Coconut & Spinach Dal with Roasted Swede & Cauliflower

What’s the meal that you have on repeat every week? In our house it’s dal. This creamy lentil curry is so good in so many ways. Firstly, it’s always delicious no matter how we tweak it. Sometimes with a tin of creamy coconut milk, sometimes with a tin of tangy tomatoes, sometimes neither. But always with some seasonal curried vegetables! Secondly, lentils are a very affordable ingredient which satisfies the whole family for a few cents. Thirdly, lentils are incredibly nutritious, full of healthy plant-protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. I could go on but I’ll finish with the fact that they are quick and easy to cook. Add to soups and stews for body, texture and extra nutrients, or make them the centerpiece in an Indian curry like this one.

Have I inspired you to try lentils? Let me know in the comments. Top your dal with roasted veg, pickled veg, fermented veg, raw veg…anything you like to add colour and texture and taste. We went for curried, roasted swede and cauliflower as they really soak up those spices beautifully!

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

For the roasted veg:

  • 1/2 a swede
  • 1/2 a cauliflower
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp whole mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper to taste

For the dal:

  • 1 mug of red split lentils, rinsed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1 thumb of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 mild fresh chilli, chopped (or to your taste)
  • 1 tsp salt & a generous grinding of black pepper
  • 1 tin of coconut milk
  • 2 tins of water
  • 100g fresh spinach, rinsed

Method

  1. Turn your oven on to 200C. Chop the swede into small cubes, peel and roughly slice the onion and break the cauliflower into florets. Toss in a large baking dish with the oil, spices and seasoning and place in the oven to bake.
  2. Meanwhile put all the dal ingredients (except the spinach) in a pot and simmer until the lentils are cooked through and creamy. This should take around 15 minutes. Stir regularly to ensure the lentils don’t stick and burn. Turn the heat off and add the spinach to the dal. Place the lid on the pot and allow the residual heat to wilt the spinach while you take the roasted veg out of the oven and get bowls and spoons ready.
  3. Serve the dal in bowls topped with roasted vegetables. You can also serve with brown rice or breads to make it a heartier meal. Fresh coriander, sliced chillies, Indian chutneys, toasted nuts etc make great toppings too. Get creative and add extra nutrients and interest to your bowl.

Crispy Roasted Chickpeas

If you are anything like me, you’ll be craving salty crisps most days and have diagnosed yourself as a snackoholic. I promise these healthier, savoury, crispy snacks will satisfy your cravings and you’ll feel good after eating them. Chickpeas are high in healthy protein and fibre and these only need a teeny bit of oil and seasoning to get really crispy and deliciously moreish. Added bonus? A tin of chickpeas is cheaper than a big bag of crisps too! The only downside is that these take longer than you think they would to crisp up in the oven. So to save energy, we always cook them in the bottom of the oven when we have it on for something else anyway. If you have cooked them long enough and then cool them completely before storing in a box or jar, they should stay nice and crispy in the cupboard for about 4 days.

These are not just good as a snack, try them on top of salads, soups, stews for added crunch and flavour. Did you make these? Tell us in the comments and please share your favourite seasonings too. We love to get inspired.

Liz x

Ingredients

  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained, rinsed and thoroughly dried
  • olive oil, just a small drizzle, about 1 teaspoon
  • salt, only a small pinch, around 1/4 of a teaspoon
  • curry powder – I use about 1 tbsp per tin of chickpeas (or any seasoning you prefer eg smoked paprika, chilli, cumin, garlic powder, herbs, lemon zest…)

Method

  1. Drain and rinse your chickpeas then tumble them onto a clean tea towel. Place a second clean tea towel on top and gently rub to dry the chickpeas and rub off some of the skins. Removing the skins does make them dry out a little faster and the skins themselves are a delicious, crispy addition. If you can be bothered, gently pinch the chickpeas to pop them out of their thin skins. Don’t worry if you don’t get them all.
  2. Spread the dried chickpeas out into a baking tray in one layer. Drizzle with the oil and seasoning and shake the tray to evenly coat each chickpea in the spices.
  3. Place the tray in an oven at 190C for at least 40 minutes and even up to an hour. They should shrink and dry out completely. Allow them to completely cool in the tray, they’ll crisp up even more as they cool. Then store them in an airtight container and eat within 3 or 4 days.

