Lentil Balls with Tahini Dressing

This easy, midweek meal comes from The Yummy Plant, who’s food ethos is all about creating delicious recipes that nourish the body and mind whilst keeping the ingredients to a minimum. I think I’m in love…

136233FB-4DB7-462B-8096-5E0B37F13C78
Photo: The Yummy Plant

INGREDIENTS

Lentil Balls:

1 minced medium shallot
2 cups cooked green lentils
2 tbsp ground flax seed, mixed with 6 tbsp water
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
4 halves of walnut
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp sea salt (use less if the lentils have been cooked with salt)
2 tsp chili flakes
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Tahini Dressing:

¼ cup tahini
1 small lemon, juiced
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp minced garlic
3 tbsp water

METHOD

Lentil Balls:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the ingredients in a food processor, and pulse to combine. Pulse a few times, scraping down sides as needed until thoroughly combined. You are looking for a crumbly dough, not a paste.
  3. Form the lentil mixture into balls and place them onto one baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, until they look crisp on the outside and tender inside.
  4. Broil for 2-5 minutes to make it extra crispy.

Tahini Dressing:

Simply blend all the ingredients in a blender. Keep the leftover dressing in the fridge for up to a week.

Recipe Notes:

You can leave out the nutritional yeast and use 4 more walnut pieces.

Prep time: 10mins | Cook time: 30-35 minutes | Serves: 2

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Tofu ‘Meatballs’ with Turmeric Sauce

Vegaliciously‘s golden ‘meatballs’ were doing the rounds on Instagram recently under the banner of the #bestofvegan so, in an attempt to sway my tofu-skeptic other half, I figured I’d better jump on this bandwagon. Ah cripes, who am I kidding? I often find tofu bland, boring and generally underwhelming. But along with my current love affair with turmeric and all it’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich qualities, this one absolutely won me over!

tofu meatballs with turmeric sauce
Photo: Vegaliciously

INGREDIENTS

TURMERIC SAUCE

  • 2 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlics
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 3 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 600ml vegetable broth
  • 200ml soya cream
  • coconut oil

TOFU BALLS

  • 600g tofu
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 garlics
  • a parsley bunch
  • 150g breadcrumbs
  • 100g flour
  • salt and pepper
  • coconut oil

METHOD

  1. For the sauce, finely chop onion, garlic and carrots. Grease a pan with coconut oil and fry the ingredients until golden.
  2. Add tomato puree, turmeric, broth and mix until lumps smooth out. Let it simmer for an hour and a half adding water from time to time.
  3. Put the sauce in a mixer and blend until it reaches a creamy consistency.
  4. Pour the sauce into the pot previously used, add the soy cream and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  5. For the tofu balls, using your hands grind the tofu.
  6. Finely chop carrots, onions, garlic and a parsley bunch and add to the tofu. Mix the mass, adjust salt and pepper, and add the breadcrumbs.
  7. Using your hands, mix the mass to obtain a homogeneous mixture. Moisten your hands before forming every tofu ball.
  8. Once all the balls have been formed, mash them with flour. Grease a frying pan with coconut oil and fry them until golden.
  9. Once cooked, dip them and cover them with turmeric sauce. Add a spoonful of parsley and ENJOY!

Recipe Notes

I used red onions as it was all I had in the cupboard – I’m sure white onion works just as well but after this happy accident, I think my preference now may be for red.

I substituted the breadcrumbs for another 50gms strong white bread flour as I had no bread or their crumbs. Worked perfectly well.

Prep: 20mins | Cooks: 90mins | Serves: 4

Moroccan Onion Squash Stew

Abel & Cole offer up an autumnal feast with this seasonal stew featuring wedges of roast onion squash folded through chickpeas spiced with ras el hanut and sweetened with dates. Served on plates of lemony bulgar wheat to soak up every last delectable drop.

moroccoan onion squash
Photo: Abel & Cole

Ingredients

  • 1 onion squash
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • A handful of flat leaf parsley, leaves only
  • 50g dried dates
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2-3 tsp ras el hanut*
  • 400g tin of chickpeas
  • 150g bulgar wheat
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 400ml boiling water

*RAS EL HANUT

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed chilli flakes
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (seeds from about 10 pods)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

Toast all whole spices in a pan first before grinding together with the other spices.

