If there is one lunch i make more than any other its probably this: Carrot and red lentil soup.
It's easy, its filling, you can batch make it for the week or freeze it and above all, it's really tasty.
I've experimented with this over the past year and in all honesty it comes out slightly different each time, mostly because i do the measurements by eye, but i think it also makes a difference as to how sweet your carrots are. Different batches, slight difference, but all round yummy just the same.
My reasoning for the asparagus dippers was simple. Being wheat intolerant means no bread for dipping, which sucked.
Yes there are many wheat free breads now on the market but I don't eat bread a great deal anyway so there's often not any in the house.
But sometimes having a little dipper of some persuasion is satisfying.
Cue the lovely roasted asparagus.
So i've bigged it up enough, time for you to see just how easy this is.
what you will need:
For the soup
1kg of fresh carrots
250grams of dried red split lentils
1 white onion
1 litre of just vegetable stock or hot water, depending on your preference.
A small sprig of chives
Salt & Pepper
A handful of asparagus with the woody ends removed
For the Soup
* Peel and chop your carrots in to rounds, place in a large saucepan
* Peel and chop your onion in to small pieces and place in your saucepan
*Pour in your dried red lentils
*Add in your stock/hot water
*Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer for about half an hour or until your carrots are soft.
Don't season at this point. Adding salt to dried lentils before they are cooked hardens them making for a not so pleasant soupy experience.
*Once cooked, remove from the heat. With a hand blender (I just use this cheap and cheerful one from Tesco and it works great) blend until everything has combined and is smooth.
*Season with rock salt and freshly black pepper and blend again.
*Chop your chives and either stir through or add to garnish.
For the Asparagus Dippers
I usually start this in the last 10 minutes of my soup cooking.
*Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
* Pour a glug of olive oil evenly across a baking tray and season with salt pepper some garlic powder is also nice if you have it) and return to the oven for 5 minutes
* Once your oil is heated up bring your tray out and add your asparagus on to the hot tray. This will allow them to crisp up some what and making excellent dippers.. Season the asparagus and return to the oven for 10 minutes.
Dish up & Serve!
It's that easy! I've broken it in to a few steps, but really it's just chop everything, throw it in a big pan add your stock and leave to cook!
This makes the perfect autumn lunch. It's super heathy and vegan.
Plus all my kids love it, which as any parent knows, getting veggies in to your children is always deserving of an air fist pump!
Do try it, and let me know what you think!
Today I am bringing a staple of mine that gets made at least once a week, to be consumed for the next few days by us all(this even had the teenagers stamp of yummy approval). I usually make a batch and then it will see me through as a lunch staple or an evening side, dependant on what we're having.
The best Damn Guacamole and Hummus ever!
Now the Guacamole has taken me weeks to perfect, with many different attempts, each eaten and the tweaked till I got to this point of guac-perfection.
What you will need:
2x Cloves of garlic
A handful of baby plum tomatoes
1x chilli deseeded
A good bunch of chives
Salt & pepper
This is so, so simple but so effective.
Cut your avocados open, de-seed and scoop out the flesh in to a bowl, mash with a fork to your desired consistency. I like mine to be a bit smooth with a few lumps.
De-seed you chilli and finely chop, add to the avocado
Crush your garlic in a garlic cursher, add to the mix.
Roughly chop the tomatoes and add.
Chop all your chives and add.
Mix it all together.
Add in the juice of 1 lime.
Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Now it's up to you here if you want a smooth guacamole like you would buy in the shop then you can pop the mixture in to a blender and give it a blitz until its to your desired smoothness.
I love mine rustic, so when you dip in a corn-chip you get an explosion of flavours.
Its that easy.
The thing I was finding with Guacamole was the traditional onion inclusion was cutting through the taste more than any other flavour, leaving you with more of an onion flavour that an avocado.
The chives bring the wonderful light hint of onion but aren't over powering.
I highly recommend!
You will need:
2x tins of Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1x lemon, juiced
about 250ml of olive oil (or 10x tablespoons)
4x Garlic cloves crushed
2tsp Ground Cumin
Salt and black pepper
Pop all your ingredients in to a food processor, add about 80mls of water to help get things going and whizz away.
Again, blend until you're happy with the consistency. It's that easy
I keep these in tupperware in the fridge for about 3-5 days (but they're normally eaten within 2!)