1 Pot – Cauliflower, Coconut & Chickpea Curry

We love a curry at our house, how about over at yours? This is a simplified, not-very-authentic-but-still-really-delicious *sort of* biryani. In my quest for less washing up, less hands-on time, and more one pot dishes, this is perhaps my favourite. Of course you should feel encouraged to switch up the veg and spices (try pumpkin in the base or romanesco on top – try different curry powder blends – garam masala is gorgeous here), even remove the coconut in exchange for another mug of water of a tin of chopped tomatoes? This curry is simply a case of cooking the base, then layering on the rice and liquid (always add double the volume of liquid to rice, and don’t forget to rinse and drain your rice first), add the cauliflower carefully on top and bake with a lid until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Yum!

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 large white onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained
  • about 8 cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 heaped tbsp of coconut oil
  • 1 tsp each cumin & brown mustard seeds (optional)
  • 6 tsp curry powder (4 in the base, 2 on top)
  • a mug of basmati rice, rinsed and well drained
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • a mug of water
  • 1/2 a cauliflower, cut into florets
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • herbs eg coriander or mint & mango chutney or lime pickle to serve

Method

  1. Turn your oven on to 200C and find a deep baking dish with a lid (or use tin foil or a baking sheet as a lid).
  2. Mix the onion, tomatoes, chickpeas, coconut oil, cumin & mustard seeds, 4 tsp of curry powder and salt & pepper to taste in the dish. Place this base curry in the oven to bake for 10/15 minutes or until the onions are soft and fragrant.
  3. Flatten out the base curry then sprinkle over the mug of rice. Stir the coconut milk and spoon it evenly over the rice. Then carefully pour the mug of water over the back of the spoon over the rice so as not to disturb the layers. Season the coconut rice layer with a pinch of salt.
  4. Then carefully place the cauliflower florets on top of the liquid and season them with salt, pepper and the reserved 2 tsp of curry powder. Put the lid on the pan and place it back in the oven for another 20-30minutes until the rice has absorbed all the liquid.
  5. Serve in scoops with a sprinkle of fresh herbs and a spoon of an Indian chutney or pickle. Enjoy!

New Potato, Chard & Kale Saag Aloo

Saag aloo is one of our favourite Indian side dishes. Make it a meal and serve it with rice, dal and a chickpea curry. Maybe a raita too using our Galway grown cucumbers and some natural yoghurt? Irish new potatoes are the best and in season now. Combined with our farm chard and/or kale in place of the traditional spinach, this recipe is a great way to make the most of our local, seasonal produce. The method is simple and the results are so delicious!

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 500g new potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 thumb of fresh ginger, diced
  • 1 tbsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • a large bunch of kale or chard (or a combination), stalks separated and finely chopped, leaves finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Turn the oven on to 200C. Place the potatoes in a roasting dish and drizzle with 2 tbsp oil, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle over the curry powder. Stir to evenly coat the potatoes in the oil and seasoning and roast until the potatoes are soft.
  2. Meanwhile wash and prepare the greens. Separate the tougher (but perfectly edible) stalks from your chard/kale. Finely slice the stalks and put in a bowl. Finely slice the tender greens and put in another bowl.
  3. Slice the onion and sauté with the remaining tbsp of oil in a large pot with the whole spices, salt and pepper. Cook until the onion is golden and soft and the whole spices are fragrant and toasted.
  4. Then add the sliced stalks, garlic and ginger and sauté for 3 minutes or until softened. Then add the tender greens and wilt down stirring constantly until dark green and soft. You may need to add a small splash of water to help wilt the greens.
  5. When the potatoes are cooked through, stir through the wilted greens and serve.

Afghan Kidney Bean Curry

We are always looking for new ways to eat beans. They are so good for us! An affordable and healthy source of protein and fibre. Good news is they are also great for the environment. Legume crops improve soil fertility naturally by working with bacteria to fix nitrogen into the soil.

So when we tried this delicious Afghan curry, we just had to share it! This is probably not an authentic recipe but it’s our quick and easy version. We love that the heat just comes from the generous use of black pepper. We’ll share the stuffed flatbreads recipe soon too. Watch this space!

