PASTA, TASTY ONE-POTS AND SOUPS & STEWS
These pasta recipes use wholewheat pasta because it is naturally higher in fibre and nutrients. It is a rich source of thiamine, zinc and a good source of folate, vitamin B6, selenium and iron. As it is digested more slowly than white pasta, it also fills you up for longer. Wholewheat pasta is widely available in supermarkets, although it is also generally more expensive. However, all of these pasta recipes can be made with any type of dried pasta you have on hand.
Pasta with warm spiced vegetables
This pasta is rich in warm flavour with just a bit of a kick. You can adjust the spiciness by using more or less chilli flakes.
500g wholewheat spaghetti, tagliatelle or pappardelle
1 large red onion
1½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp chilli flakes
1 clove garlic
10 mini peppers or 3 orange, red or yellow peppers
3 medium tomatoes
30g pine nuts
Grated Parmesan cheese to serve
- Begin to cook the pasta as per packet directions. In the meantime, slice the onion lengthwise, into thin segments. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet pan on low heat. Add the onion and stir until it starts to cook. Add the spices to the pan and give it another stir before leaving it to sizzle while you prepare the rest of the vegetables.
- Crush the garlic and stir into the onion. Cut the carrots and peppers into long matchsticks or strips and add to the pan. Continue to stir while you bring the pan up to medium heat.
- Chop the tomatoes into eighths and add to the veg. Gently mix everything together and continue to stir until the veg is almost cooked and the tomato is a bit mashed up.
- Turn the heat back down to low and add the pine nuts to the pan. Continue to keep the vegetables on low heat until the pasta is ready.
- Drain the pasta and add to the vegetables. Fold it all together and top with Parmesan cheese to serve.
Pasta with turkey Bolognese
500g wholewheat pasta (spaghetti is especially good)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large red onion
2 celery sticks
2 medium carrots
2 cloves garlic, crushed
300g turkey mince
680g tomato passata
140g tomato puree
2 tsp dried oregano or a fresh bunch
1 tsp dried sage
Grated parmesan cheese to serve
- Begin to cook the pasta as per packet directions.
- Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables by cutting the onion into small chunks and dicing the celery and carrots. Heat a large saucepan to a medium temperature with the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, celery and carrots and begin to cook, stirring it now and then so that it does not overcook.
- When the onion starts to look soft after around 3 minutes, add the turkey mince and stir while breaking it up, cooking until it is no longer pink. Add the passata, tomato puree and herbs and stir through. Leave to bubble on low heat until the pasta is cooked.
- Pour the sauce into a serving dish, add the pasta and fold the two together. Top with parmesan cheese and serve.
Variation: Try adding some chopped fresh mushrooms, spinach, greens or kale to the sauce. Or why not try it using a different type of mince or go for the veggie version by swapping for soy mince?
Spaghetti al pesto e zucchini
Despite pesto having some pretty simple ingredients, there are countless different versions of this classic pasta sauce and even among my family in Italy, there are contradictions about the ‘right way’ to make it. After tirelessly tasting and testing them all, I wanted to share my favourite pesto recipe. This recipe uses wholewheat spaghetti but you can make it with any type of dried or fresh pasta noodles. It makes a very easy dinner that is quick to prepare but as it is also very moreish, don’t expect any leftovers!
500g wholewheat spaghetti
3 courgettes (zucchini)
50g fresh basil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese + extra to serve
2 tbsp grated pecorino cheese
125ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp pine nuts
Pinch of coarse salt (optional)
Coarsely ground black pepper
- Cook the pasta as per packet directions until 2 minutes before the cooking time.
- While you are waiting for the water to heat and the pasta to cook, make the pesto sauce. Rinse the basil and place the leaves in a food processor or bowl if you are using a hand blender. Add the whole garlic, cheeses, olive oil, pine nuts and salt (if using) and blend until smooth. Pour the sauce into a large serving dish and put aside.
- Next, make the courgette ‘noodles’ by using a food processor, spiralizer or standard peeler to make long, thin noodles. Add to the pot of bubbling pasta for the last 2 minutes of cooking time. If the noodles are especially fine, continue to cook the pasta as normal and simply add the courgette to the pasta once drained.
