To me a risotto should elevate a single vegetable. It should celebrate it. Add too many ingredients to your risotto and the flavours will mingle and become indistinguishable in the long simmer. Courgettes are incredibly versatile. Fantastic cooked down low and slow into a silky mush, griddled and seared, battered and deep fried, raw… So for interest and texture in this dish I’ve cut each courgette differently. One diced and simmered with the onions into a meltingly soft sauce, one sliced into rounds for texture and body in the risotto and the last one peeled into raw ribbons to go on top. Serve with a swirl of pesto (try my salad bag pesto here), a drizzle of good olive oil and some toasted hazelnuts. Heaven.
Leave a comment if you tried this recipe or show us your photos on Instagram or our Facebook group. We love seeing your amazing recreations. Liz x
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil
2 sticks of celery
4 cloves of garlic
1 mug of risotto rice (or however much you like to serve 4)
1 stock cube
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp (or more to taste) pesto
extra virgin olive oil to serve
toasted, chopped hazelnuts to serve
Dice the onion and put it in a wide pan with the butter and oil over a medium high heat. Add a pinch of salt and sauté and soften for around 6 minutes.
Dice the celery sticks, garlic and one of the courgettes and add them to the pan to soften too. Cook, stirring often until soft and golden. Around 10 minutes.
Rinse and add the risotto rice to the pan with the zest and juice of the lemon (or a glass of white wine). Crumble in the stock cube and add a generous grind of black pepper. Stir well to coat the rice in the seasoning then add a mug of warm water.
Slice the second courgette into rounds and add it to the pan. Simmer and stir until all the water has been absorbed then add another mug of water. Keep simmering and stirring.
Meanwhile use a vegetable peeler to slice as many ribbons from the third courgette. Chop up the middle bit and add it to the pan. Keep simmering and stirring and add another mug of water. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt, pepper or lemon once the rice started to swell up and become softer.
Once the risotto is cooked (the rice should be soft and creamy but still with a little bite) turn off the heat. Stir through a few tbsp of pesto, pile on the raw courgette ribbons, drizzle everything with extra virgin olive oil and scatter over the toasted hazelnuts.
Take the pan to the table and serve with the jar of pesto handy to add extra swirls through the bowls of anyone who wishes for more.
Easily get 10 portions of fruit and veg into your day with this plant based St Patrick’s Day menu. No green food colouring in sight but lots of vibrant, fun, healthy ideas. Hope you have a fab day off everyone! Let us know what you are cooking to celebrate the day in the comments or over on our friendly facebook page.
Green Smoothie Pancakes
Is it even St Patrick’s Day if you don’t eat something green? Avoid the food colouring and get out your blender for these sweet (but healthy) pancakes.
Ingredients (makes 10 pancakes)
a couple of large handfuls of rinsed kale (or spinach)
Put all the ingredients except the butter and maple syrup into a smoothie maker and blend until smooth.
Heat a non-stick frying pan to medium then melt some butter and fry the pancakes in small batches for a few minutes on each side until cooked through. It’s better to cook them low and slow so that they are cooked through and not too dark on the outside.
Stack them up and serve simply with butter and a generous drizzle of maple syrup or your favourite pancake toppings.
Golden Boxty with Rainbow Slaw
Traditional Irish potato griddle cakes (but with very non-traditional grated courgette in the mashed potato batter instead of grated raw potato) are fried in butter until golden brown. Serve these ‘pots of gold’ with a rainbow slaw of fresh, raw, crunchy veg and a dollop of mayo for the perfect lunch.
mayonnaise to serve (or make your own using my easy aquafaba recipe here)
Start with the slaw. Shred the cabbage, grate the carrot and thinly slice the peppers, spring onions and chives. Mix in a bowl with the juice of half a lemon to start with and the olive oil. Taste and add more lemon juice if you like.
Preheat a frying pan and mix up the boxty batter. Put the mashed potato, grated courgette (or raw potato), flour, milk, vinegar, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. You should end up with a batter that’s a dropping consistency. If not, add more milk.
Fry in melted butter on a medium heat for about 5 or so minutes on each side. You can fry them in little fritters or in large rounds the size of the pan. Carefully flip them over when the bottom is golden brown. Add more butter to the pan before flipping if it’s looking a bit dry.
Serve warm with the rainbow slaw and a dollop of mayonnaise.
Irish Stew with Soda Dread Dumplings
Meaty mushrooms and bitter Guinness makes this stew rich and delicious and what better way to mop up the juices than with some Irish soda bread? I steam it as dumplings on top here for a hearty one pot supper but you could bake it separately if you prefer and serve it alongside. Looking for a gluten free alternative? Why not make some colcannon (mashed potato with wilted green cabbage or kale and spring onion stirred through) to go with the stew instead and use a gluten free stout in place of the Guinness?
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 large onion
3 sticks of celery
4 cloves of garlic
1 mug of green lentils
1 stock cube
1 can of Guinness
2 tbsp dark brown sugar (optional – to counteract the bitterness of the Guinness)
salt and pepper to taste
chopped chives to serve
500g flour (I like 250g plain and 250g wholemeal)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
300ml oat milk
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp sunflower oil
Get a large pot on the hob and heat it to the highest setting.
Roughly dice the onion and add it to the pot with 2 tbsp of sunflower oil.
Roughly dice the carrots, celery and mushrooms and add them to the pot next.
Stir occasionally and allow the vegetables to take on some colour and caramelised flavour for around 10 minutes. Then peel, chop and add the 4 cloves of garlic.
Rinse your mug of green lentils and add them to the pot with the can of Guinness, the stock cube and an additional mug of water. Season the stew with salt and lots of black pepper. Give the broth a taste and add some brown sugar to counteract the bitterness of the Guinness if needed.
Then let the stew come up to a simmer while you make the soda bread dough.
Measure the dry ingredients (the flour, salt and bicarb) into a large mixing bowl and mix well to evenly disperse the bicarbonate of soda and salt. Check for lumps and sort them out now before you add the wet ingredients.
Measure the wet ingredients (the oat milk, oil and vinegar) into a measuring jug and give it a stir. This is the plant based alternative for the traditional buttermilk in the recipe. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir well with a wooden spoon to form a rough dough. No need to knead, just stir well to ensure there are no dry, floury bits in the dough.
Use wet hands to form 6-8 balls of dough and place them carefully in the top of the simmering stew. Put the lid on the pot, make sure it’s turned down ow and allow the stew to simmer an the soda bread to steam for about 20-30 minutes.
Check that the lentils are cooked through then serve the hot stew and dumplings with chopped chives on top.
Mint Choc Chip Ice-Cream
This ice cream is vibrant green, creamy and sweet…but made with peas and bananas! Don’t be put off by the healthy ingredients, blended frozen banana is a creamy revelation and peas are naturally so sweet. It’s especially good if the banana is frozen when super-ripe. If you eat through your bananas from your weekly delivery then this recipe is a good way to use up those reduced over-ripe bananas at the shops. A win-win for you and for the epic food waste problem the planet is facing. I’ve used cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips because I love their bitter, dark chocolate flavour, but do feel free to substitute with real chocolate chips…especially if you are serving this to children.
optional sweetener of your choice to taste (eg maple syrup)
and a tbsp or so of cacao nibs (or sub with chocolate chips)
Peel and chop as many over-ripe bananas as you like. About one per person. Freeze them overnight on a tray until solid (with gaps between the pieces otherwise they’ll all freeze together and be very difficult to blend).
You’ll need a strong food processor with an S blade attachment. A food processor works better that a jug/smoothie blender for this.
Put the frozen banana chunks and frozen peas into your blender along with fresh mint leaves to taste.
Blend into a frozen, crumbly texture then stop the blender, scrape down the sides and blend again until vibrant green and creamy.
Taste the mixture and add a sweetener or more mint leaves if you like and blend again.
Scrape the nice cream out into a tub and stir through cacao nibs or chocolate chips. Scoop into balls and serve (they will be quite soft at this stage so for quickly) or move to the freezer to firm up until you are ready to serve.
Introducing the slightly more laborious, but much more exciting cousin of macaroni cheese! Béchamel Baked Butternut Gnocchi! This is comfort food at it’s finest.
My vegan béchamel sauce is very simple to put together, and for this I’ve simply whisked it up and poured it over sautéed celery and leek. Then I popped in lots of freshly boiled butternut gnocchi (not as tricky to make as it seems), scattered over some tangy capers and crushed pumpkin seeds and baked it until the béchamel was bubbling and thickened! I got some gorgeous cherry tomatoes in my box last week so I placed them on top to roast in the oven. Their bright acidity is the perfect foil to the creamy richness of the béchamel and gnocchi.
I’d love to see your photos if you make this dish. Share them with us over on our friendly facebook group or tag us @greenearthorganics1 on Instagram and don’t forget to share this blog post with your friends. Liz x
enough plain flour to bring it into a dough (this varies depending on the water content and size of your squash)
salt, pepper and optional herbs or spices (sage/rosemary/thyme/chilli flakes…)
Pre-heat your oven to 200C.
Cut a small butternut squash in half, scoop out the seeds and bake it – cut side down – in a hot oven (200C) until the flesh is soft all the way through. Test it with a small knife, it should easily slide into the soft, roasted butternut. (This normally takes 30 minutes or so. While it’s in the oven, get on with the sauce and preparing the toppings below.)
Allow the squash to cool to the point where you can easily handle it, then scoop out all the roasted flesh and mash or blend it into a smooth purée.
Find your biggest pot, 2/3rds fill it with water and get it on the stove to heat up to a rolling boil while you make the gnocchi.
Season the purée with salt and pepper and taste to check the seasoning. It should be slightly too salty as you are going to fold in a fair bit of flour. You can also add optional extra flavours at this stage. For example chilli flakes and sage or rosemary and lemon zest… or just leave it plain, that’s delicious too!
Then stir in enough flour to turn the purée into a soft dough. You can use plain flour (make sure there are no raising agents in it) or strong bread flour or even a gluten free plain flour blend. Gnocchi works best with white flour rather than wholemeal.
The amount of flour varies depending on the size and moisture content of your squash. Just start with a mug or so, gently fold it in and keep going until it’s the right consistency to be tipped out onto a floured work surface and very briefly kneaded. You want to work it as little as possible to keep it tender, but just enough to bring it together into a manageable ball of dough. It should be soft and sticky, get a helper to keep dusting the work surface and your hands with flour to make it more manageable.
Cut the ball of dough into 4, then roll one of the quarters into a thick snake. Chop the snake into little bites. If you want to make little traditional looking grooves in the gnocchi you can stamp each bite with a fork or you can roll them over a gnocchi board if you have one… or simply roll them into balls.
Then drop the gnocchi into the now boiling water in batches. Gently loosen them from the bottom of the pot with a slotted spoon. When they rise to the top of the water they are done and can be scooped out and placed in the sauce below. I do them in batches of one snake at a time, then while that batch is boiling I get the next snake ready.
Keep going until all your gnocchi dough is used up. If you make too much for the bake, then you can cool down and keep the excess boiled gnocchi in the fridge/freezer and use it another day (pan fry it with a little olive oil or butter and serve with pesto and salad?)
In an oven and hob safe, large, wide pan, sauté the sliced celery, leek and garlic with the butter or olive oil and some salt and pepper until soft. Then turn off the heat. (If you don’t have an oven and hob safe large dish like this, you can just sauté the veg and tip it into a roasting tray instead.)
Then whisk the flour, milk, mustard, nutritional yeast, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a large jug or mixing bowl and pour the mixture over the sautéed celery and leeks.
Boil the gnocchi in batches as above and pop them into the dish on top of the sauce.
In a small blender or large pestle and mortar, crush/blend the handful of pumpkin seeds with a small handful of nutritional yeast for a crunchy, savoury topping. Scatter this over the gnocchi and sauce.
Sprinkle over the capers and cherry tomatoes then pop the dish into the oven (with an optional drizzle of olive oil) to bake until the gnocchi are burnished golden brown and the sauce is thick and bubbling. This should take around 20-30 minutes.
Serve with a simple green salad and an ice cold glass of white wine and enjoy!
I always keep a kitchen cupboard stocked with tins of beans, tomatoes, coconut milk and jackfruit. Having a repertoire of store-cupboard suppers is very useful when you are subscribed to a veg box delivery. Depending on what’s going on each week, sometimes I have a bit of fresh fruit and veg leftover when the new, weekly box arrives and sometimes I need to make a store-cupboard supper or two before it arrives and that’s totally fine! Especially with the range of brilliant, organic groceries at Green Earth Organics. What a luxury to be able to eat fresh, organic vegetables most days, and organic store-cupboard ingredients on other days!
Here’s one of our current store-cupboard staples, a spicy, Jamaican inspired jerk stew with the most delicious coconutty red beans and rice!
As always, please share your photos of your version of the recipe with our friendly community Facebook group. We love to see our recipes leave the blog! Liz x
Put the rice, coconut milk and drained tin of beans into a small pot. Add the onion wedge and whole cloves and a pinch of salt. Add a mug of water then stir briefly to combine.
Bring the rice pot to the boil with the lid on, then immediately as it comes to the boil, turn the heat down to the lowest setting, leave the lid on, do not stir, and allow the rice to gently simmer and absorb all the liquid in the pot.
For white rice this only takes about 15-20 minutes, brown rice takes double that time. So if you are using brown rice, get it assembled and on to boil first, if you are using white rice, get the stew on first then the rice.
I’ve been cooking so much with the gorgeous, super-fresh carrots from the farm recently. Carrots are one of those staple vegetables that often get overlooked as ‘boring’ and sent to the side of the plate or the base of the meal. I love elevating these humble vegetables and making them the star of the show. Once you taste the difference between watery, bland supermarket carrots and the real deal from the farm, you’ll see why I bang on about showcasing each vegetable in its own right.
Root to Shoot
I’m sure most of you already know that the carrot tops are edible too. In this recipe, and in many of my recipes, I show you how to make a meal using the whole vegetable, root to shoot! I hate waste, not just because I don’t have the cash to splash, but also because of the environmental impact. Did you know that reducing food waste has been identified as one of the most effective ways to fight climate change? According to Stop Food Waste, 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted each year. This directly contributes to food shortages, water stress, biodiversity loss and increased greenhouse gas emissions. Globally, more than one quarter of food produced is wasted: with food loss and waste contributing 8-10% of total emissions. So we should all do our part in reducing food waste by learning how to use the entire vegetable and putting as little as possible in the compost bin (and certainly never put food waste in the general waste heading for landfill). Apart from the environmental issues regarding food waste, it is surprising how much important dietary fibre and incredibly powerful nutrients are found in the peels and other parts of vegetables we often throw away. Good for your body, your pocket and your planet, what’s not to like?
Ingredients (to serve 4)
12 carrots and their leafy tops – carrot scrubbed and tops well rinsed
1 glass of white wine or a splash of vinegar or lemon juice
Start by removing the leafy tops from the carrots. Roughly chop them and put them in a food processor with the blade attachment. Then slice the carrots lengthways into halves or quarters, put them in a roasting dish, dress them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and pop them in a hot oven (180C) to roast while you get on with the barleyotto/risotto.
Peel and dice the onion and start sautéing it in a heavy bottomed pan with a little olive oil. You could also add a knob of dairy free butter to the pan for extra flavour at this stage.
Dice the celery and garlic. Add 3 cloves to to the pot (along with all the celery) and one garlic clove to the food processor where you’ll make the carrot top pesto.
Season the onion, celery and garlic with a little salt and allow it to cook down and soften a little. Then add the mug of barley grains, the glass of wine (you can replace this with a small splash of cider/white wine vinegar or the juice of a lemon), the stock cube/bouillon and 3 mugs of water. (If you are using risotto rice, add the liquid gradually, stir often and allow it to soak in before adding more). Add the drained butterbeans and let the barleyotto simmer until the grains are cooked through. Stir regularly and keep an eye on the liquid levels, you may need to add more.
While the carrots and the barleyotto/risotto are cooking, focus on the pesto.
Toast the sunflower seeds in a hot, dry frying pan until they are fragrant and start to pop and colour. Then add them to the food processor with the carrot tops and garlic.
Add the juice of half a lemon or a tbsp of cider or white wine vinegar, a few tbsp of nutritional yeast (this brings an irresistible, rich, cheesy flavour to the pesto), a pinch of salt, some freshly ground back pepper and enough olive oil to blend the pesto into a bright green sauce. If you don’t have very many carrot tops you can also add some chopped kale or spinach to the blender.
Pulse the pesto until it comes together into a loose green sauce. Then taste it and adjust the seasoning if needed with extra salt, pepper, lemon juice or olive oil as you like and blend again until you are happy with the flavour and consistency.
When the barley or risotto is cooked through, taste it and check the seasoning, adjusting it if necessary. Then serve in bowls topped with roasted carrots and carrot top pesto. Any spare pesto can be kept in a jar in the fridge for up to one week. Use it in sandwiches, to top crackers or dip vegetables in, stir it through pasta or drizzle it over steamed greens or roasted vegetables.
Enjoy! 💚 Liz
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