Category Archives: Vegetarian & Vegan

Parpadelle Puttanesca with Lemon Pangrattato and fried Halloumi

Parpadelle Puttanesca with Lemon Pangrattato and fried Halloumi

This is one of our favourite Summer dishes. It’s easy, quick to make and FULL of flavour. Thick noodles covered in Puttanesca sauce,topped with fried Halloumi and sprinkled with a generous amount of lemony Pangrattato. Most of the ingredients are pantry staples.

Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time total: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

Pangrattato

  • 1/4 cup  extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup  fresh breadcrumbs made from stale bread if you have it, otherwise fresh is fine
  • 2 tbsp. thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp. chopped parsley
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

Pasta Puttanesca

  • 16 oz. 400g Parpadelle or Fettucine
  • 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • (28-oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 c. green olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1/4 c. capers
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS:

To make the pangrattato;
Heat  1/4 cup  oil in a pan to medium heat and cook the breadcrumbs until crisp and golden, about 4 minutes . Remove from pan and stir through the lemon zest, thyme and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Start boiling water in a large pot (don’t forget to add a generous amount of salt once boiling) while you make the Puttanesca sauce. Also slice Halloumi and drain on kitchen paper.
Heat a large frying pan and add the 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil, the 3 cloves of smashed garlic, the 4 anchovy fillets, stir for a minute or two until fragrant. Then add the remaining ingredients and simmer for about 5 – 10 minutes until tomatoes are soft.
Heat a non stick frying pan to medium high heat and fry the Halloumi, cooking it on both sides until very golden brown.
Cook the pasta according to package directions.
Drain the pasta, reserving a little of the water, and return the pasta to the pan. Add the Puttanesca tomato sauce, parsley and enough reserved water to loosen and toss to combine.
Place Pasta in a large serving dish, top with Halloumi and sprinkle with  the Pangrattato. Serve straight away.
Enjoy!
Need more pasta inspiration?

Mint Chimichurri

Mint Chimichurri. This is the best sauce to accompany any kind of meat, chicken or even fish. It’s light and fragrant and made in a jiffy.

Traditional Chimichurri sauce has parsley, cilantro, and oregano, I added the mint because I wanted extra freshness and it goes so perfect with Lamb.

 Prep time: 5 minutes

 Serves : 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup flat-leaf parsley including trimmed stems
  • 3/4 cup mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup oregano leaves
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • a squeeze of lemon juice (to taste)
  • a few drops of hot sauce like frank’s or tabasco

INSTRUCTIONS:

Chop the herbs and add to the oil in a bowl. Add the grated garlic clove, red wine vinegar and lemon juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add the hot sauce and more lemon juice if necessary. Serve with any kind of meat or fish.

You can also add all the ingredients to a food processor and blend until chopped fine, but I prefer the chunky texture.

Enjoy!

Myra XO

Slow Cooker Red Cabbage

My Grandma’s Slow Cooker Red Cabbage

Slow Cooker Red Cabbage

My Grandmother was a lively, determined and courageous woman with great style. She kept a beautiful house, and was also a great cook. Not necessarily exquisite cuisine, but more of an everyday cook. Also super fast and very inventive.

She didn’t own a crock pot in those days, but I do remember her slow cooking on a Paraffin Stove.
Slow cooked Red Cabbage with apples and spices, just the smell reminds me of her and my mother who has cooked the same recipe for over half a century. To me this is home cooking.
I don’t make it very often but when the temperature drops it’s just what you need, home made cozy comfort food.


Serves : 6-8
INGREDIENTS:

Slow Cooker Red Cabbage

Slow Cooker Red Cabbage

2 tbsp. butter
1 medium red cabbage, shredded on a mandoline or cut thinly with  knife
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped fine
2 medium apples, peeled and diced small
1/4 tsp. ground dry ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground all spice
2 bay leaves
1/4 Cup  sugar
1/4 Cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 Cups water
1/4 Cup red wine (I use alcohol free wine so that works fine too) or more water

Slow Cooker Red Cabbage

METHOD:
This couldn’t be easier.
Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker, toss very well.
Set the cooker to high and put on the lid. Leave to cook for 5 to 6 hours, depending how hot your slow cooker is. The water amount is just right for my slow cooker, but half way through cooking check to see how you are doing on the liquid, it shouldn’t get dry. Add a little water if necessary.
This is one of the few vegetable dishes that you want well cooked.

