Easy Veggie Fatteh

I made this after seeing a recipe for beef Fatteh and, apart from the beef, it sounded right up my street. Spiced mince (veggie in my recipe), doused with garlicky, lemony, tahini laced yoghurt all to be scooped up with toasted pitta triangles. Yes, yes, yes!

The greedy part of me was worrying that I might still be hungry at the end of this meal. After all, thought I, it’s essentially a plate of dips. I needn’t have fretted though – this is really satisfying and appetite sating, no need for an emergency extra course!

This is turned out to be a perfect family feast. I have an inkling that much of the fatteh’s appeal to children comes from not needing to use a knife and fork as much as the punch of gorgeous flavours.

If you don’t want to use veggie mince just use a couple of cans of beans or chickpeas. I’ve also tried a combo of mince, beans and chickpeas. And really you could add any veg you happen to have in your kitchen. Try adding peas, sweet potato, sweetcorn or even fresh tomatoes to the mix. Just remember that you may need to cook a little longer depending on the veg you choose.

Easy Veggie Fatteh

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

For the mince

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped quite small
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1 bag of veggie mince
  • 1 can of beans (here I used black beans) or chickpeas
  • 1 stock cube

For the yoghurt sauce

  • 400ml Greek yoghurt
  • 1 fat garlic clove, crushed
  • A heaped tablespoon tahini
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt flakes

The rest

  • 6 pitta breads
  • A handful or 2 of pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • A small handful coriander or mint leaves, chopped

Method

  • First, make your mince / bean component: Start by gently frying your onion and carrots for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then stir in the spices.
  • After a minute or so tumble in the mince and crumble in the stock cube. Add a couple of tablespoons of water, stir, then cook with a lid on for 5 minutes. Add the beans and / or chickpeas and continue to cook over a really gentle heat while you get on with the rest.
  • Preheat your oven to 180C. Split open your pitta breads and cut into triangles. Place on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes or until they are good and crisp. Once crisp, remove from the oven.
  • Meanwhile, mix together the yoghurt sauce ingredients in a heatproof bowl that you can sit over a saucepan.
  • Simmer a little water in your saucepan then place the yoghurt sauce bowl on top and heat gently. You want this to be warm rather than hot. Give it a little stir every now and again.
  • When everything is ready, scatter pitta triangles onto each plate then spoon on the the mince and pour over the yoghurt sauce.
  • As a final flourish, scatter over your toasted pumpkin seeds and chopped herbs. Then get scooping.

Veggie Shepherds Pie

I was tempted to call this Sheep’s pie as a sheep may well enjoy all of these veggie ingredients, but I’m not convinced it’s the most appetising name for something so delicious.

It was bitingly cold earlier this spring and I’d been craving mashed potatoes and warming, comfort food. So I gave this childhood classic a veggie makeover.

The base is a bit like a Bolognese sauce, only with Quorn mince and lentils. The potatoes have a hint of garlic and parmesan, so overall there’s a bit of an Italian shepherd’s theme.

I was in my usual hurry, so rather than bake this in the oven, I just smoothed the mash over the pan of sauce and popped it under a hot grill for a few minutes. Everything is piping hot anyway and the last minute grilling adds a beautiful crispy potato topping.

Veggie Shepherds Pie

Serves 4 hungry people

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 heaped tablespoons red lentils
  • 1 packet of Quorn mince
  • 1 can of tomatoes
  • 1 stock cube
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 8 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped in half
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan, finely grated

Method

  • Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan and fry your onions and carrots for about 8 minutes until they’re starting to get nice and soft.
  • Tip in the lentils and veggie mince and give everything a good stir. Now pour over your tomatoes crumble over a stock cube and fill your tomato can with water, pour the water over the sauce, scatter in the herbs and stir everything together.
  • While your sauce is bubbling away you can get on with the potatoes: boil your potatoes and garlic halves in plenty of salted boiling water until tender.
  • Drain thoroughly and return to the pan, add a big knob of butter, and half of the parmesan cheese. Mash those potatoes until nice and smooth.
  • Pop the grill on to heat up.
  • By now your sauce should be ready, the vegetables and lentils tender so remove the sauce from the heat. Pile the potatoes on top of the sauce, straight into the pan you cooked the sauce in, then smooth out to cover the sauce completely. Scatter over the remaining cheese and grill for a few minutes, until golden and crispy.

Exquisite Asian Spiced Lentil Soup

This soup is a stunning bowl of healthy deliciousness. And a sparky change to a classic lentil soup. What’s more, it’s a doddle to make : just roughly chop your veg and fling your ingredients into a pan. No precision chopping required and no need to fry before bubbling away.

This would work beautifully with any root veg, I just happened to have a fat sweet potato and a rather pitiful, past it’s best, parsnip in the fridge. Well let me tell you I did that ancient parsnip proud with this smooth, exquisitely spiced soup.

I should say that the flavours here are merely a nod to Asia and by no means is this an authentic Asian soup. Just my humble hankering for something a little different for lunch.

Asian Spiced Lentil Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • About 4cm of fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1 parsnip, roughly chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, roughly chopped
  • A couple of sticks of lemongrass
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 2 handfuls of red lentils (about a cup)
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 1 litre of chicken stock
  • 400ml can of coconut milk
  • Juice of one lemon

Method

  • Chuck everything, apart from the coconut milk and lemon, into a pan. Pop a lid on, bring to a boil then turn down and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • Once the veg and lentils are tender pour in the coconut milk and simmer really gently for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the lemon juice, turn off the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
  • Remove your lemongrass sticks. Now just blend your soup and get ready to delight your taste buds.

