Mushroom, pesto and cream lasagne

This great big plate of vegetarian delight comes from Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries.

It’s something of a cooking marathon his – I think that beginning to end took about 2 hours. That’s because you have to cook the mushrooms and onions, plus you have to make the pesto, and in our case we also had to make béchamel sauce. None of these tasks are particularly strenuous, but together they add to the time and coordination required.

Once you’ve got everything ready, alternating layers of pasta and mushroom filling are put into a dish, and then topped out with the pesto and finally the béchamel. It takes about 40 minutes in oven at the end, so this clearly isn’t a quick thing to throw together but the end result is a really nice take on lasagne and despite being vegetarian it completely satisfied us two omnivores.

A friend of ours managed to cut down the prep time by using ready made pesto and béchamel sauce which still produced something tasty – you can check out the evidence on his Instagram here.

Tuna and Vegetable Pasta Bake with Greek Yoghurt

Continuing the theme of “Little Twists” from the Sainsbury’s Homemade By You website, we’ve given it another go with this vegetable loaded pasta bake with Greek yoghurt.

It’s also a great way to get your five a day – there are a lot of vegetables in this, to which you add chopped tomatoes, greek yoghurt, herbs and tinned tuna. The whole thing goes in the oven with a topping of cheese so that it goes nice and brown on top.

The end result was a great big bowl of very satisfying food. There’s nothing too exciting here – it’s basically just a pasta bake with tuna, but the combination of lots of vegetables, cheese and tuna makes for something very tasty and satisfying. The addition of yoghurt makes for something a bit creamier and richer, but to be honest I don’t think that it really added all that much – it would have been a great meal even without it.

Italian Vibe Vegetable Soup

We’ve been followers of Dennis The Prescott on Instagram for quite some time now, so when we were looking for something healthy to eat and he posted a link to this recipe for Italian Vibe Vegetable Soup, we thought we’d give it a go.

There’s a mountain of vegetables and healthy stuff in this, so you can’t go too far wrong with it. We had to make a few substitutions but nothing drastic – for example, we had no conchigle pasta so we used macaroni instead.

Somewhere along the line I made a mistake because my quantity of liquid seemed to low. As such, this turned out to be more of a pasta and vegetable stew but still tasted great.

Spiced Vegetarian Paella

We’ve done quite a few recipes from the Thrive on Five book, but recently discovered that there are some more recipes listed on their website, including this one for spiced paella.

The premise is the same – one meal containing your five portions of vegetables for the day. I was particularly intrigued to see how paella could work without chorizo though!

Things didn’t get off to a great start though when I realised there were no cherry tomatoes in the fridge and we’d used the last chilli. By way of compromise, I threw in an onion for extra vegetables, and found a dried and smoked chipotle chilli which was brought into service.

There was another mistake too, when I decided it wasn’t spicy enough and added some chilli flakes, but the lid came off the jar and I added far too many!

The resulting meal though worked surprisingly well. There were definitely some strong paella-style flavours here – helped, no doubt, by the saffron – and the spiciness didn’t overwhelm. I’d still prefer a meaty paella, but with all the health in this one I can’t really complain.

Vegetable Pasta Bake with a Yoghurt Twist

We continue our exploration of the “Homemade By You” site with this healthy recipe for a vegetarian pasta bake with a Greek yoghurt ‘twist’.

The recipe involves a whole load vegetables making it pretty healthy even when you consider the yoghurt and cheese. We used wholemeal penne pasta for a bit of extra fibre.

Technique wise, it’s very simple. Roast the chopped vegetables in the over, then mix with cooked pasta, chopped tomatoes and herbs and some Greek yoghurt. Sprinkle with some grated cheese and then bake in the oven.

Easy and healthy – and pretty cheap to make, too.

Luscious Lasagne

After a weekend of not so healthy eating, we’re getting back on the wagon today with another healthy meal from Thrive on Five – this one is lasagne, but instead of using pasta sheets it uses slices of courgette.

As with all the big Thrive on Five recipes, this one is all five your portions of vegetables for the day. There was also enough left over for lunch tomorrow, because this recipe is technically for two adults and two children… so that’s 2 dinners and 1 lunch for two hungry boys.

Smoky Chipotle Chilli

Another chance to get our five a day from a Thrive on Five and my first chance to cook with chipotle chilli.

It’s not like a regular chilli con carne, more of a spicy vegetable stew – but it’s very tasty all the same. We were going to have this with some rice, but whilst picking up so extra veg from our local green grocer they threw in some extra bread which was going to waste otherwise.

Healthy, hearty and spicy.

Moussaka

Chocolate puddings are all well and good, but we still need to try and get our five portions of fruit and veg each day! Thankfully, Thrive on Five makes this remarkably easy with this tasty recipe for Moussaka.

The recipe was for four, and halving it down to two was a little tricky due to the size of my aubergine and sizes of the various tins which things came in… so the end result was a bit runnier than I would have liked, but it was very tasty. I suspect that the extra lashings of cheese on top may have counteracted some of the health benefits, but let’s not worry about that for now…

Peanut Spiced Vegetables

Being suckers for peanut butter, we soon found this recipe in our recently purchased Thrive on Five. Containing your five-a-day, all stir-fried with ginger and garlic, the peanut butter is used as the base for a sauce by adding soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, chopped coriander and water.

One ingredient should have been recap manis. No, we hadn’t heard of it either. A google search revealed it be a concoction of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, star anise and curry. Expecting to get little further use out a bottle of kecap manis, we convinced ourselves that garlic oil and tabasco sauce would be a good substitute. We did have a bottle of wine open, though.

The finished dish dish of stir-fired asparagus, pak choi, mange tout, sweetcorn, broccoli, red pepper, ginger, garlic, onion and red chillies was tasty, if not as fiery as hoped for. A repeat visit would see us maybe add some crushed chillies, or maybe even add sweet thai chilli jam to the peanut butter sauce. It was also surprisingly filling, not requiring the addition of rice or noodles.