FAJITAS!

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Fajitas

Preparation & cooking time: 30 Minutes
Makes: 2 large portions/4 medium portions

I hope everybody likes Mexican food because I am making Fajitas!

Sometimes all I want to do after a day at work or for a quick lunch on the weekend is throw a meal together that isn’t anything fancy, doesn’t take long to make but tastes so fresh and amazing! These fajitas do all of the above and you know that all of the ingredients are going to wonders for your health. I have to say that this is one of my favourite meals to eat as it has all of the flavours that I love; I just love the freshness of the avocado and salsa with the charred vegetables, it is the perfect combination.

Ingredients:

For the fajitas:

  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced into thin strips
  • 2 carrots, cut into thin strips
  • A handful of broccoli florets, cut into slices
  • 1 red onion, roughly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • ½ a lime
  • 3 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
  • Black pepper
  • Tortilla wraps, to serve
  • Spinach, to serve

For the salsa:

  • About 15 ripe cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • ¼ of a cucumber, chopped into 1cm cubes
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • A small handful of coriander, roughly chopped
  • ½ a lime
  • Salt and pepper

For the guacamole (click guacamole to see the recipe)

fajitas collage

Method:

1. Put all of the fajita vegetables into a large bowl along with the paprika, cumin, coriander, juice o f1/2 a lime, oil and black pepper. Stir all of the ingredients together to make sure that all of the vegetables are nicely coated by the spices and leave to the side to marinade for 5 minutes.

2. In another bowl add all of the ingredients for the salsa and mix together and leave to the side.

3. Place a griddle pan/wok/large frying pan over a medium to high heat. Once the pan is hot, put the marinated vegetables into the pan. Keep the vegetables moving in the pan to stop any sticking; don’t worry if there is a little bit of charring as it actually tastes great when you get bits of charred veg. Keep on moving and cooking the veg for around 10 minutes.

4. Whilst the veg is cooking you can make the guacamole. Follow this link for the recipe and method:

5. Now that all the elements of the meal have been prepared, warm the tortillas for a few seconds in the microwave and put all of the dishes and the spinach into the middle of a table and let everyone dig in.

Nutrition:

(see Know Your Food Page)

Bell Pepper: Bell peppers are a rich source of antioxidants and vitamin C. Red bell peppers have a higher vitamin C content in comparison to green bell peppers. They are also a moderate source of vitamin B6.

Carrots: Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A and a good source of vitamin K and vitamin B6.

Broccoli: Broccoli is an amazing source of vitamin C, vitamin K and dietary fibre.

Spinach: Spinach is an ingredient that is delicious and is also so good for you and will do a lot of good when it is incorporated into your diet. Spinach is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin B9, vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese and iron. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium and dietary fibre.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are not significantly rich in any particular vitamin or mineral, but they are a moderate source of vitamin C.

Cucumber: Cucumbers are made up of around 90% water which means that it is really hydrating. They are also a moderate source of vitamin K.

Chilli: Chillies contain a large amount of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and iron. They are also a good source of most B vitamins, especially B6.

Coriander: Coriander is particularly rich in vitamin A, C and K as well as a good source of manganese, iron and potassium.

Avocado: Avocados are such an amazing ingredient; not only are they delicious, they are also really healthy for you. They are a good source of vitamin B5, B6, B9 and vitamin K. They are also an amazing source of essential fatty acids (fatty acids that your body can’t produce itself but can get them from foods).

HEART HEALTHY BEANS ON TOAST

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Baked beans on toast 2

Preparation & cooking time: 20 Minutes
Makes: 2 large portions/4 medium portions

Beans on toast was always one of my favourite go-to meals when I was growing up. It was so quick to make and there was something so great about a tin of Heinz baked beans!! Now that I am older and have realised that the baked beans from the tin are not the healthiest option for you, I have decided to make my very own healthy baked beans; trust me, they will blow you away and you will never want to have the beans from a tin ever again! They are really easy to put together and the flavour that you get is really amazing. I have used healthy ingredients to make this dish so that you can enjoy them and be guilt free. I hope you like it 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of agave syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of dried mixed herbs
  • 2 tins of beans (cannellini beans, kidney beans, borlotti beans etc.), drained and rinsed
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Black pepper
  • Thick slices of brown or granary bread
  • 1 avocado
  • Mixed seeds

Method:

1. Place a large pan over a medium heat and add in the coconut oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook for 5 minutes to soften them up. After 5 minutes, add the tomato puree, agave syrup, soy sauce and mixed herbs to the pan and mix together and cook for a further 5 minutes.

