Category Archives: Appetizers

Vegan meatballs, amazing texture.

These vegan meatballs are the perfect base for all your favorite dishes. This recipe is without sauce or gravy  because they are meant to be as a base for other recipes, like Spaghetti and meatballs,  Swedish meatballs,  meatball Curry with rice or a great meatball sandwich for instance.

A vegan meatball that has the texture of actual meat. Holds together, not mushy like most, but firm and with bite. I made these one night with mashed potatoes in Swedish meatballs style and the next night I poured a sticky honey chili maple glaze over them and served them over rice.  They freeze well too, you could easily make a double batch and always have a supply for a quick dinner fix.
So whether you’ re a vegetarian, a vegan or simply trying to eat more veggies,  these are a  great option and you really need to try them.

Makes around 24 meatballs.
Serves 4-6. Double if needed.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup red lentils
1/2 cup tvp* see not (I use pea tvp)
1/4 cup  chopped dehydrated vegetables (mix for soup)**see note
1/2 onion chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 vegetable stock cube, crumbled fine
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup quick oats
2 tbsp pine nuts (optional but delicious)
A dash of liquid smoke
A dash of franks hot sauce
1/2 tsp vegan Worchestershire sauce
Pepper
2 tbsps ground flaxseed plus 3 tablespoons water, or 2 eggs

INSTRUCTIONS:

Cook lentils and tvp in a bit of salted water for around 5 minutes, or until almost soft, but still semi firm. Drain in a colander and return to the pan, add the dehydrated veggies, they will absorb the excess water.  Set aside and let cool.
Cook onion and garlic in oil for 5 minutes until soft. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl mix, lentil-tvp-veg mixture with onion and garlic.
Add all the remaining ingredients and let sit for 5 minutes,  now grab a ball of the mixture with your hand and gently squeeze to see if it holds.  Add a splash of water if it seems too dry or add a bit more flour if it seems too wet.
Shape into balls, the size of a ping pong ball approximately.
Place in refrigerator for two hours before baking to firm up.
Pre heat oven to 220C/450F.
Place balls on a silicone baking sheet and spray with oil (or drizzle over).
Bake 15 minutes turning halfway.
Use straight away with your favorite sauce or let cool and store in ziplock bag in the refrigerator or freezer for later use.

Enjoy!

  • tvp stands for texturized vegetable protein
    ** Amazon sells a Deluxe Vegetables Soup Blend.

5 minute Romesco Sauce, cheats version

Romesco Sauce is a Spanish pepper and tomato based sauce from the region of Cataluña, that dates back to the 15 th century, thanks to Christopher Columbus who brought back the Romesco peppers from his travels in the America’s which are the base for this sauce.
You can find Romesco sauce everywhere in Spain, it’s very popular and can be eaten with everything from just bread to grilled fish, grilled meat or vegetables.

The original version is with dried peppers, almonds, some times hazelnuts as well, bread, garlic etc…
I have come up with a cheats version that can be done in 5 minutes and it is addictively delicious.

INGREDIENTS:

6 tbsp. Olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 jar roasted red bell peppers (15 oz. jar / 500 ml), drained
1/4 cup almond butter (the roasted kind)
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
1/3 cup parsley, roughly a handful
1-2 tsp. red wine vinegar
3/4 tsp. salt
fresh black pepper
1 tsp. smoked paprika (preferably the Spanish kind)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place the sun dried tomatoes in a bowl and cover with very hot water. Let sit for five minutes then drain.
On medium heat, fry onion and garlic in two tablespoons of oil, until light golden and just soft. Let cool a bit.

In a food processor, add the pepper, the onions and garlic, almond butter, drained sun dried tomatoes, parsley, vinegar, salt, pepper, paprika and the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil.
Turn on the food processor and blend until smooth. That’s it!

I use only one teaspoon of vinegar but you can add more depending on how acidic you like it.

The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for about five days in a glass container or jar, but I can assure you, you will be putting it on everything.

Enjoy!

Peach Halloumi Summer Salad with Sweet Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

Ripe Sweet summer Peaches and crispy Halloumi, a salty, sweet and tangy element in every single bite. The sweet lemon Basil Vinaigrette just brings the whole salad to WOW level. Make this at your next Barbeque, so you can grill the Halloumi on there too or make it in a griddle pan in the convenience of your kitchen. 

