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MeatFreeMonday: Sweet Potato Tacos (gluten, dairy free!)

I haven’t been around here much lately.  Things have been a bit crazy with househunting and one thing and another, but tonight I made Tacos that I just had to share with the world.  They were born from the simple fact that I had sweet potatoes in the cupboard that needed eating.  I’d like to say I made my own taco shells, but I didn’t.  B found the corn shells we bought on offer when they fell out of the cupboard this morning – so the decision was made, we were having sweet potato tacos for dinner!

They were sweet, tangy, creamy, and spicy all at the same time.  As well as being stupidly easy to make, they are healthy and filling too.  Here’s how I made the filling for roughly 8 tacos…

 

Ingredients:

3 small-medium sweet potatoes

400g tin white kidney beans, drained and rinsed

50g frozen spinach

1 red onion, chopped

1 small green pepper, chopped

1 red chilli, sliced

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1/4 tsp each of: paprika, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, mustard powder

freshly ground black pepper to taste (I used about 1/8 tsp)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp ground flax seed

8 gluten free taco shells

 

Method:

  • Peel and roughly chop the sweet potatoes
  • Place them in a bowl, cover, and microwave for approx 7 mins, checking half way through – cook until tender
  • Meanwhile, in a large pan, heat the onion and green pepper in a little oil until they soften (a few minutes)
  • Add the garlic, chilli, spinach and beans to the pan, cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes (until the beans are soft and the spinach has defrosted)
  • Add the cooked sweet potato to the pan, along with the spices, flax seed & oil
  • Mash the mixture together with a potato masher until the potato & beans are fairly smooth, don’t worry about the odd lump & bump, then turn off the heat
  • Heat the taco shells in the microwave for around 1 minute 30 seconds
  • That’s it – serve! Add salad, cheese, salsa, guacamole or anything else as desired – we had naked tacos – just the above mixture inside corn shells, and they were amazing

 

So there you have a satisfying taco filling – tasty and healthy, and no need for any micro-protein-pretend-beef-mince.  Happy Meat-free-Monday everyone!

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Homemade Vegetable Lasagne (gluten & lactose free)

Homemade vegetable lasagne, just as it should be; hot, oozy and messy, with garden peas & chunky chips!

I don’t have the inclination to let it rest long enough for the layers to firm up properly. That’s just because I’m greedy and by the time it comes out of the oven I want to just put my face in the lasagne pan.  This is a vegetable lasagne without any weird mycro-protein-whatever-textured-stuff… just vegetables & tomatoes, with a homemade white sauce (made with lactofree milk & cheese, and gluten free flour).  I have been known to make my own pasta sheets for this but tonight I used sainsburys gluten free pasta sheets (dry).

Ingredients:

  • for the vegetables…

2 small yellow onions, finely chopped

1 small red pepper, finely chopped

2 good sized courgettes, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced / finely chopped

500g carton of tomato passata (sieved tomatoes)

1 bay leaf

1/4 tsp basil

1/4 tsp oregano

1/4 tsp mustard powder

  • for the sauce:

20g plain gluten free flour

200ml stock (COLD!)

200ml lactofree milk

knob of ‘butter’ (or dairy free spread)

100g grated lactofree cheese

black pepper & parsley to taste

  • also…

250g dry lasagne sheets

100g grated lactofree cheese for the top

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and start with the vegetables…

  • in a large pan, heat the onion and pepper in a little oil until they start to soften
  • add the courgette and heat for around 5 minutes until it softens
  • add the garlic, stir through, and then add the passata
  • stir in the basil, mustard and oregano, and add the whole bay leaf
  • bring this to a simmer and heat for 10 or 15 minutes before turning off the heat

Meanwhile sort the cheese sauce…

  • add a little milk to the flour and whisk until there are no lumps, then add the rest of the milk
  • mix in the stock, and pour it all into a cold saucepan
  • add the butter to the pan, and heat very gently, whisking, until it comes to a simmer
  • stir in the cheese before adding the parsley and black pepper to taste
  • keep it on a gentle heat, and keep an eye on it while you begin to assemble the lasagne

To layer the lasagne…

  • oil / grease a lasagne pan (24x28cm works well) and cover the bottom with the pasta sheets
  • onto that add a layer of vegetables, then a little cheese sauce on top of that
  • repeat the pasta – vegetables – cheese sauce layering until you come to your last sheets of pasta
  • top the final sheets of pasta with a thick layer of cheese sauce, then sprinkle over the grated cheese
  • pop this in the oven for 30 minutes

Once it’s cooked and the cheese is golden brown, take it out of the oven, and ideally let it rest for 20 minutes – this will allow the layers to firm up and it will be easier to cut and serve… me, I don’t have the patience for that, but if you’re cooking for guests you might want to.

