Courgetti Bolognese

Growing up, I loved Bolognese but in our house it was almost exotic, we rarely had it until we were well into our teens and then, each time it was made, it was devoured by all. Sometimes Mam would have the special spaghetti dish ready for us when we got home from school for lunch. Needless to say after that massive feed very little attention was paid in class, we’d practically roll back to school for the afternoon. Although so much has changed since then and I no longer eat meat, I love this favourite dinner of my teens, the vegan version. In this recipe I recreate that dish, without the meat and without the pasta too. This is a lighter way to enjoy a bolognese, full of tomato flavour, you’ll want to lick the bowl, I did. This bolognese recipe is very similar to the one I’ve used for my Lentil Lasagne but it’s not as traditional.

Another super easy recipe for Meatless Monday. You will need a spiralizer for the courgettes but they’re not that pricey and during the summer months you’ll get great use out of it for delicious salads. If not you can also use regular dry pasta.

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What you’ll need: (serves 4)

  • 200g brown or green lentils
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 punnet of sunblush cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tablespoon of very finely chopped rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of tamari or soy sauce
  • 600ml of veg stock
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 3 to 4 zucchinis
  • vegan parmesan from Violife
  • some oil

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Method:

  1. Heat some oil in a large pan and gently cook the onion until it has softened and is translucent. Add the lentils and give a good stir to coat them in the mix. Add the tomatoes, herbs and the water/stock and bring to the boil. When the liquid has reduced by 1/3 lower the heat and leave to simmer for about 30 minutes, until the lentils have cooked. Add a splash of soy sauce or tamari, salt and pepper to taste and remove the bay leaves before using the ragu.
  2. Spiralize some zucchini and either serve straight away or you can heat the zucchini through by tossing it on a hot pan.

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Costing: 

  • 200g brown or green lentils = €0.74
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped = €0.33
  • 1/2 punnet of sunblush cherry tomatoes, halved €1.25
  • 1 tablespoon of very finely chopped rosemary (from the garden, lets add €0.10)
  • 2 bay leaves = €0.10
  • 1 tablespoon of tamari or soy sauce = €0.10
  • 600ml of veg stock = €0.50
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes = €1.89
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 4 zucchinis €3.58
  • vegan parmesan €0.20
  • some oil

Prep Time & Cook Time:  45mins 

Cost per person is €2.19 for 4 people using zucchini pasta but if you use regular pasta each portion will cost you €1.79

Share and enjoy!

If you try this dish at home please take a photo of it and tag @thetinyvegankitchen on Instagram or@thetinyVK on Twitter I’d love to see them xTx

Sweet Thai Green Curry

I can’t believe it’s Meatless Monday again. Where is the time going to! This week I’ve decided to take my sister to Thailand through the food flavours of tonight’s dish and offer her an aromatic green curry to sample. With a flavour combo of sweet and salty, sour and fiery , this fragrant dish is easy to prepare and packs a serious punch.

You can add your favourite vegetables to this dish but it really is taken to a new height with the addition of cherry tomatoes. Just you wait for your taste buds to be aroused. This curry is also a great one to make in advance as it freezes really well. Sometimes, if I’m feeling like a splurge I’ll chip some spuds, roast them in the oven, boil up some rice and cover with this delicious, creamy coconut curry sauce, it’s like a healthy, vegan 3 n’ 1 that tastes better than a takeaway.

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What you’ll need: Serves 4 

  • 1/2 batch of green curry paste
  • 1 aubergine cut into 5cms cubes
  • Sesame oil for roasting
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (or any oil available to you)
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon of palm sugar (Asian market)
  • Punnet of cherry tomatoes (allow about 4 per person)
  • 100g of mangetout cut in half on the diagonal
  • 100g of baby corn cut in half on the diagonal
  • 100g of chestnut mushrooms cut in half
  • 1x green and 1x red chillies, de-seeded and sliced on the diagonal for garnish (optional)
  • Soy sauce or Tamari to taste
  • Coriander (cilantro) for serving

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Method:

  1. Preheat the over to 180’C. Place the aubergine cubes on a baking tray and drizzle with some sesame oil. Bake until browned and softened, approx 20mins.
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a wok or a large pan and add the chestnut mushroom. Remove when almost cooked and set aside.
  3. Add the curry paste to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, allowing all of the natural oils to be released. (you’ll want all of your neighbours to share this smell).
  4. Add in the palm sugar and a couple of tablespoons of the coconut milk. Cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the rest of the coconut milk and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes before putting the mixture through a strainer.
  5. At this point the aubergine should be cooked so add it to the wok along with the other ingredients.
  6. Bring the curry back to the boil and when the skin on the tomatoes starts to crack it’s ready. Tip: you want the skin to crack but you don’t want to overcook and turn the tomatoes to pulp.
  7. Garnish with the chillies and coriander.

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Share and enjoy!

