The Nearly-No Cook Vegan Supper (or lunch)
Nutritious, delicious and ready in five minutes
Arabic: Wholemeal pitta bread, warmed chickpeas with toasted cumin seeds, serve with pickles, grated carrot and mixed salad leaves/spinach with your favourite dressing. Sprinkle on some toasted pistachios. Chopped coriander and soya yogurt (brands – provamel or sojade) on the side would go well.
British/Irish: Baked beans on wholemeal toast with chicory (or lettuce), walnut and apple, dollop of egg-free mayonnaise (Plamil – available from health food stores), some salad leaves with dressing.
Mexico: A can of refried beans heated, spread on heated wholemeal tortilla. Add some chopped onion, toasted pine nuts, sweetcorn (frozen and heated/from a can/from a jar), chopped cherry tomatoes, salsa. For some heat, add chopped jalapenos (either green or red). Add avocado sliced and a squeeze of lime juice.
India: Chapatti or nan (most nan has some dairy) served with dal (buy in supermarket Indian food section) with salad. Chop up some cucumber, tomato, onion, mint, a squeeze of lemon, sliced mango. Sprinkle over sliced almonds and some chopped coriander. Serve with soya yogurt.
Italian: Ciabatta or other Italian bread served with puy lentils (available precooked in supermarkets), sliced tomato with balsamic vinegar, dried oregano and olive oil sprinkled over. Add some basil leaves and some rocket. Have a few pecan nuts to nibble on.
Arabic: Pitta or Arabic bread (available in the Asian stores) heated with hummus. Make up a salad of onion, lettuce and sweet tomatoes with mint leaves (and some parsley) and a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve with olives and sundried tomatoes.
Indian: Takeaway – get a roti (this is a brown bread), a dal, onion chutney and salad to go. Have a few salted cashew nuts with it.
Market day: Go to the olive stall and get some broad beans with sundried tomatoes and some nice bread. Have with roasted almonds, grated carrot, beetroot (pickled or fresh and grated), and a selection of salads from your local deli.
Greek: Today’s mezze day. Pick up in health food store from the range of Delphi products. You should include lentils and a dip such as red pepper hummus or the aubergine dip. Get some takeaway salad (avoid ones where you can’t identify what it is by sight). So beetroot, coleslaw without mayo, or pick up a jar of pickles from the Polish section. Get your favourite bread and then serve with something fresh such as fruit – mandarins (no work involved), berries or mango.
Asian day: Flavoured tofu – Taifun (health food stores) do a range of olive tofu, basil tofu and sundried tomato one). Slice, fry and pop in a sandwich/wrap with sprouts (buy them or make your own), sprinkle of soya sauce or sweet chili sauce or balsamic dressing. Sprinkle over sliced almonds and sesame seeds.
Arabic (again!): Pitta or wrap with falafel – buy organic from health food stores or get in Tesco and heat. Serve with lettuce, onion and tomato. Get some tahini dip – Sunita’s the nicest brand (in my view) and the brand El Fez also do a flavoured tahini dip with some spices.
For chickpeas and some other pulses, for people in a hurry, you can get them in cans. Better if organic. Better still if can is lined so pulse isn’t touching the metal (Suma brand lines their cans). Some health food stores do baked beans and chick peas and sweetcorn in jars – brand is Biona. Merchant Gourmet do cooked puy lentils (these are French) in plastic pouches – available in supermarkets.
Two Cans – “The Quickie Guide to healthy, simple vegan dishes”
By Maureen O’Sullivan – please share
From Italian, to Mexican, Greek, the Caribbean, Spain and Arabia, Ireland and India.
You will need: Two cans!
– One can of red kidney beans
– One can of tomatoes (best if lined – try to buy maybe from health food stores), (better if replaced with four real chopped tomatoes, better still if organic). Or use passata instead.
– One medium red onion, chopped
– Two cloves of garlic, chopped
Fry onion and garlic on medium heat for about three minutes. Use a wok or a frying pan.
Add tomatoes. Fry for another three minutes.
Drain beans into a sieve and run under cold tap. Add to wok.
Add a sprinkle of salt and ½ teaspoon dried oregano (or mixed herbs).
Cook till heated through – two or three minutes more. This is referred to throughout as “two cans”.
What to do with the “two cans”
Day 1 – Italian
Serve over pasta (combination ensures protein and iron).
Add chopped olives, capers, fresh basil, toasted pine nuts.
You want more vitamins? Serve over a bed of washed rocket. Or add some spinach leaves and just stir through. The heat will wilt the leaves.