2. Add the beans and the tomatoes to the pan. Bring the beans to the boil and leave to simmer for 10 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.

3. Whilst the beans are simmering, toast the bread. There is a few ways of serving this meal; you can either put the beans in a bowl and have the toast on the side with cubes of avocado on the top of the beans; you can put mashed avocados onto the toast and then top it with beans; and my personal favourite is to have a mountain of beans on the toast topped with the avocados and seeds!

4. After the beans have finished cooking, season generously with black pepper and then serve the dish in the way that you prefer from point 3.

AVOCADO CRISPBREADS

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Avocado crispbreads

Preparation & cooking time: 5 minutes
Makes: 8 crispbreads

Today I am giving you such a simple recipe that is really tasty, healthy and so quick to make that no matter how busy you are, you will be able to have something that is nutritious and tasty. This is a base recipe that can be played with which is great for breakfast, as a snack or even a light lunch. I always love putting hot sauce on to the top the avocado as well as a sprinkle of cumin and sprinkle of pumpkin seeds. I have used a multi seed ryvita cracker for ease and efficiency but you could always use some toasted wholemeal bread or some baked tortillas if you have a spare couple of minutes. This recipe is really aimed at the people who find it hard to have a quick and healthy breakfast or snack.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ryvita multigrain crispbreads
  • 1 large, ripe avocado
  • 1 large, ripe tomato, thinly sliced (8 slices at least)
  • Salad leaves (rocket, spinach, watercress etc.)
  • 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper

Avocado crispbreal

Method:

1.   Pit the avocado and scrape the flesh into a bowl. Immediately squeeze some lime juice over the top of it to stop it from discolouring. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and mash with a fork until you have a relatively smooth texture. I like my avocado to be a little chunky so I only mash it lightly.

2.   Evenly spread the avocado over the top of the ryvita crispbreads and then top with the tomato slices and salad leaves. I love lime juice so I tend to squeeze over some the salad leaves. As mentioned above, you can put some chilli sauce on to the top it as it goes so nicely.

I know this isn’t really a recipe but it is a good way of getting some extra vegetables into your diet if you are strapped for time. This will be so much better for you than grabbing something from a fast food restaurant.

Nutrition:

(see Know Your Food Page)

Avocado: Avocados are such a good ingredient; not only are they delicious, they are also really healthy for you. They are a good source of vitamin B5, B6, B9 and vitamin K. They are also an amazing source of essential fatty acids. 

Tomato: Tomatoes are not significantly rich in any particular vitamin or mineral, but they are a moderate source of vitamin C.

Spinach: Spinach is another ingredient that is delicious but it is also so good for you and will do a lot of good when it is incorporated into your diet. Spinach is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin B9, vitamin Cvitamin K, magnesium, manganese and iron. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium and dietary fibre.

Lime: Limes, like with other citrus fruits, are an excellent source of vitamin C and dietary fibre.

AWESOME SWEET POTATO & BEAN BURGERS!!

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Sweet Potato and bean burgers

Preparation & cooking time: 30-40 minutes
Makes: 10 medium sized burgers

Coming into this weekend, both me and my girlfriend really fancied making a big batch of burgers. We both love having bean and chickpea burgers but I wanted to make something a little different this time. I have seen lots of different recipes for vegetable burgers but in the end I decided to make sweet potato and bean burgers; I am so glad that I did because these turned out so well! Sweet potato is really versatile and goes so well with lots of different spices and flavours as well as offering its delicious sweetness to the burger. This recipe makes 10 good-sized burgers and if you are greedy (like we are!) you can polish them of yourself or you could put them on a board and put them in the middle of the table along with some potato wedges and a nice salad to make a perfect weekend lunch. These burgers taste so, so good and won’t leave you feeling guilty for eating them as they are healthy and packed full of fresh ingredients. I really hope you like them 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 very large sweet potato (or 2 medium sweet potatoes), peeled and chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 tin of kidney beans (400g), drained and rinsed
  • A large bunch of coriander, roughly chopped (stalks and all)
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • A pinch of salt and black pepper
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli powder
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 avocados, thinly sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • Half a cucumber, thinly sliced
  • A large bunch of salad leaves, e.g. rocket, spinach, watercress etc.
  • 10 wholemeal rolls, sliced in half

