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The Vegan Cupboard

Lentil and cardamom soupLentil and Cardamom Soup

Bargain basement red lentils are jazzed up with coconut milk and plenty of spices to warm you up and keep you charged through the day. 

Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Serves: 2-3
Approx cost per serving: £1.25

* 1 large onion, finely chopped
* 2 fat garlic cloves, crushed
* 1 large carrot, finely chopped
* thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
* 2 tbsp oil - sunflower, rapeseed or groundnut all work well
* half tsp turmeric
* seeds from 10 cardamom pods
* 1 tsp cumin, seeds or ground
* 100g red lentils
* 400ml can light coconut milk
* zest and juice 1 lemon
* pinch of chilli flakes
* handful of parsley or coriander, chopped

Step 1: Put the onion, garlic, carrot and ginger into a saucepan, drizzle over the oil, and cook for a few mins to soften. Add the turmeric, cardamom and cumin. Stir well to combine, and cook gently for a few mins more, until the spices are aromatic.

Step 2: Add the lentils to the pan. Pour over the coconut milk, fill the can with water and add this too. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 mins until the lentils are soft and swollen but retain a little bite. Using a hand blender, pulse the soup until some is blended completely, leaving some larger vegetable chunks.

Step 3: Zest the lemon straight into the pan, then squeeze the juice over the soup and stir through with a pinch of salt, chilli and finely chopped herbs. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle over a little more lemon zest, if you like.


vegan jambalayaVegan Jambalaya

Enjoy a delicious plant-based dinner with this vegan rice and bean one-pot. It is packed with all five of your five-a-day as well as iron, vitamin C and fibre.

Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 35 mins
Serves: 2
Approx cost per serving: £1.63

* 2 tbsp olive oil
* 1 large onion (180g), finely chopped
* 4 celery sticks, finely chopped
* 1 yellow pepper, chopped
* 2 tsp smoked paprika
* half tsp chilli flakes
* half tsp dried oregano
* 115g brown basmati rice
* 400g can chopped tomatoes
* 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
* 400g butter beans, drained and rinsed
* 2 tsp vegetable bouillon powder
* large handful of parsley, chopped

Step 1: Heat the oil in a large pan set over a high heat and fry the onion, celery and pepper, stirring occasionally, for 5 mins until starting to soften and colour.

Step 2: Stir in the spices and rice, then tip in the tomatoes and a can of water. Stir in the garlic, beans and bouillon. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 25 mins until the rice is tender and has absorbed most of the liquid. Keep an eye on the pan towards the end of the cooking time to make sure it doesn’t boil dry – if it starts to catch, add a little more water. Stir in the parsley and serve hot.


Jackfruit bologneseJackfruit Bolognese with Vegan Parmesan

This succulent dish filled with luscious jackfruit, is an ideal meat replacement and counts as a whopping five of your five-a-day.

Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 40 mins
Serves: 4
Approx cost per serving: £1.20

* 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
* 320g carrots (3 medium), finely chopped
* 4 large celery sticks (320g), finely chopped
* 4 large garlic cloves, finely grated
* 410g can jackfruit in water, drained and finely chopped
* 100g red lentils
* 3 tbsp tomato puree
* 4 tsp vegetable bouillon powder (check it's vegan)
* 1 tbsp chopped thyme
* 325g wholemeal spaghetti
* chopped parsley, to serve (optional)

For the vegan parmesan:
* 40g cashews
* 4 tsp nutritional yeast
* 1 tsp garlic granules

Step 1: Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan and fry the carrots, celery and garlic for 10 mins, stirring every now and then.

Step 2: Meanwhile, make the vegan parmesan. Tip the cashews, nutritional yeast and garlic granules into a food processor and blitz to fine crumbs. Add a little salt, if needed, and set aside.

Step 3: Tip the jackfruit into the veg mix with the lentils, 700ml water, the tomato purée, bouillon powder and thyme, then cover and cook for 25 mins. Add a little more water if needed – it should be pulpy.

Step 4: Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti following pack instructions until al dente. Toss with the sauce, divide between bowls and sprinkle with the vegan parmesan and parsley, if using.


rainbow melting pieRainbow Melting Pie

Indulge in this fantastic beetroot, sweet potato, chard and celeriac rainbow layered pie which will make a good weekend meal to share with your family or friends.

Prep time: 1hr
Cooking time: 1hr 45 mins
Serves: 10
Approx cost per serving: £0.82


For the filling:
* 80ml olive oil, plus extra for brushing
* 2 tsp ground cumin
* half tsp ground cinnamon
* 1 tbsp vegan red wine
* vinegar (perhaps Aspall)
* 3 beetroots (about 400g), peeled and sliced into rounds about 0.5cm thick
* 1 small celeriac (about 750g), peeled, cut into quarters and then sliced into triangles about 1cm thick
* 4 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
* 4 fat unpeeled garlic cloves
* 3 large sweet potatoes (about 600g), peeled and sliced into rounds about 0.5cm thick
* 2 tsp smoked paprika
* 1 tbsp semolina
* 250g Swiss chard, leaves only (save the stalks to add to soups, stews and risottos)

For the pastry:
* 150g coconut oil, plus extra for the tin
* 500g spelt flour
* almond milk, for brushing

Step 1: First, make the filling. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Mix together 1½ tbsp oil with the cumin, cinnamon and vinegar, and rub the mixture all over the beetroot. Put the beetroot into a small roasting tin, season well, then cover with foil and roast for 20 mins.