 

Method

  1. Heat your oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6. Trim the stalk off the onion squash and slice in half Scoop the seeds out, and slice the flesh into 2-3cm thick wedges (the skin is edible so you don’t need to peel the squash). Arrange the wedges in a large roasting tin and drizzle over1 tbsp olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly. Roast for 35 mins, till tender and caramelised.
  2. While the squash roasts, peel the onion and thinly slice it. Peel the garlic cloves and crush or finely chop. Separate the parsley leaves from the stalks (save the leaves for later), and finely chop the stalks. Roughly chop the dates and the tomatoes.
  3. Pour 1 tbsp oil into a large pan and bring to a medium heat. Slide in the onion, garlic and parsley stalks, and spoon over 1 tsp ras al hanut. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt and pepper and stir to combine. Fry for 5 mins.
  4. Drain the chickpeas and rinse well with cold water. Tip into the onion pan and add the chopped tomatoes and dates. Pour in 100ml boiling water and return to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 mins, stirring every so often.
  5. Meanwhile, pour the bulgar wheat into a large bowl. Top up with 300ml boiling water, and cover the bowl with a large plate or chopping board. Set aside for 15 mins to soak.
  6. Finely grate the lemon zest. Finely chop the reserved parsley leaves. When the bulgar wheat has soaked up all the water, add the lemon zest and chopped parsley. Squeeze in the lemon juice and add 1 tbsp oil and a little salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.
  7. When the squash wedges are tender, remove them from the oven and transfer them into the chickpea stew. Fold well to combine.
  8. Pile the lemony bulgar wheat onto plates and serve with the onion squash and chickpeas stew.

Prep: 15mins | Cooks: 35mins | Serves: 2

Golden Milk

A classic comforting, warm, and boldly spiced turmeric milk with a hint of sweetness. The health perks alone have made Turmeric Milk a popular trend recently as it is not only high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, and healthy fats (especially when using coconut oil), but is also high in manganese and iron thanks to the turmeric. Traditional recipes include peppercorns that actually enhance the absorption of curcumin (the main component found in turmeric).
This super easy version is inspired by Nutrition Stripped, with options by The Minimalist Baker and takes just 5 minutes. It’s delicious on its own, but why not indulge yourself and try it with one of these Chocolate Chunk and PB Blondies?
turmeric-milk
Photo: Nutrition Stripped

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 tbsp honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar or sweetener of choice
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, optional
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 cinnamon stick or 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • small pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger or 1-2 tbsp freshly grated ginger

 Method

  1. Simply pour all ingredients into a small saucepan and heat until hot to the touch but not boiling – about 4 minutes – whisking frequently.
  2. Turn off heat and adjust flavour to taste – adding more sweetener or more ginger or tumeric for spice and flavour.
  3. Strain the milk if you have large pieces of ginger, cinnamon, peppercorns, etc.
  4. Best when fresh, though leftovers can be stored covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat on the stovetop or microwave until hot.

Notes

Using a mix of light (canned) coconut milk and unsweetened almond milk creates the ultimate creamy base.

Ground turmeric (as opposed to fresh) works best in terms of flavor.

Prep: 1min | Cooks: 4mins | Serves: 2

Vegan Chocolate Chunk PB Blondies 

Do these even need an introduction?? Think brownie minus the chocolate (but, you know, you could always throw in some cacao for good measure…). Claire over at The Healthy French Wife – another new find that I’m really excited about – has magically thrown together all of my favourite things about a recipe into one little square… chocolate, peanut butter, vegan and healthy – SOLD!

choc pb brownies
Photo: The Healthy French Wife

Ingredients

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 cup of nut milk/ soy milk
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/3 cup of peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup of dark dairy-free chocolate broken into chunks
  • 1 cup of flour of your choice – Claire used wholemeal

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a square brownie pan with baking paper
  2. In a food processor mix the chickpeas (drained and rinsed) then add the other ingredients. Add more milk if needed.
  3. Pour into your brownie pan, top with the chocolate chunks or chips and cook for 20-25 minute.
  4. Leave to cool for 30 minutes and cut into 12 squares. Best kept in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.