Burger collage

Method:

1.   Place the sweet potato chunks into a large pan of boiling water and boil until they are soft and are easy to mash. This should take about 10 minutes.

2.   Whilst the potatoes are boiling you can prepare the rest of the burger mixture. Put the kidney beans, coriander, spring onions and all of the dry spices into a large bowl and mash with a fork until the beans have broken down and you have a nice thick mixture. The key with keeping a good texture to the burgers is to not overwork the mixture and making it too fine. A course mixture will give you a much better burger.

3.   Once the potatoes have cooked, drain them in a colander and leave them for a minute or two to steam dry. Add the potatoes to the bean mixture and again mash with a fork to get all of the ingredients combined.

4.   Once the burger mixture has cooled a little, use your hands to make 10 burger patties.

5.   Put a little drizzle of olive oil into a large frying pan and place over a medium heat. When hot, place the burgers into the pan and cook for 5 minutes on each side or until the burgers have a nice golden crust on each side.

6.   Whilst the burgers are cooking, place the the rolls under a hot grill to toast. Take them out when they are nice and golden.

7.   Once the burgers have cooked, you can put the burgers together. Put some salad leaves on the bottom followed by the burger, then the cucumber, tomato and avocado. They are now ready to be devoured! I love to have some ketchup and mustard on my burgers, but you can have whatever sauce you like on the top. 

Nutrition:

(see Know Your Food Page)

Sweet potato: Sweet potatoes are a good source of dietary fibre, and vitamin A as well as being a moderate source of vitamin B5, vitamin B6 and manganese.

Kidney beans: Kidney beans are a great source of protein, dietary fibre, vitamin B9 and iron. They are also a good source of magnesium potassium and zinc. I love kidney beans (and beans in general), they are so tasty and really good for you.

Coriander: I love putting coriander in literally everything, luckily for me it is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K. Coriander is also a moderate source of vitamin B2, vitamin B9 and vitamin E as well as iron, manganese and potassium.

Spring onion: Spring onions are a good source of both vitamin A and vitamin C.

Avocado: Avocados are such a good ingredient; not only are they delicious, they are also really healthy for you. They are a good source of vitamin B5, B6, B9 and vitamin K. They are also an amazing source of essential fatty acids. 

Cucumber: Cucumbers are usually around 90% water. They are not significantly rich in any vitamin or mineral but they are a moderate source of vitamin K.

Tomato: Tomatoes are not significantly rich in any particular vitamin or mineral, but they are a moderate source of vitamin C.

Spinach: Spinach is another ingredient that is delicious but it is also so good for you and will do a lot of good when it is incorporated into your diet. Spinach is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin B9, vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese and iron. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium and dietary fibre.

The Best Guacamole!

#MeatfreeMonday, Healthy, Mexican, Sandwich, Sauces, Side Dishes, Snack, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Great Guac

Preparation & cooking time: 10 minutes
Makes: 1 big bowlful

I am very proud of this recipe; I have been making it for so long and I have adapted the recipe to the way I like it and, I know I am biased but, to this day I haven’t tried a better guacamole! I like there to be loads going on when you eat guacamole, it should give your taste buds a good wallop! There should be that initial zing and freshness from the lime, coriander, avocado and tomatoes which is then rounded off with a bit of a hit from the chilli and the garlic with the onion and cumin lingering in the background. This is definitely my type of cooking, it is very rustic, quick to make and can make so many different dishes that much better and more fresh! You can also adapt this recipe to the way that you like it, if you like it more chunky, whether you like more or less of the ingredients included, there is literally no set way to make this and it is purely down to personal preference. One thing I do know is that life would be so much worse without a good bowl of Guac!

