarter block of firm or medium tofu (the blocks usually weigh 349grams)
1 large ripe tomato
½ teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 spring onion, chopped
Salt (or black salt which can be purchased from most Asian supermarkets or Amazon)

Method

  1. Warm the oil; add chopped tomato, curry powder and a little salt, cover and cook for about 4-5 minutes until the tomato is mushy
  2. Add tofu and break it up with a fork
  3. Add spring onion (if using) and cook for a further 3-4 minutes stirring all the time
  4. Serve on toast

Tip. Add some frozen peas with the tomatoes for variation

 

Curried Borlotti beans & marrow

Stuffed marrow curried beans

If you have had a successful crop of marrows this year you will be feeling like I do!  Give one to the neighbour, force another on a friend and still more merrily growing and showing off their striped coats.   I like marrows – they are easy to grow and easy to cook; a taste of summer – fresh and clean provided you don’t overcook them. This is a fairly simple recipe of baked marrow stuffed with curried borlotti beans – give it a go

4 servings

Ingredients

1 marrow (about 14 inches long) – cut into 4 boats, do not peel
2 tins borlotti beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon powder (optional)
2 tablespoons tomato puree
2 tablespoons soya sauce
Salt

Method

  1. Gently fry onions and garlic until translucent – about 7-8 minutes
  2. Add spices, tomato puree, soya sauce, a little salt if necessary and fry on low heat for a couple of minutes to cook spices
  3. Add borlotti beans and 1 cup of water and  simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes – the beans should be moist and not too dry
  4. Cut the  marrow into 4 boats and remove seeds and pith
  5. Stuff the boats with the beans and place in oiled baking tray and cover with foil
  6. Bake in oven at 200C, 400F or gas mark 6 for 25-30 minutes (my oven is not fan assisted)
  7. Test with skewer and if marrow is cooked, uncover and bake for another 10 minutes

Stuffed mushroom, spinach & walnuts

Stuffed mushroom & spinach(2)

I did a quick and easy stuffed mushroom recipe with bread and herbs a while ago – this too is simple and doesn’t take much longer and tastes wonderful – hope you like spinach and walnuts! 

It is very tasty with or without the sour cream topping and how you serve it is entirely up to you.  Try to get hold of firm tofu as this makes a thick cream whereas the silken tofu will result in a more runny cream which is fine and tastes just as good but won’t sit neatly on top of the mushroom.

Stuffed mushroom & spinach

Ingredients

4 large stuffing mushrooms (Portabello)
250 grams spinach (cooked and chopped)
½ cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt

Sour cream topping
150 grams firm tofu
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt to taste

Method

  1. Blend all ingredients for sour cream and leave to chill in fridge
  2. Fry walnuts and chopped up mushroom stems in olive oil for 2-3 minutes (on low heat)
  3. Add spinach and salt and fry for a further 1 minute
  4. Stuff mushrooms and place on oiled baking tray
  5. Bake in preheated oven at 200C, 400F or gas mark 6 for 20 minutes (non-fan assisted temperatures)
  6. Add dollop of sour cream on mushrooms and serve

Note: I served the mushrooms with French beans and cherry tomatoes - yum

Potato Pie

Potato & onion pie(2)

Is there anyone you know who doesn’t love potatoes…?  I don’t! There’s a huge variety of potatoes available in the shops these days and of course there are some of us who grow their own!  I used to when I had an allotment and every allotmenteer is familiar with the joys of digging up a crop of earlies! 

Potatoes are not only filling and comforting, they are also very versatile.  We fry potatoes, curry potatoes, mash potatoes, boil potatoes and bake potatoes and unlike any other vegetable, I find it very hard to go wrong with potatoes.  Saute some boiled potatoes with onions  and you have a meal. This potato pie with sautéed onions and mushrooms makes a wonderful meal and you won’t find many who can fault it.

