The Economical Vegan


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Inspirational Travels – and all things Hummous

After a weekend away where I sampled some awesome and some not-so awesome food, I thought I would put up some recipes inspired by my travels. Note to restaurant owners – charging 5.95 for a few strips of grilled pepper and a small bowl of sautéed potatoes is not acceptable, and I WILL complain, especially as it was advertised on the menu as having chickpeas, herbs, oil and lemon!

So, to the recipes.

Hummous

Hummous is a staple of the vegan diet, as far as I’m concerned. I eat it at least once a week – either bought, at a restaurant, or made myself. I love my home-made hummous as I can vary the texture and the flavour as much as I want.

Ingredients:

1 large tin chickpeas or 1 and a half cups dried chickpeas soaked, cooked and drained

3-5 cloves of garlic (three to five, not thirty five) – you can add less or more garlic as you like.

2 tablespoons tahini

juice of one lemon

olive oil

sea salt

So, this is simple. Peel the garlic and put into your whizzy chopper and whizz, or crush and chop it finely.

Add the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt, and one tablespoon of olive oil to the whizzy chopper, or to your mixing bowl with the garlic. Whizz or mash to the desired consistency. If it is too thick, add a little more olive oil and if you like a very loose, smooth hummus, a little water. Taste, and add a little more salt if necessary.  Done.

I like to serve hummus in many different ways, so here are some ideas.

Hummus, olive and sundried tomato sandwiches. Take some thick wholemeal bread, spread one slice with hummus and then halve some pitted olives and dot them around, adding in some sundried tomatoes. Stick the other piece of bread on top. This is so delicious my mouth is watering at the thought of it as I write.

Hummus jacket potato. Simply bake some potatoes, split, and fill with hummus.

Hummous salad: rocket, watercress, lettuce and spinach leaves in a bowlith some finely shredded cabbage, carrot, celery and something tasty like grated celeriac or thin slices of radish. Top with hummus and pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of olive oil.

Hummous celery snacks. Wash and trim some celery sticks, and fill with hummous topped with sunflower or pumpkin seeds, and any other finely chopped fresh or dry veg or goodies. These are a delicious snack and also make a good party food if cut up a little smaller. You can also fill celery with peanut butter in a similar way.

Hummous varieties – you can vary your hummous flavour easily – try adding extra lemon and some fresh coriander, or garam masala, or fresh chillies, or curry powder, or some chopped olives.

Hummous with patatas gravas and peppers

Diced and sautee some nice potatoes, and in the last five minutes of cooking, add some salt, paprika and fresh chillies. In a separate pan, fry strips of pepper in a little oil, adding in some fresh coriander, lemon and a sprinkle of vegetable bouillon. Cook until the peppers are soft. Serve the potatoes topped with the peppers and then topped with the hummous. Yum yum yum.

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Requested Recipes

Recently a friend asked for some straightforward recipes for simple vegetarian meals. Here you go!

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry

Peel, de-seed and cut up one butternut squash, put on a baking tray and drizzle with a little oil, then bake in an oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, finely chop one onion and 3 cloves of garlic, and put into a pan with a little oil, heating and frying, until the onions are translucent. Add a tablespoon of curry paste or curry powder, and if you like it spicy, a fresh chilli or one quarter of a teaspoon of dried chilli. Stir well, then add 1 pint of vegetable stock, and a drained tin of chickpeas. Add the butternut squash once it is cooked, and allow to simmer, stirring in a tablespoon of mango chutney or tomato ketchup (for sweetness).  Add some chopped fresh coriander, and then thicken the curry with some grated creamed coconut or a roux made from flour and vegetable oil mixed together. Taste, and alter the seasoning as required. Serve with basmati rice or with some flatbreads.

Easy Cook Vegetable Rice

Use the lost liquid method to cook your rice and it will be fluffy. The rule is 3 to 1. So 1 cup of rice and 3 cups of water in a saucepan, add 1 tablespoon turmeric, sprinkle of salt, and bring to the boil, then simmer – but do not stir at all. After about 15 minutes, add one cup frozen peas and 1 cup sweetcorn. Do not stir. Cook until the rice has absorbed all the water and is nice and fluffy. Meanwhile, finely slice some onions and chop some garlic, and fry in oil with some garam masala until the onions start to brown. Once the rice is cooked, stir briefly, then serve topped with the friend onions and garlic.

Quick Soup

This is my favourite soup recipe and is the easiest soup I have ever made.

1 tin tomatoes

1 onion

1 cup red lentils (dried)

1 carrot

1 stock cube

salt and pepper

Put the tomatoes into a saucepan with the lentils, chopped onion and carrot, and another two tins full of water, and the stock cube. Bring to the boil and simmer, stirring regularly. Once the lentils are completely cooked through, blend with a hand blender, then taste. Season to taste, and serve with some nice crusty bread. You can vary the flavour by adding some chilli, or garlic, or sweet chilli sauce.

Easy pasta dish

1 onion

4 cloves garlic

handful of basil leaves

fresh or dried oregano

1 tin tomatoes

tomato puree

1 tbsp. red wine

1 vegetable stock cube

freshly ground black pepper

handful of olives, chopped

Finely chop the onions and garlic, and sautee in olive oil, then add the other ingredients, and simmer, stirring regularly, until the sauce is thick and sweet. This should be cooked a long time to sweeten the tomatoes – vary the amount of tomato puree to get the right consistency of the sauce. Serve with your pasta of choice. You can vary this by adding sautéed mushrooms or pepper to the sauce, or any other vegetables you wish.