Mushroom & Rustic Lentil Sauce with Wild Rice

Velvety portobello mushrooms in an aromatic lentil sauce infused with garlic and rosemary, served with wild rice and scattered with fresh parsley.

5 mins prep :: 20 mins cook :: 25 mins total :: 2 servings :: 486 cals per serving :: One-off wonder

Ingredients:
* 8 large flat portobello mushrooms
* 1 red onion
* 200ml vegetable stock
* 3 garlic cloves
* 4 tbsp fresh parsley
* 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
* 1 tbsp brandy or white wine (vegan friendly)
* 400g tin of brown lentils
* 80g wild rice
* 1 tbsp olive oil
* Black pepper
* Sea salt

Directions:
1. Boil a kettle of water, wipe the mushrooms, rinse the herbs and cook the rice following pack instructions (usually 20 minutes).
2. Slice the mushrooms into 1cm slices, finely chop the onion, crush the garlic and finely chop the fresh herbs.
3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat, add the crushed garlic and onions and fry for 3 minutes until the onions are softening, then add the mushrooms with the rosemary and half the parsley and cook for a further 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, boil a kettle with enough water to make 200ml of vegetable stock; drain and rinse the lentils and make the stock.
5. Add the lentils, brandy and stock to the mushrooms and adjust the heat to keep at a gentle bubble, stirring occasionally and cooking for 10 minutes until the rice is ready. By this time, the liquid will have reduced to leave you with a wonderfully aromatic sauce. Drain the rice and serve scattered with the remaining fresh parsley.

Suggestions & Alternatives
You can serve the mushroom and rustic lentil sauce with pasta or a jacket potato instead of rice. If you can’t decide, why not make double the amount to have a different way another day. Simply cover and refrigerate overnight then reheat in the pan on a low heat for 5-10 minutes. If you choose pasta for the 2nd time your dinner can be ready in under 10 minutes!

Sweet Potato & Spinach Chermoula

Spicy sweet potato, spinach, apricots and chickpeas in a morroccan inspired sauce. Serve with a grilled flat bread on the first night and enjoy the leftovers with cous cous the 2nd night – or go mad and do it the other way round! Either way you only need to cook the dish once, but eat it twice.

Serves 4 :: 30 mins cook :: 10 mins reheat :: 300 calories per serving :: Lazy leftovers :: Double destiny

Sweet Potato & Spinach Chermoula

Sweet Potato & Spinach Chermoula

Ingredients
4 sweet potatoes (cut into small chunks)
250g spinach
1 onion (diced)
1 lemon (juice only)
400g chickpeas (cooked)
16 dried apricots (halved)
3 tbsp harissa paste
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried coriander
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp olive oil
1 pt vegetable stock
Flat leaf parsley
Sea salt
Crushed black pepper
Mixed seeds

Method:
1. Dice the onion and fry gently in 1 tbsp of olive oil on a low heat for 5 minutes, whilst cubing the sweet potato.
2. Add the juice from 1 lemon, cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt, pepper, harissa paste to the onion, followed by the sweet potatoes and stir.
3. Boil a kettle of water and make a pint of vegetable stock. Add this to the pot so the water covers the potatoes and boil covered with a lid for 10-15 minutes.
4. Once the sweet potatoes are tender add the apricots, chickpeas and spinach and simmer for another 5 minutes until the spinach is wilted and the sauce has reduced. Grill the flatbread. Serve scattered with torn flat leaf parsley and a small handul of seeds, together with the grilled flatbread.

Foodwitch Factoid
I leave the skins on the sweet potato, it saves valuable cooking time and they are very good for you as the skins are where the essential nutrients are found (good for fighting for winter colds).

Mediterranean Vegetable Stew

Courgettes, peppers, new potatoes and onions in a rustic stew, topped with feta cheese and served with crusty bread to mop up all the juices. It’s an early version of a classic ratatouillie and is made with potatoes instead of aubergines. This is so easy to make and is one of my absolute favourites, I love the way the fresh herbs infuse in to the potatoes. Plus it’s so healthy you can have an extra big helping and not feel guilty.

