I don’t know about most people, but even though I love cooking, there are nights when inspiration and energy are absent, and the long working day leaves me staring mournfully at the kitchen and wishing for a vegan fairy to do the dinner for me. On days like this, I usually fall back on the staples. Its been a bit of a difficult week this week, so this blog post catches the post January mood with some straightforward, economical recipes that won’t break the bank or kill you after a tiring day.
First off, a simple ‘cooked dinner’ as we Welsh call it. I have a stove top steamer which makes life very easy. Potatoes in the bottom (scrubbed but skins on), then carrots, peas, cauliflower in the steamer trays, or whatever veg you have. Gravy made from some oil, flour, veg stock, salt, pepper and a little mustard and the water from the potatoes, and some frozen vegan sausages. Bring the potatoes to the boil and let them cook, drain the water for the gravy, and mash the potatoes with salt, a little olive oil and a little mustard. If you don’t want to use ready- made vegan sausages, then make some quick nut cutlets (see previous recipes) or simply blend breadcrumbs, cooked beans, flour and peanut butter for some bean and nut burgers, and fry these off.
To mix things up a bit, make a root vegetable mash in the bottom of the steamer. Try combining potato, carrot, parsnip and swede, or sweet potato, squash an celeriac. Or add some garlic to the mash. Try varying the flavours in the gravy with some marmite, mushroom ketchup, herbs or tomato ketchup.
The second simple staple is veggie wraps. Make a quick veggie chilli by combining different tinned beans with some tomato puree, chilli, garlic and vegetable stock, then fill tortilla wraps with shredded raw vegetables and the chilli. If you have any vegan cheese substitute then grate some of this in as well, or add slices of marinated tofu. These are really tasty, especially if you have some fresh herbs you can add as well.
Another quickie is pasta. Simply boil your pasta and stir in some finely chopped onions, garlic and some rough cut mushrooms, with some tomato puree, a splash of wine, and salt and pepper. heat well.
If all else fails, my final fallback position is dhal soup. Fry onions and garlic in a little oil, add red lentils and sautee briefly, then cumin, coriander powder and garam masala. Add boiling water and a little veg stock, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve with some extra fried garlic on top. Delicious.
I hope you like these ideas for quick meals in the working week.