Lemony Kale & Cannellini Bean Soup

Is it just me or does everybody seem to be ill right now? Colds, flus, sick bugs…everybody seems to have one! My brother’s got a particularly bad case of tonsillitis right now, so with him in mind, I came up with this flu-fighting soup packed full of all those brilliant vitamins and minerals to help you get back on the mend, or even to protect you from getting the viruses themselves! Even if you’re not ill, this is some great comfort food that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside — totally hygge! Oh, and did I mention this dish is 100% vegan and jam packed with protein?

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Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 1 400g tin of cannellini beans or 250g of your own pre-soaked cannellini beans
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil (or any other vegetable oil)
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock
  • Salt & Pepper for seasoning

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan over a medium heat. Finely slice the onion and celery into half rings, and add them to the pan.
  2. Once the onions and celery have begun to soften up, mince the garlic, then add it to the pan. The garlic must be added later, otherwise it may burn, as it takes a shorter time to cook.
  3. Once the vegetables in the pan have completely softened, remove the thick stems from the kale and then tear the kale into roughly 2-inch pieces. Add the kale to the pan, and give the mixture a stir.
  4. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat back down to a simmer.
  5. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the pan, then give the soup a mix. Season with pepper, and add salt to taste. Be careful though as the stock will already be salty!
  6. Place the lid on the pan and simmer for 3 minutes. Then, add the drained cannellini beans to the mix, and simmer for around 4-5 minutes, or until the kale has softened and been fully cooked through.
  7. Serve into two bowls, and enjoy! Feel free to add your own herbs or vegetables to garnish. For example, you could add some diced avocado or chopped up parsley to make it your own!

 

Vegan Chinese Vegetable Soup

Happy Chinese New Year! 新年快乐!

As it’s so cold here in Switzerland, I decided to celebrate the new Chinese Lunar Year by preparing a comforting bowl of warm soup using Chinese ingredients.

Where I live, it’s really hard to find international ingredients. So, for the mushrooms I had to use button mushrooms, but if you can find Shiitake, I would definitely recommend them as they would provide a more pungent, meatier taste. Likewise, I had to use green cabbage and a yellow onion, but if you can get a hold of some Chinese cabbage and spring onions, even better! It will really take your soup that much further. I also LOVE spicy food, so I made this soup pretty hot. If you don’t like yours as hot, or would prefer it even hotter, feel free to change the amount of chili used.

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Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 1 handful of mushrooms
  • 1/2 a head of cabbage
  • 1 handful of mung bean sprouts
  • 100g of bamboo shoots
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1/2 a bird’s eye chile (optional, or to taste)
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • A couple of chives for garnish (optional)

Method

  1. First, add the oil to a pan and put to a medium heat. As the pan begins to warm up, finely dice the garlic and chili, then thinly slice the onion. Add the chili and onion to the pan, and then once the onion begins to soften up, add the garlic.
  2. Slice the mushrooms, and then add them straight to the pan.
  3. As the mushrooms are cooking, slice up the cabbage. Once the mushrooms are beginning to brown, add the mung bean sprouts, bamboo shoots and cabbage to the pan. Stir the mixture before adding the soy sauce.
  4. After a couple of minutes, or when the vegetables begin to soften up slightly, add the vegetable stock. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Put a lid on the pan, and leave it to cook for around 10 minutes, or when the cabbage has been fully cooked through (you can test this by pricking a piece with a fork. If the fork goes smoothly through, the cabbage will be cooked).
  5. Ladle the soup into to bowls, then garnish with chives and enjoy! Happy Chinese New Year everyone!

Leek & Sweetcorn Wild Rice

Have you ever had those days when you’ve forgotten to go to the supermarket, or you just want to use scraps in the fridge? I certainly have.

I came up with this recipe after a long day at work in which I felt too tired to go shopping but at the same time, also wanted to use up the week’s leftovers. As I didn’t have any meat, I decided to come up with a vegan recipe. Using wild rice as my base, I rummaged around in my fridge and soon found a leftover leek. However, I figured that just some rice and leeks wouldn’t make a particularly substantial meal, so I decided to use a tinned can of sweetcorn as well. In order to boost the flavour of the dish, I chopped up the remaining coriander from the guacamole I’d made the night before. I was so happy with the result, that I’d thought I’d share it with all of you.

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Ingredients (Serves 1)

  • 75g (1/2 cup) of basmati with wild rice
  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 375ml of vegetable stock
  • 1/2 of a leek
  • 80g (3 tbsp) of sweetcorn
  • 1 tsp of thyme (Optional)
  • 1 tbsp of chopped coriander (Optional)
  • Salt & pepper for seasoning

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat. Chop the leek into slices and then sauté it in the pan. Once the leeks have softened, mince the garlic, then add it to the pan along with the thyme.
  2. Once the leeks have begun to brown slightly, add the rice and fry it with the leeks and garlic for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Once it has reaching a rolling boil, reduce to a simmer. Cook for around 20 minutes (check the cooking times on your rice packet, as it may differ with each brand).
  4. Once the stock has reduced after around 20-25 minutes, stir in the sweetcorn. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Finish off by garnishing the dish with chopped coriander, and enjoy!

