Let's eat! Vegetarian Style!I'm not going to drone on like some recipe blog posts do, where you have to scroll down reading blah blah blah before you get to the good stuff. This blog post is going to be populated with recipes - some I've completely made up from scratch, others I've had some influence with - all providers acknowledged in the details!
I'm pretty much vegetarian nowadays and have been for 12 months but the occasional bit of fish or seafood might sneak in when my body tells me I need it. I love animals, yes - more than humans probably - but my main reason for giving up meat was because it makes me feel so good - inside and out. My skin is clearer, my hair and nails grow faster, I am rarely bloated (unless I eat too much dairy) and my energy is through the roof. I eat in this way for my health.
I have no judgement for meat-eaters, but I definitely have a solid argument for eating less of it.
Let's begin - share your comments, thoughts and pictures with me either via email email@example.com or social media - Instagram and Facebook.
Veggie Bolognese - with red lentils
With an acquired Italian surname, I'm going to be honest - I'm pretty damn hot when it comes to Italian cooking... my veggie bolognese is a staple on the Sass menu and is one of those easy, throw it all in the pan, whack in the oven mid-week dinners. It's also so full of flavour, it's quick but good enough for dinner with friends...
As always, the recipe changes slightly every time I make it because it's so versatile, you can throw anything in the mix!
Preparation time: 10 minutes (15 minutes if you need to chop veg)
Cook time: anything from 30 minutes to two hours!
- 1 bag of veggie mince
- 1 cup of frozen chopped onions (or 1 large white onion)
- 1 cup of frozen chopped peppers (or 2 fresh peppers - red and yellow are my fave)
- 1 courgette
- 1 cup red lentils (those ones already soaked and dried)
- 1 tin tomatoes
- 1 veggie stock cube
- 1 tsp paprika, cumin, basil, parsley
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Heat oil in the pan, add the tomato puree, garlic and spices/herbs. Once they start sizzling, mix together and add enough water to create a 'paste' like consistency. Add onion, peppers and courgette and coat in spice paste. You can also add any other veggies you lie - mushrooms, peas, aubergine - whatever takes your fancy!
When veg has slightly softened and is well coated, add veggie mince, tomatoes, veggie stock cube with a cup of water. I like to fill my empty tomato tin with water and use that. Add balsamic vinegar and lentils and stir. Add salt and pepper as always. You might want to add more water if it's going to be in the oven for the longer time limit. It should be a medium consistency, not too think but not overly watery.
Then just pop it in the oven. Cook for 30 minutes minimum on 200 degrees C or turn the oven to 140-160 degrees C if you're leaving for a couple of hours.
Serve with 'al dente' pasta or spaghetti and if you're being indulgent, a buttery garlic bread.
A weekly staple in our house - this can be enjoyed at breakfast, lunch or dinner! So so so easy and super-quick! It can be made using no vegetables or you can add extra goodness by adding some in - I particularly like the ones listed below, but I'm sure anything will go.
Time - 30-40 minutes
- 6 eggs
- 1 full tub of full-fat cottage cheese (or the chive version)
- 1tsp parsley
- Pinch of salt & pepper
- Optional: vegetables - think courgettes, onion, peppers, tomato, spinach
- Optional: 30g mature cheddar cheese, grated
Turn your oven to 180-200 degrees C and chop or grate your veg if you're including some. I like to quickly sauté my vegetables in a little bit of oil for 5 minutes whilst mixing the rest of the ingredients - it just softens them and slightly caramelises the onions. I always grate the courgette and even chop or tear the spinach.
Whilst the veg is cooking in the pan, mix your 6 eggs in the ovenproof container you'll use to cook the quiche (saves on washing up.) Then mix in the full tub of cottage cheese and add salt, pepper and parsley. Add in the veg and stir. If you're adding extra cheese, sprinkle on top, then put in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until firm in the middle when you wobble the dish.
For breakfast, have on it's own or with bakes beans and maybe a couple of veggie sausages. Lunch - enjoy it warm or cold with a salad and for dinner, I love it with a jacket potato and more roasted veg! So many ways to eat this dish and it's perfect for a low carb but filling hit!
TIP! Keep an eye on the quiche as it's cooking. It go from nearly raw to 'too browned' very quickly. I assure you, this doesn't taste great when it's over-cooked and rubbery.
Cheese on Toast - Sass StyleI live for cheese. I get asked quite often if I've ever consider going Vegan... the answer is no, and it's all because of cheese. I am actually a mouse. Brie, Cheddar, Goats, Halloumi - all of it, apart from smoked and Blue - but I do like a good stilton and broccoli soup!
Anyway, here's my epic cheese on toast.
Time 20 mins
- 2 slices of bread - whatever you prefer but I'd recommend Fruit Loaf
- Mature or extra mature cheddar - a handful per slice
- Tbsp creme fraiche
- Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 egg
- Salt and pepper
- Optional - Worcestershire sauce
Grate the cheese - I use the finest grater if you have this option - it actually makes you use less cheese but it also melts quicker. Mix the cheese, mustard, creme fraiche, egg and salt and pepper in a bowl until it becomes a thick mix - you don't want it runny!
Lightly toast your bread.
Spread the mix thick on the toast and make sure you go right to the edges so the toast doesn't burn under the grill. Add dashes of Worcestershire sauce if you like that kind of stuff. Grill.
TIP! Keep your eyes on the grilling process - it can very quickly go brown and burn. Do not let it burn, you'll ruin the whole thing.
Serve with chutney or brown sauce, or whatever you prefer!
Pizza, pizza, pizza dough
Prove: minimum 90 minutes
Cook: 15-20 minutes
The dough recipe and method was provided by my friend and work colleague Elaine.
I experimented with a sauce and then for toppings - well, it's a free for all from there I suppose! This dough is perfect for pizzas and garlic bread.
I split this after it had risen into the two pizzas shown in the pic. If you like a thicker base, this will work for one pizza.
TIP! If you need more than one lot, don’t be tempted to just double up the recipe, it doesn’t work for some two separate lots and then split into four.
- 300g strong white flour
- 1 sachet of easy bake yeast
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 150ml of warm water
Mix flour, yeast and salt in a bowl. Stir well, the yeast needs to be evenly distributed. Make a well in the middle and pour in the olive oil and the warm water. Stir well again until it’s gone into large bits. If, (unlike me) you have a mixer with a kneading hook, throw it in there and let it run for 10 mins. It should all come together by itself and you’ll end up with a clean bowl and just one batch of dough. Otherwise you’ll need to pull it together with your hands and knead it for 10 mins - quite therapeutic I found!
TIP! Once the dough has proved and you've rolled it out, part-bake it in the over for 5 minutes before adding the sauce and toppings - this was the best tip from my neighbour and avoided the much-talked about 'soggy bottom!'
I used a sun-dried tomato pesto as my base sauce and it was immense - I actually think this is what really accentuated the authentic taste. You can buy a pre-made pesto sauce - Aldi do a good one that's reasonable, or google a recipe to make your own - it's pretty much sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil blended. I didn't measure things out so I'm not providing a 'recipe' as such for that.
I topped my pizzas with courgettes, peppers, mushrooms and then grated mozzarella cheese. Don't forget to season too - ground black pepper on pizza cannot be beaten!