Pasta with roast vegetables and tomato sauce

I’ve been eating a lot of food out of packets recently, so tonight I decided to have something healthy. There’s a farm shop local to me that sells seasonal vegetables, so I scooted down there to see what they had and made a super-healthy dish that probably contained at least 8 of my 5-a-day.


Pasta with roast vegetables and tomato sauce (serves 6)

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 leek, sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped into chunks
1 aubergine, chopped into chunks
1 courgette, thickly sliced
200g mushrooms, sliced
100g spinach
2 cans chopped tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp mixed herbs
salt and ground black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
Place the red pepper, aubergine and courgette into a roasting tray and drizzle with some oil. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes.
Fry the onion and garlic in the vegetable oil for a few minutes until soft.
Add the mushrooms and leeks to the onion and fry for about 5 minutes.
Add the roasted red pepper, aubergine and courgette to the onion, mushrooms and leeks.
Add the tinned tomatoes to the vegetables and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Add the mixed herbs and season to taste.
Add the spinach and cook until wilted.
Serve with pasta of your choice.

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Stuffed courgettes with mushrooms

Oh blimey, it’s courgette season again. This means weeks of courgette soup and stuffed courgettes. Just as well I like courgettes then, eh?

I found this recipe in Rose Elliot’s New Complete Vegetarian and what I liked most about it is that I already had all of the ingredients (or variations of them), which saved me a trip to the supermarket and which kind of makes it a free meal.

It was fab. It was so fab, The Meat Easter has insisted I make it twice this week. Suits me.

I served it with fresh broad beans and new potatoes.


Stuffed courgettes with mushrooms (serves 4)

4 large courgettes
1 garlic clove
4 tomatoes
175g button mushrooms
25g butter
125g fresh breadcrumbs
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon rind
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil, for greasing
25g-50g grated Gruyére or Parmesan-style cheese

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4.
  2. Parboil the courgettes for 5 minutes, then slice in half lengthways and scoop out the flesh. Mash the courgette flesh. Place the courgette shells side by side in an oiled ovenproof dish.
  3. Crush the garlic, slice the tomatoes and mushrooms, and fry lightly in the butter until tender, then mix with half the breadcrumbs, the mashed courgette centres, the lemon juice and rind, parsley and some salt and pepper.
  4. Pile the mixture into the prepared courgettes, place in a shallow oiled ovenproof dish, sprinkle with the rest of the breadcrumbs and the grated cheese.
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes or until crisp and golden.
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Creamy Tarragon Quorn Fillet Bake

Do you ever look at those Quorn Fillets in the freezer section, then not buy them because you don’t know what to do with them? Me too. Then I decided to have a go at adapting meat-based recipes and came across this Creamy Tarragon Chicken Bake on the BBC Good Food website and turned it into a Creamy Tarragon Quorn Fillet Bake instead.

The original recipe is gluten- and dairy-free, using rice flour instead of wheat flour, and dairy-free cheese, but I used what ingredients I already had, so this version isn’t gluten- or dairy-free. It is chicken-free though.

This was nice and creamy, but I found it a bit bland (probably because I forgot to season it – I’ve made it before and it wasn’t bland then). The Meat Eater enjoyed it though.


Creamy Tarragon Quorn Fillet Bake (serves 4)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp plain flour
300ml soya milk
1 pack Quorn Fillets, defrosted
2 red onions, cut into wedges
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
250g asparagus spears, blanched
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
150ml vegetable stock
3 tbsp chopped tarragon
4 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 tbsp grated cheese

