Tag Archives: tahini

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.

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Chuna pasta

2 Aug

When I was a student I practically lived on tuna pasta. Like a lot of mums of students, mine used to give me care packages to make sure I was eating properly, whenever I went to stay with my parents there was always random things like pasta and tuna in the bottom of my wardrobe. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss tuna, but the idea of eating an endangered species doesn’t really appeal so much these days.

There are millions of versions of vegetarian “tuna” salad recipe online, subbing chickpeas for the tuna. To be honest it’s nice, but doesn’t quite say tuna to me – there seems to be something missing. I kind of stumbled across this tweak to the recipe by accident. I’ve tried a few recipes for tahini pasta before, and a few other pastas with beans, and I started to wonder if I combined the two ideas I might be able to make mock tuna. I think I got it right here, the tangy, nutty, creaminess of the tahini and lemon sauce converts it from chickpea pasta to chuna pasta!

I like to add sweetcorn because tuna and sweetcorn is a classic combination, but you could add anything you fancy. I think a big handful of olives or some capers would be particularly gorgeous.

Recipe (serves 2):

For the tahini and lemon sauce

  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For everything else

  • 150g (dry weight) pasta
  • One small onion, sliced in thin half-moons
  • 150g cooked chickpeas (about two thirds of a tin)
  • 150g sweetcorn

For the sauce, mix together the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside while everything else is cooking. It might be a bit lumpy or split to start with, but if you leave it for ten minutes or so it will become completely smooth.

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. If you’re using fresh sweetcorn, throw it in with the pasta about a minute before the end of the cooking time to quickly cook it.

While the pasta is cooking, fry the onion in a splash of oil over a medium heat until translucent and just starting to colour, about five minutes. Roughly mash or chop the chickpeas until there are no whole beans left, but don’t completely puree them.

Drain the cooked pasta and return to the pan with the sweetcorn, chickpeas, cooked onion, and the sauce. Stir over a medium heat until warmed through.

Carrot and white bean hummus

16 Feb

My carrot hummus in a wrap with sunflower seeds, grated carrot, and mixed leaves. Delish!

I feel incredibly lucky to live just a couple of minutes walk from a local, independent deli. It’s my favourite place to get lunch if I’m at home on a Saturday or in the week. They’ve got tonnes of different salads (the best being a roasted vegetable and butter bean ratatouille), incredible sourdough bread, olives, loads of different kind of teas, and a good selection of fruit and veg. A few weeks ago I bought some carrot hummus from the deli, and it was ok but not what I was expecting at all – there were no beans and, even worse, no tahini. It was quite expensive for what was, essentially, just a pot of mashed carrots. Even if it was disappointing, at least it inspired me to create a new recipe. Carrot and white bean hummus, with tahini!

Slightly blurry carrot hummus

Recipe (makes one big pot):

  • 2 medium carrots (about 150g), peeled and chopped into 1cm slices
  • A 400g tin of white beans (I used butter beans but any white beans would be fine), drained
  • Half clove of garlic, mashed to a pulp with a pinch of the salt (I don’t use too much garlic in hummus because I usually eat it at work. If you’re not eating it at work or don’t mind scaring your colleagues, feel free to use a lot more.)
  • Half a teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 3 tablepoons of lemon juice
  • A pinch of ground cumin

Put the carrots in a saucepan, cover with cold water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 15 minutes or so until tender. Drain and allow to cool.

Put all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Taste for seasoning and lemon, and adjust if necessary.

Keeps for up to three days in the fridge.

Crispy chickpea flour pancakes

2 Feb

I’d previously only ever used chickpea flour (aka gram flour or besan) for making onion bhajis or for holding together falafels, but I recently found out you can use it to make gorgeous crispy pancakes, somewhere between a thick flatbread and an omelette. They’re really quick and easy to make. In fact, even on a weekday morning when I have less than 10 minutes for my breakfast, I can make and eat one of these with time to spare. They’re totally delicious, and you can stuff them with or into whatever you fancy. How about filling one with fried mushrooms or tomatoes, or mashed avocado with tahini or hot sauce? They’re also the perfect size for stuffing into a tortilla or pitta bread, maybe with some beans and salsa, or some hummus.

Here it is, my new favourite breakfast:

Recipe (serves 1)

  • Quarter of a cup of chickpea flour
  • Quarter of a cup of cold water
  • A pinch each of ground cumin, salt, and pepper
  • A teaspoon or so of oil

Heat a small (15cm or so) frying pan over a medium-high heat.

Mix the chickpea flour and seasonings together in a small jug or bowl. Add the water and whisk quickly with a fork. Break up any large lumps but don’t worry too much about the smaller lumps.

Pour the oil into the hot pan and let it heat through. Add the batter, it will be thick but should easily spread to cover the bottom of the pan.

Fry the pancake for a couple of minutes each side until cooked through and crispy. Stuff, roll, and enjoy.

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