Eating Veggie in Marbella: Terra Sana

Consistency Is Key

I’ve been eating in Terra Sana for years. In particular, my family love the breakfasts they serve: fluffy french toast with fresh fruit and golden syrup – yum! Terra Sana is renowned for healthy, simple and ethical eating. If you google vegetarian food in Marbella then Terra Sana will come up time and time again. The atmosphere is relaxed and the company slogan is “food for the soul” which more or less sums up the vibes and the food they serve.

There are several venues to choose from depending on where you are staying on the coast: Benalmádena, Plaza del Mar, Miramar, Marina Banus, La Cañada, Nueva Andalucía and Laguna Village. I’ve eaten in a few of their restaurants and each time they provide consistently good food and chilled out vibes although I personally prefer their sea view destinations to their shopping centre locations.

Setting the Scene

Unlike many places in Costa Del Sol, Terra Sana is not about the flashy lifestyle of the rich and famous. It’s down-to-earth: you are seated at rustic wooden tables and artsy, hippy decor adorns the walls. There is nothing pretentious about their venues; instead they focus on an earthy atmosphere. You can walk straight off the beach with sand in your toes and salt water in your hair and still feel comfortable.

Veggie Options

As I previously mentioned, Terra Sana is famous for their vegetarian cuisine. Their funky health-conscious food lends itself well to a vegetarian and vegan diet making it the perfect destination for anyone adopting a meat-free diet on the coast. They offer an incredible selection of breakfasts, salads, wraps, smoothies, juices and, for the hungrier diner, there are even pizzas and burgers.

Salads

To start with we shared the Terra Sana and Sydney Salads with some cajun spiced chips on the side. Most of you will agree that salads are not often the most exciting option on the menu, especially when you are vegetarian. However, these salads were incredible. The Terra Sana was a mixture of avocado, tomato, feta cheese, dates, cucumber, red onion, black olives and mixed nuts on a bed of mixed lettuce leaves with a summery dressing. If like me, you love nuts and the flavours of a Greek summer then this is the salad for you. The Sydney boasted a great big hunk of warm breaded goat’s cheese with avocado, pear, toasted walnuts, spinach leaves, lettuce hearts, croutons and balsamic honey dressing. My sister has since had to go back to Terra Sana just to get another taste of this amazing salad. It left us scraping the dish for every last bit of hot, creamy goat’s cheese with that delicious tangy balsamic dressing – delicious! You do not need to be veggie or on a diet to enjoy these salads.

Wraps

I split a wrap and a pizza with my sister because we wanted to try out more of the veggie options because there was plenty to choose from. We opted for the Wrap Around which is a flour tortilla absolutely stuffed with an incredible smoked aubergine relish, spinach, avocado, tomato, red onion and cream cheese. The only downside is that it is served cold – we would’ve liked a hot wrap but that’s more of a personal preference. I could have eaten that lightly smoked aubergine relish by the bowl. If this doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, there was also the Tofu Wrap. It will transport you to Asia with smoked tofu, rice noodles, spiced peanuts, shredded Chinese cabbage, bean sprouts, coriander, red onions, red peppers and chilli jam all wrapped up in a tortilla wrap.

Burgers, Pizzas & Stir Fries

My sister and I also split the Zeus pizza which boasted Mediterranean roasted veg, pesto, mozzarella, goat’s cheese and a balsamic dressing. I hadn’t noticed the pizza didn’t come with a tomato base when I ordered. This was strange at first but once I had accustomed my taste buds, this was a lovely fresh pizza with a crispy cracker-like base. Our other vegetarian guest tried the La Sierra pizza which was topped with balsamic mushroom with rosemary, goat’s cheese, mozzarella spinach and pine nut. He also remarked on the uniqueness of their pizza options. Do not go looking for indulgent (and greasy) pizzas that you might find in Pizza Hut or Dominos. This is a health-conscious pizza if such a thing exists.

You can also choose from: a Mozzato pizza (standard cheese and tomato), the vegan Buddha burger (tofu burger with lettuce hearts and apple slices) or a vegetarian spicy stir fry straight from the wok.