DSC_0027

Ingredients:

  • 2 large or 3 medium very ripe avocados 
  • A large handful of coriander, leaves picked and stalks chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 green chilli, roughly chopped 
  • 2 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • A handful of ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 limes (depending on their juiciness)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

1.   The first part of this recipe is the real key to unleashing all of the delicious flavours of the guacamole. In a pestle and mortar throw in the chopped coriander stalks, garlic, chilli, the white part of the spring onions, the cumin and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pound this mixture into a paste using the cumin, salt and pepper as an abrasive. This doesn’t take long but it is so worth it because the flavour you get from doing this is just amazing!

2.   Once you have a paste, squeeze in the juice of the lime and combine this into it. Pit the avocados and scoop the flesh into the paste and break this up to the texture that you like your guacamole. I like mine quite chunky so for me it doesn’t take long at all. Add in the coriander leaves, tomatoes and the green part of the spring onions and mix through. That is it, your guacamole is made!

I could eat guacamole with literally anything at any point of the day but generally I love it with fajitas, with tortilla chips, spread on toast, with patatas bravas etc. This is also my favourite food to have watching sport! I hope you like it 🙂

Avocado Pesto Pasta

Healthy, Pasta, Sauces, Specials, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

DSC_0303Makes: 4 large portions
Preparation & cooking time: 20 minutes

Before I became vegan, homemade pesto pasta was a meal that I was obsessed with (I would have a few times a week without fail). As there is parmesan in traditional pesto I have been unable to eat it. I made the pesto minus the parmesan and don’t get me wrong it was delicious, but it did lack that creaminess and seasoning that the parmesan gave to it. I have found it difficult to find a pesto recipe that would offer the same end product until I tried adding in avocado to the recipe, and voila! With the addition of avocado this pesto recipe is so silky and smooth with a very satisfying texture and taste. Not only is it perfect for vegans, it is perfect for anyone who is looking for an amazing pesto recipe that takes minutes to make and has all the natural goodness that comes from adding the avocado. I hope you enjoy the recipe 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 400g spaghetti
  • A small courgette, sliced
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • A handful of button mushrooms, sliced
  • A large bunch of basil 
  • 2 ripe avocados (peeled and pitted)
  • 60g pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 120ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt & freshly ground pepper

Method:

1.   Bring a large pan of salty water to the boil, add the pasta and cook according to the packet. Cook the pasta 1-2 minutes less than what is stated on the packet as it will be cooked further later on with the pesto and you want it to remain nice and al dente. One minute before the pasta is ready, add in the courgette and mushroom slices to quickly blanch them.

2.   Whilst the pasta is boiling you can make the avocado pesto. Place the basil leaves, avocados , pine nuts, lemon juice, garlic and extra virgin olive oil into a food processor and blend until it is really smooth. Once the pesto is creamy and smooth season it generously.

3.   Put 4 large spoonfuls of the avocado pesto into a large frying pan and put the pan on the hob over a medium heat. When the pasta is ready add the pasta and vegetables to the frying pan. Do this with a pair of tongs as this will allow some of the pasta cooking water to emulsify with the pesto and create a silky smooth sauce. Toss the pasta with the pesto until all of the pasta is nicely coated. If the sauce is a bit stodgy add a spoonful or two of the reserved pasta water to loosen it. That is the recipe done!

Eat this immediately or you can always eat it cold. It is perfect for the summer as you can have cold at a picnic. 

DSC_0302

 

Bruschetta, 3 ways!

Healthy, Sandwich, Vegan, Vegetarian, Vini's Sandwiches

021

Plain and simple, bruschetta is great! It is so convenient and easy to make that you can rustle it up so quickly with practically anything that you have lying around in your fridge and cupboards (you can even use stale bread!). You can be as creative or as simple as you would like, which is why for this post I have created three of my favourite recipes to show you some different ideas that you can use and hopefully give you some ideas so that you can make your own bruschetta!