I love to serve both these dips with crudités, my favourites being
Sweet Potato Wedges
When you first put it on a plate, it doesn't look like much, but it is so filling, fuelling, healthy and above all, totally delicious.
Try it and see what you think.
Until Next time..
I mentioned recently that i have been undergoing some lifestyle changes and transcending in to a happier healthier me.
A big part of that is what i put in to my body.
Food. I love food. But what i have been eating for the most of my adult life has not done me any favours.
Its not about weight or size, its about how you feel. And my insides were constantly pissed at me for what i was feeding it.
I have lived off Diet coke (or Pepsi Max) and sweeteners (aspartame in particular) for years, riding the constant fake-sugar rush roller-coaster of ups and downs.
If I'm honest I didn't pay it much thought. It was only when I had yet another recurring flare up of IBS that i knew wasn't stress related (which can often be a contributing factor for me) that i had to take a serious, long hard look at what i was potentially poisoning my body with:
Pre-packed foods rammed with preservatives, false sugars and my arch nemesis... gluten.
I've quit wheat many times, but often fallen off the wagon for the odd cake here of crusty slice of bread there. Because I've never formally been diagnosed with intolerances I would always fall back in to eating wheat, or bizarrely 'treat myself' to a cake now and again. Which is bizarre that my mindset was wheat filled cake= treat, as within an hour or so i would have tummy cramps and major bloating.
So after quitting it for good about 2 months ago and making some drastic lifestyle changes, I have honestly never felt better.
It's worth mentioning here that i follow a plant-based diet also through choice. I am a Vegetarian (Pescatarian turned Vegetarian) and it's my choice to not eat meat. Its a very personal subject and I know people have very strong opposing opinions on the matter; whenever I tell people I am a veggie people often like to offer their opinions on the matter, and that's cool. We all have our own thoughts and feelings and i will happily chat with anyone about this. But ultimately it's a choice I made and I've never been happier. Ethically and physically, I feel pretty damn good.
Anyway, back to today's post.
After I realised that when you quit Gluten and you're a vegetarian there's not a whole lot of options out there for you ( especially in restaurants.. why oh why do the veggie options have to be battered, breadcrumbed or pastry?!) I got to looking for recipe books. I wanted meals that i could cook from scratch and that were of course yummy.
Late to the show as per usual, i discovered the Deliciously Ella recipe books. Fab fab fab.
Really great source of healthy plant based meals and snacks.
If you have any other vegan/veggie/gf recipe suggestions, I would looove to hear as I am really on the look out for anything new to cook.
Within the first week I'd cooked up batches of delicious goodies and had the whole family enjoying healthy, scrumptious food.
So today I thought I'd share my slightly tweaked version of the Banana Breakfast Bars
Banana &Cranberry Breakfast Bars Adapted from Deliciouly Ella
2 Ripe Bananas
200g of Rolled Oats
A handful of dried cranberries
100ml Almond Milk
Juice of 1 orange
2 tbls cashew butter or almond butter
1 tbls ground cinnamon
1 tbls honey
1 tsp vanilla powder
coconut oil for greasing
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
- Slice & then mash your bananas with a fork until all mush.
- Place the smooth banana mush, oats, cranberries, orange juice,milk, butter, cinnamon, honey and vanilla in a bowl and stir together until everything is mixed together nicely.
- Grease a brownie tin with coconut oil. I use the coconut oil spray which works great for this.
- Scoop your ingredients in and smooth out to an even layer in your tin.
- Bake for 12-15minutes. I quite like a crunchy outter-layer so i leave mine in for the latter.
- Leave to cool and chop in to bars.
- Enjoy your breakfast bars.
The first time i made these just following the recipe directly (which is just bananas, no cranberries or orange) and they were yummy but verrry bananery...
The second time i decided they needed a little something to break up the bites from being just banana. I added the cranberries and a bit of the orange juice which cut through the strong banana flavour well. Plus each mouthful had a chewy cranberry to counteract the full mushyness of the banana.
Orange zest would also be great to add in if you're feeling it.
I hope you like this new segment I'm hoping to bring to the blog more regularly. I'm constantly in the kitchen so i really would love to share more with you.
And if you have any plant based/Gluten free recipes that you recommend, i need to know!! Seriously i need more recipes and I love working from recommendation, let me know in the comments.