Long Reads

3 easy vegan recipes that rely on store cupboard essentials

Has coronavirus panic buying left your local supermarket’s shelves bare? Fear not. Here, we have three delicious vegan recipes from nutritional therapist Amelia Freer, including easy baked beans an irresistible lazy dahl.

The coronavirus pandemic means we’re living in strange and uncertain times, with supermarkets across the country stripped of food as people panic buy in case of isolation.

If you’re struggling to think of ideas for what to cook with the store cupboard essentials you already have, then look no further. Below, nutritional therapist Amelia Freer has shared three delicious vegan recipes that can be rustled up using items you probably already have in your kitchen, such as tinned food and spices. Even better, each recipe is simple to make and packed full of health-boosting ingredients.

And if you’re desperate to get your hands on an elusive can of beans, then good news – there’s a recipe for butternut baked beans you can make yourself, too. Happy cooking!

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Easy vegan recipe: instant tomato & cannellini bean soup (serves 3)      

Easy vegan recipe: instant tomato & cannellini bean soup
Easy vegan recipe: instant tomato & cannellini bean soup

This is an ‘instant’ soup. Simply blend the raw ingredients together in a decent blender, and it’s ready. No cooking required. With this particular one, you can even make it when the fridge is looking decidedly bare, as it is mainly composed of tinned ingredients. Enjoy it gently warmed through, or chilled like a gazpacho. If you have any left over, it freezes well (although heat it through thoroughly before serving).

Ingredients:

2 x 400g tins of good-quality chopped tomatoes, plus ½ a tin (200ml) of cold water to rinse them out

1 x 400g tin or jar of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 spring onion, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

a handful of fresh basil leaves

freshly ground black pepper

Method:

Put all the ingredients (including the cold water) into the blender, and blend until completely smooth. Add a little more water to adjust the consistency if needed. Either chill or heat to serve.

Serve with a good grind of black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

Easy vegan recipes: lazy dahl (serves 2)

dahl recipe
Easy vegan recipes: lazy dahl

I call it ‘lazy’ because I’ll sometimes use frozen chopped onions, garlic, ginger and chilli, and skip the toasting of the spices (just substituting an equivalent amount of ground spices). It does save time and reduce all of the chopping. However, using fresh ingredients and taking that little bit of extra time really does produce better flavour, so I’ll leave it with you to decide. It freezes well.

Ingredients:

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon coriander seeds

½ teaspoon mustard seeds

2 teaspoons coconut oil

1 onion, peeled and diced

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1 teaspoon garam masala

200g dried red lentils, rinsed until the water runs clear, and drained

1 x 400g tin of coconut milk

500ml vegetable stock

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 handfuls of washed fresh spinach or 2 blocks of frozen

juice of ½ a lemon

a handful of fresh coriander leaves

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Method:

Heat a large pan over a medium heat and gently toast the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mustard seeds start to pop. Tip them out of the pan, and then lightly grind in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder.

Put the coconut oil into the hot pan, then add the onion with a pinch of salt and cook gently for 5 minutes over a low heat. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for a further few minutes. Add the freshly ground spices, along with the turmeric and garam masala, and cook for 1 minute.

Finally, add the lentils, coconut milk and vegetable stock, and stir to combine. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook on a low heat for 10 minutes with the lid on, then 10 minutes with the cover off to allow it to thicken.

Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Just before serving, add the spinach and stir until it wilts, then squeeze in the lemon juice and top with fresh coriander leaves.

Easy vegan recipes: butternut baked beans (serves 4)

Easy vegan recipes: butternut baked beans
Easy vegan recipes: butternut baked beans

This recipe makes a large quantity, and it keeps well in the fridge for 2 to 3 days, so you can enjoy it for other meals. The flavour gets better and better. Very, and extremely versatile – it’s my favourite kind of cooking. For breakfast, I enjoy this with some spinach and a poached egg, for example. It’s also great cold for lunch with salad leaves and crumbled feta. Or for supper, with roasted chicken and steamed greens. If you don’t wish to make such a large portion, just halve the amounts of butternut squash, onion and mushrooms.

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes

2 medium onions, peeled and diced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

200g mushrooms, roughly diced

1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan.

Put the squash, onions, garlic and mushrooms into a large roasting tray, along with the chickpeas. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle over the smoked paprika. Use a large spoon to mix everything well, ensuring that the vegetables and chickpeas are evenly covered with the paprika oil.

Bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through if you get the chance, until everything starts to soften and caramelize at the edges. Add the tinned tomatoes and stir through. Then return the tray to the oven for another 10 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Photography: Susan Bell

Simply Good For You by Amelia Freer is available now (Michael Joseph, £22). To order your copy, find an independent bookstore near you at hive.co.uk.

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