Overall Impression

I will admit the food at Terra Sana is somewhat of an acquired taste and I do not recommend it for fussy eaters. However, if you are looking for vegetables, fruit and flavour galore with a focus on ethical and healthy eating then this is where you need to go. Is it vegetarian-friendly? 100%. Is it a cool and fun place to eat? Definitely. Is it indulgent? No. Is it for everyone? Probably not. But a wrap stuffed full of fresh veg with a fresh fruit smoothie does not go amiss as you watch the sunset after a long, hot day on the beach.

Check out Terra Sana on their website. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

Have you been to Terra Sana? What did you think? Send me your pictures.

Eating Veggie in Marbella: El Oceano

Welcome to Marbella

Travel blogs were never part of my original plan when I started my blog but I have posted reviews of vegetarian eating at home in Glasgow so I don’t see why I can’t take my restaurant reviews over to the Mediterranean. Throughout my final few days in Calahonda, Marbella I will be reviewing the vegetarian options in a couple of beautiful Costa Del Sol restaurants.

I’ve been visiting Calahonda, a small town between Malaga and Marbella, for twelve years now and I admit that the sunny Spanish coast is not famous for its vegetarian dining in the same way that a city like Berlin is. You can visit Iceland in Fuengirola to stock up on your frozen mince and chicken pieces and cook some of my vegetarian recipes if you are self-catering. However, if you look hard enough you will find some gems and the stunning beach resort, El Oceano, is one of those hidden treasures.

First Impressions

When I discovered my family had booked a table at El Oceano hotel, I was slightly disheartened by the menu. There were no set vegetarian options but it did say that the kitchen prepared vegetarian options on a day-to-day basis for any vegetarian guests. I sighed. This usually means the chef will stir fry some vegetables and try to pass it off as an acceptable meal while my fellow diners scoffed on confit of suckling pig and crispy Thai fish cakes.

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Setting the Scene

El Oceano is a stunning beach-side hotel with luxury accommodation, a beauty salon, a restaurant and poolside bar. The decor is subtle: neutral and light colours reflecting the permanent sunshine that pours in from the conservatory restaurant. While it is definitely luxurious, there is something rustic and vintage that really appeals to me in a world of polished and excessive glamour that you associate with Marbella.

Dining in the restaurant, you are immediately met with wall to wall views of the breathtaking, unspoilt blue ocean. Paired with relaxing live music from slow jazz piano to funky soul singer, Frankie B, it is the perfect setting for eating with family and friends.

Veggie Options

The first thing I did when I was seated was ask a server what the vegetarian option was. There were three vegetarians dining in our group so we were anxious to find out. My fears quickly dissipated as the friendly Spanish waitress informed us that there was a vegetable lasagne, penne arrabbiata, a vegetable curry, mushroom risotto and a goats cheese dish to choose from. It is so rare to get such a great selection and all three veggies were delighted to be able to order three different dishes.

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Cheese & Leek Parcels

To start with I ordered a cheese and leek parcel with a subtle cheese sauce and tomato chutney. My only fault with this dish is that there wasn’t enough of it! The filo pastry was crisp and I couldn’t get enough of that cheese sauce; I was scraping every last morsel off the plate.

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Mushroom Risotto

For my main course, I chose the mushroom risotto. I’ll admit it is a safe vegetarian option in any restaurant but El Oceano put a different spin on a timeless classic. The creamy and indulgent risotto was topped with chunky grilled courgette and cherry tomato which gave texture and flavour to what can otherwise be a same-y dish. Again, I could not fault this meal. It was tasty, light and satisfying. My other veggie diners opted for the vegetable lasagne and penne arrabbiata. While these are also safe dishes, El Oceano delivered on flavour and Jonathan remarked that it was the best vegetable lasagne he had ever eaten.

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Puff Pastry with Strawberries, Cream & Cotton Candy

I had spotted this dessert being served to other tables while we ate and had marvelled at the little drop of fuchsia candy floss on top. Sadly, my candy floss had deflated somewhat by the time it had arrived but otherwise this puff pastry dish was a culinary delight. With fresh strawberries and cream, it was a refreshing and light way to finish off my meal.

Overall Impression

There are no settings quite like El Oceano on the coast. The ocean views are simply stunning. The live music and friendly staff create a vivacious atmosphere without overwhelming you. For someone who isn’t particularly impressed by the excess and VIP lifestyle of Marbella, El Oceano exudes luxury and elegance without compromising those rustic beachy vibes.

