Tofu is an amazing, versatile and healthy ingredient. We love using silken tofu to make scramble for breakfast or to place in wobbly cubes in a miso soup, it’s also great scored and dressed with soy sauce and sesame oil. We stock a delicious range of ready to eat tofus which are brilliant in sandwiches and salads or warmed up to go with your supper (our favourite is the wild garlic one and we also really rate the smoked one). But extra firm tofu is a brilliant blank canvas with a meaty texture. We love it thinly scored at an angle and cooked like a firm piece of fish with lemon, butter, salt and pepper. Our kids favourite way is like this, coated in well seasoned cornflour and fried until crisp. It’s just the thing to top noodle or rice bowls. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Ingredients (serves 2)
1 x 200g block extra firm, natural tofu
6 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
3 tsp toasted sesame seeds
2 tsp seaweed flakes
vegetable oil for frying
Drain the tofu and cut it into cubes.
In a wide bowl, mix the cornflour, salt, chilli flakes, sesame seeds and seaweed flakes (if you don’t have seaweed flakes you can leave them out or snip up a sheet of sushi nori).
Tumble the cubed tofu into the seasoned cornflour and mix it well ensuring each piece is coated.
Coat the base of a wide frying pan with a generous layer of vegetable oil, then heat to medium high.
Add the tofu but space it out so that the pieces are not touching each other (you may need to cook in batches). Turn the pieces regularly so that they cook on all sides. They should be golden brown and beautifully crispy.
Serve as you like. We topped a rice bowl and vegetable stir fry and added a drizzle of soy sauce and some kimchi.
We lean heavily on our pantry this time of year during the hungry gap (that time when Irish winter veg are finished and the summer harvests are still a little way away). Beans and lentils are so nourishing, cheap and filling – and they are climate friendly crops too. This is our favourite way to make a pot of white beans. We sometimes make it with dried beans when we have the time, but here is a quicker version with tinned beans for you. You can customise it as you like with greens wilted in at the last minute, top with roasted vegetables or just scoop it up with some good bread. So so delicious!
Ingredients (serves 4)
2 sweet potatoes – scrubbed & chopped into chunks
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
6 fresh sage leaves, sliced
1 jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil
a whole bulb of garlic – cloves separated, peeled & sliced
3 bay leaves
a large handful of rosemary
2 tins butterbeans or cannellini beans
a large handful of fresh thyme
a large glass of white wine
salt & pepper to taste
chopped spinach or kale or another leafy green you like
Turn the oven to 200C and tumble your sweet potatoes into a roasting dish. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and sprinkle over the chilli flakes and chopped sage. Shake the dish to evenly coat the potatoes in the seasoning then pop it in the oven to bake while you make the beans. Depending on your oven and the size of your chunks, they should take around 20-30 minutes to cook through.
Drain the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes into a pot. Then, using kitchen scissors, chop the sun-dried tomatoes up into strips. Then turn the heat under the pot to medium-high and add the sliced garlic, bay leaves and rosemary. Cook until the garlic is softening and starting to colour.
Then tip in the 2 tins of beans and their liquid too. Add the white wine, thyme and chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Season with a little salt and pepper then simmer gently for 15 minutes or so until the flavours have developed. Careful not to overcook the beans as they will turn to mush. Turn the heat off and let the beans rest while you wait for the sweet potatoes to cook through.
Once the sweet potatoes are cooked through and you are ready to serve, add the greens to the beans and warm them through. Serve in wide bowls topped with the roasted sweet potatoes and scoop up with bread if you like.
Chickpea flour (aka gram flour) is such a useful store-cupboard ingredient. Have you tried it yet? In Indian cuisine it is used to make savoury pancakes called dosas and to the make the batter for deep fried onion bhajis. At home we love to use it to make nutritious, delicious, protein-rich fritters all year round. Fritters are a great lunch option with a simple salad and a dip, or you can use them as sandwich fillers or burger alternatives. You can really make them your own with different vegetables and herbs/spices. Here’s one of our favourites, carrot and coriander.
natural yogurt, lime wedges and salad leaves to serve
Start with the batter. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, seasoning and water into a smooth batter.
Grate the carrots and add them to the batter along with the coriander leaves. Stir well to coat the veggies in the batter.
Heat a frying pan to medium with the vegetable oil. Make sure your pan is not too hot, chickpea flour batter can taste a little bitter if it is not cooked through so you want to cook it slowly so it’s not burned on the outside and raw in the middle.
Dollop the batter into the pan in four even scoops. Fry the fritters for 5 minutes or so on each side or until they are golden brown on the outside and firmed up and hot inside.
Then serve with salad, natural yoghurt and a good squeeze of lime.
We have some new organic, Asian sauces on our list now to make your meals even easier (and more delicious!) We are currently obsessed with teriyaki. It is sweet and salty and so full of flavour. Use it to marinade veggies or tofu and bake or stir fry. Here’s how I made this delicious week-night supper.
Turn your oven to 200C and find a small baking dish.