Add some grated carrot on the side – squeeze some lemon juice over it.
a) Variation 1 – replace kidney beans with cannellini beans and add in some sundried tomatoes.
b) Variation 2 – replace kidney beans with puy lentils or black beluga lentils (available in cans in health food stores or cook fresh – they don’t need soaking).
c) Variation 3 – change around the pasta – use corn, rice, spelt or wheat.
d) Variation 4 – problem – the sauce is watery – add ground almonds to mop it up.
e) Variation 5 – add a red pepper to the mix when you’re frying the tomato. It can be fresh or in a jar. This will sweeten it a little. If you like some heat, add a chilli.
f) Variation 6 – serve with polenta. You can buy this precooked. Open pack, slice up, grill or fry these or pop in the oven on an oiled baking tray to dry them out.
g) Use as a pizza topping.
You hate Italian “two cans”? Let’s try Mexican.
Serve your “two cans” over rice. You’re in a hurry – white basmati rice will cook in 10 minutes and is delicious. Or have a pack or two of pre-cooked rice in the cupboard for emergencies.
Add in some sweetcorn (either to rice or beans). Add jalapenos. Or a few chopped pickles.
Ditch the Italian basil and add chopped fresh coriander leaves and stem (the stem’s also tasty and crunchy).
Toast ½ teaspoon of cumin seeds in a low heated frying pan and mix with the rice – or the beans.
– Still bored? Squeeze some lime juice over the beans. Wash the lime (because they are normally waxed with some insect extract and this traps the pesticides next to the skin) and grate the rind over the dish. Looks very impressive over the rice.
– On the side? Some guacamole – mash an avocado with a squeeze of lemon or lime and mix with a chopped tomato, ½ chopped onion, a sprinkle of ground cumin and coriander and a little olive oil. You can also grate or zest the lemon rind.
– Some salsa – chop the remaining ½ onion, chop a few sweet cherry tomatoes, add a sprinkle of dried oregano and a squeeze of lemon. Add in some chopped coriander and a chopped yellow pepper – colour is really important in Mexican cooking.
– Some corn salad – sweetcorn (best buy organic because of genetic modification) in jars (brand name Biona) or frozen, some chopped peppers – a variety of colours, bit of onion, tomato, grated carrot, some chopped black olives.
a) Variation 1 – mash the bean mix to make a dip. Serve with corn/tortilla chips (best to use organic as a lot of corn is genetically modified). Also, chop up some raw veggies – carrot, cucumber and courgette sticks, peppers, radishes, celery, small tomatoes, mange tout, baby corn, etc.
b) Variation 2 – spread the bean dip over tortilla wraps. Try to get 100% wholemeal. Add some veggies to this before you wrap them up and either eat them straight or pop them in the oven at about 170 for 15 minutes. You can add grated carrot, grated courgette, corn and do a bit extra so you can also serve some as salad to go with the wraps.
c) Variation 3 – Use as a sandwich filler.
d) Variation 4 – use either pinto beans, borlotti beans or black beans (black turtle beans or black kidney beans).
Mexican not your cup of tea? How about turning “two cans” Greek?
Swap the kidney beans for flagelot, haricot or cannellini beans and add large green olives, stuffed with almonds, chillis, pimento or garlic. Serve over orzo pasta with a glug of Greek olive oil.
Slice up an aubergine into rings (so not lengthways). Heat a large frying pan over a low heat. Spray about 10 times with one calorie spray. Place the aubergine slices on the pan and cover. Leave for a few minutes and spray the tops of the slices before you turn them over to brown on the other side.
a) Variation 1 – if you have leftovers, next day layer up the aubergines, beans and a jar of pasta sauce and pop in the oven as a type of moussaka for about 20-30 minutes.
Serve with some greens – maybe spinach or rocket with some dressing and grated carrot, etc.
– Extra unexpected hungry guests? Scrub and slice up some sweet potatoes, add a dash of oil and some herb salt, put on a baking tray and pop in the oven. This isn’t Greek but, hey! A gal’s gotta do what a gal’s gotta do! Turn after about 10-15 minutes and bake for another 10 approx.
– Chop up two mangos (don’t peel first, slice out the stone from the centre first, then cut into the two halves crisscross and then scoop out the mango squares and discard the skin – much easier to cut this way). No mangos? Try peaches or nectarines. Apricots even. Or apples with a dash of lemon.
You hate Italian, Mexican and Greek? How about a Caribbean version of “two cans” called “rice and peas”?
Substitute the kidney beans with black eyed beans/peas (the same thing). Add a can of coconut milk (optional). You could add some Jamaican spice mix. Serve with rice.
a) Variation 1 – substitute the kidney beans with black turtle beans and mix in with the rice. Don’t add coconut milk to this one (unless you want to, of course). You can add ground cumin and coriander (about ½ tsp of each) to the pan before adding the beans.