This is one of those dishes that’s so tasty and satisfying, it really doesn’t need meat (or ‘fake’ soya-protein-pretend-meat).  This recipe might come in useful to any omnivores looking to give up meat for lent! :)

Recipe: Sticky Peanut Noodle Stir Fry (gluten and dairy free)

I found some gluten free brown rice noodles at the supermarket (finally) so I had to make this! The great thing about stir-frying is that you can chuck in whatever veg you have lying around (or meat, if you’re that way inclined), make it as big or as small as you need, and it takes 15 minutes to make. What makes this one special is the peanut sauce!

Ingredients:

250g gluten free brown rice noodles (dry weight)

1 head brocolli, broken into small florets

2 carrots, thinly sliced

1 red pepper, chopped

1 stick celery, chopped

1 red chilli, sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp lazy ginger (or a 2cm piece of fresh ginger)

For the Peanut Sauce:

125g Whole Earth Smooth Peanut Butter

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp gluten free tamari sauce

1 tbsp honey (or agave nectar to make it vegan)

1 tbsp water

juice of 1 lime

50g sesame seeds

Method:

  • Put a large pan of water on to boil for the noodles, and meanwhile chop the veg for the stir fry
  • Pop your noodles into the boiling water, and add your veg to a hot pan with some oil (leave the chilli & garlic out for now)
  • Mix together the ingredients for the sauce
  • The noodles and the stir fry should both only take around 5 minutes, so at the last minute, add the garlic and chilli to the stir fry
  • Mix the peanut sauce in with the stir fry, then drain your noodles.
  • Add your noodles to the stir fry pan, and mix well (the rice noodles can be a bit sticky and stubborn, but persevere for a minute) then take off the heat and serve immediately!

This was supposed to make enough for me and OH tonight, with one dish left over for lunch tomorrow, but OH liked it so much he polished it all off tonight. So it must have been good :)

Recipe: Chilli Sin Carne – gluten, dairy, & meat free

This chilli is so easy to make – I don’t use any substitute for the mince, just veggies and beans so you can throw in whatever you’ve got lying around in the fridge and the cupboard!

This makes enough to feed 4 greedy hungry people.

Ingredients:

1 red onion

1 stick of celery

1 red pepper

1 good sized courgette

6 (ish) small mushrooms

1 400g can red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)

2 x 400ml cartons tomato passata (or chopped tomatoes)

1 large green chilli (finely chopped – I leave the seeds in)

1 or 2 cloves garlic (peeled and minced / grated / finely chopped)

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (hot)

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp mustard powder

Good sprinkling of crushed black pepper, and salt if you need to.

(for the rice and chips on the side: about 4 good sized potatoes, 300-400g rice, and a handful of frozen garden peas)

Method

  • Chop your veg into small pieces.
  • Get a drizzle of oil in a pan on medium heat, and add your onion, celery, mushrooms, pepper and courgette
  • Once they are softened, add the kidney beans, and let them heat up for a few minutes
  • Add the garlic and chilli, mix them through for no more than 30 seconds (it doesn’t take long to burn the garlic and burnt garlic is horrible)
  • Add the tomatoes (using passata just makes for a thicker sauce, but chopped tomatoes are fine) and mix well
  • Add the spices – cayenne, paprikas, mustard, black pepper – and the honey.
  • Give it a good stir and let it simmer, lid on, for at least 30 mins (use this time to make some rice & chips to serve it with!)

Rice & Chips (fries…)

  • Get your oven nice and hot around 200 degrees
  • Use about 1 potato per person, I don’t bother peeling them, just wash and chop into chunks of your choice, then place them on kitchen paper to drain excess water (this will make them crispier)
  • Toss them in a little oil, then place on a baking tray and pop them in the oven (depending on the size of the chips, they will take 30-45 mins, so keep an eye on them and turn them now and again)
  • Bring a large pan of water to boil, and add 75-100g rice per person.  I like to use a mix of long grain & wild rice which takes about 20 mins, but you can use any rice you fancy – just allow longer cooking time for brown and wholegrain rice. (it’s nice to throw in a handful of frozen peas while the rice is cooking – the peas add to the sweetness of the rice, and make it look pretty too…)
  • Take the chilli off the heat to rest for 5-10 mins before the rice & chips are ready, then when it’s all done, drain the water from the rice, take the chips from the oven, and serve!

Cooking isn’t an exact science.  Use what you like and omit what you don’t like.  If you want it mild, don’t use chilli and cayenne (you could chuck a bay leaf in for extra flavour).  If your sauce is too watery, adding a can of adzuki beans or about 30g dry lentils is a good way to thicken it up, just allow a little longer time for the lentils to cook and keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t become too dry. And if you have any questions, please feel free to ask :)

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