  1. Mix half the oil and flour in a saucepan (off the heat), then blend in the soya milk. Bring the sauce slowly to the boil, whisking constantly, then simmer for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, cover with greaseproof paper and set aside.
  2. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Heat remaining oil in a frying pan, add the Quorn fillets, then fry for 2-3 minutes or until they go brown. Transfer to an ovenproof dish. Add the onions to the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes. Spoon over the Quorn fillets, then top with the tomatoes and asparagus. Set aside while you prepare the sauce.
  3. Put the sugar and vinegar into the pan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar is a dark caramel colour, then add the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 minute. Whisk into the milky sauce until blended, seasons, then add the tarragon. Spoon sauce over the Quorn fillets and veg, sprinkle with crumbs and cheese, then bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through.
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Asparagus, tomato and feta frittata

Last night’s dinner was a disaster and ended up in the bin. It was a tofu stir-fry with some ready made sauce. I don’t know how Cauldron have managed it, but they’ve made their tofu even more soggy than it used to be and there was no way I could squeeze enough water out of it to adequately fry it until it was in a less blancmange-like state. It was like boiled tofu and absolutely vile. The stir-fry sauce I used with the tofu and vegetables (sugar snap peas and broccoli) was too strong and bitter, even though I’d watered it down. I served the saucy tofu/veg combination on some noodles, The Meat Eater ate a couple of mouthfuls before declaring it inedible and he heated himself up some leftover chilli, while I bravely ploughed on, eating the noodles but pushing the soggy tofu to one side.

Tonight, however, I redeemed myself. This asparagus, tomato and feta frittata out of 200 Veggie Feasts was absolutely delicious and I served it with new potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli.

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Asparagus, tomato and feta frittata (serves 4)

3 tbsp olive oil
2 leeks, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
250g asparagus, trimmed
6 eggs
100g feta cheese, diced
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan-style cheese
175g cherry tomatoes
salt and black pepper

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the leeks and garlic and cook over a medium heat, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes until tender. Leave to cool.
  2. Cook the asparagus in a large saucepan of lightly salted boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain, refresh under cold water and pat dry. Cut into 5cm (2 inch) lengths.
  3. Beat the eggs in a bowl and stir in the leek mixture, asparagus, feta, half the Parmesan-style cheese and salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into a 20 cm (8 inch) square baking dish and top with the tomatoes. Sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan-style cheese and bake in a preheated oven, 190C, Gas Mark 5, for 25-30 minutes until puffed up and firm in the centre.
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Aubergine lasagne

Vegetarian Living magazine was launched about a year ago. I bought the first few issues and loved it, but stopped buying it after a few months when my local Tesco stopped selling it. I did, however, keep all the back issues so I could try out their amazing looking recipes.

It’s taken a while, but I flicked through my old copies the other day and came across this aubergine lasagne recipe.

My picture isn’t very elegant (there’s a much better picture in the October 2010 issue) but it was cheesy and gooey and delicious.

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Aubergine lasagne (serves 4)

2 large aubergines, sliced lengthwise into slices 1cm thick
6 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
400g canned tomatoes, chopped
1/4 tsp dried chilli
1 tsp dried oregano
200g vegetarian mozzarella, sliced
50g vegetarian Parmesan-style cheese, grated

  1. Make the tomato sauce: heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan and gently fry the onion for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and fry for another 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chilli and oregano and cook over a very gentle heat for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt.
  2. Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in a wide pan and gently fry the aubergine slices in batches until golden brown; you may need to add more oil. Drain on kitchen paper.
  4. Layer the aubergine slices, tomato sauce and sliced mozzarella in an ovenproof dish 25 x 20cm, finishing with a layer of tomato sauce. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the top and bake for approx 20 minutes or until lightly browned

NB: The original recipe called for salting the aubergines and leaving to drain for 30 minutes, but I never bother with that.

I also used Cheddar instead of Parmesan-style cheese (only because I didn’t have any).

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Vegetarian moussaka

While I was out running yesterday, I had the urge to make moussaka. I don’t know why, as I usually find it a bit of a faff and I’m not especially fond of faff.

I said to The Meat Eater that I was going to make moussaka and he asked why that reminded him of Demis Roussos. I said because it’s Greek? The Meat Eater said yes. I said I could put some Demis on if he liked but The Meat Eater said no. Then I said we could watch Abigail’s Party but The Meat Eater said no to that too.