Veggie Burger Sky Scraper

Veggie Burger Sky Scraper

When presented with tall food, like this sky scraper burger, there are 2 types of people: Those who see all their dreams come true between 2 halves of a bread roll and those who think blimey how on earth am I going to fit that in my dainty mouth without dislocating my jaw. I’m a bit of both, initially delighted and then slightly concerned.

But the bonus about a burger like this, especially if you serve your stack in a brioche bun, is that once you’ve picked it up and taken your first bite it usually squishes down to become a much more manageable girth. And this beauty is rammed with so many healthy and delicious trimmings, it would be to your healthy detriment not to add them. Healthy greed, just the way I like it.

Use any kind of burger whether is be homemade, veggie, or slices of halloumi (and the general idea obviously works for chicken or beef burgers too).

Veggie Burger Skyscaper

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • Veggie burger or halloumi slice
  • Burger bun (brioche or sesame buns are perfect)
  • Houmous, a massive dollop
  • Tomato, sliced
  • Rocket, a big handful
  • Onion, a few rings
  • Cheese, a couple of slices (not too thick or they won’t melt)
  • Ketchup, or any sauce you fancy
  • Coleslaw, if you have it

Method

  • Cook your burger or halloumi according to the packet instructions.
  • Meanwhile slice open your bun and lightly toast the insides.
  • When the burger is almost ready, top with the cheese slices and return to the heat to allow a bit of melting.
  • Then just start construction of your delicious skyscraper stack: I put a large dollop of houmous on the base, followed by onion slices, tomatoes and a bit of rocket. Next comes the burger with its blanket of melting cheese. And finally, ketchup, a little squirt of sriracha and more rocket. Put the lid on the bun and squash it down slightly so that the whole thing doesn’t fall over on the way to the dining table.

Super Simple Salmon Chowder

Chowders are like the posh cousins of the soup family. A good fish chowder feels a bit grander than, say, a classic tomato soup or a chicken broth. To me, it’s a bit of an indulgence. I dare say a proper restaurant chowder would indeed be somewhat of a treat with lashings of cream and butter. This version, while tasting divine is, brilliantly, rather good for you. A definitively lighter rendition – posh and saintly.

Made mostly with chicken stock, it finds its delicate creaminess from a good glug of milk added near the end of the cooking. I tend to use full fat milk for this but I can’t imagine semi skimmed would taste noticeably inferior. I wouldn’t advise skimmed milk though, unless you want the creaminess in colour only. But then, why bother?

If you want to boost your veg intake, add sweetcorn, peas or chopped spinach. And finally, don’t scrimp on the bread. Big hunks of wholemeal or granary are spot on with a fish chowder.

Super Simple Salmon Chowder

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 onion, diced quite finely
700ml chicken stock
300ml whole milk

1 pack of smoked salmon, chopped
1 lemon – zest of whole lemon and a squeeze of juice to taste
A handful of parsley, chopped
A few sprigs of dill, chopped (optional)

Method

Pop your potatoes, onion and hot stock in a pan and simmer for about 15 minutes with the lid on.

Once the potatoes are tender add the milk, heat through over a low heat then add the smoked salmon and lemon zest. Gently simmer for a couple of minutes.

Turn off the heat and add a spritz of lemon juice and the herbs. If you can wait, leave the chowder to sit for a few minutes so that all the flavours can merrily mingle.

Serve with an extra scattering of herbs and more lemon juice if you like.

Fabulous Filo Leftover Pie

This is more of a suggestion than a recipe, because you could use any leftovers you want to make this pie. As long as you have a few sheets of filo kicking about the kitchen you’re onto a winner.

I had made way too much curry on Friday night and I was all set to do my usual and turn it into soup. But as I opened the fridge I spotted 3 sheets of filo pastry. I’d used the rest of the pack to make samosas and just couldn’t decide what to do with the rest.

And so this happy collision of leftovers was born. I added a couple of handfuls of couscous to my leftover curry just to make sure this was a hearty enough pie for us hungry lot.

My curry was sweet potato and chicken, but like I say, you could use whatever curry you have leftover, or use up bolognese or bean stew or a creamy fish dish or a fiery chilli. You get the idea, just experiment with what you have. I don’t often have leftovers as we are a hungry household. But this is so good, with a satisfying crunch and a flavour packed filling I’d be tempted to make extra curry just so I know I’ll have enough leftover for this easy pie.

Fabulous Filo Leftover Pie

Ingredients

  • Leftover curry (or chilli or bolognese or stew)
  • A couple of handfuls of couscous (if you want to bulk up your sauce a bit)
  • A few sheets of filo pastry (enough to scrunch up over you dish), I used 3
  • A little oil or melted butter
  • Sesame seeds

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 160 C / gas 3.
  • Reheat your curry and chuck in the couscous, if you’re using it. You could also add a couple of handfuls of frozen peas, chopped spinach or some canned sweetcorn.
  • Pour the sauce into a heat proof dish.
  • Brush your filo sheets with a little oil or melted butter then scrunch up and pop atop the curry.
  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake for 30 minutes. When it’s cooked the pastry will be crisp and lightly golden brown.