Orzo with Chorizo and Spinach

Quick tasty one pot meals are the holy grail for busy cooks. If you haven’t used orzo before, it’s a type of pasta that looks like fat grains of rice, if you don’t have this you can use any other types of pasta you have in the cupboard.

This a really tasty and cheap meal that’s great for a quick midweek dinner or I often makes it and use it for work lunches.

I’ve used fresh spinach because I had some that needed to be used up, but frozen spinach works just as well. You can also bulk this out with other frozen vegetables like sweetcorn.

Serves 4

Ingredients

200 Grams Orzo pasta (dry weight)

100 Grams Chorizo (cut into half centimetres slices)

200 Grams Spinach

1 Vegetable stock cube (crumbled)

1 Onion (finely sliced)

1 Red pepper (cut into fine strips)

2 Cloves of garlic (finely sliced)

1 Chilli pepper (finely sliced) or else a teaspoon of chilli powder)

1 Tbsp Tomato puree

1 x 400ml Tin of chopped tomatoes

Method

  • 1. Add the chorizo to a large flat bottom pan and fry on both sides until starts to release its oil
  • 2. Lift the chorizo out of the pan and set to one side. Add the onion and pepper to the pan to cook in oil from the chorizo for 5 minutes or until the onion becomes translucent
  • 3. Add all the ingredients except the spinach to the pan. Top up with enough water cover the contents of the pan and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid before reducing the heat to a simmer
  • 4. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, add more water if you think t needs it. Add the spinach to the pan and cook for a future 5 minutes. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if you think it needs it.

Spinach Falafel

Sometimes if you’ve been overindulging your body tells you to eat something healthier. When that happens, this what you should be eating. Packed full of flavour and protein these little falafel are great as the protein element of a main meal or in wraps for a tasty and filling packed lunch. These falafel are baked rather than fried, which helps make them even healthier.

I made these with cannelini beans, (I thought I had chickpeas in the cupboard, but you could probably use any type of tinned beans). These are also gluten free and suitable for vegans.

Ingredients

400 Gram Can of cannelini beans or chickpeas

2 Tablespoons Porridge oats

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 Tablespoon Tahini

2 Cloves of garlic (roughly chopped)

100 Grams Spinach

1 Teaspoon Salt

Handful of Coriander or parsley (toughly chopped)

Tablespoon Sesame Seeds (optional)

Oil for spraying

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (Celsius)
  2. Add all ingredients (except the sesame seeds) to a food processor and blend until you have a smooth mix
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment, the falafel mix should be quite soft, so I used a tablespoon to scoop the mix on the baking sheet.
  4. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if you are using them and bake for 15 minutes before turning them and bake for another 15 minutes

Cheesy Stuffed Crepes with Spinach and Mushrooms

Crepes are super easy to make and really versatile. One of my favourite ways to eat them is with a savoury filling and baked with a cheesy topping.

There are a couple of different steps in this recipe, so maybe better as a weekend recipe, but I sometimes make it in advance and then bake it during the week. This is proper comfort food and is meaty enough for please carnivores you may be feeding too.

Don’t be shocked if it looks like you have a lot of mushrooms or spinach, both will cook down and shrink as you cook them.

Ingredients

For the crepes

1 Egg

175 Grams Plain Flour

300 ml Milk

1 Tsp Oil

For the Filling

750 Gram Mushrooms Sliced

200 Gram Fresh Spinach (you can use frozen spinach, but make sure to squeeze all the excess liquid out before adding to the mushrooms)

2-3 Cloves of garlic

1 Tbsp Oil

50 Grams Butter

100 Grams Flour

750 ml Milk

200 Grams Grated Cheese (I used cheddar)

Salt and pepper

Method

  1. To make the crepes, add the flour to a bowl first and then whisk in the egg and milk until you have a smooth batter
  2. Heat oil in a 10cm -12 cm frying pan over a medium heat (if you use a bigger pan you’ll have fewer crepes but that’s OK too). Add just enough batter to the coat the pan (crepes are meant to be pretty thin). You’ll start to see little bubbles appear and this is when you should turn the crepe and brown on the other side, remove from the pan and set aside. Keep on making crepes until you have around 10-12 and set to one side while you make the filling
  3. Heat oil in a large frying pan/wok, add the mushrooms and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes without stirring (the secret to cooking mushrooms well is not to move them about too much). The next time you stir the mushrooms, add the garlic and allow to cook for another couple of minutes before adding the spinach. Cover if you have a lid and cook until the spinach has wilted
  4. In a saucepan over a medium heat, melt the butter and then add the flour to make a roux, or soft paste. Gradually stir in the milk until you have a smooth liquid (whisk if you have to, to remove any lumps). Stir in half the grated cheese and cook for a further 10 mins stirring regularly until the sauce starts to thicken and no longer states “floury”.
  5. Stir the sauce in to the cooked mushrooms and spinach and season with salt and pepper to your own taste
  6. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. To assemble the dish take each crepe and place a couple of spoonful’s of the mix in the centre and roll up tucking in the end (a bit like a skinny burrito), before laying in an oven proof dish.
  7. Repeat this until you have have used up all the crepes, which should be laid side by side in the oven proof dish, Cover the crepes with any left over filling and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for 30-40 mins or until the top is brown and bubbly

Sweet Potato and Spinach Curry

I love a good curry, and this is a really tasty and satisfying curry that can be enjoyed by vegans and meat lovers alike.

Coconut milk adds a lovely creaminess to this and I serve with rice or flat bread, to make it even better sweet potatoes and spinach are full of flavour and vitamins. I top this with some toasted cashew nuts for some extra crunch and protein, but it will still be delicious without them.

It’s also quick enough to be a great midweek meal and is packed full of lovely spices without being hot (unless you love chillies, in which case add as many as you like).

Ingredients

500 Grams Orange sweet potatoes (cut into 3-4 cm chucks, I leave the skins but peel if you prefer)

250 Grams Spinach (you can use frozen spinach if this is what you have)

2 Onions (roughly chopped)

1 Red chilli (cut in half, and seeds removed, add more if you like a hot curry)

3 Cloves of garlic (peeled)

Thumb sized piece of ginger (peeled and roughly chopped)

1 Tbsp Oil

1 Tsp Ground Cumin

1 Tsp Ground Tumeric

1 Tsp Ground Coriander

1 Tsp Salt

Juice of 1 lime, or half a lemon

400 ml Tin of coconut milk

400 ml water

2 Tbsp Fresh coriander (chopped, optional)

2-3 Tbsp Cashew nuts (toasted, optional)

Method

  1. In a food processor, add your onions, chilli, garlic and ginger, and blitz until it makes a smooth(ish) paste
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the paste you just blitzed in the food processor, and cook for 5-10 minutes
  3. Add the spices to the pot and cook for another 5 minutes before adding the sweet potatoes, coconut milk and water. Cook for another 10 minutes (or until the chunks of sweet potato are soft)
  4. Add the lime juice, and spinach and cover until the spinach has wilted. When the spinach has wilted check the seasoning, adding salt if needed, and sprinkle with copped coriander, cook uncovered for another 5-10 minutes if you prefer a thicker curry
  5. If you’re adding cashew nuts, toast them in a dry pan for 2 minutes (it will make them even more delicious)