Wholewheat pesto spaghetti

This is a great meal to cook when you are short of time but want something healthy! You can make the pesto beforehand or it’s so quick and easy to do whilst the spaghetti is boiling. 

Ingredients:

Wholewheat spaghetti

Almond pesto – this time round I didn’t add the avocado but if you want a creamier texture then feel free to

Handful of cherry tomatoes

1 small red onion

Handful of rocket leaves 

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to season 

Method 

Put the spaghetti to boil – I always add salt and olive oil to the water.

Whilst the spaghetti is boiling make the almond pesto using the recipe in the link above. 

Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves and slice the red onion, fry these in on a medium heat in some olive oil. 

Once the spaghetti is cooked, drain and rinse in cold water slightly to remove the starch but not so much that it makes the spaghetti go cold. Mix in the almond pesto, red onion and tomatoes and a handful of rocket leaves. 

Serve immediately and you can sprinkle some feta or Parmesan on top of you wish! 

Spicy roasted chickpeas 

Roasted chickpeas are great way to get your fibre and protein intake. They taste great as an accompaniment to a meal or scattered over a salad!

Ingredients:

400g can chickpeas (I use Sainsburys So Organic range)

1/2 tsp each of the following:

Ground cumin

Smoked paprika

Crushed coriander seeds

Salt and black pepper

A few glugs of olive oil 

Method:

There are two ways you can cook these, if using the oven turn it on to 220c, if using the cooker put a dry non stick pan on medium heat.

Drain and rinse the chickpeas and put them in a bowl. Toss all the dry ingredients and olive oil with the chickpeas until they are fully coated. 

Place the coated chickpeas evenly on a tray lined with baking paper and put them on the middle shelf of the oven. They take about 15 minutes to cook but toss them around regularly and keep a very close eye on them as they can start to pop! When they look like they are beginning to dry out and have a crisp finish remove them from the oven but again be careful as they may still pop! I’ve started covering the tray in foil for the first 10 minutes or so and then roasting them uncovered for the last 5 minutes I find this prevents some of the popping but they aren’t as crispy so it depends how you want the texture.

If cooking them in the pan add them to the heated non stick pan and cover with a lid. Turn the heat up to high and regularly toss the pan to ensure they are evenly cooked. Same as above, watch out for popping and timing depends on just how crispy you want them!

Once done, sprinkle on your salad or have it as a side dish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice!

Easy creamy pasta sauce

Ingredients:

For the sauce:

500g baby plum tomatoes 

2 small red onions or 1 large

5 garlic cloves 

Half a thinly sliced red chilli 

3 tbsp Olive oil

Handful of basil leaves 

A tin of chopped tomatoes 

For the pasta:

175g baby Spinach 

Two tablespoons Greek yogurt 

Salt and pepper

Oregano 

Heat a frying pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Dice the onions and crush the garlic cloves, once the oil has warmed up add the onions, garlic and red chilli along with a teaspoon of salt. Put a lid on the pan and allow the onions to sweat for about 10 minutes until they turn translucent in colour. 


Meanwhile, chop the baby plum tomatoes (I cut them in half so the sauce is a little chunky) and add the tin of chopped tomatoes. Let this simmer with the lid on for around 15-20 minutes. 


If the sauce seems a bit runny, put the gas on high still with the lid on to allow some of it to reduce and thicken. Once reduced, turn the gas off and stir in two tablespoons of Greek yogurt. This will give it a nice creamy and thick texture! That is all there is to it! The sauce is ready! 

It’s such a versatile sauce I use it for pasta, baked eggs and chorizo stew! If I use it for anything other than pasta I do not add the yogurt so it’s more tomatoey rather than creamy. 

Tonight I’m simply using it for pasta sauce so read on if you wish to know how the rest of the recipe goes. 

Place the spinach on top of the sauce and put the lid back on – this will allow it to wilt but not cook in the steam.
Meanwhile boil the pasta as per the instructions – I used fresh egg lumaconi pasta from sainsburys which boils into large shells. Turn the oven onto 200 degrees. 

Once the pasta is ready, drain and rinse with cold water this removes the starch and stops the pasta sticking together. Return the pasta to the saucepan and add the sauce to it. Mix it together and transfer to a non stick baking tray. Tear up a mozzarella ball and scatter on top. Sprinkle with some dried oregano and black pepper.


Place the tray in the oven for around 5-10 minutes until the mozzarella melts and begins to turn brown. Serve immediately with a green salad and some garlic bread if you wish! 

Vegetable fried rice

Ingredients:

Rice

1 pack mixed stir fry veg (pak choi, baby corn, mange toute, broccoli etc)

1 orange pepper

1 courgette

3 garlic cloves thinly sliced

Half a red chilli thinly sliced

One thumb size piece of ginger sliced into strips

A handful of chopped mint

A handful of coriander

A few roasted cashew nuts

3 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp fish sauce

1 teaspoon salt

This recipe serves 2

I find its best to cook the rice ahead of time so it’s completely cooled down when adding to the vegetables. I usually cook it the morning that I’m going to make this meal. Once cooked – set aside, no need to keep it in the fridge if it’s the day of cooking.

Heat the sesame oil in a wok or deep frying pan, once warm add the sliced red chillies, ginger and garlic. You don’t want to cook them but once they start to sizzle keep stirring it until they start to turn brown this will infuse the oil.

Add the vegetables – apart from the pak choy, spinach (if adding), coriander and mint. Stir fry the vegetables on a medium heat so they start to cook, you don’t want to over cook them just enough so the vegetables are slightly tender but still have a crunch to them. Once they have got to this stage (after around 10 minutes) add the mint, spinach and pak choy. Stir fry and allow the pak choy and spinach to wilt.


This will only take a couple of minutes then add the fish sauce, cashew nuts, salt and a sprinkle of black pepper followed by the rice, coriander and soy sauce. Mix it all up and make sure the rice is thoroughly heated before serving.


You can add anything you like to go with this rice, I find its great as a meal topped with a fried egg or you could grill some chicken breast or fish,  you could serve with a couple of spring rolls or drizzle it with sweet chilli sauce.