Mushroom and Lentil Stew

Lentils are such a staple in my cupboard! They’re so good for bulking out a meal. I love mixing the green and red ones so that you have some that retain their shape and some that sort of drift into thick sauciness. Plus you can flavour them with whatever you like! Mushrooms are a great shout as their earthy savouriness really comes to the foreground of this one.

Put an egg on this and it’s brunch. Have a slab of bread and a bit of cheese on top and it’s dinner! It’s the ultimate versatile, make in advance and throw in the fridge meal.

I used a mix of dried porcini mushrooms and normal chestnut mushrooms but you can just use whatever you have lying around. I also used chicken stock because I’m a meat eater, but if you wanted to keep this plant-based just swap out for stock of your choice (and obviously leave off the egg).

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Veggie Packed Lunch Noodles

I make this recipe so often I couldn’t believe I haven’t blogged it before! These noodles are amazing for weekday lunches, they keep really well and actually taste better for a few days marinating in the fridge! I like to make a big batch and portion out into tupperware for the week.

This is completely veggie but you could add in some leftover meat if you wanted to. There’s plenty protein in here anyway if you’re counting your macros, the egg noodles, shredded egg and edamame are all high protein foods.

One thing I love about stir fries are the colours, especially using lots of fresh veg! How pretty does this pan look? Recipe after the jump!

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Hearty Green Lentil and Chickpea Soup

After the Christmas indulgences, I’ve been trying to stick to a vegetarian diet for as long as I can in January. I’m finding it really easy so far, there’s just a bit more thinking to be done about where I’m getting my protein from. Lentils and chickpeas are both great sources though so I though why not bang them both together in a soup!

Soup is a broad term here as this came out REALLY thick. I think I over-lentilled. So unless you’re feeding a small army, don’t put half a packet of green lentils in like I did. Maybe just 100g or so. But if you do make too much, the good news is this will freeze really well!

See? Not that soupy. But still really delicious! It’s super cheap to make too, you probably already have all the ingredients in your cupboard. I used carrots, peppers and onion as my veg but you can use whatever you like! It’s also completely vegan (just make sure you check your stock cubes).

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High Protein Tofu Noodle Stir Fry

I feel SO busy at the moment. Somehow I’m packing in a 40 hour working week, 4 trips to the gym, trying to buy a car, and about umpteen friends’ birthdays and social plans. That’s just summer though really isn’t it? I feel like having the opportunity to cook something nice is really rare for me at the moment – there’s been lots of scrambled egg on toast for dinner (eeeek!). Anyway, I’m on holiday countdown as it’s won’t be long before we’re off to Menorca for a week of eating, beaching and reading. I cannot wait!

A brief gym update since my last post because I’m SO proud of the progress I’m making. This week I’ve managed sumo squat deadlifts all by myself (no PT spotting) at 30kg which is the biggest weight I’ve ever lifted so far. There’s people that can lift more (obviously) but to me this is a huge achievement, especially considering I could barely lift a 20kg bar this time last year. October will be my gym-iversary and if I’m feeling brave enough I might do some of those cringey before and after pictures. It’s never really been about the result for me though, more the feeling. Lifting that weight makes me feel like I can take on anything.

Now I’ll stop rambling on, on to the recipe. This yummy stir fry is so packed full of protein and vegetables and makes for great weekday lunches, especially as the longer you leave it, the more flavour the tofu takes on from the surrounding sauce. I love that about tofu! The wet sauce for this which is unusual for me with noodles, I usually like a drier noodle or just dressed sesame oil but the tofu really needs the moisture for this to work. If you’re a busy monster like me you can meal prep this bad boy by chopping up all the veg beforehand and keeping it in the fridge, and just lob it into the pan when you come home. You could even pre-chop the tofu and marinate it in a little soy sauce if you were feeling really extra.

High Protein Tofu Noodle Stir fry

Makes about 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 280g block plain tofu (I like the ‘Tofoo’ stuff)
  • 1 medium pepper
  • 5-6 spring onions
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 large egg
  • 100g mushrooms
  • 1-2 nests of fine egg noodles
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp Chinese five spice
  • Sesame, chilli and vegetable oils

Finely slice the mushrooms, peppers, onions and spring onions and mince the garlic. Chop the tofu into small cubes and begin to fry in a frying pan with 2 tsp vegetable oil, and a couple of shakes of the chilli oil. In a separate pan or wok, make a quick, thin omelette with the egg and set to one side. Stir fry the veg with the garlic (I like to blanch the spring onions with the noodles so leave those out til later) just for a coupe of minutes until it starts to soften. Shred up that omelette you made earlier and add to the pan, and when the tofu is ready, add that in too. Boil the noodles in a saucepan according to packet instructions and drain into a sieve – place the spring onions in the sieve and pour the hot water over them. This makes them nice and soft without compromising the flavour.