As for vegetarians, El Oceano is probably the most impressive destination for veggie and gluten-free options that I’ve visited in my twelve years visiting the coast. Catering to your dietary requirements is not an issue here and you will not be made to feel like a less valid diner because of your lifestyle choices.

To reserve a table at El Oceano for your next visit to Costa Del Sol, visit their website or Facebook page

Have you visited El Oceano? Let me know about your experience and send me your photographs.

The view from Eleanor Mullally-Staunton’s table on her latest trip to El Oceano. Eleanor is vegetarian and recommends the vegetable curry! 

Rigatoni Mexicana

 

I’m writing this recipe while I eat my second helping of this delicious pasta dish. I apologise in advance for blowing my own trumpet but this tastes so good. I was inspired to make this after trying to Buzzfeed One-Pot Fajita Pasta twice. I had wanted to share a vegetarian rendition of the recipe but, while I love the flavours, I was disappointed with the consistency both times. I just love the idea of an Italian/Mexican love-child meal so I didn’t give up and I’m glad I didn’t.

The other great thing about this recipe is it is low-fat and if you follow Slimming World, it can be syn free if you take the cheese as your Healthy Extra A choice and use low-cal spray instead of oil. If you don’t follow any diet plans but want to eat healthy, this is a great low-fat option. That’s just a bonus to the fact that it’s meat-free and freakin’ DELICIOUS.

This recipe serves two-three people but as usual, you can alter it to suit your level of hunger. If you don’t want to use Quorn chicken pieces you could add extra veg. I was really lazy and used frozen peppers but you can throw in whatever vegetables you have in the fridge.

Top tip: please don’t drain your pasta before adding the pasta water to the frying pan. I’ve done this before when cooking certain recipes and it’s a pain in the butt when you forget.

Ingredients
  • 150g Dried Rigatoni Pasta
  • 1 Red Onion (peeled and roughly chopped)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 2 Peppers (any colour, deseeded and roughly chopped)
  • 200g Meat-Free “Chicken” Pieces i.e Quorn
  • 2tsp Cumin
  • 1tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1tsp Mild Chilli Powder
  • Good Grinding of Rock Salt
  • 2tsp Soy Sauce
  • 40g Soft Cheese (I used Garlic & Herb Philly)
  • 40g Cheddar Cheese (Grated)
  • Oil
Method
  1. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Salt and add your pasta. Remember to stir occasionally to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat a slosh of oil in a non-stick frying pan on a high heat. Start by adding the red onion and garlic and fry for about 3 minutes.
  3. Throw in the “chicken pieces” and chopped peppers, fry for a further 3 minutes until the pieces start to cook through.
  4. Add the cumin, ground coriander, smoked paprika, mild chilli powder and a good grinding of rock salt. Stir until the “chicken” and veg are completely coated. Fry for 2 minutes before adding the dash of soy sauce and stir-frying some more.
  5. Now add 40g soft cheese and stir continuously so that it melts and coats the ingredients.
  6. Before draining the pasta, take a ladleful of pasta water and add to the frying pan. Mix to create a sort of glossy sauce. If it’s not saucy enough then add another spoonful of pasta water.
  7. Drain the pasta and add to the frying pan. Mix. Add the grated cheddar cheese and mix again until the cheese melts away and you’re left with a delicious, gooey pasta dish.
  8. Serve and enjoy.

Quadruple Green Sweet ‘n’ Sour “Chicken”

Hello! I’m back in the kitchen at last; it feels so good to be able to get creative with food again after six weeks off it in the full leg cast. It’s the end of the working week so I have that T.G.I.F feeling and was really craving some Chinese food after my physio session. However, I’m also trying to be healthy so the end product was a sweet and sour Quorn chicken with noodles and four different kinds of green veg: cabbage, leek, peppers and mangetout. This recipe is incredibly easy to put together but has the wow factor when it comes to flavour. It serves about 2 people depending on how hungry you are – I won’t lie, I ate the whole thing to myself but it could stretch to 3 people easily, I’m just greedy.

