Chickpea goulash (paprika-spiced vegan chickpea stew)

Chickpea goulash (paprika-spiced vegan chickpea stew)

Chickpea goulash 2

I was recently lucky enough to visit Australia. I spent a week in Sydney and the second week in Melbourne, eating a lot of amazing food. One happy day in Melbourne, I discovered a gorgeous shop selling spices.  I spent quite a long time smelling the amazing aromas, and picked up a few treats, like an applewood smoked salt that makes everything taste unbelievable!

Their goulash seasoning smelt so amazing that I was inspired to create this recipe. It is SO tasty. It’s a vegetarian spin on a traditional goulash. Hungarian goulash is usually made with pork, so this version with chickpeas is a lot lighter, healthier and cheaper to make. I batch cook this as it freezes really well. You don’t really need anything else with it, as the chickpeas are so filling. You can serve it with soured cream or even grated cheese… but obviously if you’re vegan then use vegan substitutes.

You can sprinkle parsley on the top of this when you serve, but I love using the chopped leaves from the top of the celery instead. (No waste!)

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Ingredients (makes 4 portions)
– two onions, peeled and finely chopped
–  4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
– 2 celery sticks, sliced
– 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
– 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
– 2 bay leaves
– 2x cans of chickpeas, drained
– tin of chopped tomatoes

Optional – soured cream / vegan soured cream to serve

Method
1. Heat a little oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Sauté the onion, garlic, celery and carrots for a few minutes until softened and the onion is starting to turn translucent.
2. Add the bay leaves and paprika, plus salt and pepper. Stir together – this should begin to release a gorgeous smoky smell.
3. Tip in the chopped tomatoes and drained chickpeas. Stir everything together and leave to simmer on a low heat for 15-20 minutes until thickened.
4. Taste and season.
5. Serve with your favourite toppings

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Sweet potato mac and cheese (gluten free)

Sweet potato mac and cheese (gluten free)

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Last Christmas I got Anna Mae’s Mac n Cheese recipe book, which has rapidly become one of my most used books. It’s full of amazing recipes for macaroni cheese and is so beautiful to boot. If you have any cheese-loving friends, I would highly recommend this as a gift.

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It’s made me play around with Mac and Cheese recipes, which has been fun! This one is definitely my favourite, not least because it is gluten free. Substituting the pasta for sweet potato noodles adds a delicious flavour and makes it slightly healthier…. although there’s still a LOT of cheese in this! I use a Lurch spiralizer, which I’ve always found to be a really reliable model.

If you don’t have a spiralizer, then you will just have to cut the sweet potatoes into small cubes and cook them for an extra 5-10 minutes before adding the cheese mix.
Or just buy a spiralizer!

Ingredients (serves 2)
– 3 medium sized sweet potatoes
– 1 tablespoon oil
– 1 teaspoon each paprika and thyme
– 300 ml milk
– 25g unsalted butter
– 25g rice flour (or other gluten free flour)
– 125g cheddar
– 75g Parmesan
– 100 g mozzarella
– 1 teaspoon English mustard
– salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper

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Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
2. Peel the sweet potatoes and spiralize them to make thin noodles. Trim any really long noodles and toss with the oil, paprika, thyme plus salt and pepper. Bake for 35-40 minutes in an oven proof dish, moving regularly to make sure the edges don’t burn.
3. While the noodles cook, make your cheese sauce. Melt the butter over a medium heat and slowly stir in the flour. Cook out the flour for up to 4 minutes.
4. Warm the milk (don’t let it boil) and add this gradually to the butter and flour, whisking constantly. When it is all combined, cook for about 8 minutes, or until the the sauce has thickened.
5. Grate your cheese. You can do this by hand, but to be honest, I cut mine into large cubes and then chuck it in the food processor. So. Much. Quicker.
6. Add the mustard, cheddar and Parmesan to the white sauce and stir until all of the cheese is melted in.
7. Pour the cheeeeesy sauce all over the noodles, which should now be cooked through but a little al dente. Stir together, then spread the mozzarella over the top. Season with salt and pepper.
8. Turn the oven to high grill and cook for 6-8 minutes until the cheese is molten and bubbly.

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Skinny chicken Bolognese with zoodles

Skinny chicken Bolognese with zoodles

A few years ago, I travelled to Bologna and had the very best Bolognese I’ve ever tasted. It was in a tiny little backstreet restaurant – thick, rich ragu with tagliatelle (not spaghetti – the traditional way is with wider pasta noodles because they take on more of the sauce). It was just amazing and one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. I went back the next night and ordered the exact same thing!

It’s a pretty perfect food memory and I’m not sure that I could recreate the recipe. To be honest, I probably don’t want to think about the amount of butter, salt, red meat etc that went into making that dish! So I decided I’d go in a different direction. I’d make a Bolognese that would still be delicious but would be healthier.

This recipe uses chicken mince instead of beef and I’ve replaced the pasta with spiralized zucchini. That makes it lighter, much lower in calories and gluten free. Spiralizing is a super easy way to reduce the gluten and calories in your meal, but still feel full. You can buy the spiralizer I use by following this link – I really recommend it.

In addition to the “zoodles” I’ve included lots of vegetables in the ragu sauce, so this can provide up to 4 portions of fruit and veg per serving! If you were wanting to be extra healthy, you could skip the Parmesan cheese but really, is life worth living without cheese?

