Posts tagged light meals
Baked Falafel Pie... an easy meal to feed a crowd!

Wow... you're getting two recipes within a week.... it's like the days when I first started my blog when I often used to get three recipes up here per week! That's when I had a full time job as an architect too.... crazy days, how did I find time to do it all!

Recipe: Baked Falafel Pie

These days I develop so many recipes for destinations beyond this blog itself... such as for Real Food Source, my own ebooks and other publications that sometimes this space loses the battle of priorities. I am looking to charge all that again- with one new recipe per week from the New Year onwards- an early resolution of sorts?

Anyway, back to this recipe!

This came about a couple of week ago as I was developing new recipes for my Lanzarote retreat.... I wanted something that was delicious, filling and easy to cook for 8-10 people (though the recipe below is halved to feed about four). This is a total winner and a lovely spin on the more traditional falafel balls.

It's not my brainchild- there are loads of similar creations across blog land- I got the idea from a general Pinterest search looking for meal image ideas rather than any one recipe in particular. I imagine you could tweak this to add in other herbs or spices to suit. You could also add a chunky salsa, guacamole or other topping instead of hummus if you preferred.

I realised this recipe would be also very similar to my classic nut roast (still a go-to favourite and great to have on standby in the freezer) and so I used that as the base and made a few ingredient tweaks.

Let me know what you think.... I'll let you know how it goes down with the guests on my retreat ;-)

Recipe: Baked Falafel Pie

Recipe: Baked Falafel Pie

Serves 3 portions with salad or 4-5 if serving as part of a larger dinner


  • 1 cup chopped nuts of choice

  • 2 tbs olive oil

  • One onion diced

  • One large garlic clove minced

  • 2 sun-dried tomatoes (optional for extra depth of flavour)

  • 1 large carrot grated

  • 1 medium courgette grated

  • 1 cup chickpeas

  • 1 cup oats (or cooked rice or quinoa or dry wholemeal breadcrumbs- GF if needed)

  • 2 heaped tbs flax (or tapioca or potato flour)

  • ¼ cup fresh coriander

  • 1 tbs ground cumin

  • 2 tbs soy sauce (GF if needed)

  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 1 tub hummus (or homemade if possible)

  • 2 sliced avocados

  • a sprinkle of salt and pepper


Pre-heat oven to 180C. coarsely grind the nuts and set aside. Finely chop and sauté vegetables in olive oil for 5 mins until soft. Mix all remaining ingredients in large bowl and add vegetables and nuts to it.

Mix and mash together well. Add more oats (or another dry ingredient) if mixture is too wet or a little water or stick if too dry.

Press mixture firmly into a greased and lined medium baking dish (it should be around a generous inch thick). Bake for approx. 45 mins until golden on top, the inside will still be moist. Add hummus and avocado slices to serve with salad or cooked greens.

Recipe: Baked Falafel Pie
Recipe: Baked Falafel Pie
Recipe: Baked Falafel Pie
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Easiest ever pumpkin coconut soup and Halloween noodles!

Well it's been a crazy week and kitchen experimenting time has been in short supply. However at the weekend I did find some time to get in on the Halloween action for a couple of crazy simple savoury dishes.... no sweet halloween treats from me this year, my sweet tooth has been a bit overloaded with so much Wholeplus taste testing for my Christmas range being packed and delivered as we speak (more on that at the bottom of this post!!)

Today you have two recipes to play with, both done in under ten minutes and with a crazy short ingredient list to match...

Sound good to you? Thought so.

This pumpkin soup may well become a new winter favourite for me, smooth and creamy with subtle spiced undertones. I reckon it would work just as well using squash and sweet potato if you don't have a regular pumpkin to hand. The toasted coconut curls on top give a great chewiness, but of course you could add pumpkin seeds for some crunch factor instead.

For the noodles, I used vegan pesto I recently bought at a food fair, but it is also easy to make your own as I did here. You could add other spiralised veggies too, but I felt that courgette on its own was the most 'swampy' looking! I added black olives stuffed with cashew butter for eye balls, but that's optional really. If you don't have a spiraliser you could use a julienne peeler but it won't have quite the same effect since you'll just have straight noodles.

Recipe: Pumpkin coconut soup

serves 1-2


  • 2 cup grated/processed pumpkin
  • 1 onion- finely sliced/processed
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tsp garam masala (or spices of choice)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup boiling vegetable stock
  • coconut curls for the top


Process the onion and pumpkin until you have very small pieces (to make for the quickest cook time).

