When life gets stressful or busy, it helps to have a make-ahead meal (or two!) in the fridge or freezer. You quickly assemble and heat without much trouble. My fav go-to is tray baking veg, then, whatever is sitting in the fridge/freezer can be assembled with salads or grains into a multitude of meals. And a simple trick is to cook a whole packet of grains and pulses. Then parcel cooked rice, quinoa, pearl barley, lentils, chickpeas etc. into meal sized portions – for 2 or 4 or 6 people and freeze! As a guide 250g cooked is enough for 2 people. Other requirements? Tasty, not take too long to prepare, and fill you up when you need it most!

Harissa Baked Veg

  • 1 medium carrot, chopped into chunks

  • 1 medium beetroot, (or parsnip, or fennel) chopped into chunks

  • 1 red pepper, chopped into chunks

  • 150g butternut squash, peeled, chopped into large pieces

  • 1 red onion, peeled and thickly sliced

  • 1 courgette, chopped into chunks

  • 1-2 tablespoons harissa paste

  • 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup/honey

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

  • 40 ml olive oil

  • Salt + pepper to taste

To Serve

  • 45g dried apricots, roughly chopped

  • 200g cooked chickpeas or lentils

  • 150g cooked couscous, or pearl barley, millet, quinoa, lentils

  • 30g coriander leaves

  • Salt to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C FAN. Place all the veg onto tray or oven dish.

  2. Mix the oil, harissa, cinnamon, maple syrup/honey, vinegar, salt + pepper

  3. Then , pour the harissa mixture over the veg and ensure they are all coated.

  4. Place in the oven and cook for 25 minutes. Now add the dried apricots and chickpeas. Stir together. Return to the oven and cook for a further 10 minutes, or until all veg are soft.

  5. To serve, use cooked grains.

  6. You can stir extra harissa into the vegetables; sprinkle coriander over to taste and add salt if needed.

Kale Baked Risotto

Risotto

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 onion, sliced

  • 2 tablespoons thyme leaves

  • sea salt and cracked black pepper

  • 300g arborio rice

  • 1.25 litres vegetable or chicken stock

  • 100g baby spinach leaves

  • large handful shredded kale leaves (stems removed)

  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 5g roughly torn basil leaves

  • 40g finely grated parmesan

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan

2. Heat a large deep ovenproof frying pan or flameproof roasting pan over medium heat. Add the oil, leek, lemon thyme, salt and pepper to cook for 5 minutes or until the leek is golden and soft.

3. Add the rice and stock and stir to combine. Cover with a tight-fitting lid or sheets of foil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Allow to stand, covered, for 5 minutes.

Make the pesto

  • 100g walnuts, coarsely chopped

  • 1 small garlic clove

  • 1 large handful fresh parsley leaves

  • 2 handfuls torn kale leaves

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 60ml water

  • Salt + pepper to taste

  • ​Pulse garlic and toasted walnuts in a food processor until very finely ground. Add parsley, chives, kale, remaining 2 Tbsp. oil, and ¼ cup cold water; process until smooth; season pesto with salt and pepper.

4. After the risotto has stood for 5 minutes, remove the lid and stir in the spinach, kale pesto, lemon rind and juice into the baked risotto. Continue stirring until the risotto is creamy. Stir through the basil and parmesan then serve.

Green Falafel

  • 1 x 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped

  • 120g frozen peas, slightly thawed

  • 100g chopped broccoli

  • 1 tablespoon tahini

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 100g kale leaves, sliced

  • 25g flat-leaf parsley leaves

  • 10g mint leaves

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 3 tablespoons of any flour (can be GF chickpea/oat flour)

  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

  • sea salt and cracked black pepper

  • extra virgin olive oil, for brushing

  • To Serve - flatbreads, rocket (arugula), sliced radishes, hummus

  • Preheat oven to 180C FAN. Have oven tray lined with parchment paper, lightly oiled. Pre heat the tray 5 minutes before baking.

  • Put broccoli, onion, peas, kale, parsley and mint to a food processor. Mix to combine.

  • Then add chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, salt + pepper

  • Add flour & Baking soda, until the mixture is thick enough to handle. Taste & adjust seasonings.

  • Roll the mixture into large balls – that can fit into the palm of your hand.

  • Place them onto the oven tray and flatten ever so slightly. Bake for 15 minutes on 1 side, then 5 minutes on the other. Check that they are firm.

  • Serve with sliced radish, rocket, tomato sauce and hummus or inside pita with salad. Store in fridge, layered with parchment paper in airtight container for 4-5 days. Freeze up to 1 month.

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© 2020 by Jen Roach