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!

Black bean dip

A super quick and easy recipe! The black beans give it a great texture and nutty flavour while the paprika, garlic and cumin give it good kick!

Ingredients:

400g tin organic black beans

Half tsp each of the following:

Paprika

Ground cumin

Pink salt

Black pepper

2 garlic cloves

A good gulg of extra virgin olive oil

Method:

Put all the above items in a food processor and blend until smooth. Voila! Its the most delicious, creamy dip and a great way to pack in the protein, fibre and micronutrients 💪🏽 

Keep on an airtight container in the fridge, enjoy with sliced peppers, tortilla chips or on the side of a green salad! 

Vegan almond and avocado pesto 

Ingredients:

Half an avocado 

4 tablespoons ground almonds 

1 pack fresh basil

3 garlic gloves

Juice of half a lemon

Olive oil – a good glug! 

Salt and pepper to taste 

Method:

Blend the avocado, garlic, basil leaves with the lemon juice and some olive oil till chopped and slightly smooth. 

Remove and mix in the ground almonds, salt, pepper and remaining olive oil. It should fall of the spoon so if need be add more olive oil. Serve with hot pasta or drizzle on pan fried fish 👌🏽 

Warm butter bean and grilled vegetable salad

I love a hearty salad and as the autumnal days are slowing creeping in I’m looking for warm salads full of colour and flavour. This is a favourite of mine and it’s so quick and easy to make during the week. 

Serves two 

Ingredients:

250g organic butter beans

1 red pepper

1 medium courgette

1 red onion

1 block of halloumi

Handful chopped parsley

Half a packet of mixed salad leaves 

Olives (black or green sliced – your preference)

Olive oil

Salt and black pepper to season

Half a thinly sliced red chilli (de-seed if you prefer)

Lemon

Feta cheese

Method:

Turn the oven on at 200 degrees (if grilling halloumi in the oven) alternatively you can fry the slices in a dry non stick frying pan (no oil required).

 

Cut the halloumi into 1cm strips and place on an oven tray slightly apart, grill in the oven on 200 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until brown.

 

Chop the courgette into medium slices. Deseed the red pepper, slice in half and then into quarters or eighths if you prefer smaller chunks. Peel and half the onion and cut into medium slices. Add these to a griddle with a drizzle of olive oil and grill on a med-high heat. The high heat gives the vegetables a charred taste and stops the water releasing from the courgettes and onions. 


Stir the vegetables frequently to avoid them burning on one side– they will cook within approximately 10 minutes.

 

I find the above method of grilling vegetables quite quick, but if you have more time you can grill them in the oven as well or use your own method. 

In the meantime, wash and drain the butter beans. Mix in the chopped parsley, salad leaves, olives, salt and pepper, red chilli and crumble in the feta cheese. Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.


Once the vegetables are ready, mix them into the butter beans and serve immediately topped with the grilled halloumi and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Brie, mushroom and rocket spaghetti 

I went into autopilot cooking this meal and forgot to take step by step pictures – sorry! 

Serves 1

Ingredients 

200g cooked Spaghetti (I used whole grain spelt)

4 large chestnut Mushrooms

30g Somerset Brie 

Handful of spinach and rocket

Knob of Butter

Few glugs of Olive Oil 

1 tsp garlic powder

Handful of chopped parsley 

Black pepper and salt

Method

Boil the spaghetti as per the instructions. I usually add olive oil and salt to the water when boiling any pasta.Wash and slice the mushrooms and cook them in a non stick frying pan on a high heat (this prevents the water for releasing) with the butter and olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder, black pepper and salt. 

Once cooked mix in the chopped parsley, spinach and rocket, set aside.

Once the spaghetti is ready (al dente is my preference) drain at it to the pan with the mushrooms, spinach and rocket. Ross it together making sure the spaghetti is well coated and add in the chopped Brie, adding it at this stage ensures it melts but also maintains its pieces. Brie is a delicious cheese and will give the spaghetti a great creamy texture. Serve immediately with a final drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of chopped parsley to finish. 

This meals goes perfectly with a glass of chilled white wine! You could also try swapping the spinach for kale – if doing this then sauté the kale with the mushrooms so it cooks slightly. Enjoy! 


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!