Potato & onion pie(4)

4 servings

Ingredients

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, defrost as per instructions on packet (I used Jus Rol)
1 kilo potatoes, sliced thinly (new boiling potatoes, not floury roasting)
250 grams mushrooms, sliced thinly (I used chestnut mushrooms but white mushrooms should be fine too)
3 large onions (300 grams), sliced
5 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon each of dry thyme & rosemary OR 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Salt
Ovenproof dish about 11x8x2½ inches

Method

  1. Put the sliced potatoes in a large bowl and add 2 tablespoons oil, a little salt and 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper. Mix to coat potatoes and set aside
  2. Gently saute onions on low heat in 3 tablespoons olive oil for about 4 minutes until translucent. Remove onions with slotted spoon and set aside
  3. Fry thinly sliced mushrooms in the same pan for about 3-4 minutes
  4. Put the fried onions back in the pan, add herbs and a little salt and mix thoroughly
  5. Place one layer of potatoes in the ovenproof dish
  6. Place thin layer of onion and mushroom mixture on the potatoes
  7. Cover with another layer of potatoes and top with onion and mushroom mixture. Continue to do the layering finishing with a layer of potatoes
  8. There should be about 2-3 tablespoons of oil and liquid left over in the potato bowl – pour this on the layered potatoes and cover with foil
  9. Bake at 180C, 350F or gas mark 4 for 1 hour until potatoes are cooked
  10. Remove from oven and let this cool for about 30 minutes
  11. Cover with puff pastry and with a sharp knife cut a cross in the pastry
  12. Bake for 30 minutes at 200C, 400F or gas mark 6 (these temperatures are for non-fan assisted oven)

Tip: You could bake the potatoes (up to step 9 above) and leave in fridge and cover with pastry and do the final baking later

Pasta, spinach & cherry tomatoes

Pasta, spinach & cherry tomatoes(2)

I think pasta is always at its best when kept simple – a dollop of good virgin olive oil, sea salt and possibly a dash of garlic.  However, there are times when we all crave a rich tomato sauce and that’s good too, why not?  All said and done,  pasta, olive oil and garlic have a long lasting relationship and remain best buddies.  I have added some cherry tomatoes and spinach to Conchiglie (that’s what I had in the cupboard - Penne is fine too) and the best part is this should take you very little time to put together.  I used fresh spinach which is better in a simple pasta dish - wash and cook and then chop roughly… enjoy!

Ingredients

250 grams Conchiglie
250 grams spinach, cooked and chopped
250 grams cherry tomatoes, halved
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano
Sea salt

Method

  1. Fry the garlic in olive oil until pale golden
  2. Add halved cherry tomatoes and salt and fry on medium/high heat for about 3 minutes
  3. Add spinach and oregano and fry for a further 2 minutes
  4. Boil pasta and add to spinach and tomatoes – stir and fry for a couple of minutes to blend

Drunk ‘n’ Disorderly

Drunken stew(2)

There are times in summer when I crave a good hearty wintry stew and a drop or more of ale does it a whole lot of good.  This recipe is easy and doesn’t require an awful lot of preparation – new salad potatoes which don’t need peeling and if you can find baby carrots, that’s half the job done.  If you too are suffering from “one salad too many” syndrome, this should do the trick!

Ingredients

2 large onions, sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
125 grams chestnut or shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced (approx. 2 cups)
Carrots – I used 12 baby carrots (approx 170 grams – if using large carrots, cut each into 4 pieces)
10 baby salad potatoes, cut in half (approx. 500 grams)
1 cup dried soya chunks soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes and drained before use (I used Neal’s Yard soya chunks, available at Holland & Barrett)
200 grams white button mushrooms
1 sachet bouquet garni (or 1 heaped teaspoon of a mix of thyme, parsley and marjoram)
2 bay leaves
2 cups ale or bitter (300ml) (I used Sainsbury’s own bitter which costs £1 for a pack of 4 cans!!)
2 cups water (300ml)
1 teaspoon Marmite
1 heaped tablespoon cornflour mixed in ¾ cup of cold water to thicken the gravy