- Drain the pasta and courgette very well. Add to the dish of pesto sauce and fold together. Taste and season, serving at once with grated Parmesan cheese, black pepper (and some bread to soak up any remaining pesto!)
The recipe is a great way to use up a jack o’ lantern (if your children will let you). It may seem a slightly laborious production to make gnocchi but it is definitely worth it. As pumpkins sold for carving are very watery, the more you can roast and drain off the excess water, the more concentrated the flavour and colour of the gnocchi will be. You can also use this recipe to make gnocchi with a culinary pumpkin or squash but you will not need as much flour.
1 medium pumpkin, deseeded and cut into 6-8 wedges
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
5-7 sprigs of thyme
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp nutmeg
400-750g wholewheat flour (depending on the size of your pumpkin)
75g parmesan cheese, grated + more for serving
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
5 sage leaves, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ red chilli, chopped with seeds and pith removed (optional)
Parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper to serve
- Heat an oven to 200°C and line a baking sheet with foil. Place the pumpkin, skin side down, on the foil and add the garlic. Place the sprigs of thyme on top of the pumpkin and drizzle with oil. Roast for 40-45 minutes until soft and starting to golden. Let cool slightly.
- When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, peel each wedge and place in a bowl. Mash the pumpkin mixture using a hand blender or ricer then place into a fine sieve over the bowl. Let the pumpkin drain for 15min, giving it a gentle stir now and then to help it.
- Place a large bowl on a scale and weigh the drained pumpkin (you will need to add approx. half of the pumpkin weight in flour). Add the roasted garlic by squeezing from their peel. Rub the thyme sprigs between your hands over the bowl to add the herbs, taking care to remove any hard stems that fall in. Add the nutmeg, egg, parmesan and about ⅔ of the amount of flour you think you will need. Mix together to form a soft dough that is slightly sticky. If it is too sticky and for instance, you cannot form a little ball, add the rest of the flour so that it is around half the pumpkin weight.
- Flour a countertop and start with about a quarter of the dough. Roll the dough into a long snake, around the thickness of your thumb. Cut into 3cm gnocchi. You can either keep the gnocchi as cut like little rectangular pillows or you can form them into the traditional oval shape which is then pressed gently into the back of a fork to make indentations. They taste exactly the same, so I recommend saving time and going for the rustic look. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
- Begin to heat a large saucepan filled with water. While you wait for it to boil, heat a large frying pan with the olive oil on medium heat. Add the sage leaves and let them sizzle. Stir in the garlic and chilli turn the heat off so that it continues to cook as the pan cools while you cook the gnocchi.
- Once the water boils, stir in the gnocchi. Bring the water to the boil again and give them a stir now and then. Cook for around 4 minutes or until all of the gnocchi float to the top of the water.
- Heat the frying pan again to medium heat and add the drained gnocchi. Stir everything carefully until it is mixed, sizzling and the gnocchi are starting to become golden. Serve at once with more parmesan cheese and black pepper.
Fragrant chicken with apricots and crushed potatoes
2 stalks of lemongrass
2 cloves garlic, peeled
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lemon
1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced
8 tbsp ground almonds
25g (approx. 2 tbsp) creamed coconut
2 large tomatoes, chopped roughly
1 tbsp olive oil
6 portions of fresh chicken, skin removed (thighs or breasts work well)
800g new potatoes
200g dried apricots, chopped roughly
400g green beans, cut in half
- Begin by making the sauce. Remove the tough outer leaves of the lemongrass and discard. Chop the remaining lemongrass into small pieces and blend it together in a food processor or with a hand blender with the garlic, lemon and lime juice, chilli, ground almonds and creamed coconut. Once it is well blended, add the tomatoes and blend again until smooth. Put aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan on high. Add the chicken and brown on both sides. Turn down the heat to medium and add the sauce, stirring it in. Add the potatoes, apricots, 350ml of water and cook for 30min.
- Lightly crush the potatoes with a fork and add the green beans. Cover the pot with a lid and cook a further 10 minutes on a low heat until tender. Serve while warm.