Next, in a cup, mix together the cornflour, soy sauce, five spice and fish sauce with maybe 25ml water or so – you want it to fill about half way up a standard mug. Pour this into the pan with the veg and the tofu and add the noodles too. Stir until it’s thickened – add a bit more water if it goes too thick and then serve with a drizzle more chilli oil if you like a bit of spice!

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High Street Falafel Salads: A Review

‘Never say no to a free lunch’ is one of my life maxims, and courtesy of the lovely folk at Greggs, I’ve been eating falafel salads all week! They asked me to compare their latest range of summer salads to their some of the others in the market. I chose falafel simply because I absolutely love it, making eating it all week pretty easy!

Monday – Greggs Falafel, Harissa, Roast vegetable and Grain Salad  


The falafels themselves are excellent, just the right amount of crumble, and a yummy savoury taste. The salad leaves were all really fresh and there were some lovely chunks of sweet roasted red onion in there too.  Packaging wise Greggs have nailed this – it’s easy to transport (no leakages), made mostly of cardboard (yay environment), and comes with a plastic KNIFE as well as fork. On the downsides, the yoghurt and harissa dipping sauces were both a bit too vinegary for me, coupled with the vinaigrette on the couscous and pearl barley it made the whole salad a bit well… vinegary. A sweet chilli dipping sauce might have been a better option. Vinegar aside, the salad looks excellent, tastes pretty good and looked very fresh.

  • Taste 4/5
  • Value for Money 5/5
  • Freshness 5/5
  • Nutrition 4/5
  • Aesthetics 5/5

Total score: 23/25

Tuesday – Pret a Manger Sweet Potato Falafel and Smashed Beets Veggie Box 

I don’t like beetroot so this wasn’t off to a great start, though it did look lovely and colourful in the box with a big old dollop of beetroot hummus right on top. I did try some for the purpose of fairness but it wasn’t for me so I scraped quite a bit of it off. If you like beetroot though it did add a nice sweetness. The rest of the salad was tasty with a pleasantly zingy green dressing. The sweet potato falafel had lovely, slightly curried flavour to them (probably from the turmeric) but you only get two which is a bit mean.  Brown rice and quinoa made for a tasty and nutritious carb, and I really liked the addition of pomegranate. It looses points on freshness though, the two avocado slices means this salad didn’t look fantastic after I took it out of the fridge, and the packaging just wasn’t as nice as Greggs.

  • Taste 4/5
  • Value for Money 3/5
  • Freshness 3/5
  • Nutrition 5/5
  • Aesthetics 2/5

Total score: 17/25

Wednesday – M&S Bulgar Wheat and Falafel salad 



This one was a winner on all fronts apart from the falafel. The bulgar wheat was delicious, with lovely fresh veg mixed in. There was a little corner of hummus hiding under it which was delightful, plus the crumbled feta on top took this salad to another level. The falafel itself was really sad though, it was soooo crumbly it had actually already broken up in the box before I ate it, so it wasn’t in lovely rounds any more – just in little pieces. Packaging and appearance wise this looked great, with the cherry tomatoes giving a lovely pop of colour. Shame about the falafel though.

  • Taste 5/5
  • Value for Money 3/5
  • Freshness 3/5
  • Nutrition 4/5
  • Aesthetics 4/5

Total score: 19/25

Thursday – Starbucks Falfel and Quinoa Lentil salad


This had to be the worst of the bunch. Lots of falafel, but it was very dry and bland, and the only dip provided was a beetroot hummus which didn’t add anything to the moisture. The quinoa was extremely minty and didn’t taste of much else. The cucumber was nice and fresh and probably the only bit I really enjoyed. Overall, this was really disappointing and I ended up getting some crisps from the canteen instead!

  • Taste 1/5
  • Value for Money 2/5
  • Freshness 4/5
  • Nutrition 4/5
  • Aesthetics 3/5

Total score: 14/25

Friday – Boots Carrot and Coriander Falafel Salad 


Not being a coriander fan, I didn’t expect to like this one but I was pleasantly surprised! The falafel was really flavoursome and the bulgar wheat was pleasantly simple and not covered in horrible minty dressing like the Starbucks experience. A nice little pot of mint dressing meant I could control the flavour myself. The salad also came with shredded carrots which were nice and fresh. The only thing was it was a little bit on the small side, I was definitely hungry after this one! But seeing as it’s part of the Boots meal deal you can treat yourself to a snack too.