Method

  1. In a large stockpot or pan, fry the onions in olive oil until translucent and the edges start to turn brown
  2. Remove onions with slotted spoon and set aside
  3. In the same pan fry the thinly sliced mushrooms and then put the onions back in the pan
  4. Add carrots and potatoes and fry for a further 3-4 minutes
  5. Add all other ingredients except Marmite and cornflour
  6. Bring to boil, add Marmite and stir to dissolve the Marmite
  7. Turn the heat to low, cover and simmer gently for 50 minutes, stirring occasionally
  8. Mix the cornflour in cold water and add to the stew to thicken the gravy – if you prefer more gravy use a little more water to dissolve the cornflour
  9. Simmer on low for a further 5-10 minutes and serve with broccoli, green beans or any vegetable of your choice

Note: You shouldn’t need salt as the Marmite should be sufficient – but please check for taste

French beans & cherry tomatoes

French beans & cherry tomatoes(2)

Here is a delicious and yet very simple and quick way to serve French beans or any other green bean.  For many years now, come Spring I sow some seeds of a variety of French beans called Blue Lake.  This is a very old variety and about the best French beans you can grow.  They are not only reliable, crop heavily, they also stay tender at every stage of growth – I have at times forgotten to pick them for a few days and some tend to go “lumpy”, yet these are very tender and in fact I prefer them – you get more for your money!

In summer I keep myself busy creating simple recipes for the veggies growing in my back garden – I only grow a few but summer wouldn’t be summer without beans and marrows.  This recipe will take you minutes to prepare and served with vegan sausages or meatballs as I have done it adds colour, flavour and makes a basic meal rather special.

Two servings

Ingredients

Approximately 200 grams French beans or any other fine bean
Approximately 12-14 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon Herbes de Provence or similar mix of herbs
Sea salt

Method

  1. Top and tail beans and cut in half if too long
  2. Steam or boil the beans until cooked but don’t overcook
  3. Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan
  4. Cut cherry tomatoes in half and add to oil and fry on high for about 1-2 minutes
  5. Add beans, herbs and salt and fry for a further 1-2 minutes

 

Iranian aubergine & tomato stew

Aubergine & tomato stew

Iranian aubergine & tomato stew is a delicious stew of grilled aubergines in a rich tomato sauce and is a very popular Iranian every day dish known as khoresht-e-bademjan.  This is the recipe used in our house right down from my great grandmother to myself and hopefully beyond!  The ingredients are few; basically aubergines, onion and tomatoes and yet every time I have cooked this for friends they cannot believe there is nothing else – I sometimes suspect they think I am hiding a secret ingredient!  The only difference between this sauce and an Italian sauce is that we use turmeric and the Italians add garlic or herbs.  But it is amazing how different it is to an Italian sauce – try it for yourself and you will see.

The aubergines don’t really need to be salted and rinsed – my mother used to do this because the aubergines available were the thin variety and could sometimes be a bit bitter.  But the aubergines we get these days, the fat plump sort, are never bitter in my experience.  Traditionally the aubergines are fried in oil, but I find grilling the aubergines is just as good and uses less oil.

I have used soya protein chunks made by Neal’s Yard but you could use any other substitute or none at all.  It is always served with plain steamed rice.

4 servings

Ingredients

1 large aubergine, first cut laterally across its belly, then slice each half lengthways into 4 (8 slices in all)
1 onion, sliced
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup Soya protein chunks available at Holland & Barrett (soak for 30 minutes in boiling water)
4 tablespoons oil (2 for grilling aubergines and 2 for the sauce)
½ teaspoon salt (adjust according to taste)

Method

  1. Put 2 tablespoons oil in a roasting pan and coat aubergines in it, covering both sides. Grill until golden brown and set aside
  2. Fry onion in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil until golden
  3. Add turmeric, chopped tomatoes and tomato puree
  4. Add 2 cups of water and cook on medium-low heat until tomatoes are soft – about 20-25 minutes
  5. If at this point the sauce is too thick, add half cup of water and the pre-soaked TVP chunks (don’t add the soaking liquid) and gently place the aubergine slices in the sauce; simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes – the sauce should now be rich and thick (see picture)
  6. Serve with steamed rice
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