Tag Archives: harissa

Three quick and easy vegan pasta sauces

22 Mar

When I get back from work late, or tired, or both, it’s hard sometimes to motivate myself to cook something proper for dinner. I often find myself eating freezer junk or having a takeaway, when I’d much rather have something healthy. Here’s my solution. Pasta, whatever random ingredient I find in the fridge, and a quick and easy sauce. These three sauces take about a minute each to prepare, and can just be heated in the pan the pasta was cooked in, meaning no extra washing up. I can be slobbing in front of the TV in my tracky bottoms with some dinner within 20 minutes of getting home.

 

Garlic tahini sauce (serves 1):

  • 1 tablespoon each tahini, cold water, and nooch
  • 1 small clove of garlic, mashed to a fine paste with a generous pinch of salt

Mix all of the ingredients together in a little bowl or cup. Leave to stand for a few minutes while you cook some pasta and veggies. It might be a little lumpy at first but it will become smooth. Mix with the cooked pasta and veggies and serve.

 

Harissa and tomato sauce (serves 1):

  • 1 heaped teaspoon harissa paste
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered

Cook some pasta, and drain, reserving some of the liquid. Leave the pasta in the colander and put the pan back on the hob over a high heat. Throw in the cherry tomatoes, a splash of the pasta water, and the harissa paste. Let it bubble for a minute or so, until the tomatoes are beginning to break down and the harissa paste is mixed in with the water. Return the pasta and any other ingredients back to the pan, stir until everything is well coated with the sauce, and serve.

This recipe also works well with chipotle paste instead of harissa.

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Creamy mustard sauce (serves 1):

  • 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes
  • Half a tablespoon of plain flour
  • 75ml of cold water
  • A pinch of salt
  • Up to 1 tablespoon of grainy mustard

Before cooking the pasta, mix together the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl or cup. Leave to one side while you cook the pasta, so the flour can start absorbing the water. Cook some pasta, and drain. Leave the pasta in the colander and put the pan back on the hob over a high heat. Pour the sauce into the pan and stir it until it comes to the boil and thickens – this should take less than a minute. Return the pasta and any other ingredients back to the pan, stir until everything is well coated with the sauce, and serve.

Harissa spiced roast vegetable pasta

17 Jun

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I’ve not posted very much over the last few weeks because I’ve been super busy at work, which completely saps my creativity. Things are calming down now, and I’ve finally got my cooking mojo back! I’ve been celebrating today with this simple spicy veggie pasta (recipe below).

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Recipe (serves 2)

  • A selection of veggies. I used onion, tomato, aubergine/eggplant, and courgette/zucchini. Other good options include squash, sweet potato, pepper or fennel.
  • Two tablespoons oil
  • 150g wholemeal pasta
  • 1 tablespoon harissa paste, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree

Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Chop the vegetables into roughly bite-sized pieces, transfer to a roasting tin, toss in the oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender and starting to brown around the edges, around half an hour.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Drain and return to the pan. Add the harissa and tomato puree and the roasted vegetables. Mix well, adding a splash of water if it looks a bit dry.

Serve with some tasty protein, such as beans or marinated grilled tofu. We were feeling slightly less classy than that today, so we topped it with some vegetarian hot dogs. Yum.

North African spicy chickpea and sweet potato soup

22 May

In my last post I mentioned that I often take home-made soup to work for lunch. I love making soup; it’s easy, cheap, filling, and super versatile. I could probably post a soup recipe every week and never run out of ideas, but here’s just one to begin with.

Harissa paste is a North African blend of chillies and spices that works as a brilliant cheat ingredient for sexing up soup, stew, sandwiches, homous, roasted vegetables. It’s probably my new favourite ingredient. The soup would be great without it (chickpeas AND sweet potato, two of my favourite soup items), but including harissa gives it a Moroccan tagine-style edge that makes it insanely good.

This isn’t the best food photo I’ve ever taken, but you get the idea (recipe below):

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Recipe (serves 2-4)

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1-2 red chillies, chopped (optional, depending on how hot you like it)
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon harissa paste
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained
  • Half a tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, chillies, and sweet potato, cover and sweat over a low-medium heat for about 10 minutes.

Add the cumin, harissa paste, about three quarters of the chickpeas, the tomatoes and stock. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly then blend until smooth. Add the rest of the chickpeas, heat through and check for seasoning.

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