Never mind, the moussaka was good.

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Vegetable moussaka (serves 6)
Recipe taken from Low-Fat Vegetarian Mediterranean Recipes

450g aubergines, sliced
115g green lentils
600ml vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
225g fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped
25ml olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
225g mushrooms, sliced
400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tsp dried basil
300ml natural yoghurt
3 eggs
50g cheese, grated
salt and black pepper

  1. Place the lentils, stock and bay leaf in a pan. Cover, bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are just tender. Drain well and keep warm.
  2. Heat 10ml/2 tsp of the oil in a large, non-stick pan, add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Stir in the lentils, mushrooms, chickpeas, fresh and canned tomatoes, tomato puree, basil and 45ml/3 tbsp water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Heat the remaining oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the slices in batches for 3-4 minutes, turning once.
  4. Season the lentil mixture. Layer the aubergines and lentils in an ovenproof dish, starting with aubergines and finishing with the lentil mixture.
  5. Beat together the yoghurt, eggs and sale and pepper, and pour the mixture into the dish. Sprinkle with cheese and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
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Spicy bean lasagne

When my running’s going well and I’m feeling fit and healthy, that’s when I usually reach for Anita Bean’s Food for Fitness book that has a load of delicious, healthy recipes (not all vegetarian but plenty that are) that are quick and easy to make. Tonight’s was no exception.


Spicy bean lasagne (serves 4)

1 onion, chopped
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp each of cumin and ground coriander
2 tins (2 x 420g) borlotti beans (or other variety [I used black eye beans]), drained
1 tin (400g) chopped tomatoes
12 sheets lasagne (I actually only used 6)
350g (12 oz) cottage cheese (I used cheddar)
40g (1 1/2 oz) reduced fat mozzarella, grated

  1. For the spicy beans, heat the oil in a pan and saute the onions and spices for 5 minutes
  2. Add the beans and tomatoes, bring to the boil and cook for a few more minutes
  3. Spray a baking dish with oil spray or coat lightly with a little oil
  4. Place 3 sheets of lasagne in the bottom of the dish and cover with one quarter of the cottage cheese. Repeat the layers, finishing with the beans and cottage cheese
  5. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and bake at 180C/gas mark 4 for 30 minutes
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Mushroom, leek and mozzarella tart

This was so quick and easy. You can use whatever you need to use up in the fridge.


1 packet of ready-rolled puff pastry
2 tablespoons sundried tomato puree
2 portabella mushrooms
1 leek
1 pack of mozzarella
1 tomato
salt and pepper
olive oil

Spread the sundried tomato puree over the pastry.

Slice the mushrooms, leek, tomato and mozzarella and layer them on the pastry.

Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and bake for about 25 minutes on 200C.

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Meatfree balls in a spicy tomato and spinach sauce

I wanted to cook something tonight instead of heating up something frozen from a packet (like I often do on Fridays) but I didn’t want to go shopping for ingredients and so I looked in the fridge and there was a red pepper, a bag of spinach, some green beans and a savoy cabbage. I couldn’t think of anything to do with them and so I decided to have the meatfree balls that were in the freezer and make a tomato sauce and chuck in the red pepper and spinach. So that’s what I did. I also chucked in a red chilli.


Meatfree balls in a spicy tomato and spinach sauce (serves 4)
1 packet of meatfree balls (I used Sainsburys own)
Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red chilli, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 tins chopped tomatoes
Half a bag of spinach, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper

Cook the meatfree balls according to the instructions on the packet.

Meanwhile, fry the onion and garlic in the oil for a few minutes, then add the red chilli and fry for another couple of minutes.

Add the red pepper and fry for a bit longer.

Add the tins of tomatoes and simmer for a few minutes.

Add the meatfree balls and spinach and warm through until the spinach has wilted.

Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with spaghetti.

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