Ingredients

  • 200g Meat Free Chicken-Style Pieces (such as Quorn)
  • 1 Nest of Your Favourite Dried Noodles
  • 1 Green Pepper (deseeded and cut into chunky slices)
  • 1 Leek (thinly sliced)
  • A Handful of Shredded Cabbage
  • A Handful of Mangetout/Sugar Snap Peas
  • 2tbsp Tomato Ketchup
  • 2tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 2tbsp Malt Vinegar
  • 2tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1tbsp Cornflour
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 1tsp Chinese Five Spice
  • 1tsp Light Brown Sugar
  • A little oil
  • Good grinding of salt

Method

  1. In a small bowl, thoroughly mix together the tomato ketchup, tomato puree, malt vinegar, soy sauce, cornflour, chopped garlic, Chinese Five Spice and sugar. Set aside.
  2. Boil a pot of water. Once boiling, add the nest of noodles, shredded cabbage and sliced leek (plus a good grinding of salt) and boil for about 4 minutes.
  3. While the noodles and veg are boiling, heat a slosh of your preferred oil in a large wok or non-stick frying pan on a high heat. Chuck in the Quorn chicken pieces, green pepper and mangetout. Fry, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
  4. Drain the noodles, cabbage and leek. Shake off as much excess water as possible and set aside.
  5. Once the Quorn chicken pieces begin to brown, add half of the sweet and sour sauce and stir continuously to coat the “chicken” and veg for a couple of minutes allowing it all to go quite sticky.
  6. Add the noodles, cabbage and leek to the wok or frying pan and mix thoroughly to ensure everything is combined and coated in sticky sauce.
  7. Top up the rest of the sauce mixture with 2 tbsp of just boiled water. Mix together then drizzle the rest of the sauce over the mixture in the wok before stir frying and combining everything together nicely.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Let me know if you’ve tried any of my recipes. I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Veggie Pad Thai

I fell in love with Wagamama’s Yasai Pad Thai a couple of years ago only to discover that most Pad Thai’s are made with a fish sauce so even if the restaurant is using tofu or veggies, it’s likely that it still isn’t vegetarian friendly. So I embarked on a mission to make my own tasty pad thai that is completely vegetarian. Like I said, I’ve had a few failed attempts at making a Pad Thai (too stodgy or too eggy) but this is AMAZING. It’s super tasty, pretty healthy and, because it is a stir fry, it’s quick and easy to make. I had added as many vegetables as I could pack in to keep it a healthy dinner option for during the week.
This recipe serves about four people and like my Satay recipe, it combines some of my favourite flavours in one dish: peanut, coriander, lime, chilli. I have included an option for both Quorn chicken and Tofu in this recipe to suit your preferences or to suit whatever is most easily accessible to you. I always have Quorn chicken pieces in my freezer so I tend to use these for cooking unless I go out of my way to buy some tofu. If you’re using the firm tofu, remember to squeeze out any excess moisture by wrapping in a clean kitchen towel and pressing down on it.
Enjoy!

Ingredients:
300g Quorn Chicken Pieces/400g Pressed Firm Tofu (cut into large bites)
One Nest of Rice Noodles Per Person
Sesame Oil (you can use vegetable oil if you don’t have any)
1 Red Onion (thinly sliced)
1 Leek (thinly sliced)
3 Garlic Cloves (finely chopped/minced)
2 Fresh Red Chillies (deseeded and finely chopped)
100g Bean Sprouts
4tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
1tbsp Sweet Chilli Sauce
2tsp Brown Sugar
1 Lime
2 Large Eggs
Handful of Fresh Coriander (roughly chopped for garnish)
4 Spring Onions (roughly chopped for garnish)
25g Dry Roasted Peanuts (roughly bashed for garnish)
Optional: Another lime cut into wedges for garnish

Method:

  1. In a small bowl, beat the two eggs.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce, brown sugar and juice of the lime. Set aside.
  3. In a large frying pan or wok, fry Quorn/tofu pieces in a splash of sesame oil for 3-4 minutes. Add the sliced red onion and leek for 2 minutes. Add garlic, chilli and bean sprouts and stir fry for 2 minutes more.
  4. Pour in the sauce mixture and combine well. Stir fry continuously while you cook your noodles.
  5. Cook your rice noodles according to pack instructions. This will usually take 3-4 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  6. Add the noodles to the wok. Toss for a couple more minutes to combine all of the ingredients.
  7. Slowly and evenly pour over the beaten eggs and let them set for 1-2 minutes before stirring briefly until the egg is cooked. Add half of the spring onions, coriander and peanuts and stir through.
  8. Serve in separate bowls and top with the remaining garnish. Enjoy!

