Basil & Chive Pesto (Vegan)

vegan basil and chive pesto

As much as I love using fresh herbs, I’ve never had any success growing my own, the grow-in-a-pot ones from the supermarket don’t seem to last long and the ones in the plastic packets – once opened – only last a couple of days before going soggy and, although I’ve tried freezing them, they defrost as a soggy mess and get thrown in the bin. Therefore, I usually prefer to save my money and create less waste by not ending up throwing soggy herbs in the compost bin after only using a tablespoon or so of them.

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Smooth and Creamy Tofu Hummus – a Tasty Alternative to Chickpeas

vegan silken tofu hummus

I’m not suggesting for a moment you ditch the more traditional chickpea hummus – especially when I have the recipe for the best hummus in the world ever but, if you fancy a hummus/spread/dip type thing but can’t be bothered to go to the supermarket for a tin of chickpeas but you do have a carton of silken tofu and a jar of tahini in the house, then this is the recipe for you. As an added bonus, unlike the recipe for the best hummus in the world ever, you don’t have to wait for this tofu hummus to cool down.

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Vegan Smoky Garlic Mushroom Pâté

vegan mushroom pate

Move on if you’re allergic to mushrooms or nuts – this vegan pâté is made with copious amounts of both.

My experience of pâté is limited to chicken liver pâté sandwiches as a child in the 70s (so you can imagine what that was like) and, more recently, to the mushroom pâté in the red tubes sold in Holland & Barrett (which, if you’ve never tried, is very nice indeed). I’m doubtful whether either of these are representative of ‘real’ pâté as, whenever I see it being made on Come Dine With Me or its ilk, it’s always served as a hard lump that can be cut with a knife and not the spreadable mush I’m used to.

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Green Lentil and Chilli Hummus

Green lentil hummus with garlic and chilli

Riverford sent me some celery. I don’t hate celery, per se, but I don’t like it cooked in stews or anything like that and I certainly don’t want to make a soup out of it and I don’t really like it raw in salads either. As far as I can see, celery’s only role in life is to be an edible spoon for hummus. Which, as roles in life go, isn’t a bad one – in fact, it’s to be commended, but I didn’t have any chickpeas with which to make the best hummus in the world ever so I was stuck with celery and nothing to eat it with.

So, as I knew I had a tin of green lentils, I pondered on Twitter whether green lentil hummus was a thing.

and received this reply from my Twitter friend, Healthy Hornett

and I reckoned she (actually, I have no idea if it’s a girl or boy Hornett so, if you’re reading this, @healthyhornett, sorry for assuming you’re a she) was right and, after promising to report back, I went off and made some green lentil hummus.

Well, two days later I did, anyway. And, do you know what? Green lentil hummus is most definitely a thing and an excellent alternative to the more traditional chickpea one.

I made this hummus in my Optimum G2.1 blender which whizzed it into smooth and creamy hummusy perfection in a minute but if you haven’t got a high powered blender, you might want to add a bit more olive oil to help it along.

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Green Lentil and Chilli Hummus
 
A gorgeous alternative to the more traditional chickpea hummus
Author:
Recipe type: Vegan
Ingredients
  • 1 390g tin green lentils, drained
  • ½ cup (150g) tahini
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 whole dried chilli
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until everything's combined
  2. Add the olive oil and process until smooth

For other alternatives to chickpea hummus, try this beetroot and cannellini bean dip from Fuss Free Flavours, or Tin and Thyme’s smoky red pepper dip and chive guacamole.

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Recipe: Spinach, Tahini and Cumin Spread

Spinach, tahini and cumin dip

While I was in the supermarket this morning, I pondered over which spread to make for lunch. I’d just bought a far bigger bag of spinach than I needed so I thought I’d put that to use. I’d gone past the dairy aisle and didn’t want to go back to get some yoghurt to add to it but I remembered the jar of tahini I’d bought the other day and concocted this delicious dip when I got home.

This recipe doesn’t make a huge amount, as you know how spinach disappears into nothing, but it’s easy enough to double or triple the quantities. Spinach, tahini and cumin dip

Spinach, tahini, cumin and garlic spread

2 large handfuls spinach
3 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper

Add everything to a food processor and blitz until it’s the texture you require.

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Recipe: Curried Kidney Bean and Chickpea Spread

Curried kidney bean and chickpea pate

I’ve been experimenting again with dips and spreads. I had half a tin of kidney beans and half a tin of chickpeas in the freezer so I blitzed them up with some Greek yoghurt and curry powder and the result was this gorgeous spread that’s perfect to have on oatcakes or in a wrap with some salad.

What a great way to use up any leftover beans!

Curried kidney bean and chickpea spread

Curried kidney bean and chickpea spread 

Half a can of kidney beans
Half a can of chickpeas
2-3 tbsp Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp curry powder (or to taste)
Salt and pepper

  1. Place the kidney beans and chickpeas in a food processor and blitz until they’re mashed up.
  2. Add the Greek yoghurt and carry on blitzing until you get the consistency you require.
  3. Add the curry powder to give as much or as little heat as you like.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
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Recipe: Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Spread

Carrot, sundried tomato and feta spread
Roast red pepper and feta spread
Delicious served on oatcakes

You know I said how much I loved Bodychef’s feta and pepper spread? Well, I loved it so much I decided to make my own. Mine had a thinner texture than Bodychef’s but you can add as much or as little oil as you like, depending on your own personal taste.

Roasted red pepper and feta dip

I said on Facebook I could eat this with a spoon and, after getting the munchies after drinking a bottle of wine, that’s exactly what I did – using celery as a spoon. Ah well, at least it’s healthier than getting the munchies and pigging out on crisps and chocolate.

Because I’d eaten all my spread, I had none left for lunch the next day, so I made another one – this time using a carrot instead of a red pepper.

Carrot, sundried tomato and feta spread
Carrot, sundried tomato and feta spread

Roasted red pepper and feta spread

1 red pepper
100g feta cheese
20g sundried tomatoes
Olive oil
salt and pepper
chilli flakes (optional)

  1. Core and deseed the red pepper and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes at 200C.
  2. Add the red pepper and the rest of the ingredients, except for the olive oil to a food processor and blitz.
  3. Drizzle in the olive oil until you get the consistency you require (I used the oil that was in the jar of sundried tomatoes).

Variations

Use a carrot instead of a red pepper (no need to bake it first). Add jalapenos and/or chilli flakes. Experiment!

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