Lentil Chilli with Roasted Sweet Potato


I have had a hiatus. It was supposed to be a two week hiatus – a little break to free up my crammed evenings. It turned into almost two and a half years! I have still been cooking; new recipes, old recipes. Some I’ve been keen to share, but I just didn’t have the momentum.

Then, things changed. Two things fell into place: a holiday, and a new outlook on food.

The holiday has left me with spare time I didn’t have before, and the new outlook came from watching a documentary called What The Health. A brief scour of the net tells us that, as with anything, the facts may not be entirely as presented in this documentary. However, it left me thinking that a plant based diet may be a good thing to try for a while, to see if there are any individual benefits for us.

I struggled though – where are the exciting, inventive vegan recipes? I’m not talking about making a chocolate cake from avocado, I’m talking about something quick, tasty and nourishing to fill you up on a week night. So, I decided to come back to log, mainly for myself, my plant based recipes. I’m hoping to aim for two a week – if I fall off the blogging wagon again, feel free to throw me back on it!

A couple of caveats – I’m aiming for plant based, not vegan, so there may be bits and pieces you’re not happy with if you’re vegan (check the ingredients list). Secondly, I’m not envisaging this to be an all consuming diet and I’m sure I’ll move away from it sometimes. We’ll see how it goes- this is the very beginning!

I have called this recipe a chilli for want of a better word although it has no spice (you could add some though); it is smoky and satisfying and very very easy!


Lentil Chilli with Roasted Sweet Potatoes 

Serves 4

Ingredients 

4 large sweet potatoes

3tbsp olive oil 

1 onion

400g chestnut mushrooms

400ml passata

2 x 250g packets of ready to eat lentils

2tsp smoked paprika

1tep dried oregano

2tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

Method

1. Put the sweet potatoes in a bag and pour over 2 tbsp of the oil. Add a generous pinch of salt and rub them well to make sure they’re coated. Tip onto a baking tray and slice a cross into the top of each one with a sharp knife. Put in the oven at 180 degrees for an hour (or longer – the longer the better in my opinion). They’re done when a knife cuts through them easily.

2. For the chilli, finely chop the onion. Heat the remaining oil in a saucepan and add the onion, stirring, for two minutes. 

3. Chop the mushrooms into chunks and add to the pan. Leave to cook until they are starting to turn golden.

4. Add the passata, lentils, smoked paprika and oregano. Cook gently for 5-10 minutes, then taste and season with salt and pepper.

5. Just before you are about to eat, add the chopped parsley to the chilli. Slice the sweet potatoes and dollop the chilli on top. We also had a spoonful of vio life vegan cream cheese on top for a little creaminess, but this is optional.

Enjoy!

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Chicken and Lentil Soup


Happy hump day everyone!

After pancake day yesterday, I’m sure you (like us) need an injection of health to counterbalance the over indulgence.

Chicken and Lentil Soup (1)

Now that lent has started, I can’t think of any ingredient in this soup that anyone will have wanted to give up (apart from meat perhaps?) so it’s a fairly safe bet.

This soup contains tonnes (not literally) of protein, and it uses my leftover lentils, so is packed full of vitamins, minerals and other good stuff too. It is truly an angelic recipe!

This will take you 20 minutes to make, and will serve 4.

Chicken and Lentil Soup (2)

Chicken and Lentil Soup

200g smoked bacon lardons

300g chicken breast, diced

600ml chicken stock

1 tsp ground coriander

400g leftover lentils

Natural yoghurt, to serve

1. Put the lardons in a large casserole dish. Cook over a high heat for 3-4 minutes until golden.

2. Sprinkle the coriander over the diced chicken breast, then add to the pan with the lardons. Cook for a further 3-4 minutes, stirring often.

3. Tip in the chicken stock and lentils and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.

4. Blend about half of the soup with a hand blender – you still want the soup to be fairly chunky, but blending some of the lentils will thicken it.

5. Serve each bowl with a dollop of natural yoghurt in the centre. Enjoy!

Leftover Lentils


Leftover Lentils

This is not a particularly pretty photo – and for that I apologise – but it’s still a recipe I had to share with you.