If you have a go at making my vegetarian pad thai, let me know what you think and send me your photos.

Tofu Katsu Curry

Day 2 of my National Vegetarian Week recipes is this gorgeously fragrant katsu curry. Whether you’re giving up meat for the day, week or full time, try this impressive Japanese inspired dish and check out the Vegetarian Society for more ideas!

Katsu Curry is a popular choice in many Pan-Asian restaurants and it’s one of my favourites when I’m eating out so I thought I’d have a go at making some at home. I found this recipe online a couple of years ago and it blew my mind. Unfortunately, I have never been able to find it since so I can’t even credit the original source. Fortunately, I wrote it down so we can enjoy it forever.
Unlike most of my other recipes, this is slightly more complex. However, it has a great pay off so it’s worth the extra effort in the kitchen for the great taste. The good news is that this curry sauce is actually pretty low-fat and healthy. It’s a great way to secretly get some more fruit and veg into your diet as the apple, celery and ginger are hidden in the blended sauce. Perfect for any fussy eaters. Also if you’re not a huge tofu fan, you could swap it out for some chunky veg like thickly sliced aubergine.
This recipe serves about 4 people – depending on how hungry you are. When making it for 2 people, Jamie and I halved the amount for the Katsu Tofu but made the same amount of sauce to make an indulgent portion!

Ingredients:
For the Katsu Tofu: 

400g Firm Tofu
250ml Milk (use a non-dairy alternative to make this recipe vegan)
2tbsp Soy Sauce
2tsp Mustard
140g Plain Flour + 1 extra heaped tbsp for sauce
140g Panko Breadcrumbs
2tbsp Sesame Seeds
For the Curry Sauce:
2 Sticks of Celery (diced)
1 Apple (peeled and diced)
2cm Cube of Fresh Ginger (finely chopped)
1 Fresh Green Chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
Neutral Oil
1tbsp Plain Flour
500ml Vegetable Stock
2tbsp Soy Sauce
2tbsp Tomato Ketchup
2tbsp Curry Powder
60ml Coconut Milk
To Serve:
Sushi Rice (allow approx 60g per person)

Method:

  1. Cover the firm tofu in a clean dish towel and press out excess moisture. Cut into medium sized triangles about 1/2cm thick.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the milk, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 2 teaspoons of mustard. Marinade your tofu chunks in this mix for as long as possible. No less than 30 minutes but ideally overnight if you have the time to prepare in advance.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200C and line a baking tray with parchment.
  4. Place 140g of flour in one bowl and in a separate bowl mix together the breadcrumbs and sesame seeds. Take the tofu out of the marinade, lightly coat in the flour and then transfer to the second bowl to coat with the breadcrumbs and sesame seeds. Spread carefully on the prepared baking tray and repeat until all tofu is covered.
  5. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes (turning halfway through)
  6. While the tofu is baking, heat a splash of oil in a frying pan. Sauté celery for 3 minutes. Add apple chunks, sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Add chilli and garlic and fry for a further 1 minute. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  7. In the same frying pan, heat two tablespoons of oil over a low heat. Stir in a heaped tablespoon of flour and keep stirring frequently for 1 minute. Add 1/4 of the vegetable stock (approximately 125ml) then the ketchup and curry powder. Stir frequently for 5 minutes to form a curry paste. Don’t let it burn!
  8. Once a paste has been formed, add the rest of the stock, soy sauce, coconut milk and the veg mixture. Cover and cook on a low heat for 20 minutes, letting it reduce until sauce is at the desired consistency.
  9. Cook sushi rice according to instructions. This will take approximately 20 minutes. Remember to turn over the tofu so that it’s golden all over.
  10. Once everything is cooked, take the sauce off the heat and blend until completely smooth.
  11. Take the tofu out of the oven, serve with the sticky sushi rice and pour sauce all over! 


Please get in touch if you have a go at this dish. I’d love to see your photos and hear your feedback!

Crispy Tofu with Satay Sauce and Nutty Noodles

Hi everyone! For some reason my scheduled post didn’t go ahead yesterday and as I had a pretty full on day, (I’ve just started a new job) I never had the chance to get on my computer. Nonetheless, welcome to another Foodie Friday – on Saturday.