Enjoy!

Myra XO

Smokey Black Bean Sweet Potato Tacos

Smokey Black Bean and Sweet potato Tacos with Onion Garlic Lime Crema.

Smokey Black Bean Sweet Potato Tacos

To make the Monday less of a drag I’ve decided to make it Taco Monday!
I think we can all agree that Tacos can turn any dreary day into a fun day in a split second.
It will most certainly ease us into the week gently and give us something great to look forward to when we come home from work. You could actually do all the prep work the day before on Sunday and make dinner time a breeze. Soaking the beans is what takes the longest, because the actual recipe is pretty simple, we want simple on Mondays, am I right? If it’s to much hassle for you to soak the beans and cook, just use two cans instead.
Either way, this is some seriously good food to start off the very first day of the week.
And who am I kidding really, we love Taco’s around here and we’ll have them more than once a week without a problem, different flavours and textures of course, and now that I think about it, it’s probably (one of ) our favourite foods.
So these are different, I have added Sweet Potato. and I can only tell you that I kept on asking myself why I hadn’t thought of this before. The sweet potato is just sooooo good with the smokey beans, I mean KA-POOOW!!


Prep time: 15 min.
Cooking time: 15 min. plus cooking beans
Serves : 4


INGREDIENTS:

SMOKEY BLACK SWEET POTATO TACOS
• 1 lb. dried black beans or adzuki beans
• 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
• 2-3 cloves garlic minced or grated
• 2 onions
• 2 tbsp. Taco seasoning
• 2 tsp. liquid smoke
• 2 tsp. cocoa
• 1 tsp. hot sauce (optional for heat lovers)
• 1 12 oz. can passata
• 1/3 cup fresh cilantro chopped
• 3 green onions chopped
• Himalayan salt and pepper to taste

Smokey Black Bean Sweet Potato Tacos
ONION GARLIC LIME CREMA
• 1/2 cup (vegan) cream cheese
• 1/2 cup (vegan) sour cream
• 2 tsp garlic powder*
• 1 tbsp. onion powder*
• 1 lime juiced
• salt and pepper taste
• maybe 1-2 tablespoons of milk or water
To serve:
• 12 corn tacos warmed
• Shredded Iceberg lettuce,
• avocado slices
• Grated cheese
• salsa of choice or check out this one.
• more chopped cilantro
* I’m using dried onion and garlic powder on purpose, do not sub for fresh garlic because it will not get the right consistency and flavour. The dried powder will  thicken the crema in a way that cannot be achieved with the fresh counterparts.

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Prepare the beans. Rinse and check beans for any dirt etc. Soak your beans over night.discard the soaking liquid after soaking.
2. Add beans to a large pot with about 5 cups of water. Bring the beans to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the beans are soft, but not quite done. About 45 to 60 minutes. Keep checking, not all beans cook the same. Drain.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onion and sweet potatoes and stir. Fry for a couple of minutes and add the garlic, stir.
4. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, until sweet potatoes are just beginning to softened.
5. While the sweet potatoes are cooking make the crema.
6. Place all the ingredients for the Onion Garlic Lime Crema in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Add a little water or milk to thin if you like. It will get thicker and thicker as you let it stand.
7. Now add the remaining ingredients to the sweet potatoes except the cilantro and spring onions.
8. Cover and cook another 10 minutes. Add a little water if it becomes to dry.
9. Just before serving add the cilantro and spring onions
10. To assemble, place generous spoonfuls of the sweet potato + bean mixture on top of a bed of Iceberg lettuce in a warm taco. Top with the onion garlic lime crema and avocado, and some cheese or any other topping of choice.

Enjoy!
Myra Xo

Smokey Black Bean Sweet Potato Tacos

tempeh with lime coconut

Coconut Lime Tempéh with Peanut Sauce and Banana Chips

tempeh with lime coconut

This delicious Tempeh dish will blow you away with it’s sweetness from the Coconut and the Lime for that acidic touch. Perfectly balanced. A smooth Peanut sauce that all comes together in minutes. Tempeh is definitely one of my favourite vegan proteins and we eat it all the time. It’s very versatile, super healthy, and fat free.
It is best to boil it first to remove any bitterness and then proceed with the recipe. You’ll end up with a delicious tempeh full of flavour and with a great bite.