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp garlic granules
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 bottle of passata
  • 2 tins kidney beans
  • 2 red onions
  • 4 medium potatoes
  • (drizzle of veg oil, sprinkle of salt, pepper & ground coriander to roast the onions & potatoes)
  • diced red onion, fresh coriander & mint to taste

Method

  1. Turn your oven to 200C. Chop the potatoes into bites sized pieces and the onions into slivers and toss in a roasting dish with a drizzle of oil and sprinkle of salt, pepper & ground coriander. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until soft while you make the curry sauce.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot & tip in the spices and seasoning. Stir fry in the oil until the spices are very fragrant and starting to darken.
  3. Pour in the passata and the drained and rinsed kidney beans & simmer for 10 minutes or so until the curry is rich and delicious.
  4. When the potatoes and onions are cooked through and starting to colour, scrape them into the curry and warm through.
  5. Serve in bowls topped with diced red onion and chopped mint and coriander. Scoop up with flatbreads or rice & enjoy!

Chickpea Tikka Masala

Our new range of curry spice sauces make it easy to put together a delicious dinner in minutes! We tested the Tikka Masala paste last night and it was so good. Here’s what we did but of course it’s totally flexible and you should use whatever vegetables you prefer or have in the house. We love the range of Bunalun organic tins too. So useful!

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp tikka masala curry paste
  • 1/4 cauliflower, chopped
  • a couple of handfuls of diced butternut squash
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tin of coconut milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • rice and coriander to serve

Method

  1. Get your rice on to cook and find a large pot to cook the curry in.
  2. Fry the onion in the oil over a medium-high heat until it softens and starts to turn golden brown.
  3. Then add the curry paste and chopped vegetables and stir until fragrant.
  4. Pour in the tin of tomatoes and a half tin of water (swirl to get all the tomatoey juices out of the tin). Then add the chickpeas and simmer until the butternut squash is soft.
  5. Add the tin of coconut milk and warm through. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed with salt and pepper. Then serve over rice with some fresh coriander.

Banana Skin Recipes

Are these bananas over-ripe? Or are they perfectly ripe?

Who knew you could eat the skins of a banana? It’s amazing what we have been conditioned into discarding as not edible isn’t it? The amount of delicious and healthy fruit and vegetable offcuts – skins, leaves, stalks…that we just throw away is actually quite shocking. We could make our weekly food shop go so much further if we re-learn what is edible and what isn’t. Lack of dietary fibre is a big health issue here in the west. It’s so important to eat enough roughage to help your digestive system move, for bowel health, and to balance your blood sugar and lower cholesterol. Dietary fibre is found in fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, seeds and legumes.

Eating banana skins is not just about increasing your fibre intake. Banana skins are rich in potassium (amazing for your heart health), magnesium (helps your muscles and nerves work properly, maintains protein, bone and DNA, levels blood sugar and pressure), B6 (which improves your sleep) and B12 (keeps your blood and nerve cells happy, helps make DNA), Vitamin A (great for eyesight), antioxidants (lowers cancer risk) and more!

So here are a couple of ways to cook banana skins. Always choose organic to avoid nasty pesticides/herbicides and give your bananas a good rinse. Riper banana skins are softer and sweeter. If you don’t fancy making a meal out of banana skins, you can always blend some into your smoothie or next batch of banana bread too.

Liz x

Save Your Banana Skin ‘Bacon’

Rescue your ripe banana skins from heading to the bin by putting them in a box in the fridge to add to smoothies – or make this vegan bacon. Yes, this recipe is a bit of a gimmick, but it is surprisingly delicious. It’s all about the smokey bacon marinade of course (which you can use to marinade strips of aubergine, mushrooms, courgette, carrots etc to make whatever plant-based bacon you desire). Banana skins bring a light banana flavour to the party along with a deliciously chewy texture. Definitely worth a go!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp garlic granules/powder
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 3-4 ripe banana skins, washed

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients (except for the banana skins) in a container that will hold 3 or 4 banana skins. I use a sandwich box with a lid.
  2. Chop the tough ends off of 3-4 banana skins and tear them into strips (a banana skin should naturally tear into 3 or 4 strips). Use a spoon to scrape off the phloem bundles – that’s the name for the soft, stringy bits of banana stuck to the inside of the skins. These can be added to smoothies or banana bread.
  3. Place the scraped banana skins into the marinade and mix well ensuring each piece is coated in the marinade. Leave to soak up the flavour for at least 20 minutes. You can even prepare this the night before and pop in the fridge, then cook the bacon for breakfast in the morning.
  4. Fry the strips of banana skin with a little oil in a medium-high frying pan on both sides until sizzling and crispy. Enjoy as a side of your cooked breakfast plate or in a sandwich. Crumble over pasta or eat wherever you would like a sweet and salty, smokey bacon-like flavour.