  • Taste 4/5
  • Value for Money 5/5
  • Freshness 4/5
  • Nutrition 4/5
  • Aesthetics 2/5

Total score: 19/25

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Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Fritters

I don’t know why I decided to make these on a Monday night, after a full day at work and a gym session, it just happened. I definitely didn’t think they’d take long to make, and truth be told they don’t, but it’s really hard to make a small amount of mix, and then you need to factor in cooking it all. This recipe made around 18 fritters.

These babies were the solution to a food problem: a lone, large cauliflower taking up too much space, and two sweet potatoes in the cupboard that just needed some love. I knew there must be a delicious way to combine cauliflower with sweet potato, and it turns out, it’s this. Keeping the mixture quite wet means that you get lovely crispy bits of potato that extend past the fritter itself making it almost like a baji. Alternatively if you wanted something more like a pancake you could keep adding more flour until you get a sticky consistency.

Make sure you have a good hour set aside, a decent food processor or grater and lots of cloths to wipe up with. Let’s get frittering!

 

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Spicy Satay Asian Salad 

Hands up who feels huge and sluggish after Easter? *raises own hand* I’ve eaten so much chocolate plus a (delicious) roast dinner yesterday and I’ve lost track on the wine. Time to get back to vegetables with this crunchy Asian salad.

I made this for a set of weekday lunches and to make use of my new Veggie Bullet! It’s a shredder, chopper and spiraliser and it’s great for recipes like this where there’s lots of chopping. I used the shredding function for the carrot and then sliced the cabbage, peppers, onions and chilli.

I did the rest by hand because it wouldn’t do spring onions how I wanted them in long strips and the mini sweetcorn probably wouldn’t have really worked out well. It cut the prep time in half though.

Anyway on to the recipe and a word of warning, you can’t make this (either food processor or no) without getting finely chopped food ALL OVER your kitchen. So put down some towels and roll up your sleeves!

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Greek Feta and Spinach Quiche

I’m on a quiche binge at the moment, I’ll admit it. The Salmon and Broccoli Quiche  I made recently for Mother’s Day was so good, and made such easy lunches that I was spurned on to make another!

I had some leftover feta to use up and we always have frozen spinach in the freezer (soooo much more economical than fresh) so a spinach and feta combo seemed like a no brainer. I wish I’d had some dill to add to it as it would have been the perfect Greek flavour, but I had to work with what I had and went for basil and nutmeg instead.

Four eggs and fourty minutes later and I have my lunches sorted for the rest of the week! The feta adds a really delicious creamy texture to it making it feel richer than it actually is. I’ll be eating this with salad for a tasty desk lunch.


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Butternut Squash, Cauliflower and Chorizo Salad with Wild Garlic

Another recipe using wild garlic! Well, when in Rome (or Roundhay Park). I’ve been trying to think outside of the box and look at different ways of using wild garlic instead of in the standard pesto. This recipe uses wild garlic torn into small pieces and it adds a really nice soft flavour to the dish. If it’s not in season or you can’t get any, spinach would work fine or you could omit it completely.

This is one of those elusive delicious desk lunches that don’t need warming up. Make a big batch at home and enjoy at room temperature or from the fridge, no fuss, no muss!

You do need some harissa for this recipe to give it an extra punch – cauliflower roasted by itself tends not to hold much flavour but whack some harissa in there and you’ve got yourself something really delicious! The beans and cheese add some extra protein and you can take out the chorizo if you’re veggie.

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Salmon, Broccoli and Leek Quiche

I don’t usually make quiches, I’m not sure why because they’re delicious! I think I’ve always thought they were a faff but if you pre-buy the pastry case they’re really a doddle.

I made this bad boy for Mother’s Day lunch with some salad and roasted tomatoes. It went down a treat and I’ll definitely be making a few more quiches in the future – so moreish and the leftovers make great lunches.

You could buy preflaked salmon I suppose to make this even easier but it’s often honey roasted or seasoned which might overwhelm in a quiche. I bought two fillets and just grilled them with a little butter, lemon and salt and pepper.

Find the pre-made pastry cases in the baking aisle of your supermarket – they really help to make this a lot easier! Especially if you have no patience for baking like me. Anyway, onto the recipe!

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