Prep time : 10 minutes
Cooking time : 15 minutes
Makes : 4 servings


INGREDIENTS:

• 1 block of tempeh, (16 oz. / 450 gr)
• 1 tbsp. coconut oil
• 1 shallot
• 2 garlic
• 1 tbsp. minced ginger
• 1 tbsp. green curry paste
• 1 tsp. sambal oelek
• 1 can coconut milk, preferably full fat
• About 1 cup water
• ½ – 1 tsp salt or fish sauce
• 1 tbsp coconut sugar, or gula java
• 2 tbsp lime juice
• 2 tbsp peanut butter
• A handful of toasted salted peanuts for serving
• A handful Banana chips for serving
• More lime wedges for serving

tempeh with lime coconut
INSTRUCTIONS:

Start by cutting the tempeh in half and boiling it on medium heat for 5 minutes.
After this time, remove and set aside to cool.
When cool enough to handle, cut into large-ish chunks, about 1”/ 2.5 cm pieces.
In a large pan heat the coconut oil and add the tempeh. Frying on all sides for about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate and reserve.
Add the finely chopped shallot, garlic and ginger to the pan and cook gently until fragrant.
Add the curry paste and sambal and cook for one more minute. Carefully add the coconut milk, fish sauce or salt, coconut sugar, peanut butter and lime juice. Bring to a simmer.
Add the tempeh and cook for about 15 minutes.
Serve with on a bed of rice, with the toasted peanuts and coconut chips and more lime wedges.

Enjoy!
Myra XO

tempeh with lime coconut

red pepper pasta

Roasted Red Pepper and Sun Dried Tomato Fettuccine

  • red pepper pasta

A quick Pasta dish, made in minutes. So simple and so good, I mean really, really good. The creaminess from the cashew nuts is so much better than any dairy cream I can think of and it’s also highly nutritious and actually good for you. So what’s not to love, it’s delicious, it’s quick, it’s nutritious, it’s pasta! And honestly, picky eaters are not even going to know they’re eating roasted peppers, win win if you ask me.

Ingredients;

  • 1 lb. Fettuccine, preferably fresh
  • ½ Cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 Cup cashew nuts
  • 4 whole roasted peppers from a jar
  • ½ Cup dry white wine
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ Cup Parmesan cheese
  • More Parmesan cheese to serve (leave out for vegans)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Handful of Basil
  • Handful of toasted pine nuts to serve
  • About 1 – 1 ½ cups of water to thin the sauce.

red pepper pasta

Instructions;

Soak the sun dried tomatoes in a cup of water for a couple of hours.
And also soak the cashew nuts in a cup of water for a couple of hours.
You can do this the night before or early in the morning.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile place in a blender; drained sun dried tomatoes, drained cashew nuts, the roasted peppers, the Parmesan cheese, the garlic, white wine, about ½ cup of water to begin with and salt and pepper to taste.
Blend until creamy. Adding just enough water to get it creamy.
When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain and reserve a cup of the boiling water.
Return the pasta to the pan straight away and pour over the roasted red pepper sauce, adding enough of the water from the cooking to make it saucy.
Serve immediately with more Parmesan Cheese, toasted pine nuts and Basil.

Enjoy!

Myra Xo

red pepper pasta

Chocolate Granola, only 6 Ingredients

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This fantastic Granola is chocolatey and super crunchy. It has very little fat and very little sweetener. All natural, all healthy, ’cause that’s what we’re doing this month. Are you with me?

…and ONLY 6 INGREDIENTS.

Chocolate Granola2

INGREDIENTS;

  • 4 Cups whole rolled oats
  • 1 Cup large Coconut flakes
  • 1/2 Cup whole almonds
  • 1/3 Cup honey
  • 1/4 Cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 Cup cacao powder

Chocolate Granola24

METHOD:

Pre heat the oven to 160 C / 320 F

In a large bowl mix all the ingredients.
Layer a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the granola mix out evenly over the baking sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Toss the granola around at least 4 times during cooking time making sure it toasts evenly all over.
After 30 minutes. Take out the tray and leave to cool completely before storing away in a large Mason jar or similar.
Will keep for about three to four weeks.

Enjoy!

Myra XO

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Detox tips for January plus Smoothie freezer packs.

Let’s get down to business.

If you are anything like me, you couldn’t wait to get back on track and start with nutritious healthy food now that we’ve started the new year.
I feel like I am in desperate need to replenish. How about you?