Get your brown rice on to cook (brown rice takes longer than white so if you are using white rice, start it after the aubergine is in the oven). Rinse the cup of rice through a fine sieve then add it to a small pot. Add 2 small cups of water, put the lid on the pot and turn it onto the highest setting. As soon as it comes to a boil, turn it to the lowest setting and leave the lid on. Let the rice simmer, it should absorb all the water in around 30 minutes or so and be perfectly cooked through. Keep an eye on it.
Cut the aubergine in half, lengthways, then score the flat surface deeply with a small, sharp knife. Cut diagonal lines into the white, spongey flesh and then criss-cross the other direction. Careful not to cut too deeply.
Spoon over the teriyaki sauce and, using the back of the spoon, rub it into the cuts to effectively marinade the aubergine. Place the aubergine, cut sides up, into the baking dish then bake until soft – this usually takes around 20-30 minutes depending on the size of your aubergine.
Meanwhile stir-fry the broccoli and tofu together with the sesame oil and soy sauce/tamari.
Then plate up, divide the rice, stir fry and baked aubergine between two bowls. Top with sesame seeds, chilli flakes and kimchi as you like. I also added shredded nori seaweed and an extra drizzle of soy sauce to my bowl. Enjoy!
There are so many ways to cook potatoes – boiled, chips, mash, roasties, soups, stews, gratin, jacket potatoes… but this Mediterranean-style way is one of my favourites. The rich tomato sauce and fragrant herbs make the humble, comforting potato into a summery dish which sings with flavour. I usually top it with some of my vegan tofu-feta or just some salty olives and bake it with the lid off for a little extra colour and flavour. Serve with a simple greek salad and a glass of wine – that’s dinner sorted.
Ingredients (serves 6)
4 tbsp olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tins chopped tomatoes
optional extra Med-veg eg courgette, peppers, carrots, aubergine
10 medium potatoes
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp each oregano, thyme, rosemary
salad to serve
Start by making a rich tomato sauce. This can be however you like it but I usually sauté the diced onion in 2 tbsp olive oil until soft and starting to colour, then add crushed garlic and if I want to bulk it out, some chopped veg like an aubergine, pepper or courgette, maybe a carrot or two? Add the tinned tomatoes and swirl out any juices left in the tins into the pot with a bit of water. Season well with salt, pepper and a pinch of oregano and simmer until the sauce is rich – around 15-20 minutes. Blend with a stick blender, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed with more salt or pepper.
Put the oven on to 200C and find an oven proof dish with a lid. Wash and thinly slice your potatoes into 3mm or so rounds.
Place 1/2 the tomato sauce into the dish then arrange the potato slices on top. Then season the potato layer with salt, pepper and the herbs. Drizzle over the remaining olive oil and then spoon over the remaining tomato sauce.
Put the lid on and bake until the potatoes are soft. This usually takes at least an hour but check on it as ovens and potatoes vary.
Once the potatoes are cooked through, remove the lid and scatter over your topping of choice. Feta, olives, capers… Return the dish to the oven with the lid off to caramelise and get a little colour – just 5-10 minutes, keep an eye on it.
Enjoy with salads or as a side to your choice of protein and greens.
This plant based take on a saag paneer is so quick and easy, not to mention delicious and nutritious! Serve with rice and chutney for a midweek curry in a hurry or as a side with other curries. You can switch the spinach for our rainbow chard, just remove the stems, finely chop them and cook them along with the onion paste.
Ingredients (serves 4 – or 8 as a side)
2 blocks extra firm tofu (400g)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt (+ more if needed)
1 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp coconut oil (heaped)
4 cloves of garlic
1 thumb ginger
2 tsp garam masala (or your favourite curry powder)
the juice of 1/2 a lemon
fresh chilli to taste
Cut your tofu into cubes and season it with the salt, pepper & ground turmeric. Then fry it in 1 tbsp coconut oil until golden. Remove from the pan and keep to one side.
Blend the garlic, onion and ginger into a paste, then fry until browned in the other tbsp of coconut oil. Add an extra pinch of salt during frying. Then add the garam masala (or whichever curry spice blend you prefer) and stir to toast and wake up the spices.
Pour just-boiled water over the spinach in a colander to wilt it. Cool it with cold water then squeeze into a ball. Chop the wilted spinach and add it to the pan with a splash of water. Scrape the bottom of the pan to release all the flavourful spices and fried onion/garlic/ginger into the sauce.
Return the tofu to the pan and warm through with the lemon juice. Perhaps add another splash of water if the pan is drying out too much. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed with more salt or pepper.
Serve with fresh chilli slices as a side to other curries or as a meal in it’s own right with just rice and chutney.
This nutritious, protein-rich, falafel-like mixture is so handy for making things like burgers and meatballs and of course it makes delicious fillings for wraps. You can flavour it with whatever herbs or spices take your fancy and colour it (and add sneaky veg) with any vegetables you like too. I felt like making some multicoloured balls as Easter ’eggs’ to have for a pastel coloured Easter lunch this week. Nestled in a bowl of creamy mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus and drizzled with a spring pea salsa. You could serve it with roast potatoes, gravy and trimmings for a Sunday roast too.