Tomato and red pepper barley risotto with ricotta
This foolproof variation of the traditional risotto uses barley which gives it more of a bite.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 red pepper, diced
800g tinned chopped tomatoes
½ tsp paprika
1 tbsp dried oregano
Handful of fresh oregano
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to serve (optional)
- Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick saucepan on medium and cook the garlic and red pepper for 1 minute. Add the barley and stir for another minute until it looks translucent.
- Add 900ml of water and boil the barley for 10 min. Turn down the heat and stir in the chopped tomatoes, passata and dried spices. Leave the barley to bubble away at a low heat for another 30-35 minutes until al dente. Give it a stir now and then to check that it is not sticking to the bottom of the pan and top up with some extra water, if necessary.
- Remove from the heat and place into a serving dish. Top with blobs of ricotta and sprinkle with the oregano leaves. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil on top before serving.
Noodle salad with satay dressing
Any leftovers of this noodle salad makes a great packed lunch. To make it even more substantial, add some baked tofu or cashew nuts at the end.
300g dried wide rice noodles
2 large carrots, cut into thin matchsticks
4 salad onions, chopped finely
1 red pepper, sliced finely
200g Chinese leaf or savoy cabbage, shredded
150g sugar snap peas, sliced in half
150g mangetout, sliced in half
6 radishes, thinly sliced
2 tbsp sesame seeds
4 tbsp smooth peanut butter
5 tbsp water
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp grated ginger
1½ tbsp soy sauce
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Juice from ½ lime
- Put the noodles in a large heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over them to cover. Leave the noodles until soft, around 10 minutes, then drain and refill the bowl with cold water, leaving them to soak until needed.
- While the noodles are soaking, wash and prepare the vegetables and place into a large serving dish. Mix everything together.
- Make the dressing by blending all of the ingredients together in a small bowl and put aside.
- Drain the noodles then carefully fold them into the vegetables until just mixed. Pour the dressing over top and gently fold it into the salad. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve.
Mixed rice salad with roast veg and Wensleydale
I made this using some pieces of leftover Wensleydale cheese from Christmas but you could equally use feta or another sharp cheese.
1 large sweet potato
1 medium beetroot
2 cloves of garlic
2½ tbsps extra virgin olive oil
300g in total of brown basmati, red Camargue and wild rice (or similar)
100g bulgur wheat
1 tbsp dried sage
1 tsp dried mint
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp sumac
2 tbsp fresh lemon thyme
Juice of ½ lemon
150g Wensleydale cheese with cranberries (I also used a piece with mango and ginger)
½ large pomegranate
- Preheat an oven to 200˚C and line a baking tray with foil. Cut the sweet potato, beetroot, carrots and courgettes into bite-size pieces and place upon the tray. If you don’t want the beetroot to ‘bleed’ over the rest of the veg then roast it a little bit apart from the rest. Add the unpeeled garlic and drizzle with 1½ tbsp of the olive oil. Cook for 40 min or until roasted.
- Meanwhile, cook the rice and bulgur wheat as per packet instructions and put aside.
- Once the grains are done, place into a large serving dish and stir through the herbs, spices, lemon juice and the rest of the olive oil. Add the roast veg and squeeze in the cooked garlic from its skin. Crumble the cheese into the dish and fold in just to mix. Sprinkle the top with pomegranate seeds and serve.
Potato and watercress salad with avocado dressing
700g small roast potatoes (no need to peel)
1 tsp olive oil + extra for greasing
50g mixed seeds
150g mixed leaves such as baby spinach, cos lettuce, rocket etc;
20g salad cress
2 tsp anchovy paste or 2 tinned anchovies, chopped (optional)
1 small garlic clove, crushed
1 ripe avocado
175ml half fat cream fraiche
20g fresh tarragon, chopped
20g fresh basil (large handful), chopped
3 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
½ large lemon
Cracked black pepper to taste
- First boil the potatoes whole in a saucepan for 10 min until they are almost cooked.
- Make the dressing by placing all of the ingredients into a small bowl and blending with a hand blender or whisk until fully blended. Store in the fridge until needed.
- Preheat an oven or grill to 220˚C and line a baking sheet with foil. Lightly grease it with olive oil. Carefully slice the potatoes into 1cm wide pieces and place on the baking tray. Drizzle with a little oil and grill until they are starting to become golden. Remove from the oven to cool slightly.
