Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Simple Suppers

Stir Fried Veg and Basmati Rice
Stir Fried Veg with Basmati Rice

Zucchini and Red Pepper Pasta Bake
Red Pepper and Zucchini Pasta Bake

Simple Couscous and Veg with Chickpeas
Simple Couscous with Veg and Chickpeas

A slightly different multi post for you today! I was going through my recipe folder the other day, long overdue by the way.... I had stacks and stacks of handwritten notes jotted down here and there - such a mess! I decided to go through my blog and nicely print out everything I make regularly into one binder. What I soon realized is that a lot of what we eat regularly for dinner isn't even on the blog! I always found these things to be too simple to blog I suppose but I forgot that I started this blog to be a record of what we eat and things I make. 

Furthermore while I know a lot of you are experienced cooks I'm sure a lot of you are not, are just starting out with either veganism or cooking and might appreciate even the simplest of ideas. Furthermore, these are the dinners we all eat here, meaning my son as well. These are all very kid friendly and very adaptable, for each one you can change the vegetables to whatever you like, or more precisely, whatever your kids like as those with children know, their tastes tend to dictate mealtimes ;-) 

So, these are a few of the things we eat often, as no, my son doesn't sit down to a dinner of coconut crepes filled with asparagus and lime chilli sauce!! (I wish!!) That being said, we all love these, they are simple, nutritious and delicious. All recipes serve 3 as that's the number in our house ;-)

Stir Fried Veg with Basmati Rice

225g dry weight basmati rice
1 Tbsp peanut oil
100g carrots, sliced
100g mixed peppers, diced large
100g pak choi, seperate leaves and stalks, chop stalks into large dice and slice leaves
100g mangetout or snow peas, halved diagonally
(OR 400g of whatever veg you like)
1 tsp garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp ginger, finely chopped
2 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp water
1/2 Tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce*
1/4 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp water
sesame seeds for garnish

~optional protein add in: fried marinated tofu, tempeh, half tin of chick peas, "chicken" or "beef" style pieces.

First the rice, I cook mine as so but you may want to follow the directions on your packet. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and rinse the rice well. When boiling tip in the rice, give it a stir and when it comes back to the boil reduce to a simmer with the lid on for 10 minutes. Drain and tip it back into the pot, give it a stir over low heat for just a couple seconds to remove any more water.

While the rice is cooking, heat the oil in a large wok and add all the veg except the pak choi leaves, fry on high heat for about 5 minutes or until just tender. Mix together the soy sauce, water, vegetarian oyster sauce, garlic, ginger and sesame oil then add to the wok and stir well. Mix together the cornstarch and water until dissolved and stir in until the sauce is thick. Stir in the pak choi leaves until just wilted, it will only take seconds.

Spoon the rice onto plates and top with the veg mixture and sauce. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top for garnish.

*If you can't find the vegetarian oyster sauce you can just omit this. It's a thick, soy based but sweet sauce so a sweet soy sauce or something like hoisin sauce would work in it's place.*

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 360
Protein: 9.1g
Fat: 6.4g
Sat Fat: 0.9g
Carbs: 69.4g
Sugars: 6.4g
Sodium: 806mg
Calcium: 83.7mg
Fibre: 3.5g

Red Pepper and Zucchini Pasta Bake

1  Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
200g red pepper, diced large
200g zucchini (courgettes), sliced and halved if small, quartered if large
1 tin chopped tomatoes (400g) or same weight of passata
2 large cloves garlic, pureed
40g sun dried tomato puree
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp chopped fresh or frozen basil
200g pasta, dry weight
90g super melting mozza cheezly (30g per person) - optional
~ optional protein add in: half a tin drained and rinsed flageolet or cannellini beans ~

We've been having this one for years even back when we were vegetarian and the cheese topping was veggie parmesan. Recipe comes from an old vegetarian cookbook or ours that always produced some gems.

Put the pasta on to cook according to package instructions. Meanwhile in a large saucepan heat the olive oil and fry the onion with about 15 grinds of freshly ground black pepper. When really soft and slightly golden add the zucchini, peppers and an extra 1/8 tsp of salt. Stir and fry for 5 minutes over medium heat until the veg start to go soft. In a measuring just mix together the tomato, puree, salt, sugar, garlic and basil. Stir in the tomato sauce mixture, cover and simmer for 5 minutes more. Check that the veg is tender then add the drained pasta, stirring until well mixed. Transfer to an oven safe casserole dish and top with the grated cheezly and some more black pepper. Grill till bubbly and serve.

My son however has not developed a taste for cheezly and likes this without the cheezly on top - it's just as good!

Beautiful with my garlic bread and a glass of red wine! 

Nutritional Information: per serving with cheezly
Calories: 439
Protein: 12g
Fat: 18.6g
Sat Fat: 6.3g
Fibre: 5.7g
Carbs: 59.7g
Sugar: 8.3g
Sodium: 691mg

Simple Couscous with Veg and Chickpeas

1 Tbsp olive oil
100g onion, diced large
100g carrot, sliced diagonally
100g red pepper, diced large
100g zucchini (courgettes), sliced and halved or quartered if very large
100g green beans, fresh or frozen, sliced or chopped into 1" pieces
125g chickpeas from a tin, that's half a 400g tin, drained and rinsed
450ml water made with 3 tsp marigold vegan stock powder*
1 Tbsp cornstarch - optional
150g dry weight couscous
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp marigold vegan stock powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
300ml water

*First a note on the stock powder, I'm not insisting you use the brand I use here but as this is such a simple dish flavour wise, you want to use a stock powder that you like the taste of on it's own or it might be quite bland. I love the marigold vegan powder (the orange one) as it has a lot of flavour and the yellow colour works well here, it has turmeric in it but I like to add a little more to the couscous as well. That being said, just  use a stock you really like but you may have to adjust the amount you add - just follow the directions for making stock on the package.

Now. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the onions and carrot and fry for 5 minutes. Add the stock, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the peppers, zucchini, green beans and chickpeas, cover and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile make the couscous. This is how I like to make mine and it always turns out great, although I realize it's not the most traditional ;-) Mix the couscous, stock powder and turmeric in a large shallow dish, you want the surface area to be large here, you don't want a deep dish of couscous as it won't cook properly otherwise. Bring the water and olive oil to a boil and pour over. Give it a quick stir then cover promptly with cling film and let sit for 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork. It should be ready now but I'm a little unconventional here and like to recover it and pop it in the microwave for just 30 seconds to reheat as I find it cools down a bit in those 5 minutes. Totally not necessary though ;-)

Spoon the couscous onto plates. Now you can either spoon the veg and broth over of the couscous, like in the photo above, or you can mix some water with 1 Tbsp cornstarch and stir this in until the broth and veg mixture thickens up like a light gravy and spoon this over. Up to you, I've done it both ways, both are good, just depends on my mood, or how watery the broth is as vegetables can vary wildly in how much liquid they release.

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 386
Fat: 11.6g
Sat Fat: 1.9g
Fibre: 7.6g
Carbs: 58.7g
Sugar: 6.4g
Sodium: 1533mg, but less as you unlikely will spoon over all the broth
Protein: 12.5g
Calcium: 64mg

You Might Also Like: (these are 2 more absolute standards in our house, kid approved!)

Lentil BologneseHearty Dumpling Stew


  1. Thank you for taking the time to write down all of these! Your simple meals look pretty awesome.

  2. Thanks Mihl! It feels good getting all the recipes organized, blogs are so handy for that :-)

  3. The stir fry looks very good! It's one of the only vegan things I can get my husband to eat and enjoy :)


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