In their new cookbook, Stephen and David Flynn – The Happy Pear – have taken 10 of the most common vegetables and found seemingly infinite ways to cook them with 10 ingredients or less.
An effort to reduce food waste, ‘The Veg Box’ is organized by vegetable rather than by meal, so depending on what you have laying around, you can jump straight to that chapter.
To give you a little taste, we’ve got three recipes from the cookbook for you to try…
Spaghetti and beetroot balls
Takes 40 minutes
1. 100 g cashew nuts
2. 400 g dried whole wheat spaghetti
3. 100 g uncooked beetroot
4. 2 red onions
5. 4 small cloves of garlic
6. 1 can of black beans of 400 g
7. 100 g fresh breadcrumbs
8. 1 tsp fennel seeds (optional)
9. 2 x 400 g can of peeled tomatoes
10. a few fresh basil leaves, to serve
This delicious vegan version of spaghetti and meatballs is quick and easy, comforting, and a great anytime dinner. A great way to get vegetables and whole foods in a well-known family favorite. Optionally, serve with some vegan Parmesan cheese for another burst of flavor.
- Preheat the oven to 170°C Fan/190°C/Gas 5.
- Spread the cashew nuts on a baking tray and roast them in the oven for 6-7 minutes.
- Put aside.
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add a generous pinch of salt.
- Add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions, drain, rinse and return the pasta to the same pan.
- While the pasta is cooking, we make our beetroot balls.
- Wash the beetroot and remove all dirt and stains, then coarsely grate it into a bowl.
- Finely chop the onion and garlic.
- Drain and rinse the black beans.
- Place a non-stick pan over high heat.
- Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and once it is hot add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, until they start to brown.
- Turn the heat down to medium, add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Remove half of the garlic and onions and set aside to use later for the tomato sauce.
- Add the grated beetroot to the onions and garlic in the pan, along with 1 teaspoon salt and the drained black beans, and cook for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat, transfer to a food processor with the breadcrumbs, toasted cashews and a pinch of black pepper, and blend until smooth.
- Remove the mixture from the food processor and form 14-16 small smooth balls about the size of a lime.
- Flatten each ball slightly. Return the same non-stick pan to high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Once hot, add the fennel seeds and cook for 30 seconds, then add the reserved onion and garlic.
- Cook for a few more minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper and bring to a boil.
- Once it boils, let it simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the tomato sauce to the cooked pasta, mix well and set aside while you cook the beetroot balls.
- Place the same non-stick pan over high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. When hot, add the flattened beetroot balls and brown in batches, about 2-3 minutes on each side.
- Remove from fire.
- Serve the spaghetti with 3 or 4 beetroot balls per person, sprinkled with basil leaves and grated vegan parmesan.
Broccoli and Potato Cakes with a Chilli Mayo
Takes 45 minutes
1. 1 x 300g head of broccoli
2. 500g potatoes
3. 2 onions
4. 2 cloves of garlic
5. 140 g white flour
6. 100 ml oat milk or non-dairy milk of your choice
7. 8 tablespoons sesame seeds
8. 1¼ tsp chili powder
9. 100ml vegan mayonnaise
This is a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes from the night before. At Christmas we always have a lot of mashed potatoes left and this is what we do with it. If possible, try to use a floury potato like Maris Piper or Queen.
- Cut the broccoli into bite-sized florets and finely chop the stem.
- Peel and coarsely chop the potatoes and peel and finely chop the onions and garlic.
- Place the broccoli florets in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
- Place a pan of boiling water over medium heat and add the potatoes and chopped broccoli stems.
- Cook for 10-15 minutes, until soft.
- Drain the potatoes and broccoli and return them to the still warm pan.
- Let cool for 5 minutes to allow excess moisture to evaporate.
- Mash to break up the potato and set aside to cool.
- While the potatoes and broccoli are cooling, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a wide-bottomed non-stick pan over high heat. Once hot, add the onion and chopped broccoli florets along with teaspoon salt and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add the garlic. Cook for another 2 minutes, until the onions start to turn translucent and the mix starts to smell delicious!
- Place the mashed potatoes, onion and broccoli mixture in a large mixing bowl, along with 100 g flour, 1½ teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper.
- Mix everything well, taste and season. Shape the mixture into burger-shaped patties, about 80 g each.
- Place the remaining 40 g flour, oat milk and sesame seeds in three separate bowls. Dip each potato cake first in the flour, coat well, then in the oat milk and finally in the sesame seeds so that they are sprinkled evenly on both sides.
- Reshape so that each has a nice smooth potato cake shape. Wipe the wide non-stick pan, return to medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil.
- Once hot, add 3 tater tots to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, until starting to turn golden brown.
- You have to be careful not to burn them, so keep checking. Repeat with the rest of the tater tots until they are all cooked through.
- Mix the chili powder with the vegan mayonnaise and serve as a dip for the potato cakes or sprinkle over it.
Easy Carrot Cake Cupcakes
For 12 small cupcakes
Takes 50 minutes
1. 50g walnuts, plus 12 to decorate
2. 50 g raisins
3. 200g self-raising flour
4. 150 g light brown muscovado sugar
5. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
6. ½ tsp ground allspice
7. 100 g carrots
8. 220g vegan cream cheese
9. 75g icing sugar
These are light and creamy, and they have that perfect little, delicate size that makes you feel like you’re not eating too much and you might have a second one!
- Preheat the oven to 180°C Fan/200°C/Gas 6.
- Line a standard 12 muffin tray with cupcake liners.
- Roughly chop the 50 g walnuts.
- Place in a large bowl with the raisins, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice and a pinch of salt and mix well.
- Peel and grate the carrots and place in a second bowl with 140 ml vegetable oil and 90 ml water. Mix well.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well again. Divide the mixture evenly among the cupcake cases.
- Bake for 20 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
- Make the glaze while the muffins are in the oven. Place the vegan cream cheese in a bowl and mash with a fork to make it easier to mix with the powdered sugar.
- Sift in the powdered sugar, using a sieve so that no lumps form.
- Beat the vegan cream cheese and icing sugar with a whisk or fork until smooth. Leave the icing in the refrigerator until use.
- Remove the muffins from the oven and let them cool completely.
- Once completely cooled, ice them with a piping bag or spoon. Place a walnut on each muffin.
‘The Veg Box’ by Stephen and David Flynn (The Happy Pear) is published by Penguin Life and is available in stores and online now.