Add to a medium sauce pan with the remaining ingredients (other than coconut curls) and bring to the boil then simmer for approx. 5-7 minutes until cooked.

Meanwhile toast the coconut curls in a dry pan for best flavour (or leave untoasted if preferred).

Using a hand blender (I cooked the whole thing in my Thermomix) blend the soup until totally smooth and creamy.  Serve immediately and sprinkle the toasted coconut on top.

Recipe: Halloween swamp noodles

serves 1-2


  • 2 courgettes
  • 1/4 cup vegan pesto
  • handful pitted olives
  • approx 2 tbs cashew butter


Spiralise the courgettes and stir through with the pesto. Serve into a smallish bowl so that some of the noodles hand over the sides for special effect :-)

Stuff the olives with cashew butter to make eyeballs and add to the top of the noodle bowl. 

I served my bowl raw but you could cook the courgette noodles first and stir the pesto through to serve as a hot dish.

For more Halloween and holiday fun, checkout my 'holiday food and crafts' Pinterest board for more ideas to get creative with.

Wholeplus news....

if you are a subscriber to vegan/healthy eating food boxes you might see my goodies popping up over the next couple of months... just saying'. Also The Vegan Kind (which might be one such box...) have now extended their delivery to WORLDWIDE... how crazy awesome is that! So wherever you are in the world you can get hold of surprise vegan treats and lifestyle products each month!

Oh and lastly, if you are in the UK, I have recently launched my special Wholeplus Christmas range of treats... check them out here!  Gingerbread, Choc-orange and Stollen flavours... all sugar free and gluten free.

Let's get festive!! It's almost November so I can start singing Christmas songs, right? ;-)

Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus.  

Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

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Matcha avocado crackers

Have you entered my teapigs give way yet!

Check out the give-away post here... you can win one of these 'Modern Matcha' kits by teapigs and the closing day is this Thursday- not long to go now!

This was one of my favourite matcha recipes, it was so simple and a great way to pep up an already health boosting snack. I had these avocado crackers with salad and it made the perfect  lunch to keep me going all afternoon. You could serve the avocado spread in any way you'd typically eat it... maybe slather it on a jacket potato or serve up in a  wrap!

For the crackers themselves I used homemade dehydrated quinoa crackers (recipe still needs a little tweaking before I post it) but you could also use rice cakes or oat cakes. For some other cracker ideas try these spelt crackersor these easy seedy crackers.

 Recipe: Matcha avocado crackers

Serves 2

  • 1 large avocado
  • 1 tsp (2 servings) of matcha powder
  • 2 tbs squeeze lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • crackers to spread the avocado mix on


Mash/mix everything together well and spread on top of the crackers.

Serve with a salad or whatever you fancy.

Eat immediately!

I'd love you to join me in other places too!  

Why not sign up foemails in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus.  Day to day you can also find me in these places:

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Green bean & tomato salad
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We've been using the last of the home grown baby tomatoes around here, and though the seasonal beans from the garden may have already passed on by for the summer, I just wanted to share this dish with you as we ate some beans last night and it reminded me of this simple recipe. You can still buy green beans in the shops- they just might not be so local.

Once again, this dish is a simple reminded of the power of garlic, tomatoes and herbs- three perfect complimentary flavours.  I made this dish as a light lunch, but as noted below, just add some rice or quinoa and you have a heartier main meal too.

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Recipe: Green bean salad

Serves 2 (as a light meal)


  • 1 generous cup sliced green beans
  • 1 red onion- thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup tinned tomatoes
  • large handful of cherry tomatoes- halved
  • 1 cup packed spinach
  • sprinkle of fresh rosemary or basil
  • Optional: quinoa/rice*


Prepare the green beans and steam them (or boil if preferred) for approx 5 minutes until softened with a slightly bite.

Meanwhile, in a frying pan/wok saute the sliced onion with the garlic and a splash of oil for 3-4 minutes, ad the tinned tomatoes, the fresh tomatoes and the balsamic vinegar and continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes, adding the spinach for a final couple of minutes to wilt through.

Serve the ‘base’ onto a plate and without washing the pan add the beans and fresh herbs and mix round briefly to coat with the remaining ‘juices’. Add the beans to the top and dress with salt and pepper to taste.

• Note add cooked rice on quinoa to the centre of the base mix if desired for a heartier meal.


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Pulsin' Mexican corn soup

The autumn weather is closing in… Chilly mornings and early sunsets. 

The upside is that soups and stews are now on the cards again. Yay!

