Creamy tarragon, cashew, courgette and butternut spaghetti

This weekend Alex and I have been stripping wallpaper and sanding walls, it’s hard work, and so dusty!
So for lunch today we needed something easy and nutritious, with minimal time spent in the kitchen.
We’d picked up some spiralised vegetables cheap at the supermarket the other day, so we combined them with gluten free spaghetti, toasted cashew nuts, tarragon, and a cheaty sauce made from vegan cream cheese (we used violife brand).
It was gorgeous, comforting while still giving us a good amount of vegetables, and some protein from the cashew nuts. The tarragon really makes it though!
It’s a combination of flavours we’ll be making again, possibly with the vegetables diced rather than spiralised, the textures will work just as well.


Creamy tarragon, cashew, courgette and butternut spaghetti

serves 2

180 g courgette, spiralised or diced
50 g butternut squash, spiralised or diced
80 g gluten free spaghetti
50 g cashew nuts
2 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
100 g vegan cream cheese
2 tbsp soy milk
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
salt and pepper

In a dry saucepan on a medium heat cook the cashews, stirring often until starting to brown, around 3 minutes. Tip into a dish to cool.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil (use the cashew pan for ease), and cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions. Steam the courgette and butternut squash (I use the microwave), 2 – 3 minutes each if spiralised, a little more if diced.
Drain the pasta and return it to the pan on a low heat. Add the vegan cream cheese, tarragon and soy milk. Stir until the cream cheese has melted into a sauce.
Mix in the nutritional yeast and salt and pepper to taste.
Toss through the courgette, butternut and cashews.

By A. and E.


Lentil and vegetable bake, moussaka style

I didn’t really feel like I should be calling this a moussaka, with it being vegan, but the flavours definitely have a nod to the Greek classic!
I guess with there being a meat free base, and a dairy and egg free topping, it should maybe be called moussaka, veganbungalow style… The first time I made moussaka, many moons ago, it was with a white sauce based topping, but as I researched more recipes over the years I changed to the type more like a savoury custard. So that’s what I’ve recreated here. Soy yoghurt and silken tofu blended with tapioca and flavourings sets up nicely and add a lovely richness.
Also, although aubergine (eggplant) are more well known in a moussaka, Alex would grumble furiously if I used them, so here I’ve gone for courgettes (zucchini). I actually prefer them!
The only oil in the recipe is drizzled on top to brown the courgettes, making it super healthy. To be honest though, that was mainly laziness, I didn’t want to wash up a frying pan…


Lentil and vegetable bake, moussaka style

makes 4 generous servings

for the lentil layer
1 carrot, grated (I used the food processor, as it’s also used for the creamy sauce)
2 sticks celery, grated
250 g mushrooms, chopped
100 g red lentils, rinsed
100 g green lentils, rinsed
1/4 tsp cinnamon or cassia (I’m not fond of a lot of cinnamon, feel free to add a little more if you like it)
2 tbsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried ramsons or 2 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 tsp yeast extract (make sure it’s a gluten free one)
500 ml water
salt and pepper
for the vegetable layers
2 medium sized potatoes, quartered
3 medium sized courgettes, cut into 5 mm rounds
1 tbsp oil
for the savoury custard
250 ml unsweetened soy yoghurt
175 g silken tofu (half a standard tetra pack)
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp brown rice miso
2 tbsp tapioca flour

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.
Put all of the ingredients for the lentil layer, apart from the salt and pepper, in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for around 25 minutes, uncovered, until the red lentils have disappeared into the sauce and the green lentils are tender.
Season to taste.
While the lentils are cooking, steam the potatoes and courgettes. The potatoes need to be tender, and the courgette slices starting to go bendy. Cook them separately, I used the microwave.
Whizz together the ingredients for the savoury custard in a food processor until smooth.
Slice the potatoes into 5 mm slices and place them in a layer in the bottom of an ovenproof casserole dish. I use a 20 cm round one (I also used this to cook the lentils, and then transferred them to a bowl for the layering).
Add the lentils next, and then a good thick layer of courgettes, use about 2/3 of them.
Next the savoury custard, and then arrange the last 1/3 of the courgettes prettily on top.
Drizzle with the oil. Bake for 20 minutes, and then flash under the grill for a few minutes to brown the top if you like.

By E.


Creamy courgette and bean layer bake

This is the last one in my trio of recipes from one batch of rich savoury beans! We ate it cold for lunch at work last week, and it made great filling meal without being heavy. The vegan cream cheese is so simple, and adds a lovely richness without being cloying like the dairy version can be.

The courgette is marinated before baking in a very simple water based mixture including cassia bark and oregano, for a little hint of moussaka flavour.

The vegan cream cheese does need to be started a few hours before the rest of the recipe, but it takes only a couple of minutes to set it straining. I used a coffee filter rather than muslin this time, which worked a treat!

When making this recipe I had, for the first time ever I think, a bitter courgette… It didn’t spoil the dish thank goodness, but has reminded me to always taste vegetables before cooking with them!

Creamy courgette and bean layer bake

Creamy courgette and bean layer bake

Continue reading


Sweet and smokey roast vegetables

We’ve both got a couple of day off work (hurrah!), so made these simple roast vegetables to go on cheese on toast for a quick tea (for those not from northern England, tea is the evening meal.. We have breakfast, dinner and tea round here!)

They’re so delicious though that we just had to share!

The marinade with maple syrup, liquid smoke and lemon thyme is gorgeous, we’ll be using it as a dressing for bean salads too I think!

Sweet and smokey roast vegetables

Sweet and smokey roast vegetables

serves 2

for the vegetables

1 small sweet potato, in 1 mm slices

1 courgette, in 2-3 mm slices

2 large flat mushrooms, in 6-7 mm slices

for the marinade

1 tbsp tamari

1 tbsp liquid smoke

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp chopped lemon thyme

a large pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c

So easy this one… put all of ingredients in a large roasting tin, mix together well and bake for 45 minutes, turning half way through. Yum!

By A. and E.


Courgette, mushroom and walnut polenta loaf

So, rather than buying quick cook polenta, I managed to buy the type that needs to be stirred for all eternity*…

Also, I didn’t realise this until I’d tipped it into the pan with the liquid!

This recipe therefore, is a bit of a labour of love.

Thankfully, it tastes great!

I’ll be serving it cold for work lunches, with salad and a little vegan mayo. It would be lovely with homemade tomato sauce or pickles too though.

*okay, not quite that long…

Courgette, mushroom and walnut polenta loaf

Courgette, mushroom and walnut polenta loaf

Continue reading


Risotto with vegetables, olives and basil

I bought some risotto rice from Lidl the other day, as usual without a clear idea of what to do with it…

I did think about trying something unusual, but really, a vegetable risotto is such a gorgeous thing that I decided to keep it simple!

I’ve used the absolute minimum of oil here with just one tablespoon, I don’t think you can get away with any less or there just isn’t enough to coat the rice before the liquids go in. Also I thought I’d give it a go without any onion or shallot, instead using just carrot and celery as the base, it worked very well seeming to keep a nicely clean vegetable flavour.

I removed half of the risotto before adding in the spinach and peas, so I can make something else with it another day (arancini maybe…), but the vegetable quantities given below are for the full 4 servings.

Risotto with vegetables, olives and basil

Risotto with vegetables, olives and basil

Continue reading