This is a dish we often have as an accompaniment to meat or fish. At the weekend, my parents came to visit and we had these lentils served with lamb cutlets marinated with cumin and ground coriander. Hence – leftover lentils.

We used the leftovers in our dinner tonight – chicken and lentil soup – (which explains the need for me to share the recipe with you) but you could use them in all manner of recipes. They would be delicious, cold, on their own as a light lunch.

They’re also extremely nutritious – being lentils, they are packed full of good things and the veggies bring lots of vitamins and minerals to the table too. Get making them, then get inventive – let me know what you serve them with!

These will take approximately 30 minutes to make and will make approximately 6 servings. They will keep in the fridge for a few days, and freeze well too.

Leftover Lentils

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion

1 leek

2 sticks celery

1 carrot

1 small glass white wine

500ml water

750g pre-soaked ready to eat puy lentils

1 bay leaf

1 sprig rosemary

1. Chop the onion and add to a large casserole dish with the olive oil. Cook over a medium heat for 2 minutes, then add the chopped leek, celery and carrot. Cook for a further 6-7 minutes, until the vegetables are starting to soften.

2. Pour in the white wine, allow to reduce, then add the water and lentils.

3. Bring to the boil, add the bay leaf and rosemary then simmer for 15-20 minutes (keep an eye on it and stir often) until the vegetables are cooked through. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Done!

Pan Fried Sea Bass with Lentils


This is a healthy, nourishing dish for that time of year when most people are coming down with a cold, and the rest are desperately trying to dodge germs to avoid being ill for a Christmas party, or Christmas day.

The cold outside doesn’t help matters – it makes me crave a nice battered fish with some crispy chips. But that’s not going to help pump our bodies full of vitamins to stave off the illness.

So, I’ve chosen a lovely fillet of sea bass (one of my favourite fish), simply pan fried and on a bed of tasty, nourishing lentils. Easy, quick and guaranteed to boost those white blood cells (I promise – it’s a scientific fact).

This will serve 2 and take 30 minutes to make.

Pan Fried Sea Bass with Lentils

2 tbsps olive oil

1 carrot

1 onion

2 x 400g tins puy lentils

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

1 tsp sherry vinegar

200g spinach

2 sea bass fillets

Natural yoghurt, to serve

1. Dice the onion and carrot, then add to a large pan with half of the olive oil. Cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes, then add the lentils (including the liquid), chopped rosemary and vinegar. Put a lid on and simmer for 20 minutes.

2. Add the spinach to the lentils and allow to wilt. Turn the heat down to low and season.

3. Season the sea bass with salt and pepper. Pour the remaining oil into a frying pan and put on a medium-high heat. When the oil is sizzling, add the sea bass skin side down and cook for 4 minutes (depending on size). Flip over and cook for another 30 seconds.

4. To serve, ladle a portion of lentils into each bowl, then add the fish. Top with a small dollop of natural yoghurt.

Curried Lentil Soup


This is another great recipe for when it feels as though you may have over-indulged slightly at the weekend, and need something packed full of goodness to make up for it.

This soup is overflowing with nourishing things. If you ate it everyday you’d probably be a superhero (it contains no cheese though unfortunately, so I could not eat it everyday).

This will take half an hour max to make, less if you aren’t being distracted by water pouring from your ceiling, and will serve at least four.

Curried Lentil Soup

1/2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tsps medium curry powder

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 carrots, sliced

1 leek, sliced

1 litre vegetable stock

500g green lentils (I used the ready to eat pouches)

1 large handful coriander, chopped

Plain yoghurt, to serve

1. Heat the oil in a large casserole dish over a medium heat. Sprinkle in the spices and sizzle for 30 seconds.

2. Add the leek, carrots and garlic, stir, then pour in the vegetable stock. Put the lid on the casserole dish and simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Add the lentils and most of the coriander – bring back to the boil and cook for another 2 minutes.

4. Using a hand held blender, blitz the soup roughly to make a chunky soup.

5. To serve, top each bowl with a spoonful of yoghurt and a few coriander leaves.