Prep: 10mins | Cooks: 20-25mins | Makes: 12 squares

Coconut Curried Golden Lentils

Simple, flavorful curried yellow lentils seasoned with fresh spices, garlic, ginger, and swimming in a curried coconut sauce by one of my latest golden finds, The Minimalist Baker. A dish this tasty that’s on the table in 20 minutes makes this the perfect plant-based side!
These curried lentils would be delicious atop rice or some of Dana’s other amazing recipes such as her cauliflower ricesaladsbowls or part of a wrap or sandwich. And while delicious on their own, she also swears this pairs incredibly well with her Sweet Potato Cauliflower CurryAvocado Sweet Potato Green SaladCurried Butternut Squash SoupCurried Beet Soup with Chickpeas, and her Vegan Naan.

AMAZING Coconut Curried Golden Lentils! 20 minutes, healthy, SO satisfying! #vegan #lentil #curry #plantbased #coconut #dairyfree #glutenfree #minimalistbaker
Photo: The Minimalist Baker

Ingredients

LENTILS
  • 4 cups (960 ml) water
  • 1 1/2 cups (288 g) golden (yellow) lentils, rinsed and drained (or sub red with similar cook time or green with longer cooking time)
COCONUT CURRY SAUCE
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) coconut oil (or water)
  • optional: 1 small shallot, diced (I used a whole white onion)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (2 Tbsp or 12 g)
  • 3 Tbsp (7 g) fresh minced ginger (1-2 Tbsp (2.5 – 4 g) more for more intense flavor)
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp + 1/2 tsp curry powder (or 1tsp garam masala, 2Tbsp cumin, 2Tbsp coriander)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/8th tsp cayenne pepper (optional if you don’t like spice)
  • 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups (300-360 ml) light coconut milk
  • 1-2 Tbsp (12-24 g) coconut sugar or maple syrup (plus more to taste // I used honey as it was all I had in the cupboard!)
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) fresh lemon juice

Method

  1. Bring water to a boil in a large pot or saucepan. Add lentils and bring back to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook lentils uncovered for 4-5 minutes or until just tender. Then drain and set aside. Be careful not to overcook or they can become mushy (cooking time will vary by variety of lentil – check package for instructions).
  2. In the meantime, heat a large rimmed skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil or water, shallot (optional), garlic, and ginger. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Then add salt, curry powder, turmeric, and cayenne and cook for 1 minute more. Lower heat to low.
  3. Add coconut milk and coconut sugar (or maple syrup or honey) and stir to combine. Cook over low heat for 3-4 minutes to combine the flavors (see photo).
  4. Add the (well) drained, cooked lentils (see photo) to the coconut sauce and stir. They will likely need more seasoning at this point. I added a bit more salt, curry powder, turmeric, cayenne, and coconut sugar because I like big flavor. But season to taste.
  5. Turn off heat, add lemon juice, and stir. Then serve and enjoy! These are delicious on their own, but they would also be tasty with rice, cauliflower rice, steamed or roasted vegetables, and more.
Prep: 5 mins | Cooks: 15 mins | Serves: 3 cups

Vegetable Dhansak

This simple, vegetable curry is so versatile with lots of lovely spices and just a touch of sweet and sour. You can mix and match vegetables or meat of your choice, but I have used sweet potato, butternut squash, carrot and red pepper. Some recipes suggest roasting the vegetables first and adding in later, others include coconut creams and some add greens towards the end. You may like to blitz your dhansak into a traditional thick lentil sauce, or keep it chunky. You may even add some crushed cashews for a bit of extra crunch. Have a play with the sweet and sour and season to suit your taste.

Vegetable dhansak
Vegetable Dhansak; Photo: The Telegraph

Ingredients

  • 125g red split lentils
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp ginger, grated (or 1/2 tsp ground ginger)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 325g (1 medium) sweet potato, cubed
  • 150g (1/4 medium) butternut squash, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 700ml vegetable stock, boiling
  • 125g sultanas
  • juice 1/2 lemon
  • small bunch fresh coriander, to serve

Method

  1. Thoroughly rinse the lentils and set aside
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat, add the onion and cook for five minutes or until it softens
  3. Add garlic, ginger and spices and cook for a further two minutes, stirring occasionally
  4. Add the carrot, sweet potato, squash and pepper and cook for a further five minutes
  5. Stir in the lentils, sultanas, stock, tomato puree and tomatoes and bring to the boil. Then, reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer for around 30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally
  6. Scatter with coriander, squeeze of lemon juice and serve with warm naan bread or steamed brown rice.

Notes

Many versions of this recipe throw in green beans about 10-15mins before it’s finished cooking (as shown in the photo above). Stirring baby spinach leaves through just before serving also worked well.