If you try this dish at home please take a photo of it and tag @thetinyvegankitchen on Instagram or @thetinyVK on Twitter I’d love to see them xTx

Chinese Black Bean Sauce

It’s always a huge complement when people enjoy your food but for me the biggest complement of all is that my sister is not only enjoying my food, she’s coming to mine every week for Meatless Monday. You see it’s not that she can’t live without meat in her diet, not at all, in fact she’s quite happy to cut it out a little. The thing that makes our weekly dinner dates such a thrill for me is that my sister is such a particular eater and by particular I mean she’s never been one for trying new things. It’s still baby steps so I’m trying to recreate a lot of the foods that I know she loves to eat before I try more “daring” dishes.

My sister is a massive fan of Chinese food and Black Bean sauce dishes were always a favourite of mine. On my biannual fashion trips to Xiamen in China, I took immense pleasure from eating plain rice with black bean sauce, so garlicy and gingery. Then, last year on a trip to Vietnam I was lucky enough to find a street food place serving rice noodles with black bean sauce. It was so delicious and so simple. What a find! So, this recipe is inspired by the cities of Xiamen in China and Hanoi in Vietnam and it’s inspired by my sister who now gets excited about vegan food.

2What you’ll need: For the sauce (serves 4-6)

  • 100g of fermented black beans (you can get these from the Asian market)
  • A whole bulb of garlic, cloves peeled and chopped
  • 100ml of vegetable oil
  • 50ml of Shaoxing rice wine
  • A knob of ginger approx 4cms, peeled and sliced
  • 2 x green chillies, deseeded
  • 1tablespoon of caster sugar
  • 1 bunch of spring onions

Method:

  1. Wash the beans thoroughly and remove any of the dried ginger. The beans are very salty so they’ll need a good rinse.
  2. Heat a wok over a high head and add about one quarter of the oil to the pan. Add the beans, garlic and ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove 2 tablespoons of the mix and set aside.
  3. Add the Spring onions to the wok and continue to cook until the mixture has softened.9
  4. Add the Shaoxing rice wine and the sugar and mix well. Reduce the heat and allow to cook on a low heat until the liquid has reduced by three quarters.
  5. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow to cool.
  6. Transfer the cooled ingredients to a blender and mix on a high speed whilst adding the remaining oil.
  7. Remove from the blender and stir in the 2 tablespoons of whole black beans. Use straight away or freeze.3

What you’ll need: for the noodle dish (serves 2)

  • 1/2 portion of the Black Bean Sauce recipe from above
  • 2 measures of rice noodles ( I use a pasta measure)
  • 1/4 bunch of spring onions, white and green parts cut diagonally into 4cms strips1 small white onion, cut into large chunks
  • 2 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil
  • 100g of chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 large carrot peeled and cut into 4 x 1 cms chips
  • Some red and green chillies for extra kick and garnish
  • A splash of soy sauce or tamari to your taste

Method:

  1. Boil the rice noodles in some water.
  2. Remove from the pan and rinse under cold water, set aside.
  3. Heat some toasted sesame oil in a wok.
  4. Add the mushrooms and white onion and sauté until the mushrooms are almost cooked.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to cook while tossing the veg regularly.
  6. Add a splash of soy sauce or tamari to your taste6
  7. When the veg is cooked add the noodles to heat. When they become less sticky add the black bean sauce. Add a splash of soy or tamari to help loosen the noodles.
  8. Use a pair of cooking tongs to gently mix the noodles with the sauce.
  9. Remove from the wok and serve up.

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Share and enjoy!

If you try this dish at home please take a photo of it and tag @thetinyvegankitchen on Instagram or @thetinyVK on Twitter I’d love to see them xTx

Chinese Garlic Broccoli

One of the things I miss most about working full time as a fashion designer is the travel. I am blessed to have worked in an industry that took me to many places around the world and offered me the opportunity to sample some weird and wonderful things to eat. Do I miss the jet lag, hell no! But I do miss the food. One of my favourite dishes from China that I love to cook at home is Chinese Garlic Broccoli. I couldn’t leave the city of Wuxi without having at least three helpings of this simple and delicious dish. And, as a bonus it’s got an impressive nutritional profile being high in fibre, potassium, Vitamin C, B6 and A!

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What you’ll need: Serves 2 (or just one if it’s for me)

  • 200g long stemmed broccoli
  • two cloves of garlic sliced finely
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil (I like to use the pure sesame oil from the Asian market for this dish but you can use toasted sesame oil too)
  • a splash of soy sauce (or tamari for a gluten free version)
  • some toasted sesame seeds for serving

Method:

Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan and set aside to cool. Place a wok over a gentle heat and cook the garlic briefly in the sesame oil. You just want to soften the garlic, you don’t want it to go brown. Turn the heat up a little and add the broccoli that’s still wet from washing. Cook on a high heat tossing the broccoli constantly, the wok should be making a sizzling sound. Add a splash of water to help steam the broccoli. When the liquid is reducing and the broccoli is a bright green colour lower the heat and add a splash of soy sauce or tamari. Give the broccoli a good toss. Remove from the wok and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds.

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Share and enjoy!

If you try this dish at home please take a photo of it and tag @thetinyvegankitchen on Instagram or @thetinyVK on Twitter I’d love to see them xTx