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The downside is that I'm now having to use my lamp to photograph my dinners again, it's easy to take for granted the summer sunlight during long summer days when the light stays bright till well past eight and photo shoots of dinners are quick and simple. Not so much when winter draws in- more organisation and better technique is required… well at least to me as I'm still very much a novice when it comes to artificial light photography. Maybe this will be the season I actually put some extra effort into learning the skills!

I actually thought I was going to be lucky and catch the daylight on this one, but there is always that fine balance between daylight, dusk in dark that only last about 10 minutes and yes on this occasion I ended up being just that 10 minutes too late. 

The photos aren't that bad in actual fact, the shadows are bit too harsh but the dish itself still looks the part and it certainly tastes the part. This was an amazing combination of mixed beans, roasted peppers and fresh corn on the cob. You can use any beans you wish. I had planned to use with kidney beans but realised I had none so subbed these for black beans at the last minute. Anything goes!

I also made this soup in aid of SouperSeptember, I saw a link on twitter in which donations, recipes and soup kitchens were being sent in and set up in aid of Broadway Homelessness and Support.

So this is my little offering.

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Recipe: Pulsin' mexican corn soup


  • 1 large onion- sliced
  • 1 heaped tsp cumin seeds and ½ tsp chilli powder (or a sliced chili)
  • 2/3 cup red lentils
  • 3 ½ cups vegetable stock
  • 1 can tomatoes (400g)
  • Handful of fresh oregano
  • 1 can black beans (400g)
  • 1 can red kidney beans (400g)
  • 2 peppers- cut into chunky strips
  • 4 corn on the cob (or add loose corn to the soup itself)


Sauté the onion with the spices in a dash of oil in a large pan for 4-5 minutes until softening. Add the lentils, tomatoes  and veg stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, add one can of the beans and simmer for a further 5 minutes.  Add the oregano, remove the pan from the heat and blend until fairly smooth.

Meanwhile lightly coat the strips of pepper in oil and bake or grill until soft and slightly charred, sprinkle with spices (I used a little sumac) if desired.  Boil the corn cobs (if using.)

Once the soup is blended add the remaining can of beans* and simmer to warm through. Add the loose corn here also if using.

Serve and add the corn to the side. Add extra oregano leaves if desired.

*blend one can of beans and leave one can whole- depending on which beans you want to be ‘visible’ and preferred colour of soup base.

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Pesto cabbage and chickpea soup

This is a red soup, a very red soup indeed! 

As much as I love this soup and could eat it every day, sometimes I have the urge to change things up a little and so today this is my new soup concoction.

I used a red onion and a red cabbage which gives the deep rich hue, but I imagine this would also work fine with white cabbage. The key ingredient in this soup is pesto. I used my homemade pesto but you could use any vegan pesto (or regular pesto if vegan is not a priority).

This soup is super simple to throw together, and allows for plenty of variation with choice of beans and cabbage type if you don’t have the ones I used to hand. I love using chickpeas in soups as they have a lovely unique bite to them, more so that other beans in my opinion, but that’s just me so feel free to go for your favourite. Or use red kidney beans for a truly red delight!

This makes for a lovely light lunch or a more hearty evening meal served with bread, cous-cous or quinoa. You could even try this chilled on a hot summers day!

The sun has finally decided to come out here and I am going to make the most of it! I have a few ‘summer’ recipe ideas up my sleeve for the coming days…and hopefully a few days of reading in the sun will be on the cards for this weekend. Yay!

I hope the sun is out wherever you are too!

Recipe: Pesto cabbage and chickpea soup

Serves 4


  • 2tbs olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 carrot- grated
  • 1 small courgette- grated
  • ½ head red cabbage- chopped/sliced
  • ¼ cup vegan pesto (I used my homemade version)
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or mixed herbs
  • 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup pine nuts (or crushed cashews as I used)
  • Handful fresh basil


Heat oil in a large pan and gently fry the onions for 2 minutes. Add the pesto, grated carrot, courgette and cabbage and sauté for another 3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, dried herbs and stock and simmer for around 15 minutes until softening. Add the chickpeas and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Mix through the basil and nuts just before serving. Serve with a swirl or soy yoghurt or cream if desired.

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Pesto polenta bruschetta

I gave you a little teaser yesterday and now here it is…

Pesto polenta bruschetta.

The perfect light lunch option, it’s also a lovely twist on tradition since the polenta offers a tasty gluten free alternative to traditional crusty bread.