Sultanas could be substituted for 1 tbsp brown sugar (or any sugar really), if you prefer.

Prep: 10-15mins | Cooks: 40-45mins | Serves: 4

Thai-inspired Spiralised Salad

sweet-sour dressing is the perfect partner for these vegetable curls, pepped up with mango, chilli and fresh coriander.

thai spiralised salad
Thai-inspired Spiralised Salad; Photo: Nassima Rothacker

Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber, spiralised (or peeled into ribbons with a vegetable peeler)
  • 2 courgettes, spiralised (or peeled into ribbons with a vegetable peeler)
  • 70g cashews
  • sesame oil, to drizzle
  • ½ mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 large red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 30g fresh coriander, chopped, plus extra to serve

For the tamarind dressing:

  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • juice of 1 lime

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Put the cucumber and courgette spirals in a large bowl. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Pour half the dressing over the vegetables, mix and set aside for about 10–15 minutes.
  3. Toss the cashews in the remaining dressing and drizzle over a smidge of sesame oil to avoid sticking. Tip onto a baking tray and roast for about 15 minutes until toasted, shaking the tray occasionally. Remove from oven and leave to cool completely.
  4. Toss the mango and chilli into the vegetables along with the coriander and some of the roasted cashews. Reserve a few to garnish.
  5. Transfer the salad to a serving dish. Garnish with the remaining cashews and a little coriander.

Serves: 2 | Prep: 15-20mins | Cooks: 15mins

Classic Potato Salad

Team this delicious classic with Christmas leftovers or summer BBQ favourites like this Mushroom and Lentil Salad. Either way, Matt Tebbutt‘s classic potato salad is hard resist. Even better, this salad and can be made the day before, chilled and then pulled out a few hours before serving.

 

classic potato salad
Classic Potato Salad; Photo: BBC Good Food

Ingredients

  • 800g small new potato
  • 3 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp small capers (optional)
  • 2 tbsp cornichons, finely chopped (optional)
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise, or to taste
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • small handful parsley leaves, roughly chopped

Method

  1. Boil the potatoes in salted water for 20 mins until just cooked, drain, then cool.
  2. Cut the potatoes into chunks, then throw into a bowl with the shallots, capers and cornichons, if using.
  3. Add enough mayonnaise to bind, then mix together the olive oil and vinegar and add just enough to give a little sharpness to the salad.
  4. Stir in the finely chopped parsley and serve.

Notes

If you or your kids don’t like the strong flavours of capers or cornichons, their both optional so just leave them out.

Prep: 20mins | Cook: 20mins | Serves: 6

Mushroom, Lemon and Lentil Salad

This healthy, light and easy mushroom and lentil salad recipe by Jennifer Schmidt over at Delicious Everyday is perfect to bring along to your next bbq or summer picnic. Vegan and gluten free, and made from ingredients you are already likely to have in your fridge or pantry it’s sure to satisfy everyone!

mushroom-lemon-lentil-salad
Mushroom and Lentil Salad, Photo: Delicious Everyday

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup French Green Lentils
  • 2 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 4 cups mix of button and swiss brown mushrooms sliced (300g or 10 1/2 oz)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 shallot or small onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp chilli flakes or more to taste
  • 1 1/2 tbs lemon juice
  • 3 tsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup rocket (arugula)

Method

  1. Begin by cooking the lentils. Place the lentils and vegetable stock in a saucepan and bring to a boil before reducing to a simmer. Simmer for 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Drain and set aside to cool.

  2. Place a large ]frying pan over a high heat. When the pan has come to heat (don’t add oil) add 1/3 of the mushrooms. Leave for 2 minutes before then give the pan a shake to flip them over. The mushrooms should be lightly golden. Cook for a further minute before removing from the pan and repeating with the remaining mushrooms.

  3. Reduce the heat to medium low and add 2 tsp of olive oil or vegan butter and add the shallot or onion. Cook until slightly golden on the edges and  return the mushrooms to the pan and add the garlic and chilli flakes and cook for 2 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant, but not browned as it will taste bitter. Set aside to cool.

  4. Toss the lentils, mushroom and garlic together along with the lemon juice and the extra virgin olive oil. Season to taste and add the parsley and rocket just as you’re serving.

Notes

Don’t slice the mushrooms too thinly. You want them to have a bit of substance and also you don’t want them to dry out when they are cooked over a high heat.

Prep: 30mins | Cooks: 40mins | Serves: 2