Banana & Mixed Seed Oatmeal

I came up with this new oatmeal recipe after speaking with my dad. As part of his new year’s resolution, he’s decided to eat healthier and start eating some vegan meals. So, I began to think of some healthy foods that my dad enjoys and thought about their delicious combinations. Bananas are one of his favourite fruits, so I paired it with mixed seeds for some protein. I also thought agave syrup would make a great addition as it is a healthy unrefined sweetener that I find really compliments the creamy taste of bananas, without being too overpowering. If you’re looking for a fantastic balanced breakfast that will provide you with all the nutrients you need to start the day well and feel full for longer, then this is for you!

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Ingredients (Serves 1)

  • 50g of oats
  • 200ml of almond milk (or another dairy free milk of your choice)
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tbsp’s of mixed seeds (I used sunflower, pumpkin and poppy seeds)
  • 1 tbsp of agave syrup (or another sweetener of your choice, such as honey or maple syrup)

Method

  1. Place the oats and almond milk into a pan and simmer over a medium heat. The mix should be regularly stirred so that the oats don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Once the mixture has thickened to your preferred consistency (which can take between 5 to 10 minutes depending on your preferences), take the mixture off the heat.
  2. Put your oatmeal into a serving bowl.
  3. Slice the banana into slices.
  4. Top your oatmeal with the banana slices, mixed seeds and then drizzle with agave syrup and enjoy!

Strawberry & Cashew Oatmeal

Honestly, you can’t get a better meal than a balanced one. That’s why I think that this strawberry and cashew oatmeal is the perfect start to the day. It’s got protein (the cashews), wholegrains (oats), 1 of your 5 a day (strawberries) and fibre! I think that the cashews and strawberries go so well together because the cashews provide both a creamy texture and taste. For me, it tastes like a healthy, vegan alternative to strawberries and cream, so why not give it a go and give yourself a guilt-free nutritious treat for breakfast?

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Ingredients (Serves 1)

  • 50g of oats
  • 200ml of cashew milk (or another non-dairy milk of your choice)
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract (optional)
  • A pinch of salt
  • A few cashews (around 5-10)
  • A handful of strawberries (Around 5)
  • 1 tbsp of maple syrup (optional)

Method

  1. Add the oats, milk, vanilla and salt to a pan and place over a medium heat. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes depending on your desired consistency.
  2. Once the oats have cooked, place them into a serving bowl.
  3. Roughly chop the cashews and then slice the strawberries in half. Top your oatmeal with the cashews and strawberries. Drizzle with maple syrup for sweetness.

 

Wholewheat Farfalle with Tomato Sauce & an Egg

Whenever I go to Spain, my grandmother always makes me a traditional Spanish meal called ‘Arroz con tomate’. Every child who has grown up in Spain will know about this and will undoubtedly have eaten it many times after a long day at school. ‘Arroz con tomate’ is simply white Spanish rice, covered in tomato sauce and topped with a fried egg. Using this dish as my inspiration, I decided to create a healthier alternative. I swapped the white rice for wholewheat pasta, in order to bring more fibre and protein to the dish. The use of wholewheat pasta also makes the dish more filling, so you won’t be hungry straight after the meal, and you won’t need to serve yourself huge portions! I kept the tradition of the tomato sauce, but instead of a fried egg, I decided that it would be nice to top the dish with a poached egg. I not only did this because it is a healthier alternative to frying an egg, but I also much prefer the taste and texture of poached eggs.

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Ingredients (Serves 1)

  • 80g of dry wholewheat farfalle pasta (Other small pastas like penne or fusilli are a great alternative too)
  • 800ml (3 cups) of water & another 800ml (3 cups) of water
  • 3-4 tbsp’s of tomato sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp of vinegar
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

Method

  1. Pour 800ml (3 cups) of water into a pan and bring to a boil. Add a pinch of salt, then add the dried pasta. Cook until al dente, which should be around 8-10 minutes (this varies according to the type of pasta you have bought, so I would check the back of your packet).
  2. Once the pasta has cooked, drain the pasta but keep a few tablespoons of the pasta water, as the starchy water will help to bind the tomato sauce to the fusilli.
  3. Heat the tomato sauce in a pan with the remaining pasta water over a low heat. Once it has heated up (or if you can see small bubbles forming), gently fold in the cooked pasta. Once the mixture has combined, you can take it off the heat.
  4. Fill up another pan with the other 800ml (3 cups) of water and the vinegar. Bring to a simmer, then with a spoon, create a ‘vortex’ in the water by mixing the water clockwise. Crack your egg into the water. It should take around 3 minutes for the egg to poach, but you should check every minute by taking the egg out of the pan with a spoon and gently pressing your finger on the yolk to see if it is your desired consistency.
  5. Place your pasta in a serving bowl, then add the poached egg on top. Season with salt and pepper, and enjoy.