Whole Banana & Coconut Curry

You need to really like banana to like this curry. It’s sweet, creamy, mild and absolutely delicious! I like it just as it is so I can really enjoy the flavour and texture of the banana skin and flesh with some simple rice, chilli flakes and coriander. But I often bulk it out with roasted cauliflower or squash or a drained tin of chickpeas too.

Ingredients (per person)

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • a pinch of fresh curry leaves will take this curry to the next level
  • 1/2 a white onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1 tsp ground/grated ginger
  • 1 tsp ground/grated turmeric
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt – or to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tin coconut milk
  • rice, fresh coriander, chilli flakes, lime wedges to serve

Method

  1. Get your rice on to cook then heat up a pan with your vegetable oil to medium-high. Add the cumin and mustard seeds and cook them until they start to crackle and pop. They should get very fragrant. If you can get fresh curry leaves where you are, add a pinch of them now too and swoon at the gorgeous fragrance.
  2. Then add the sliced onion with a pinch of salt and sauté until soft and starting to turn golden brown. Add the sliced garlic and stir for a couple of minutes.
  3. While the onions and garlic cook, slice the tough ends off your banana and peel it. Cut the skin widthways into three roughly pinky-finger length chunks, then cut those chunks lengthways into nice thin strips. Add the banana skin to the pan and stir.
  4. Add the turmeric, ginger and curry powder and stir well. The curry will be quite dry now so add a splash or two of water and cook for around 5 minutes, stirring regularly and adding more water as needed until the banana skins have softened.
  5. Slice the banana flesh into thin, diagonal ovals and add them to the pan with the salt and pepper. Stir gently for a couple of minutes to warm up the banana, add another splash of water if needed.
  6. Add the coconut milk and turn the heat down to simmer. Taste the curry and adjust the seasoning if needed with more salt or a squeeze of lime if acidity is called for.
  7. Serve piled next to rice. Add a sprinkle of fresh coriander and some chilli flakes/slices for heat if you wish and enjoy!

Pumpkin Dal

A simple and soothing red lentil dal is a staple in our house. It’s a winner on so many fronts from the cheap, nutritious ingredients to the ease of the recipe. We love how flexible dals can be and how delicious they always are. There’s something textural about red lentils that makes every spoonful a delight.

This recipe is very flexible so please feel encouraged to make it your own. Sometimes we make it with a tangy tin of tomatoes, sometimes with a rich and creamy tin of coconut milk, depending on our mood. But we always have some fresh, seasonal, Irish, organic vegetables simmered in with the lentils! This week we used delicious kuri squash pumpkins which are back in stock now (as of when this blog was written) but you can use whatever veg you fancy. Some of our other favourites for dal are cauliflower, aubergine, sweet potato and carrots. Share your favourite variations with us in the comments or over on our facebook community group. We love swapping recipes over there.

Don’t forget to order your organic fruit, veg and groceries here, we deliver nationwide.

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 a squash/pumpkin (like butternut or kuri squash), diced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • an optional tin of chickpeas, drained
  • a small mug of red lentils, rinsed
  • salt, pepper & chilli to taste
  • rice, lime & coriander to serve

Method

  1. In a large, heavy bottomed pan, sauté the onion and garlic with the oil until soft and golden brown. Over a medium high heat this should take around 10 minutes.
  2. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and stir fry for around 3 minutes to toast them and bring out their flavour before adding liquid.
  3. Now add the diced squash, rinsed lentils, tin of tomatoes, (optional tin of chickpeas), turmeric and ginger. Fill the tomato tin up with water twice, emptying it into the pot.
  4. Season well with salt and pepper then simmer, stirring often until the lentils are cooked through. You will probably need to add some more water as the lentils soak up the liquid.
  5. When the lentils and squash are cooked through (after around 20 minutes) and beautifully soft, taste and adjust the seasoning if you like with more salt. Add a squeeze of lime for acidity and some chilli flakes for heat if you like.
  6. Serve in bowls with rice (and optional other curries – we had a sort of lazy saag alloo which was just roasted potatoes with curry powder and some wilted spinach folded through) or just as it is with some bread. It’s delicious loosened into a soup too!