3 tins of chickpeas
6 cloves of garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
12 tbsp porridge oats
1 tsp turmeric
3 tsp ground coriander (or any spice you prefer)
2 cooked beetroots
3 cooked carrots
6 large kale leaves, chopped, cooked and squeezed to remove water
a couple of handfuls of parsley
salt and pepper to taste
extra olive oil for brushing and baking
Drain the chickpeas and tumble into 3 bowls. Add 4 tbsp of porridge oats to each bowl.
Finely dice the onion and garlic and sauté until soft and golden with the olive oil. Divide amongst the three bowls.
To each bowl, add a tsp of salt and grind black pepper to taste. Add a tsp of ground coriander to each bowl too if you like, or another spice or herb of your choice.
Put the cooked carrot in one bowl (along with a tsp of ground turmeric for bright yellow colour), the cooked beetroot in one bowl and the kale and parsley in the last bowl. Now you are ready to blend the mixtures.
In a food processor, first blend the yellow carrot mixture. Tip in the contents of the bowl with the carrots and pulse the mixture together until you reach a rough, sticky mixture. Scrape it out, back into the bowl, then repeat with the green kale mixture then the pink beetroot mixture. If any of the mixes seems a little wet, add an extra tbsp or so of oats and blend again. If it is too dry, add some olive oil or lemon juice to the mix or some extra vegetables.
Pre-heat your oven to 200C and line a large baking try with baking parchment. Then squish and roll the mixture into small, colourful balls – or make layered balls like I did with the yellow mix in the middle, then carefully wrap a layer of pink beetroot mix and finish off with the green outer layer. TOP TIP: use wet hands to avoid frustrating stickiness. just keep a bowl of warm water on the work bench and wet your hands when they start to get a bit sticky.
Brush the balls with olive oil and put them in the oven to bake until hot through and golden and crispy on the outside. Timings will depend on the size of your balls so just keep an eye on them.
Serve however you like but they definitely need a sauce or gravy. This time I served them with creamy mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus and a pea salsa (I just blended a mug of peas with about 4 tbsp of capers and a splosh of the caper vinegar, a handful of chopped dill and a generous drizzle of olive oil).
These sweet treats are so easy and fun to make. A delicious chocolate layer around a sticky date (which tastes just like caramel), stuffed with nut butter – this treat is reminiscent of a snickers bar, but the quality ingredients make it so much better! You can customise them to your taste using your favourite chocolate, nut butter and decorations. I’ve gone for a white chocolate drizzle here, but crushed hazelnuts or desiccated coconut make delicious decorations. Or try some Achill Island flakey sea salt to offset the sweetness of the dates? I’d love to see your re-creations. Tag us on social media or share in the comments below.
Your choice of nut or seed butter (we stock peanut, almond, hazelnut and tahini works well here too – or you can make your own nut butter, it’s easy! Simply blend roasted nuts or seeds into butter with a pinch of salt. We sell organic nuts and seeds in compostable bags here.)
Your choice of chocolate (we stock a really good range of ethically sourced, organic chocolates here.)
Gently melt chocolate in a bowl over a simmering pot of water. Place a sheet of baking parchment on a tray or chopping board.
Open up a date and stuff it with a 1/2 tsp or so of nut butter. Close the date up again.
Dunk the stuffed date in the bowl of melted chocolate. Use two small forks to turn the date over a few times to get it completely coated in chocolate. Then remove the date with a fork and place on the baking parchment.
Repeat until you have made as many Easter dates as you like. Now, while the chocolate is still wet, you can quickly decorate the dates with some sprinkles of salt/nuts/coconut or a drizzle of white chocolate.
Allow the chocolate to completely set in a cool place. Then enjoy! Pack into little Easter baskets to share with friends or bring along to a coffee date. They should stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 days.
This plant-based twist on the ’anyway you like it’ Japanese street food might be my new favourite way to eat cabbage! Instead of an egg and wheat batter (and several impossible-to-find specialist Japanese ingredients) I’ve used a simple chickpea flour batter. This simple dish doesn’t take long to put together and is perfect for any meal! Breakfast, brunch, lunch or even a quick dinner. Top with mayonnaise (I like a bit of sriracha too), kimchi (find my recipe here) and sesame seeds. Delicious!
Ingredients (serves 2)
1 small mug of chickpea flour
1 tsp salt
1 small mug of water
1/4 of a cabbage, chopped
1 nori seaweed sheet, snipped into strips
vegetable oil for frying
kimchi, mayonnaise, sriracha and sesame seeds to serve
Whisk the chickpea flour, salt and water together into a smooth batter.
Add the cabbage and nori and mix well to coat them in the batter.
Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add a generous drizzle of vegetable oil.
Add half the mixture to the pan and spread out. When golden brown underneath, carefully loosen and flip the pancake over and cook on the other side until golden brown.
Cook the other half of the mixture in the same way then serve with toppings as you like.