So this recipe will probably create a bit of a frenzy amongst my friends because any of them will tell you that this is my signature dish so I’m slightly reluctant to even give away my secret. I’ve had many a dinner party where this satay sauce is the centrepiece and everyone loves it. It includes some of my absolute favourite flavours: coriander, chilli, peanut, ginger and lime. (NB as I proof this I am currently wolfing down a pack of dry roasted peanuts) I know I promised some healthy and low-fat recipes and so far I’ve given you a lasagne and this recipe, which includes an entire tub of peanut butter, but they were too good not to share and nuts are good fat!
This recipe is loosely based on a Jamie Oliver 20 minute meal recipe from a recipe book we had years ago but, as the years have gone by, I’ve tweaked it to make it my own and, obviously, I have turned it vegetarian too! You can make this with Quorn chicken (or real chicken) if you’re a bit apprehensive about tofu. If you’re using Quorn chicken you don’t really need to alter this recipe at all. If you want to unveggify the recipe and are trying it with real chicken breasts, you’ll need to adjust the cooking times to make sure the chicken is properly cooked! But I do recommend trying tofu because it’s not as scary as you think.
This recipe serves about 4 people and it only takes about thirty minutes to throw together. It’s super easy because the bulk of it is just chucking ingredients into a food processor without much prep but it’ll still really impress your guests.
Also, as a final note, this seems very obvious but just to make it clear: this is not suitable for anyone with nut allergies! Sorry!

Ingredients:
340g Jar of Crunchy Peanut Butter
Fresh Coriander (untouched for the sauce, a little roughly chopped for garnishing)
2 Red Chillis (1 left whole for the sauce, 1 deseeded and finely chopped for the noodles)
2 Cloves of Garlic (peeled but left whole)
2 Limes (1 for the sauce and 1 for the noodles – I had an extra for decorative purposes)
Dark Soy Sauce
2cm Cube of Fresh Ginger (peeled and roughly chopped)
150ml Water
400g Firm Tofu
1 Yellow Pepper (deseeded and thinly sliced)
Some Plain Flour
1 Large Egg
Breadcrumbs (enough to cover the tofu)
Sesame Oil
Dried Egg Noodles (1 nest per person)
50g Dry Roasted Peanuts (bashed into a rough crumb)
Salt and Pepper
Spring Onions (optional/chopped for garnish)

Method:

  1. Prepare your satay sauce by placing the peanut butter, a large handful of coriander (stalks included), 1 red chilli (take the stalk off and cut in half but don’t worry about deseeding or chopping since it’s all getting blitzed anyway), 2 whole garlic cloves, a glug of soy sauce (about 3 tbsp) and roughly chopped ginger into a food processor/blender. Finely grate the skin of 1 lime into the food processor, half it then squeeze all of the juice into the mixture. Add 200ml of water.
  2. Blend into a smooth paste/sauce. Check consistency. It should be thick and spoonable – more like a dip than a sauce. But if it’s too thick, add a little extra water but do this a tiny bit at a time to make sure you don’t end up with a watery mess. You can also add a little more soy sauce to loosen it up too depending on your tastes. This sauce is eaten cold so spoon into a serving bowl, garnish and set aside. Also try not to eat it all while you’re cooking.
  3. Wrap your firm tofu in a clean dish towel and place something heavy like a cook book or frying pan on top to squeeze out any excess water then cut into bite sized chunks.
  4. Whisk together the egg into a bowl, pour a little flour into another small bowl and spread the breadcrumbs over a plate (grind salt and pepper into the breadcrumbs and mix through).
  5. Roll the tofu in the flour to lightly coat it. Dip each piece into the egg and cover with breadcrumbs before setting aside and repeating this process (flour, egg, breadcrumbs) so that every piece is completely coated.
  6. Heat a glug of sesame oil in a large non-stick frying pan on a high heat.
  7. While it’s heating up, boil a saucepan of water and cook noodles according the pack instructions. They usually only take about 5 minutes to cook.
  8. While the noodles cook, fry the tofu, turning over to make sure each side is golden and crunchy. Once browned, turn the heat off completely so the tofu doesn’t burn, add your peppers and leave to cook on the residual heat, stirring occasionally.
  9. Drain the noodles and put back into the dry saucepan. Throw in a few splashes of soy sauce (to suit your preference), a tiny drizzle of sesame oil, the bashed peanuts, the finely chopped chilli and squeeze in the juice of the 2nd lime. Mix together, serve in a sharing bowl and garnish with a little chopped coriander and spring onions on top.
  10. Serve the crispy tofu on a plate with the peanut sauce and noodles. Enjoy!