Although I had a great time during the whole month of December, enough is enough.
The first thing I do, is to clean out the fridge and check very well what you have, write it down if necessary. Plan meals to use up leftovers if you have any, and as far as I’m concerned throw out the fattening stuff. Get rid of chips and salty stuff too. We need to get rid of all that water retention, you may not notice it per se, but you’ve got excess water weight for sure, unless you only ate carrots and cucumbers in December.
Cleaning your fridge helps you to get the right mindset, it gets you in the mood to fill the fridge with vegetables and beautiful crunchy nutritious foods.

Clean the fridge as you normally would and then rinse with warm water and soda to get rid of any smells.
Then what I do is, I get lots of vegetables, wash them, prepare them and put them in containers in the fridge at eye level. So whenever I’m hungry I can pick a healthy snack, Other things I may have are a bowl of hard boiled eggs, fat free yoghurt and low carb fruits. Some nuts are ok too, unless you want to loose a lot of weight then you really need to watch your portions, no more than 1 tablespoon a day.

TIP No. 1:
First thing in the morning drink a glass of warm water with the juice of half a lemon.  It purifies and detoxes the body from toxins and also kick starts your metabolism. And I mean…..it does wonders.Wait for twenty minutes before consuming anything else.
Meanwhile make your detox water for the day.

TIP No. 2:
Make Detox water
Boil 2 liters of water ( about 0.5 gallon / 8 1/3 Cups) and let it sit for two minutes or so.
Pour in a large container or teapot over 2 tablespoons of Dandelion thee, the juice of half a lemon, a few slices of ginger and one bag of green tea. Leave to infuse and drink all of it during the day. If you must,  sweeten with little bit of Stevia.

Now let’s make some smoothie packs;

When you have smoothie packs ready in the freezer you will be less tempted to grab something else, and you might even feel a little guilty if you do because you really don’t have any excuses not to have a smoothie (wink).

The first thing you need to do, a day in advance, is to freeze coconut milk in an ice cube tray. It’s the best thing ever, great for smoothies and also for recipes that require just a bit of coconut milk.

Then we are going to freeze two or three more trays with a mixture of yoghurt, flax and almond butter, like this;

32 oz. of high protein yoghurt (more protein will keep you full the longest, I like Skyr)

3 tablespoons flax seeds

6 tablespoons almond butter.

Mix this in a bowl and divide over the ice cube trays. Freeze. When ready divide over six zip lock bags. This is the base. Now add the remaining ingredients and store the bags in the freezer. I have given you a few examples of what to put in the zip lock bags, but you can add whatever you like.

       

Blueberry Acaï Spinach

1 cup spinach

1 cup blueberries

2 tsp. Acaï  powder or a frozen Acaï  pack

1/2 banana, sliced

Pineapple Goji

1 cup pineapple cut into chunks

1 tbsp. dried goji berries (I love these)

1 whole banana, sliced

5 frozen coconut milk cubes

Mango Passion Baobab

1 cup Mango chunks

pulp from 1 passion fruit

1 banana

1 tsp. Baobab powder (optional)

1 tangerine in segments

Green Detox

1 cup kale

1 apple or pear, peeled and core removed

1 kiwi

1 lemon segment

1/2 banana

Strawberry Fields

1 1/2 cups strawberries

1 orange, peeled and in segments

1/2 banana

Raspberry Delight

1 Cup raspberries

1/2 Cup strawberries

5 frozen coconut milk cubes

1/2 banana

Chocolate Moca Smoothie

1 banana

1/2 cup blueberries

1 tablespoon semi sweet chocolate chips

1/4 avocado

1 tsp. instant expresso powder

(no yogurt cubes in this one, replace with milk of choice)

When ready to use:

Place freezer bag ingredients in a blender and add 1/2 cup almond milk or soy. Blend until smooth. Add a little water if you like it a bit thinner. Enjoy and feel the goodness!

If you try this recipe let me know! Leave a comment below and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #thecookingspoonblog on instagram! You’ll make my day.

Stuffed Peppers and Aubergines

vegetarian-stuffed-peppers21

This is a great vegetarian main dish!

During the holiday season you want to be able to serve a great main dish to your vegetarian guests that’s not just everyone else’s side dishes.

Well here to the rescue with this fantastic vegetarian main course. You can prepare it a day ahead and cook it in the oven on the day itself. Leaving you plenty of time to pour those drinks and catch up with your friends and family.

And we both know that it doesn’t have to be Christmas to serve these delicious stuffed vegetables, how about meatless Monday?