Either way this salad is always good, as a side, lunch or as a dinner on it’s own. And make double the dressing, because it’s delicious on everything, grilled chicken, fish, sandwiches…..

As always, the salad ingredients are all optional and inter-changeable. Use what you have on hand, and leave out what you don’t like


Prep time : 10 minutes
Cooking time : 2 minutes
Serves : 4 as a side, 2 as a light meal

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large bags of prepared salad mix, about 10-14 oz. / 300-400 gr.
  • 1 block Halloumi, drained and patted dry
  • 1 or two ripe peaches, pealed and cut into wedges
  • 1 or two Avocados
  • 1 cucumber, peeled
  • 1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3 Spring onions
  • 1/4 cup whole Basil leafs
  • micro greens


SWEET LEMON BASIL VINAIGRETTE:

  • a handful Basil
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 2 tbsp. Honey
  • 1 shallot finely minced
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste



INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Get out a large serving platter, plate or salad dish and place all the lettuce leaves in the bowl.
  2. Place all the ingredients for the dressing in blender and blend for a minute to combine everything well.  Set aside until ready to use.
  3. Heat a small frying pan and toast the pine nuts, keep an eye on them since they burn quickly.
  4. Slice the cucumber in half lengthwise and again each half in half. Then cut into thick slices, so you end up with thick quarters. Arrange on top of the lettuce leafs.
  5. Cut the avocado in half and scoop out pieces using a small spoon and place on the salad.
  6. Arrange the red cabbage over the greens.
  7. Arrange the peaches over the greens.
  8. Slice the spring onions and sprinkle over the salad.
  9. Arrange micro greens on top of salad, if using. 
  10. Heat a griddle pan until hot. Slice the Halloumi into 1/4″ slices (1/2 cm) and place on the dry griddle pan and grill each side for one minute. Alternatively, grill on the barbeque.
  11. Place on top of the salad as soon as them come out of the pan.
  12. Sprinkle the toasted pine nuts over the salad and serve straight away with plenty of the sweet lemon basil vinaigrette. 


Enjoy!!

Elotes and Pineapple Salad , Ensalada de Elotes con Piña

This is our favorite Summer Salad, Elotes Salad or Mexican Street corn Salad with pineapple. It’s basically Mexican Street Corn that you can eat with a spoon rather than digging into a whole corn on the cob covered with Cotija, paprika etc…which can be a challenge, except that I have added some grilled pineapple.
This is a great salad to serve at your next Barbeque, or as we like to do, add it to Tacos and even pile it high on Burgers. So SO good!
It’s very simple, you start by grilling corn and fresh pineapple and once they are cooled you cut off the kernels carefully with a sharp knife, then toss together with the pineapple chunks in a simple dressing.

Prep time : 15 min
Cooking time : 10 min
Serves : 6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 ears of Corn
  • 1/3- 1/2 of a fresh pineapple, peeled and sliced thick-ish (see note*)
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1 small red chili pepper, deseeded and chopped fine
  • ½ cup crumbled Cotija cheese (see note**)
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro, more for on top

Dressing:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup crème fraiche
  • Juice of 1 lime, or more according to taste
  • A few dashes of Tabasco ( or Franks hot sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, more for on top
  • Salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat (an outdoor) grill or grill pan to medium heat. Clean your corn if necessary and rub all over with a little oil. Place on the grill and cook for about 10 minutes, turning every few minutes. Do the same with the Pineapple slices. Remove them once cooked from the grill and let them cool.
Meanwhile mix mayonnaise, crème fraiche, lime juice, tabasco and paprika together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Cut the kernels off the cob, and cut the pineapple slices into bite-size pieces
Get out a pretty bowl and combine everything… the corn, pineapple, onion, scallions, chili peppers, Cotija cheese, cilantro, and dressing. Reserve some cilantro and Cotija to sprinkle on top.

Enjoy!

* Any left-over Pineapple is great grilled and then served with ice-cream as a dessert.
** If you can’t find Cotija, I think that Feta resembles it most, it has a similar texture and taste.

If you make this Elotes salad, be sure to leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you and if you love it, pin it. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! @thecookingspoonblog or hashtag it #thecookingspoonblog