- For the salad, heat a small frying pan on medium heat and add the mixed seeds. Shake the pan while they heat and cook them until they are just starting to roast. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Wash and prepare the watercress and leaves and place into a large serving dish. Add the potatoes to the salad and carefully fold together. Top with the salad cress and sunflower seeds and a little more dressing. Serve with some cracked black pepper on top.
Spring chicken with lemony veg
1 tsp olive oil
500g chicken thighs, skinned
250ml chicken stock
20g fresh thyme
500g chantenay carrots
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
4 spring onions, chopped
250g spring greens
150g sugar snap peas
75g pea shoots
5 tbsp half fat cream fraiche
- Heat the olive in a large saucepan on medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown on both sides. Add the chicken stock and fresh thyme, cover with a lid and let simmer for 15 minutes.
- Top and tail the carrots but leave them whole. Add to the chicken and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes, keeping the lid on.
- Check the chicken for doneness, making sure the juices run clear. Add the lemon zest and juice and stir through. Chop the spring greens roughly and add them with the sugar snap peas. Simmer for a further 2 minutes until they are almost tender.
- Add the pea shoots and stir in while they cook until they are just wilted. Remove from the heat and stir through the cream fraiche. Serve at once with some crusty bread to mop up the sauce.
Chilli chicken with mixed beans
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp cinnamon
1 diced red chilli, pith and seeds removed
1 kg skinless, boneless fresh chicken thighs, quartered
1.25 L chicken stock
250g chopped tomatoes
2x 235g black eyed beans, drained and rinsed
500g dried yellow split peas
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
200g fresh spinach
Half-fat cream fraiche (to serve)
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium-low heat. Add the onion and stir to cook until it has just softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, spices and chilli and turn the heat down to low. Leave to sizzle for 2 minutes.
- Turn up the heat to medium, add the chicken and stir everything together. Cook for around 5 minutes and stir the chicken from time to time so that it is browned on all sides. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, beans, peas and vinegar and increase the heat until it begins to boil.
- Reduce the heat to simmer, uncovered, and cook for around 30 minutes, until the peas are soft and everything is reduced to a thick stew. Turn off the heat and stir in the spinach until wilted. Serve with some bread or tortillas to dip in with and a dollop of cream fraiche.
Fruity cauliflower pilaff
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
350g brown basmati rice
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ cayenne pepper (optional)
Zest of 1 orange
1 cauliflower, cut into small florets
400g canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
75g currants or raisins
100g dried or fresh apricots, chopped
Small handful of fresh mint, roughly chopped
30g flaked almonds, toasted
Fresh spinach leaves to serve
Fat-free plain yoghurt to serve
- Heat the oil in a large pan on medium heat and fry the onion until it starts to soften. Add the rice, dried herbs and orange zest and continue to stir until the rice is translucent.
- Add the chickpeas, currants or raisins, apricots and 1½ L of water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for around 20 minutes. Add the cauliflower and cook another 5-10 until the rice is cooked and the cauliflower is very tender.
- Remove the lid and stir in the mint. Top with the toasted almonds and serve on a bed of fresh spinach leaves and top with a little yoghurt.
1-2-3 Rice bowl
There are millions of different versions of rice power bowls out there, but this one has my favourite combo of flavours. Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients. It’s an easy dish to make and best of all, the ingredients can be swapped for whatever you have at hand, eg; broad beans for edamame beans or 2 satsumas for the mango.