 Tomato, Basil & Avocado Pesto Bruschetta

026

Makes: 3 Bruschetta (with plenty of avocado pesto left over!)
Preparation & cooking time: 5-10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 2cm slices of ciabatta (or whatever bread you prefer)
  • A handful (6-10 depending the size) of ripe cherry tomatoes
  • A drizzle of garlic oil (or extra virdin olive oil)
  • A drizzle of lemon juice
  • A large bunch of basil (reserve a few leaves for garnish)
  • 2 avocados (peeled and pitted)
  • 60g pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 120ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt & freshly ground pepper

Method:

1.   Place the slices of bread under a really hot grill to get nice and crunchy. When the bread starts to colour rub it with a peeled clove of garlic and then flip it over for the other side to get toasted and when this side has colour rub it with the clove of garlic. Rubbing the garlic on the bread will give it such an amazing flavour! Once toasted take the bread out and leave to the side whilst you prepare the topping.

2.   Half the cherry tomatoes and then slice the halves roughly and put them into a bowl. Slice a few leaves of basil and put into the bowl with the tomatoes. Dress the tomatoes with a good drizzle of garlic oil (this is really easy to make, just peel and slice 6 garlic cloves in half and put them into a jam jar and then top this up with extra virgin olive oil. After a day or so this will start to have an amazing garlic flavour and is great to use in dressings!) or extra virgin olive oil will be great, followed by a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper.

3.   To make the avocado pesto, place the remaining basil leaves (leave 2 for garnish) , avocados , pine nuts, lemon juice, garlic and extra virgin olive oil into a food processor and blend until it is really smooth. Once the pesto is creamy and smooth season it generously.

4.   To prepare the bruschetta, place a spoonful of the tomato mixture onto a slice of the toasted bread and top this with a few large drops of the avocado pesto. To make it look pretty, slice the left over basil leaves finely and sprinkle over the top and voila, you have a delicious bruschetta made really quickly! You can use the leftover pesto as a topping for pasta!

Balsamic dressed beetroot with herby bean cream

025Makes: 3 Bruschetta (with plenty of herby bean cream left over!)
Preparation & cooking time: 5-10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 2cm slices of ciabatta (or whatever bread you prefer)
  • 1 large beetroot, boiled, peeled and sliced into cubes
  • A drizzle of good balsamic vinegar
  • A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can of cannelini beans, drained (or any other white beans that you can get)
  • 60ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • A bunch of dill (or the herb of your choice)
  • Sea salt & frshly ground black pepper

 Method:

1.   Place the slices of bread under a really hot grill to get nice and crunchy. When the bread starts to colour rub it with a peeled clove of garlic and then flip it over for the other side to get toasted and when this side has colour rub it with the clove of garlic. Rubbing the garlic on the bread will give it such an amazing flavour! Once toasted take the bread out and leave to the side whilst you prepare the topping.

2.   In a bowl, dress the diced beetroot with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar along with a pinch of salt and pepper.

3.   To make the herby bean cream, blend the can of beans, oil, water, lemon juice, garlic cloves, dill and salt & pepper in a food processor until you have a silky smooth mixture.

4.   To make the bruschetta, place a big spoonful of the beetroot mixture on top of a piece of the toasted bread followed by a nice dollop of the bean cream. Slice some parsley or dill to sprinkle over the top of the bruschetta. There you have a delicious bruschetta ready. You can use the remaining bean cream as a dip with some warmed pitta breads or some steam veg and it is excellent!

Pea & Mint Bruschetta

032Makes: 3 Bruschetta
Preparation & cooking time: 5-10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 2cm slices of ciabatta (or whatever bread that you prefer)
  • 280g frozen peas (thawed)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint (a little reserved for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Method:

1.   Place the slices of bread under a really hot grill to get nice and crunchy. When the bread starts to colour rub it with a peeled clove of garlic and then flip it over for the other side to get toasted and when this side has colour rub it with the clove of garlic. Rubbing the garlic on the bread will give it such an amazing flavour! Once toasted take the bread out and leave to the side whilst you prepare the topping.

2.   To prepare the pea and mint topping, blend the peas in a food processor until they are roughly chopped. Stir in the mint, oil, salt & pepper. Place a spoonful of the pea and mint mixture on top of the bread and top with a sprinkling of the chopped mint. With the leftover pea and mint mixture you can make a delicious risotto!

I hope you like the different bruschettas; let me know what your favourite types of bruschetta are! 🙂