If you have a go at making this recipe, send me your pictures and comments and I’ll feature them on my blog. 

Classic Meat-Free Lasagne

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Hi guys! Now that I’ve got my blog up and running I am going to attempt to post a new vegetarian recipe every Friday (‘Foodie Friday’) and this week I had a go at turning an Italian favourite into a meat-free feast. My sister and her boyfriend are also vegetarians so cooking for them is an excellent excuse to try something new. It went down a treat on a sunny Friday night and every plate was scraped.
This lasagne is by no means one of the healthiest or most low-fat options (butter and mature cheddar cheese galore) However, it is a much better option than a pre-made lasagne bake from the supermarket or ready-made sauces in a jar. These pre-made options are almost always laden with hidden sugars, salt and other nasties so making your own from scratch is a surefire way to cut down on the fat and sugar in your diet.
Plus this recipe is FULL of veg, I like to add any leftover veg to dishes like this. I’ve gone with mushrooms, celery and peppers but you could add carrot, courgette, frozen peas… Just throw in whatever vegetables you need to use up in the fridge! The veg and the healthy protein should balance out the sinful white sauce.
This tray of this lasagne will feed about six people and it’s pretty easy to put together. The whole recipe takes about an hour and a half to make, including cooking in the oven. This is a lot quicker than cooking a meaty lasagne as Quorn mince doesn’t require as much cooking as real meat. It’s totally worth the extra effort making your own!
If you give it a go, let me know and send me a picture of your finished product.

Ingredients for Lasagne
300g Packet of Quorn Mince
Glug of Olive Oil (about 2tbsp)
1 Onion (finely chopped)
3 Cloves of Garlic (finely chopped or crushed)
1 Stick of Celery (finely chopped)
150g Mushrooms (roughly chopped)
1 Red/Orange Pepper (deseeded and finely chopped)
400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
500g Packet of Passata
2.5tbsp (Sundried) Tomato Pesto
1tbsp Tomato Puree
1tbsp Tomato Ketchup
2tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1tsp Oregano
2 Bay Leaves
4tsp Vegetable Bouillon or 1 Stock Cube
Handful of Basil (roughly chopped)
125g Fresh Lasagne Sheets (this is really dependent on the size of your oven dish)
50g Margarine/Butter
50g Plain Flour
300ml Skimmed Milk
150g Mature Cheddar Cheese (grated – keep half for the sauce, half for the topping)
Salt and Pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C now.
  2. Heat a splash of olive oil in a non-stick pan. Fry the onion for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and celery, fry for a further 2 minutes until soft.
  3. Add the chopped mushrooms and peppers. Stir and cook for another 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, passata, puree, pesto, ketchup, red wine vinegar, sprinkling of oregano, crumbled stock cube or bouillon, bay leaves, salt and pepper.
  5. Add the Quorn mince and chopped fresh basil. Turn on to a low-medium heat and let simmer while you make the cheese sauce. Remember Quorn doesn’t take long to cook.
  6. While your ‘mince’ gently cooks, start the white sauce. Melt the butter into a small saucepan. When completely melted, stir in the flour and cook gently while continually stirring. Slowly add the milk, only a little at a time, stirring vigorously each time, beating away any lumps, until you create a sauce consistency. Once you have a sauce, add 75g of cheddar cheese and stir through on a low heat until it disappears into the sauce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
  7. Remove the bay leaves from your Quorn mince and now you’re ready to put the lasagne together. In a large ovenproof dish, spoon half of your Quorn mixture over the base. Cover with a layer of pasta sheets, you can cut some to make it fit across the whole dish. Top with half of the cheese sauce. Repeat this process again (Quorn Mince, Pasta Sheet, Cheese Sauce) Cover with the remaining grated cheese before baking in a preheated oven at 200C for 35 minutes until golden and crisp.
  8. Enjoy with a salad or garlic bread. I like it best with a green salad, fresh cherry tomatoes and lots of balsamic vinegar.