1 Baked tofu:
- 400g pressed tofu block
- Juice and zest of 1 large orange
- 4 tbsp grated ginger
- 4 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 3 tsp honey
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 100ml rice vinegar
- 4 tbsp sesame seeds
- Juice of 1 lime
- ½ tsp hot sauce (optional)
- 400g brown rice, red Camargue rice or brown basmati and wild rice
- Olive oil to drizzle
- 4 spring onions, sliced
- 1 red or yellow pepper, sliced
- 250g asparagus, trimmed and cut into quarters
- 200g purple sprouting or Tenderstem broccoli, cut in half
- 125g sugar snap peas, topped and tailed
- 100g shelled edamame beans (defrosted)
- 300g beansprouts
- 225g sliced water chestnuts
- ¼ large bulb of Chinese leaf, shredded
- 1 medium mango, sliced or cubed
- 120g roughly chopped roasted peanuts
- 1 lime, sliced in half
- Preheat the oven to 220˚ Slice the tofu into bite-size pieces and set aside. Make the sauce by placing all the ingredients except the hot sauce in a medium sized bowl and mixing until blended. Pour approximately half of the sauce into a smaller bowl and set aside. Add the tofu to the first, larger bowl, add the hot sauce and carefully stir together. Pour the tofu and sauce into a shallow roasting dish so that the tofu lies in one layer. Bake for 30min, stirring halfway though, until it’s starting to brown and the edges look crispy.
- While the tofu is baking, prepare the rice as per packet instructions and set aside once cooked.
- Slice the vegetables and line a large baking tray with foil. Drizzle with olive oil and add the pepper, asparagus and broccoli. Bake in the oven alongside the tofu for 10min. Add the spring onion, sugar snap peas and edamame beans and give everything a stir. Continue to cook for another 7-10min or until everything is roasted.
- To assemble (you can do this in one large serving dish or use individual bowls): Place the rice at the bottom of the bowl. Add the cooked vegetables to the bowl to cover ¼ rice. Add the Chinese leaf, beansprouts, water chestnuts and mango to cover another ¼ rice. Next, add the tofu to the next ¼. Finally, pour the reserved sauce over top of everything, sprinkle with the chopped peanuts, squeeze the lime and serve.
Roasted veg salad with kiwi satay dressing
You can make this salad with just about any neglected vegetables that you find at the back of your fridge.
1 sweet potato
Extra virgin olive oil to grease and drizzle
Handful of kale
100g cobnuts or hazelnuts
2 plums, sliced into ⅛
250g mixed leaves such as rocket and spinach
For kiwi satay dressing:
2 kiwis, peeled
4 tbsp creamy, unsalted peanut butter
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 tsp soy sauce
¼ small red chilli, seeds removed (optional)
Juice from 1 lime
3 tbsp water
1. Preheat an oven to 200°C and grease a baking sheet. Cut the sweet potato and aubergine in half, lengthwise, and then slice them into pieces approximately ½ cm in thickness. Place on the baking sheet. Slice the courgette and carrots into bite-size pieces. Add to the baking sheet, drizzle with a little olive oil and roast for 30min. Add the kale, plum and walnuts to the baking sheet and roast for a further 7minutes until the kale is slightly crispy.
2. While the veg is roasting, making the kiwi satay dressing by blending all the ingredients together using a food processor or hand blender. Add more water if needed to thin the dressing. Set aside until needed.
3. Place the mixed leaves in a serving dish and add the roasted veg. Drizzle over the dressing and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds to finish.
Soups & Stews
Carrot and red lentil soup with ginger
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp grated, fresh ginger
2.5 litres vegetable or chicken stock
1 Kg carrots, grated
500g dried red lentils
100ml half fat cream fraiche
Cracked black pepper to taste
- Heat a large soup pot with the olive oil on medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened but not golden. Add the stock, carrots and lentils and stir in.
- Simmer the soup for around 40 minutes until the lentils are very soft. Remove from the heat and blend the soup until smooth with a hand blender or using an electric blender.
- Add the cream fraiche and black pepper and swirl in before serving.
1 large leek
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
2 carrots, finely chopped
600g potatoes (around 3 large), chopped into bite-sized chunks
1 litre vegetable or fish stock
2x 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
Pinch saffron (optional)
1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp cayenne
500g seafood (any salmon, haddock, cod or any shellfish)
150g frozen sweetcorn
- Wash and slice the leek into thin rings. Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium heat and add the leek. Stir it until it starts to cook then cover the pot with a lid and turn the heat down to low. Continue to cook the leek until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the onion and carrots and cook it on a medium heat until it is also beginning to soften. Add the potatoes and stock, cover the pot with the lid and leave it to bubble and cook for 10 minutes.
- Remove the lid and stir in the chopped tomatoes and spices. Add the seafood and frozen corn and continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes until the fish is cooked.