So, give this a try and let me know if you miss the beef? I bet you won’t.

vegetarian-stuffed-peppers11

           

Serves 4 as a main dish or 8 as a side

Ingredients.

  • 2 Aubergines
  • 2 red peppers
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic, peeled and grated
  • 1 pack of Quorn mince or vegetarian mince, 340 grs. / 12 oz.
  • 2 cups cooked spelt or brown rice
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. agave or honey
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • a handful parsley, chopped
  • 2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
  • 1 cup grated cheese like cheddar or gouda or vegan substitute
  • salt and pepper

Bechamel sauce;

  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk of choice
  • salt and pepper
  • ground nutmeg, just a dash

vegetarian-stuffed-peppers9

vegetarian-stuffed-peppers10

Method;

Pre heat oven to 200° / 390°

Wash all the vegetables, dry them and cut them in half. Cut the core and seeds out of the peppers leaving the stalk on. I actually try to cut the stalk in half too so everyone gets a bit of green.

Remove the flesh from the aubergine leaving about a quarter inch of the sides.

Cut up the flesh.

Put a large frying pan on the heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil. Cook the onion and garlic until beginning to colour. Add the aubergine and celery and add the other tablespoon of oil. Season with the Cajun seasoning and cook for about 15 minutes until the aubergine is soft.

Add the quorn and spelt and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and sweetener. Cook for an other minute.

Add the tablespoon of flour and cook for a minute or two. Add a cup of stock and stir around, it should be getting a little  thick, the idea is to bind the filling a little bit so it holds better in the vegetables. Fill the peppers and aubergine halves and place them in a baking tray that has been covered with parchment paper.

To make the bechamel sauce;

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a low heat.

Add the flour and whisk into the oil until smooth.
Cook  for 2 minutes, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and changes to a lighter colour.
Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly to stop lumps forming.
Cook for at least five minutes so the flour is  fully cooked.
Season with salt and pepper and nutmeg.
Pour the sauce over the filled vegetables. and cover with aluminum foil, place on a rack in the middle of the oven.  After 30 minutes remove the foil and sprinkle generously with the grated cheddar. Return to the oven for additional 20-30 minutes.
vegetarian-stuffed-peppers5vegetarian-stuffed-peppers158
 If you try this recipe let me know! Leave a comment below and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #thecookingspoon on instagram! You’ll make my day.

Passion Kale Salad with Grapes

kale-grape-salad14

Let me introduce you to a new couple,  Passion fruit and Kale. They say opposites attract, right?

Kale being strong, textured, dark and rough, and Passion fruit being delicate, perfumed, sweet and juicy.

These two go together so well. I wanted to find something completely different from the most obvious choices to accompany the kale, giving it sweetness and something  very different.

The addition of Grapes I love because to me they are like little explosions of sweet juice.

The nuts have had a turn in the pan with a bit of honey and salt to give them crunch and flavour. So to make a long story short, I think you’re really gonna like this one and it’s so pretty too.

The essential trick is to massage the Kale long enough for the right texture, it’s also easier to digest this way and it becomes a little softer.

kale-grape-salad8

     

Serves 4 as a side

Ingredients;

1  12 oz./350 gr. bag of (organic) washed and chopped Kale

juice of half a lemon

1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 tsp Himalayan Salt

1 tbsp. Raw Honey

freshly Black Pepper

1/2 C. red grapes cut in half

1 passion fruit. (wrinkled fruit means sweeter)

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1/3 C. Walnuts roughly chopped

1 tbsp. Honey

a sprinkling of Himalayan Salt

Method;

Get out a tray and cover with parchment paper.

Put a frying pan on to medium heat. Toast the walnuts for  about three minutes until golden, add the salt and honey. Cook for an other minute or so until syrupy and sticky. Take off the heat and pour the nuts onto the tray with parchment paper. Let cool.

Put the Kale in a bowl. Add salt, lemon juice and olive oil. With very clean hands, start massaging and squeezing the kale, for about ten minutes. Until it turns darker and softer.

Spoon out half of the Passion fruit and add the tablespoon honey, incorporate in the kale salad and mix.

Place the Kale on a pretty serving dish or plate. Decorate with the grapes and nuts. Spoon the other half of the passion fruit pulp out on top of the kale salad.

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Not quite what you’re looking for? How about Harvest Pumpkin Salad, baked Halloumi & Chantherelles with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette.