Roasted Fennel & Tomato Pasta Sauce

One of my go-to weekday dinner solutions, for those hectic days when the juggle between work-life and family-life has left you reeling, is to roast a big tray of vegetables and then while that’s cooking decide what to do with it. I usually turn it into pasta sauce or soup with the help of my handy stick blender and add some extra protein with a drained tin of beans or lentils. There is always the option to stir the roasted veggies through rice or add them to tacos or a make a warm salad by tossing them through a drained tin of cooked pulses (our organic range from Bunalun is so handy). Roasting vegetables makes them sweeter and more delicious and our farm grown fennel and tomatoes are just *made* for pasta.

Like most of my recipes, this is a flexible affair. Make it smooth or chunky, don’t worry too much about the ratios of the different vegetables. Make do with what you have and if in doubt, add a tin of chopped tomatoes. Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4 generously)

  • 2 fennel bulbs (roughly chopped, fronds kept to one side to use fresh as a herb)
  • 250g tomatoes (roughly chopped)
  • 1/2 a bulb of garlic (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 onion (peeled and chopped)
  • optional extra vegetables like courgette, peppers, carrots…(roughly chopped)
  • olive oil for roasting – about 4 tbsp
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • optional drained tin of green lentils
  • pasta to serve
  • optional chilli flakes and extra virgin olive oil to serve

Method

  1. Turn your oven on to 200C and find your largest oven tray.
  2. Roughly chop all the vegetables and scatter them onto the tray.
  3. Drizzle generously with good olive oil and season with salt, pepper and fennel seeds.
  4. Use your hands to mix the vegetables, oil and seasoning well, then pop the tray into the oven to roast the vegetables while you cook some pasta (we stock a range of brilliant organic pastas, including gluten free varieties, which you can add to your veg order).
  5. After 20 minutes, the vegetables should be soft and starting to caramelise. If you used a smaller tray then it will take longer and you should stir them occasionally to ensure they all catch some direct heat.
  6. Carefully tip and scrape the roasted vegetables into a deep container. I like to use a sauce pot so that I can easily re-heat the sauce if needed. Then using a stick blender, blend the vegetables into a sauce. You can make it perfectly smooth or leave some texture and chunks, however you prefer it is fine! Or add some vegetable stock to loosen the sauce into a soup?
  7. Add the chopped reserved fennel fronds if you like that fresh, aniseed flavour. For extra protein and fibre, add a drained tin of lentils or white beans to the sauce.
  8. Stir through freshly cooked pasta and serve. I always put extra virgin olive oil, flakey salt and chilli flakes on the table too with this dish. Enjoy!

Slow-Cooked Courgette Caviar

Courgette caviar is a Russian/Ukrainian spread made from slowly cooking summer vegetables down into a rustic and delicious purée. The long, slow sauté reduces and caramelises the vegetables together, elevating these humble ingredients into a stunning jar of flavour. This is so much more than a stew. Slow cooked courgettes have the most wonderful texture, you can also use aubergines or a combination of the two. It’s just a brilliant way of using up a glut of courgettes and other summer veggies. If we are having a barbecue, I sometimes chuck a few courgettes and aubergines (also peppers, whole bulbs of garlic, carrots…) on to get smokey and soft then make this purée with those. It’s amazing, the smokiness really comes through. Just peel off any very blackened bits of skin and sauté and crush the vegetables together in the pan until reduced.

Enjoy cold on good bread or with crackers. It’s delicious as part of a picnic spread with cheese, pickles, ferments etc. Or heat it up and loosen it with some pasta water for a quick pasta sauce. It’s an incredible pizza sauce base too! I have never tried making a huge batch and keeping the jars in a cellar, but if you have the know-how and the right equipment, that’s a great way to preserve the fruits of summer. But making the recipe as per the method below, the jar should last well in the fridge for two weeks.

Liz x

Ingredients* (makes a large jar approximately 1 litre)

*don’t worry too much about amounts and the ingredients can vary too! Leave out the pepper, add aubergine, use fresh tomatoes, add more or less garlic… it’s more about the technique of slowly cooking down and caramelising the vegetables together than getting the proportions and ingredients exact. I suppose starchy vegetables like potatoes wouldn’t work here, but most other vegetables will be fine. Use any combination that you like. Here’s what I did this time:

  • 1 onion
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • a generous slick of olive oil to coat your pot/pan, plus extra to to top the jar
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 courgettes
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • salt to taste
  • optional extras like black pepper, dill or fennel seeds, coriander seeds, chilli…

Method

  1. Start by dicing or grating all your ingredients.
  2. In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan or pot, heat up a generous slick of olive oil and add the diced onion. Keep the pot at medium high and stir fry the onions until they start to soften and colour.
  3. Add the garlic, courgettes, carrots, pepper and a big pinch of salt. Sauté, stirring regularly for at least 30 minutes. You will need to lower the heat as you go. It’s nice if the vegetables caramelise and slightly catch on the bottom of the pan. Just keep scraping the base of the pan with a wooden spoon.
  4. Crush the vegetables together with the back of the wooden spoon, or use a masher to help you along.
  5. When the vegetables are reduced and drying out, add the tomatoes and keep cooking, stirring and reducing. You should end up with a rich, thick purée. You can keep it rustic or blend it smooth.
  6. Pack the mixture while it’s still hot into a large, sterilised jar. Add a layer of olive oil and put the lid on. This should make it last longer.
  7. Keep it in the fridge. It should last well for 2 weeks.

Aubergine Involtini

Involtini in Italian means ‘rolls’ and this aubergine version is one of my all time favourite dishes. I am obsessed with aubergine, perhaps it’s because I used to hate it as a child and now I’m making up for lost time? But whenever aubergine season hits, this recipe is at the top of my list. I also make this with courgettes in place of the aubergines sometimes, especially when there’s a lot of them to use up. Griddled courgette strips are so tasty so give that version a try too.

The filling can be whatever you want it to be. I usually go for something simple like a mixture of cheese (vegan feta or cashew cheese are my favs) and pesto. But roasted and crushed squash with toasted pine nuts or hazelnuts is also really good! Perfect for that summer-autumn crossover. Let us know in the comments what fillings worked well for you?

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

  • 2 aubergines
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 jars of Napoli tomato sauce (or make your own tomato sauce by sautéing a diced onion and 4 cloves of garlic with a little olive oil until soft, then add 2 tins of chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste and some torn basil leaves and simmer for 15 minutes or so)
  • 130g jar of pesto
  • 200-300g cheese of your choice (feta works really well here – I use my tofu feta recipe found at the end of this blog post, otherwise we stock a variety of plant based cheeses and organic feta)
  • pasta or fresh bread to serve

Method

  1. Find a medium sized, deep roasting dish and turn your oven to 200C to warm up while you prepare the dish.
  2. If you’re not using our tasty, ready made tomato sauce, make a simple batch yourself using two 400g tins of chopped tomatoes. I sautéed a diced onion with a couple of tbsp of olive oil and 4 cloves of garlic until soft and just starting to colour. Then tipped in the two tins of tomatoes (swirled out the remaining tomatoey juices from the tins with a little water and added that to the pot too) and seasoned with salt and pepper. Then simmered the sauce with some torn basil leaves for around 10-15 minutes until it was rich and delicious.
  3. Keep the sauce warm while you prepare the aubergines and filling.
  4. Slice the tops off the aubergine as close to the stalk as possible, then peel or slice off any still-attached leafy bits. Carefully cut the aubergines into around 4mm thick, long strips.
  5. Pour the olive oil into a small bowl or glass and season it with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Then brush the aubergine slices with the seasoned olive oil and grill them in batches in a griddle pan, or under a hot grill in the oven. Turn halfway through. They should be soft and beautifully charred but still manageable. As they cook, lay them out on a large chopping board or clean worksurface ready for stuffing and rolling.
  6. Meanwhile make your filling. I mashed about 300g of feta with a jar of pesto.
  7. Pour the warm tomato sauce into your baking dish and start assembling the involtini.
  8. Place a tablespoon of filling at the end of a griddled aubergine slice. Then roll it up and tuck the roll, seam side down, into the tomato sauce.
  9. Repeat until all the rolls are stuffed. Then place the dish in the oven and bake for around 15-20 minutes or until hot and bubbling.
  10. Serve with freshly boiled pasta or some crusty bread and enjoy!

Rainbow Chard Parcels

The stunning rainbow chard coming out of the farm at the moment is absolutely fantastic! It’s one of our favourite crops, so vibrant and so tasty. Here’s a recipe to make the most out of its beauty. Don’t forget to browse our farm products and add them to your next order, we’d hate for you to miss out on the seasonal harvest.

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 bag of rainbow chard (250g)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil (1 for sautéing, 2 for the mash, 1 for drizzling)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • a handful of torn basil leaves
  • 3 large potatoes
  • 1 tin of lentils, drained
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
  • optional cheese to taste – I like to use my tofeta
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Scrub the potatoes, chop into bites and get them on to boil.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 200C and find an oven and hob safe pan with a lid.
  3. Sauté the onion and garlic in 1 tbsp of olive oil for about 10 minutes or until soft and starting to caramelise.
  4. Add the tins of tomatoes and the torn basil leaves. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Half fill the tins with water and swirl the tomatoey juices out of the tins, into the pan. Then bring the sauce up to simmer and bubble away while you make the chard parcels.
  6. Remove the long chard stems, slice them into bites and add them to the tomato sauce.
  7. Mash the potatoes with 2 tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Then stir in the drained lentils, sliced scallions, chilli flakes and optional cheese.
  8. Lay the chard leaves out, upside down on a chopping board with the top of the leaf closest to you and the colourful stalks pointing away from you.
  9. Add a spoon of the mashed potato and lentil filling to a leaf near the top closest to you, roll the leaf over the filling away from you, then fold over the sides and keep rolling until you make a neat parcel.
  10. Take the sauce off the heat and pour it into medium baking dish, then tuck the chard parcel, seam side down, into the sauce. Repeat until you have used up all the chard leaves or filling. Then drizzle the last tbsp of olive oil over the parcels.
  11. Then put a lid or sheet of foil or parchment on the dish and pop it in the oven to steam/roast for just 10 minutes or so. The sauce should be bubbling hot and the leaves should be tender.
  12. Serve in bowls with bread and salads.

Simple Salsa

We are obsessed with salsas! Scooping up salsa with tortilla crisps has got to be one of the best ways to get kids to eat a load of fresh, raw veggies too. Putting out a big bowl of salsa and tortillas while the BBQ is getting going keeps everyone happy. And of course, salsa is a key ingredient in a taco. There are countless variations, enjoy playing around and finding a fun combination that you love. The version below is a super simple one which I know my whole family will love, but I also love adding fruit like diced pineapple, cherries, mango or peaches and adding finely sliced fresh chillies or a spoon of smokey chipotle chilli paste. Grilled corn and diced avocado are also stunning additions. Share your favourite combination with us in the comments?

Liz x

Ingredients (makes enough for a whole large bag of tortilla chips)

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lime – juiced
  • 1 clove of garlic – crushed
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 red pepper – diced
  • 1/3rd of a large cucumber – diced
  • 1/2 a punnet of honey drop cherry tomatoes – diced
  • 2 scallions – finely sliced
  • 1 bunch of coriander – chopped
  • *optional extras* chilli, avocado, grilled corn, cherries, peaches, mango, pineapple…

Method

  1. Pour the olive oil and lime juice into a large bowl.
  2. Add the crushed garlic and salt and mix well.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix with a spoon to coat them all in the dressing.
  4. Taste and add more salt if needed.
  5. Serve with a bowl of tortilla chips.
  6. Keep any leftovers in a tub in the fridge, salsa is even better the next day!

One Pot Baked Orzo Pasta

One pot suppers are my favourite types of suppers. Not just for the lack of pots and pans to scrub, although let’s be honest, that is the main reason, but also because it’s just so satisfying, pulling a dish out of the oven and onto the centre of the table and watching everyone tuck in. This baked orzo recipe, like pretty much all of my recipes, is super-flexible. Use it as inspiration rather than instruction and tweak it with any vegetables you have in your box this week. Orzo is simply rice shaped pasta. I often pop a drained tin of beans or lentils into the mix too for some added fibre and protein. Let us know how your version went in the comments.

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4-5)

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions – diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic – diced
  • roughly chopped vegetables of your choice (I went ‘Med-veg’ style and used – 1 aubergine, 1/2 a fennel bulb, 2 courgettes, 1 yellow pepper)
  • 500g orzo pasta
  • the juice of a lemon (or a tbsp of preserved lemon paste)
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml water
  • salt, pepper and herbs to taste
  • added extras to taste – olives, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, a drained tin of beans/lentils/chickpeas…
  • grated cheese (or vegan cheese – we sell a range or make my tofu-feta recipe) to finish

Method

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200C and find a large oven and hob safe pan with a lid. If you don’t have one, you could use a roasting dish and some tin foil – roast rather than sauté the vegetables.
  2. Sauté the diced onion and garlic with the olive oil for 5-10 minutes or until starting to soften and colour.
  3. Add the chopped vegetables, season with salt and pepper and sauté for a further 10 minutes until not fully cooked through, but just starting to caramelise on the outsides.
  4. Pour the orzo into the pan along with the lemon and tin of chopped tomatoes. Swirl the juices out of the tin into a measuring jug until you have 500ml of water and add that to the pan too.
  5. At this point you may wish to add some extra ingredients like herbs, olives, capers, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, a drained tin of butterbeans etc…
  6. Stir well to combine the ingredients then place the lid on the dish and put it in the oven to bake for 20-30 minutes or until the pasta has absorbed all the liquid.
  7. Remove the lid and add a generous sprinkle of grated cheese. Return the dish to the oven with the lid off for 5 minutes or until bubbling and starting to take on some colour.
  8. Enjoy with a simple green salad.

Tomato & Greens Chickpea Curry

This simple curry is a brilliant way to pack in all those gorgeous seasonal greens we have been harvesting at the farm recently. It works equally well with spinach, chard, kale or even spring green cabbages. It’s a regular feature on our mid-week menu at home. Gotta love a simple meal that can be thrown together from a few affordable ingredients – which is also such a flavour bomb! Tweak the spices to suit your taste.

Serve it with wholesome brown rice to make it a meal. Our bulk bags of rice come in compostable bags, why not add some to your next fruit and veg order?

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4 generously)

  • 1 tbsp vegetable/coconut oil
  • 1 diced white onion
  • 4 cloves of diced garlic
  • 3 tbsp curry powder (or use a mix of your favourite curry spices)
  • 1 thumb of fresh ginger, grated
  • red chillies to taste, chopped
  • 2 tins of chopped tomato
  • 2 tins of chickpeas
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 200g or more of spinach/chard/spring greens
  • cooked rice, lime wedges and fresh coriander to serve.

Method

  1. In a large pan/pot, sauté the diced onion and garlic in the oil over a medium/high heat for about 10 minutes – or until they start to caramelise, soften and turn golden brown.
  2. Add the fresh ginger, curry spices and chilli and stir to quickly toast them before adding any liquid.
  3. Add the two tins of tomatoes and the drained chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper and simmer together until rich and delicious.
  4. About 5-10 minutes before serving, rinse and chop the greens then fold them into the curry. Once they are sufficiently wilted, serve in bowls with rice and lime and coriander to lift and brighten the curry.

Greek-Style Watermelon Salad

The watermelons on our list right now are super-sweet, organic of course, and the perfect size! Add one to your next order and try my Greek-style watermelon salad, it’s the most refreshing thing you’ll eat this year! Perfect as is with a slice of bread to mop up the juices, or as part of a BBQ.

You’ll need black olives, red onion, feta (or make my plant-based feta using the recipe from my book below), cucumber, tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar/lemon juice and herbs. Find all the certified organic ingredients to your next order here. We deliver to every address in Ireland.

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4+)

  • 1 red onion
  • 2 or 3 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice
  • 4+ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (optional)
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 a cucumber
  • 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 – 1/2 of a watermelon
  • 1 pack of feta
  • 1/2 a jar of black olives (ideally kalamata olives)
  • fresh mint, parsley, basil as you like
watch the method here or read on below

Method

  1. Peel, halve and finely slice the red onion and break the thin strips up into a bowl. Add the vinegar or lemon juice and allow the onions to steep and blush crimson pink for 20 minutes or so. The longer you leave them, the more pickled and bright pink they will go.
  2. Add the olive oil, optional oregano and black pepper and stir well. Alternatively you can wait to add the olive oil and pepper at the end.
  3. Cut the cucumber in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds (don’t throw them away, add them to a smoothie), cut into bites and scatter into a large salad bowl or platter.
  4. Halve or quarter the plum tomatoes and add them to the bowl.
  5. Cut the watermelon into bite sized chunks, removing any seeds as you go, and get it into the bowl too, along with any juices on the board.
  6. Cube up the feta and tear the olives in half and add them to the bowl.
  7. Add the lightly pickled onions and all the juices. If you have not added olive oil yet, add a generous drizzle now.
  8. Gently mix the salad without bashing up the ingredients too much.
  9. Taste and if you like, add some salt (the feta and olives usually bring enough salt to the party). 
  10. Just before serving, tear over plenty of fresh herbs – basil, mint, parsley… I usually add an extra drizzle of delicious, peppery extra virgin olive oil too. Enjoy!

Tofeta

And here’s the tofeta recipe. It’s so easy to make. Just drain 2 packs of this extra firm tofu really well – really squeeze out as much water as you can – blend with all the ingredients and allow to set in the fridge overnight.

Jerk Jackfruit with Red Beans & Rice

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

Ingredients for the rice

Method

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.

Ingredients for the stew

  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • the rest of that onion – diced
  • 4 sticks of celery – diced
  • 1 red pepper – diced (optional – can switch with seasonal veg)
  • 4 carrots – diced
  • jerk seasoning – see below to make your own (about 4 tbsp)
  • scotch bonnet chilli (optional)
  • 2 tins of young jackfruit (drained)
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • salt & pepper to taste

Method

Sauté the onion, celery, pepper and carrot in a large pot with the vegetable oil. Once it starts to soften and colour, add the jerk seasoning and stir to coat the vegetables and toast the spices.

Add the jackfruit pieces, break them up as you add them to the pot, then season with salt and pepper.

Add the tin of chopped tomatoes, 2/3rds fill the tin with water and swirl that out into the pot too. If you like it spicy, you can drop in a whole scotch bonnet chilli or two at this stage too.

Give the stew a stir and pop the lid on and allow it to simmer while the rice cooks. Remove the lid and give it a stir every now and then to make sure it’s not sticking on the bottom.

Serve with wilted dark leafy greens or with wedges of roast squash like I have done in the video above.

Ingredients for jerk seasoning – mix together in a jar

  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 6 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 tsp ground allspice (or mixed spice if you can’t find allspice)
  • 6 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 tsp garlic powder
  • 6 tsp smoked paprika