Butter Tofu – Curry

This is one of our favourite twists on an Indian takeaway. The traditional North Indian dish is ‘butter chicken’ and it’s all about that rich, creamy and buttery tomato gravy. It’s mildly spicy and savoury, popular with the whole family. This is the perfect store-cupboard supper too, just the thing for those days when you’re running low on fresh ingredients.

We have replaced the dairy in the traditional recipe with Naturli butter and creamy coconut milk. And in place of chicken, our extra firm blocks of organic tofu. We also love this recipe with cauliflower, chickpeas or chunks of aubergine or mushrooms in place of the tofu. Whatever you decide to cook and fold through this mouthwatering sauce, you are guaranteed to lick your plate clean. It’s that good!

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

Sauce

Tofu

  • 6 heaped tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 600g extra firm tofu, drained and cubed (or sub with cooked chickpeas, cauliflower florets or cubed aubergine or mushrooms)
  • 50g butter

Method

  1. Start with the sauce. Put the onion, garlic, spices and seasoning into a blender and blend into a thick paste. Fry the paste in a heavy bottomed, deep saucepan with the butter for 10 minutes or until dark brown and very fragrant.
  2. Empty the two tins of tomatoes into the blender and blend them until smooth too. Add to the curry paste and simmer and stir for a further 10 minutes until the sauce is rich and slightly reduced.
  3. Add the tin of coconut milk, stir and taste for seasoning. Keep the sauce warm while you cook the rice and tofu.
  4. Drain your blocks of extra firm tofu and cut into bite sized cubes. If you are subbing with vegetables, cut into bite sized pieces and dunk in milk. In a wide bowl, mix the cornstarch, turmeric, salt and pepper. Tumble the tofu into the bowl and use your hands to mix well and ensure each piece is coated in the seasoning. (If you are using vegetables, dunk the veg in the milk first then roll in the seasoned cornstarch).
  5. Heat up a large frying pan (or two) and add the butter. When it starts to melt, add the coated tofu (or vegetables) and cook on a medium-high heat until crispy and golden on the bottom. Then carefully turn the pieces to cook on the other side. Keep turning and cooking until the tofu (or vegetables) is golden brown, hot and crispy.
  6. Fold the cooked tofu (or vegetables) through the warm curry sauce and serve with basmati rice and chopped coriander.

Quick Cabbage & Potato Curry

For a warming bowl of hearty food in a hurry, try this quick curry. Cabbage and potato are made for each other aren’t they? With the addition of some warming curry spices and creamy coconut milk, these humble ingredients can really sing! Of course you can tweak the recipe as you like with the addition of cooked chickpeas and some cauliflower/romanesco florets etc. Let us know if you tried it in the comments or over on our community facebook group.

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 8 small/medium potatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 a savoy cabbage, sliced
  • fresh chilli to taste, sliced
  • 1 heaped tsp each: brown mustard seeds, turmeric, curry powder, salt and black pepper
  • 1 400g tin coconut milk
  • *optional extras* – cooked chickpeas, cauliflower/romanesco florets…
  • Indian chutneys and natural yoghurt to serve

Method

  1. In a large, heavy bottomed pan (which has a lid), fry the onion and garlic with the vegetable oil until golden and soft.
  2. Add the potatoes, spices and seasoning and sauté until fragrant. Add a small glass of water then put the lid on and allow the potatoes to steam cook for 8 minutes or until tender. Test with a knife.
  3. Then add the cabbage, coconut milk and chilli to the pan, return the lid and let the cabbage wilt for 3 minutes. (Here’s where you can add the cooked chickpeas if using.)
  4. Then stir the vegetables together, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed with more salt/pepper, return the lid one last time for a further 3 minutes and your curry is done!
  5. Serve in warm bowls with Indian chutneys and natural yoghurt. Enjoy!