Prep time 15 mins :: Cook time 1.5hrs :: 400 calories per serving :: Lazy leftovers :: Easy Peasy :: Serves 4

Mediterranean Vegetable Stew

Mediterranean Vegetable Stew

Ingredients:
12-16 new potatoes
4 courgettes
3 peppers (red/yellow/green)
2 onions (white or red)
6 vine ripened tomatoes
4 garlic cloves
4 tbsp fresh mint
4 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley
1 tbsp olive oil
190 ml vegetable stock
50 ml white wine
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp smoked paprika
Sea salt
Freshly milled black pepper
Crusty french bread (buttered)
200g organic feta cheese

1. Heat the oven to 200c or equivalent.
2. Chop the courgettes, peppers and onions in to similar sized chunks (about an inch) and crush the garlic.
3. Heat the oil in a large heavy casserole dish with a lid and gently fry the garlic.
4. Add the courgettes, peppers and onions and gently stirfry for a few minutes while you make the stock, chop the herbs and halve the new potatoes and tomatoes.
5. Stir in the stock, potatoes, wine, paprika, lemon juice, sea salt, peppers, together with the chopped mint and parsley (keep back a couple of pinches for later).
6. Place the halved tomatoes skin-side down on the surface and drizzle with another glug of oil. Put the lid on the dish and place in the oven for 1.5hrs.
7. Meanwhile, cube the feta and butter the crusty bread. When the stew is ready, serve in bowls scattered with the feta, remaining herbs on top and the bread on the side.

Foodwitch Factoid
This dish is great cold or reheated the next day. Sometimes I make a massive vat of it and have it for a no-cook healthy lunch for a few days! You can make this dish vegan by ommitting the cheese and the butter from the bread or using vegan alternatives.

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Hearty Farmhouse Minestrone

Satisfying thick and chunky version of the classic italian soup, made with autumn vegetables, pasta and beans. The sweetness of the swede and tomatoes combines with the rosemary to create a wonderfully heady aroma. Don’t worry if the cauliflower breaks up towards the end, this helps to create the thickness without needing to put the soup in a processor.

Serves 4 :: Make in 50 mins :: 420 calories per serving :: One-Off Wonder :: Easy Freezy Ready Meal :: Lazy Leftovers

Ingredients:

1 cauliflower
1 swede
2 carrots
1 onion
200g red kidney beans (1/2 tin)
400g ratatouillie (1 tin)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 vegetable stock cubes
1 tsp dried bay leaves (crushed)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp rosemary
Sea salt
200g wholewheat fusilli pasta
4 tbsp parmesan cheese (or vegetarian/vegan cheese alternative)
4 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley

Directions:

1. Chop the onion and fry gently in the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan until starting to soften (5 mins).

2. Boil a kettle of water, crumble the vegetable stock cubes into a measuring jug and make up a pint of stock.

3. Meanwhile, chop the carrot into chunky slices. Peel the swede and chop into similar sized pieces. Chop the cauliflower into small florets. Add the carrot, swede, cauliflower, ratatouillie, vegetable stock, sea salt, dried oregano and dried bay leaves to the pan. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, shave the cheese (lol), chop the fresh parsley, drain the beans and measure the pasta.

5. Add the pasta to the vegetable stew and boil hard, stirring occaisionally until the pasta is cooked (about 7-8 minutes – a minute or so longer than usual). Take care that the vegetables don’t stick to the bottom and burn.

6. Add the kidney beans about 3-4 minutes before the end to warm through, together with the dried rosemary to create an intenser flavour.

7. Serve up in bowls, scattered with the cheese and parsley.

Suggestions: Serve on it’s own or with a slice of bread and butter for an extra 150 calories. Freeze and simply defrost 10 hours before use or in the microwave. Reheat from fridge temperature in the microwave in 3-5 minutes, stirring half way though. Reheat on the hob on a medium temperature for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occaisionally.