Step 2: Meanwhile, toss the celeriac with 2½ tbsp oil, the thyme, garlic and some seasoning in a second roasting tin. Separate out the slices so they cook evenly, then cover the tin with foil. In a third roasting tin, mix the sweet potato with the remaining oil, the smoked paprika and some seasoning, and cover with foil. Once the beets have cooked for 20 mins, add the celeriac and sweet potato to the oven alongside them, and roast all the veg for 40 mins further or until tender. Remove the thyme sprigs, squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins and mash them in with the celeriac, then leave all the veg to cool. All the veg can be cooked the day before and kept in the fridge.

Step 3: For the pastry, boil the kettle and use some coconut oil to grease a deep 20cm springform cake tin. Pour the flour into a bowl and add 1 tsp salt. Mix the coconut oil with 200ml boiling water, stir until melted (put it in the microwave if need be), then pour into the flour and mix with a wooden spoon to form a dough. Working as quickly as you can (it’s best to roll the pastry when it’s warm), cut off a quarter of the dough and set aside under a tea towel. Roll out the rest to 0.5cm thick, then use it to line the cake tin, pressing the dough into the corners and leaving any excess pastry overhanging the sides. Don’t worry if the pastry breaks – it’s very forgiving, so you can patch it up as you go. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Step 4: Now build the pie. Cover the base with chard leaves, then scatter over the semolina (which will absorb the beet juices), press in the beetroot, and season. Add another layer of chard, followed by the sweet potato, and season. Add a final layer of chard leaves, then top with the celeriac and season again.

Step 5: Roll out the pastry you set aside to a thickness of 0.5cm to use as the lid. Put the lid on top of the pie and, using a fork, press together the overhanging pastry to create a crimped edge. Make a steam hole, then brush the top with a little almond milk mixed with a spoonful of oil (this will help to colour the pastry). Bake in the centre of the oven for 45 mins until the pastry is a deep golden brown. Leave to cool for 15 mins, then remove from the tin and serve. Will keep for up to three days in the fridge.


vegan chocolate cakeVegan Chocolate Cake

This signature chocolate cake can be made using dairy substitutes. It is finished with luscious buttercream and seasonal fruits, a dessert much welcomed anytime!

Prep time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Serves: 10-12
Approx cost per serving: £0.68

* 150g dairy-free spread, plus extra for the tins
* 300ml dairy-free milk (perhaps oat milk)
* 1 tbsp cider vinegar
* 300g self-raising flour
* 200g golden caster flour
* 4 tbsp cocoa powder
* 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
* half tsp vanilla extract

For the buttercream:
* 100g dairy-free dark chocolate
* 200g dairy-free spread
* 400g icing sugar
* 5 tbsp cocoa powder
* 1 tbsp dairy-free milk

To decorate:
* handful of fresh seasonal fruits such as cherries, blackberries or figs

Step 1: Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Grease the base and sides of 2 x 20cm sandwich tins with dairy-free spread, then line the bases with baking parchment.

Step 2: Put the dairy-free milk in a jug and add the vinegar – it will split but don’t worry. Put all of the other cake ingredients into a large bowl, pour over the milk mixture and beat well until smooth. Divide the mixture between the prepared tins and bake for 25-30 mins or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out cleanly. Leave to cool in the tins for 10mins then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Step 3: To make the buttercream, put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl and melt in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. Leave the melted chocolate to cool for 5 minutes. Beat the dairy-free spread and icing sugar together with a wooden spoon then sift in the cocoa powder with a pinch of salt. Pour in the melted chocolate and dairy-free milk and keep mixing until smooth.

Step 4: Sandwich the two cooled sponges together with half of the buttercream then pile the rest on top and down the sides. Decorate with the fresh fruit.


rocky roadRocky Road

An afternoon treat to enjoy with a cuppa, this rocky road is quick to make and uses mainly store cupboard ingredients.

Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 5 mins
Serves: 12
Approx cost per serving: £0.38

* 200g digestive biscuits (Rich Tea can also be used)
* 135g butter or margarine
* 200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa works best)
* 2-3 tbsp golden syrup
* 100g mini marshmallows (chopped regular marshmallows work too)
* icing sugar, to dust

Optional (up to 100g):
* raisins, dried cranberries or any dried fruit
* nuts
* popcorn
* honeycomb, broken into pieces

Step 1: Grease and line an 18cm square brownie tin with baking paper.

Step 2: Place 200g digestive biscuits in a freezer bag and bash with a rolling pin or just the side of your fist until they're broken into a mixture of everything between dust and 50p-sized lumps. Set aside.

Step 3: In a large saucepan melt 135g butter or margarine, 200g dark chocolate and 2-3 tbsp golden syrup over a gentle heat stirring constantly until there are no or almost no more lumps of chocolate visible, then remove from the heat. Leave to cool.

Step 4: Take the biscuits, 100g mini marshmallows and up to 100g of additional ingredients (dried fruit, nuts, popcorn, honeycomb), if you like, and stir into the chocolate mixture until everything is completely covered.

Step 5: Tip the mixture into the lined baking tin, and spread it out to the corners. Chill for at least 2 hrs then dust with icing sugar and cut into 12 fingers.

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