I think this recipe is a great way to let you enjoy a family favourite but in a lighter way. I hope you like it!Skinny chicken bolognese (2)

Ingredients (serves 4)
– 400 g chicken mince
– 2 carrots
– 1 white onion
– 2 cloves garlic
– 100 g cherry tomatoes
– 2 medium zucchinis
– 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
– 500 ml passata
– 100 ml chicken stock
– 1 teaspoon each dried oregano, thyme and rosemary

Black pepper and grated Parmesan cheese to serve

Skinny chicken bolognese (1)Method
1. Prepare the vegetables. Peel and finely chop the onions and garlic. Peel and dice the carrots and halve the cherry tomatoes. Dice a quarter of one of the zucchinis, then spiralize the remaining zucchini on the fine noodle setting.
2. Heat a little oil in a large saucepan. Cook the onions for about two minutes, then add the garlic and stir together until they begin to soften.
3. Add the diced carrot, tomatoes and zucchini with the Worchestershire sauce. Stir together then cover and leave to sweat for 5 minutes.
4. Stir in the chicken mince and cook until the meat is white and firm. Pour over the passata, stock and herbs and combine well.
5. Cook on a low heat for 15 minutes with the lid on. Stir well, then cook for a further 15-20 minutes until the sauce is thickened and reduced. Season to taste.
6. During the last 5 minutes of cooking time, heat a little oil in a large frying pan (or I used roasted garlic butter for extra flavour). Cook the zucchini noodles in the frying pan until slightly softened -I like mine still with a bit of bite to them. Drain and pat dry with a little kitchen paper, or your sauce will turn watery.
7. Serve the Bolognese sauce with the cooked zoodles and top with black pepper and Parmesan cheese.

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Simple carrot and cabbage soup with omelette rolls

Simple carrot and cabbage soup with omelette rolls
Carrot and cabbage soup with omelette rolls (Twitter)

I really like the addition of the thin omelette rings added at the end of this recipe. It adds some protein and makes the soup more filling. It is one egg per person –  if you are scaling up the recipe for more than one person, do each omelette separately, one egg at a time. More than one egg will make a thicker omelette, and for this you need it to be very thin.

Whilst we are on the subject of thin, a mandolin or vegetable slicer will make your life much easier if you are making this recipe, because it will help you to make very thin slices of carrot. If you don’t have a mandolin, make sure you slice the carrot really thinly so it cooks quickly!

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Ingredients (per person)

– 1 egg, beaten
– 1 carrot, peeled and finely sliced
– quarter head of white cabbage, shredded finely
– 1 bowl of vegetable/chicken stock

Method
1. Place the sliced carrot and shredded cabbage in a pan with the stock.
2. Bring to the boil, then simmer for ten minutes.
Carrot cabbage omelette soup (2)3. Heat a little oil or butter in a medium-large frying pan. Pour the beaten egg in and swirl it over the pan to create a thin layer. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the egg is cooked and starting to colour. Take the omelette out of the pan and roll up.
4. Slice the omelette thinly. Test the soup and season to taste – the vegetables should be cooked but still with a little bite. Pour the soup into a bowl then place the omelette slices on top.

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Garlic and peanut crusted chicken with sweet chilli vegetables

Garlic and peanut crusted chicken with sweet chilli vegetables

Peanut chicken and sweet chilli veg (1)

This is a really tasty way to eat your chicken and vegetables! The chicken stays moist in its peanut coating, and the vegetables are so delicious!

It’s also really filling – we didn’t need rice/noodles etc with it. Enjoy!

Peanut chicken and sweet chilli veg (6)

Ingredients (serves 2)
– 3 garlic cloves
– 200g unsalted peanuts
– 2 chicken breasts
– 50g plain flour
– 1 egg, beaten
– half a courgette
– half a red pepper
– quarter head of white cabbage, shredded
– one carrot
– one small onion
– one cauliflower stem (optional)
– four tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
– 1 tablespoon soy sauce
– 1 teaspoon rice wine

Peanut chicken and sweet chilli veg (7)

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
2. Put the peanuts and garlic in a food processor and pulse until in small pieces.
3. Set up your station for coating the chicken – one of flour, one of beaten egg and one of the peanut/garlic pieces (put a quarter of this to one side for the vegetables later).Peanut chicken and sweet chilli veg (2)
4. Dip the chicken breasts in the flour, then the egg, then coat in the peanuts. Place on a rack over a baking tray and cook for 30 minutes.
Peanut chicken and sweet chilli veg (3)

5. Prepare your vegetables. If you have a spiralizer, then use the ribbon setting for the courgette, carrot, onion and cauliflower stem (chop the pepper and cabbage into small pieces). If not, use a vegetable peeler to make courgette and carrot ribbons, and thinly slice the onion, cabbage, pepper and cauliflower stem.Peanut chicken and sweet chilli veg (4)
6. Heat a large wok or frying pan over a medium heat. There is no need for oil. Add all of the vegetables and stir fry, turning frequently until they are cooked but still retaining a bite. This should take 5-6 minutes.
7. In a separate small frying pan, lightly toast the rest of the peanuts and garlic for 4 minutes. Toss regularly so they don’t burn.
Peanut chicken and sweet chilli veg (5)8. Mix the sweet chilli, soy and rice wine together. Taste and adjust to your preference.
9. Toss the vegetables with the peanuts, garlic and sauce. Check the chicken is thoroughly cooked through. Serve the vegetables and chicken.

Peanut chicken and sweet chilli veg (7)

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