And sliced, fried banana (or go to an Asian/African grocer and get some plantain if you’re feeling adventurous) with a sprinkle of paprika.
Slice up some fresh mango or papaya and squeeze some lemon/lime juice over it. Or peel and slice some oranges into rings (against the segment). Tropical fruits go well with this. Pineapple might also be nice.
Ok, I know. Vegan food is so boring. Let’s try a Spanish version.
Replace the “two cans” kidney beans with chick peas. Add in one teaspoon of smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon of cumin, ½ coriander after adding in the tomatoes. Before adding in the chickpeas, chop up a large carrot, a courgette and a red pepper. Either add to the tomato mix or else fry separately (better flavour) and then add in along with the chickpeas. Serve with rice.
Salad on the side – chopped lettuce (romaine’s good) or chicory with plenty of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sliced onion and sweet tomatoes.
Bored with all the above? How about an Arabic version of “two cans”?
Use chickpeas instead of kidney beans. Leave out the tomatoes. Or use butter beans or fava beans if you can get them (Ray Liotta’s brains are optional, though possibly not for vegans) for Egyptian dish called “ful”. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and lots of olive oil after cooking. Slice raw red onion and sprinkle chopped parsley over the top.
Serve with couscous. For variation, you can get barley couscous in some delis. Or try health food stores where you can easily get wholemeal couscous. Corn couscous is also available occasionally.
Serve with Salad – core half a cucumber (they usually discard the seeds as they’re watery but you can chop and reserve in the fridge and add to any leftovers next day with lemon and olive oil), chop the flesh. Chop two tomatoes, add fresh mint leaves (about a teaspoon chopped), squeeze of lemon juice, olive oil, salt. You can add red pepper to this if you want. And red onion.
Sauce – mix tahini with water and lemon to get a pouring consistency. Tahini is very good for the bones. Sprinkle over some sumac (available in the spice section of most stores).
Ok, a little less New Age now – the Irish vegan “two cans”
Put “two cans” in a casserole. Get some leftover veggies (or boil some up), including potatoes, carrots, sweet potato, turnip, cauliflower. Mash. Season and mix with some oil. Spread the vegetable mash on top of the “two cans” and put in an oven for about 20 minutes – this is a classic “shepherdess/shepherd-less” pie.
Serve with some crispy kale. Get some black Tuscan kale (or other but this is my favourite), wash well – uncurl the leaves at the top as occasionally there’s a dark green grub there. Slice and discard the hard part of the stem. Dry, drizzle a little oil and herb salt over the kale, pop on a baking tray in the oven and let them dry out. Eat there and then or they will wilt but you can always add them to soup later if they do. Or use a dehydrator if you have one.
Still not like any of the food. Last attempt: Indian
Swap the kidney beans in “two cans” for a can of chickpeas. After adding the tomatoes, add a teaspoon of mango chutney, a tablespoon of tomato puree and two teaspoons of a good curry powder, such as Schwartz. Fry for a few minutes and then add the chickpeas.
You can chop some fresh coriander leaves and stems into this and also get a knob of ginger about half the size of your thumb – grate it carefully (human skin doesn’t add much in terms of flavour to this particular dish) or slice it very thinly and sprinkle over the dish.
You can serve with naan or chapatti (buy these) instead of rice, or make your own easily. Use a small pot of plain soya yogurt, add in about a cup of brown spelt flour with a half teaspoon of baking powder, mix up. Heat a frying pan on a lowish heat, spray with one cal spray to cover the base, add in your “bread”, cover and allow to cook for a few minutes, then turn and cook on the other side for a few minutes. I call this “pan-bread” as opposed to pancake. You need to eat this there and then as it goes rubbery when cold. You can add in all sorts of goodies such as herbs, fried onion, etc.
Grated carrot or roasted veggies would go very well with this.
Vegetable dish that goes well with all of the above. Chop up a courgette, red pepper, several tomatoes (maybe four), large onion, two cloves of garlic. Optional extras – one butternut squash (if in a hurry you don’t need to peel it) chopped and deseeded, one aubergine. Chopped broccoli, green beans, etc.
Plonk all the veggies in a large pyrex dish or else a baking tray, toss in a little oil (peanut or sunflower – they burn at high temperatures), sprinkle some herbs over them and a little salt and put in the oven at about 170 for 20-30 minutes, stir them about every 10 minutes.
You can mix this with couscous, rice, and pasta.
Fill a wrap with leftovers and some beans. Cover with fajita sauce and put in the oven for about 20 minutes. Serve with a raw salad – grated carrot, corn, apple, beetroot. Iceberg or romaine lettuce.