The recipe is pretty simple, but it’s more the concept that I was going for really. The idea of using polenta as a bruschetta base delicately flavoured with pesto and then topped with a pesto coated bruschetta medley. Perfectly delicate (dare I say it ‘summery’) flavours, you could mix and match with other ingredients to suit your tastes.

The polenta is simply made mixed with water according to the packet instructions. Just add a dollop of pesto to the mixture too. I used quick cook polenta and whipped it up in 3 minutes in my Thermomix, but it would also work in exactly the same way on the hob- just keep stirring until it thickens.

You don’t need to be too precise with the topping ingredients, below is just a guide so just throw in what feels right!

This really does seems like a summery dish, why is that?  What makes some foods comforting winter dishes, like my sweet potato coconut curry or chickpea and lentil soup, and some foods much more ‘spring’ like? Well I am going for the spring option today, we’ve had some glorious warm weather recently although I haven’t spent much time outside in it, and the daffodils are well and truly emerging now.

Spring is most definitely in the air…happy times!

Recipe: Pesto polenta bruschetta

Serves 2-4


  • Quick cook polenta
  • Water (amount varies depending on how much polenta used- see polenta packet instructions)
  • 2-3 tbs pesto divided between polenta and the topping
  • 1 onion- chopped finely
  • 2 handfuls tomatoes- chopped
  • Half a red pepper- chopped
  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • A few sprigs of fresh basil
  • Vegan parmesan- optional


Cook the polenta according to the packet instructions and then pour/spoon immediately into a lined loaf tin (size based on the amount of polenta you’ve cooked up). Allow to cool and set in the fridge.

Once set, cut into 1cm thick slices before frying on a griddle for approx. 5 minutes. each side to achieve a slightly golden crisp coat (mine should have had a little longer ideally). You couod oven bale the polenta.

Note any extra polenta can be stored in the fridge for a few days prior to its second cooking.

Meanwhile, prepare the bruschetta topping by combining all the remaining ingredients and toss together with the remaining tablespoon of pesto. 

If serving the polenta hot, heat the topping through before spooning over.  Alternatively, both polenta and topping can be served cold.

Dust with a little vegan parmesan if desired.

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Carrot & Citrus Bean Soup

For this week’s soup fix I wanted to bring on the lovely sweet and earthy flavours of the winter root veg but also a little citrus kick to perk things up on these cold winter days. Beans are (or should be) everyone’s best friend and are perfect way to get your protein, so a good mixture of beans also feature here for a nice variety. 

This recipe was based on a BBC Good Food recipe which used one can of mixed beans to serve 4, when I make this soup again I will definitely double this two cans to give extra body and oomph to the soup. My photos barely show any beans at all but I can promise you this soup had a lot more bulk than would appear- it sank to the bottom of the bowl!

I made this soup last Saturday as a quick lunch in between batches of baking, freezing the extra portions as I nearly always do. I actually had another portion for my lunch at work today and it was just as good.

My kitchen work top ends up full of ‘experiments’…this is what my typical weekend looks like! Note…this is what it looks like when I’ve already cleared up and wiped down and have tidied away all my ‘baking boxes’ full of goodies that end up being stacked on the floor around me. No creative cooks are tidy cooks…are they??

Here I have a pan of these granola barto keep me going through the week, my trusty smooshbars for a colleague at work, some remaining scones- recipe to come (minus the two I’d eaten) and four leftover pots of this soup for freezing.

I do love being surrounded by warm, freshly cooked food...I want to nibble on it all…it’s a good job it is all so healthy then!

Recipe: Carrot and citrus bean soup  


  • 2tbs olive oil
  • 2 onions
  • Approx. 450g carrots- roughly chopped
  • 1tbs garam masala
  • A thumb sized piece of ginger- grated
  • Juice of 1 orange or ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 200ml coconut milk (full fat or light is fine)
  • 410g can mixed beans- drained and rinsed (note- I would use two cans next time)
  • 2 tbs chopped corriander


Heat oil in a large pan and gently fry the onions and chopped carrotfor around 15 minutes until softening. Add the garam masala and ginger and cook for 1 more minute.

Add the orange juice and vegetable stock, bring to the boil then simmer for 10 minutes. Once the carrots are tender, stir in the coconut milk. Using an electric hand blender (or pour into a blender) puree until fairly smooth (or as smooth as you like).

Add the beans to the pureed mixture in the pan, simmer for a few minutes. Add the coriander just before serving.

Note: if making this again I would use 2 cans of beans to make it even more substantial.

Left over portions can be frozen.

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