Slow-Cooked Vegetable & Quinoa Stew

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Being away last weekend meant that I couldn’t create a big batch of healthy vegan food to sustain me during the forthcoming week! Needless to say, I grazed on some not-so-healthy options and yesterday decided that it was time to get back into my weekly routine.

I thought a stew would be a convenient way to pack in as many vegetables as possible and it seemed an appropriate choice now that the colder weather has finally descended upon us. I was contemplating whipping up sweet potato mash to compliment it but opted to bulk it out with protein-packed quinoa instead.

The ingredients below made enough for a HUGE pan-full of stew. I’ve had two portions so far and I estimate I’ll get at least another four portions out of it!

INGREDIENTS
•2 tbsps veg oil
•1 large onion, chopped
•3 cloves of garlic, crushed
•3 celery stalks, chopped
•1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
•3 carrots, peeled and chopped
•2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
•The leaves from 6 sprigs of thyme
• 1 tsp dried oregano
•1 tsp paprika
•1 tin of butter beans
•1 tin of chopped tomatoes
• 200ml red wine
•1l veg stock
•200g quinoa
•1 Bay leaf
•2 courgettes, sliced into circles
•200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
•Salt & pepper to season

Method
1) Heat the oil and gently sweat the onion and garlic for 10 minutes. Add the next 10 ingredients and pour in 700ml of stock, setting the rest aside for later.
2) Add the quinoa, bay leaf and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and leave to simmer gently for 35 minutes. Stir occasionally; the dish will dry up as the quinoa expands so keep adding the remaining stock when necessary.
3) Add the courgettes, mushrooms, salt, pepper and more stock if needed. Continue to cook low for 20 minutes or until the courgette has softened. Leave to stand for 10 minutes, remove the bay leaf and serve.

It sounds a lot to do but was actually really easy to make and just about any combination of vegetables can be used. I served with warm, crusty bread for a cosy feel.

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Chana Masala with Coconut Rice

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A quick and easy week night meal and a great way of working with ingredients that you already have in the cupboard. I played around with the herbs and spices until my taste buds were satisfied!

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)
•2tbsp veg oil
•1 onion, roughly chopped
•2 garlic cloves, crushed
•2cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
•Pinch of chilli flakes
•1/2 tsp tumeric
•1 tsp ground coriander
•2 tsp ground cumin
•2 tsp garam masala
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•Juice of 1/4 lemon
•1 tbsp tomato purée
•1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
•A couple of large handfuls of chopped spinach
•1/2 cup of water
•A handful of fresh coriander, chopped

Coconut Rice
•1/2 cup of brown rice
•2 cups of water
•25g creamed coconut
•1 green cardamom pod, crushed to release the seeds

Method
1) Heat the oil and gently simmer the onion and garlic. After 2 minutes, add the ginger and chilli, shortly followed by the other herbs and spices, stirring frequently.
2) Mix in the lemon juice and tomato purée then add the chickpeas. Stir in the spinach until it begins to wilt. Add the water and mix well. Taste and adjust flavours or add more water if necessary.

Coconut Rice
1) Rinse the rice in cold water for 30 seconds before adding to the pan of boiling water. Stir in the creamed coconut and leave to boil on a medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2) Drain and rinse for 10 seconds and then return to the pan, stir in the cardamom seeds, cover and leave to stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.
* Note that the above steps apply for wholegrain rice. Times and water quantities will need to be adjusted for white rice.

Serve the masala and rice together, sprinkling the fresh coriander on top. Perfect!