Fig & Chestnut Overnight Oats

When the temperature begins to drop, everybody begins talking about ‘winter warmers’ for breakfast, such as hot oatmeal, poached eggs and pancakes. They can all be great options, but sometimes you just need something cool and refreshing to wake you up in the morning. Overnight oats are the perfect option because they are eaten straight out of a cold fridge, yet they are still filling and comforting. I’m also a fan of eating overnight oats in the winter because you can eat them ‘on the go’ without having to cook anything in the morning, so if you’re in a hurry after oversleeping (which often happens to me because I find it so hard to wake up when its dark outside!), you can still have a satisfying and nutritious meal without spending ages in the kitchen before work.

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Ingredients

  • 30g of oats
  • 2 tbsp of coconut yogurt (soy yogurt can be used instead)
  • 150ml of non-dairy milk (I used Alpro coconut milk, but any will do)
  • 1 fig
  • 5 cooked chestnuts
  • 1 tbsp of maple syrup

Method

  1. Place the oats into a serving bowl, then add the yogurt and non-dairy milk. Then, combine the mixture before putting the bowl in the fridge, so that the oats can absorb the milk and soften up overnight.
  2. In the morning, prior to serving, slice the fig into quarters and roughly chop the chestnuts.
  3. To finish off, add the fig and chestnuts to the oatmeal, then drizzle with maple syrup for sweetness.

Weetabix with summer berries

Most days, I like to have oatmeal for breakfast, but if I’ve forgotten to make overnight oats and I don’t have time to make oatmeal from scratch, then cereal is a great alternative. It’s also a lighter option if you aren’t keen on eating something as filling as oatmeal. One of my favourite cereals is weetabix because it’s not only very healthy for you because of its wholegrains, fibre and low fat content, but it can also serve as a blank slate for all your creative cooking ideas. For example, you can top your weetabix with fruits, nuts, yogurt, nut milks, or even eat them like toast by spreading jam or nut butters on them. It can also be a great option if you’re looking for breakfast ideas on a budget. In order to save money, I bought a bag of frozen summer berries and thought that it would make a healthy and tasty topping for my weetabix. However, as berries can be quite tart, I felt that a sweetener needed to be added. I decided to use maple syrup because it’s a great natural alternative to refined sugar, and it compliments the berries very well. I also used coconut milk rather than other nut milks, such as almond milk, as I find it to be thicker and creamier, which helped to enhance, rather than diminish, the flavour of the weetabix.

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Ingredients

  • 2 weetabix (or oatibix) (You can also use another cereal of your choice if you prefer)
  • 150ml of coconut milk
  • 1 handful of summer berries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1tbsp of maple syrup (or another sweetener of your choice)

Method

All you need to do, is put the weetabix in a bowl, add the coconut milk, then the summer berries, and finish by topping your cereal with maple syrup (or another sweetener of your choice). If you are using frozen summer berries, make sure to defrost them before adding them to your cereal.

Raspberry, coconut & cashew oatmeal

Personally, I think that one of the most satisfying breakfasts a person can make is a nutritious bowl of homemade oatmeal. There’s just something so comforting about a warm bowl of creamy oats in the morning and I love how versatile they can be. You can top your bowl of oatmeal with whatever you fancy, whether it be something savoury like chopped chives, avocado and a poached egg, or something sweet like fresh fruit, maple syrup and nut butters.

As I am a huge fan of summer berries, I decided to come up with a recipe that incorporated them. One of my favourite berries are raspberries, but as I am not a huge fan of adding refined sugars to my breakfasts, I found that just plain oatmeal with raspberries was too tart and that it lacked a depth in flavour. As a result, I decided to make my oatmeal with coconut milk rather than soy milk as I find that coconut milk is creamier, sweeter and can compliment the taste of the raspberries better. I chose to add a coconut sugar and raspberry compote to the oatmeal so that I could add some additional sweetness without using refined sugars. However, when I tasted the oatmeal, I felt that something was still missing. All the textures were similar, which I found to be quite boring as I quite like some diversity in my meals. By adding the crushed toasted cashews, the taste and texture of the oatmeal became much more interesting and complex. If you’re a fan of eating something sweet for breakfast, yet crave for something healthy and nutritious, then I would definitely recommend this oatmeal recipe!

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Ingredients

  • 50g of oats
  • 200ml of coconut milk (+ extra for serving if desired)
  • 100g of raspberries
  • 10 cashews
  • 1 tsp of coconut sugar (Or sweetener of your choice)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Place the oats and coconut milk into a pan and simmer over a medium heat. The mix should be regularly stirred so that the oats don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Once the mixture is thickened to your preferred consistency (which can take between 5 to 10 minutes depending on your preferences), take the mixture off the heat.
  3. Put half of the raspberries and the coconut sugar (or another sweetener of your choice) into another pan and place over a low heat. Mix together until the mixture has softened into a compote.
  4. Spread out the cashews onto a baking tray and place in the preheated oven. Toast for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Then, take the cashews out and once they have cooled down enough to touch, roughly chop them up into pieces. (By toasting the cashews, it enhances their naturally bland flavour, so I would recommend not to skip this step)
  5. Add the oatmeal to a bowl, then top with the raspberry compote, toasted cashews and remaining raspberries. I prefer to add extra coconut milk as well, but this is an optional addition.