These recipes are pretty laid back as the ingredients don’t have to be a set strict list. My cooking style is very much “just chuck it in and hope it tastes good”. These are easy, wholesome recipes that I make when the sun has frazzled my brain and can be easily adapted to whatever veg you have in the house. All of the ingredients used are my store cupboard and fridge essentials so I know I can always count on making these recipes when I’ve been busy or haven’t been food shopping recently.
Italian polpette meatballs with lentil bolognaise and whole wheat spaghetti
For the bolognaise you need to fry off chopped onions, plenty of garlic, a pinch dried thyme and courgette chopped into small pieces. Once softened add enough soya mince for 2 people and a good glug of vegan red wine. I also boil off a small handful of green lentils separately to add later. Once the alcohol has burnt off, I chuck in a tin of chopped tomatoes, a squidge of tomato puree, then season well and add a veggie stock cube for extra flavour or a teaspoon of marmite. A tablespoon of sugar is good to reduce the acidity of the tomatoes too. Let the sauce reduce on a low heat then start to boil spaghetti. You can make vegan meatballs or buy them from a whole food shop. I get mine from Lidl and cook them as per their cooking instructions. Cook 150g of whole wheat spaghetti then once cooked, add the lentils to the bolognaise and place on top of the pasta with the meatballs on top. I usually make a leafy green salad to go with this meal too. In the photos below, I added spinach to this bolognaise too and you can also replace the courgette with chopped peppers or carrots instead.
To-fish and chips with minty peas
If you don’t know, ‘to-fish’ is firm tofu steaks battered to emulate fish from the chippy. I say these recipes are easy, but the first time making to-fish can be quite tricky but once you’ve done it once you’ll be able to nail it every time. For this recipe start by preheating your oven to 220°C, then peel 2 large potatoes into chunky chips, rinse the starch off and coat with sunflower oil, a sprinkle of salt, pepper and dried rosemary then place on a baking tray into the hot oven. Whilst these are cooking, it’s time to prepare the batter. Now, as I mentioned, I’m a bit of a guesser with ingredients. Firstly, I put around 2 teaspoons of baking powder into a bowl with approximately 3/4 cup of plain flour. I season the dry mixture with salt and pepper and also some chopped fresh chives. If I have some beer available then I add a good glug to the flour mixture and whisk up until I have a consistency similar to pancake batter. If you don’t have any beer, then sparkling or tonic water works really well too. Tap water makes the batter really heavy and not as light and crispy as using something carbonated.
To get a more seaside flavour, I add a a strip of nori seaweed to the tofu steak which you can stick on with a little water or lemon juice. I usually cut one block of tofu into 4 steaks, enough for 2 people. Once the tofu is prepared, heat up a frying pan with plenty of vegetable oil to cover the entire base of the pan. Dip the tofu into the batter then fry in the hot oil until it turns a lovely golden brown colour. Boil the peas until cooked, drain then season well and add a drizzle of good olive oil and chopped fresh mint. Plate up the to-fish, homemade chips and peas and enjoy!
Marinated seitan with roasted veggies and salad
Seitan is so easy to source now in whole food shops but also some good supermarkets too. I normally cut mine into strips and marinade in a mixture of smoked paprika, salt, pepper, dried thyme, chopped garlic, lemon juice and good olive oil. Whilst the seitan is marinating, chop up whatever veggies you have for roasting. The usual suspects for me are sweet potatoes, courgettes, peppers, onions, garlic and cauliflower. I roast these until there are soft and browned at the edges then pile onto a huge dressed green salad. I add chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, rocket and kiwis to my cold salad too for extra nutrition and flavour. Fry the seitan srips off in a hot frying pan with a little oil then place on top of the roasted veg. For this recipe, I also love topping it with toasted sunflower seeds flavoured with soya sauce. It adds that little extra, salty crunch! YUM! If you can’t get seitan where you live, then you could replace it with vegan Quorn chicken pieces or the supermarket brand version.
If you made any of the recipes then comment down below, I’d love to hear what you think. I hope you’re enjoying summer wherever you are!