Category Archives: Pasta

Warm pasta, broccoli & bean salad with lemon, garlic and basil

2014-03-25 19.20.23
I love a warm salad.  The flavours are so much stronger when the dish is at room temperature rather than chilled, and partly cooking the ingredients allows each individual ingredient to shine.
This is such a delicious and healthy supper, we all really enjoy it and it’s a complete one pot meal so perfect for busy week night dinners.

Warm pasta, broccoli & bean salad with lemon, garlic and basil
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Recipe type: Warm salad
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4-6
  • Spray of olive oil / splash of water / stock
  • 350g wholemeal pasta – rigatoni, penne etc.
  • 1 smallish red onion, halved, then finely sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped or microplaned
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 can / 250g cooked cannellini beans
  • 1 heaped tsp freshly grated / microplaned lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 medium tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1 large head of broccoli, cut into small florets
  • Large bunch of basil, finely shredded
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • A dozen or so Kalamata olives, to serve
  1. Put pasta on to boil.
  2. Steam the broccoli until just tender, about 6-7 mins. Once cooked, run under cold running water to refresh and retain colour.
  3. Put the onion, garlic and salt in a large heavy bottomed casserole with your choice of sautéing medium, mix thoroughly, and warm through on a low light for 5 minutes – do not COOK! The idea is to take the rawness out of the garlic but leave the onion still with some bite.
  4. Add a splash or two of vegetable stock as required to keep it moist but without stewing it.
  5. Add the beans, lemon juice and zest and continue to warm through for another few minutes.
  6. Add tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and keep on a low light whilst waiting for the pasta to cook. Once ingredients are all hot but not cooked, remove from the heat and tip into a large wide salad bowl along with the broccoli.
  7. Once pasta is cooked, tip into the bowl along with the basil and mix thoroughly. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes for the flavours to mingle.
  8. Top with olives and serve.


My Buddha Bowl

2013-12-31 19.32.53

Google “Buddha Bowl” and you will be inundated with versions of this.  Basically it’s a bowl of steamed veggies with brown rice or another grain like quinoa, with a sauce over the top.

I’ve already posted my son’s favourite dish, well this is my teenage daughter’s!  It’s the sauce that makes it of course, and this is such an easy weeknight dish you will be tempted to have it several times, just changing the veggies or grains, and adding tofu or tempeh etc.

My Buddha Bowl
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The sauce makes enough for 3-4 servings, I haven't given quantities for the rice or veggies so just prepare as much as you need.
Cuisine: Asian
Serves: 3-4
  • Sauce ingredients:
  • 1 T cashew butter
  • 1 T tahini,
  • 2 T vegetarian oyster sauce or other Asian stir fry sauce
  • 1 T sweet chilli sauce
  • 3 T lemon and/or lime juice - either or both, mixed together (orange is also good!)
  • 2 T tamari
  • ½ cup soy milk
  • 1 T sweet soy sauce
  1. Put your rice on to cook, or even easier, use packets of ready cooked brown rice which just need warming through! (you can put itin the steamer along with the veggies if you like)
  2. Whilst your rice is cooking, prepare and steam your desired vegetables – broccoli, carrot, capsicum, celery, mushrooms, baby corn etc, and top with a packet of ready marinated and cooked tofu cubes to heat through (if desired - this is optional) – sweet chilli / garlic variety.
  3. Blend all the sauce ingredients in a blender (we use the Magic Bullet for this) or a jug with an immersion/stick blender until very smooth and creamy. Taste the sauce and adjust a little if necessary - different people like it more salty / more sour / more sweet etc. Pour it into a saucepan and heat gently for a few minutes when your rice and veggies are almost ready.
  4. Divide the rice, veggies and tofu between your bowls and pour the sauce over the top. Also nice scattered with fresh chopped coriander / toasted sesame seeds / etc.


2 Lentil Bolognese

2014-02-18 19.52.09
Whenever I ask my son (11) what he would like to put on the menu for next week he ALWAYS says Spag Bol.  It really is rather good.  This is an easy midweek meal as once it’s all in the pot you can just leave it pretty much unattended for ages and then just pop on your spaghetti once you’re ready.   It only improves the longer you cook it, just watch it doesn’t catch and burn on the bottom (one of those heat diffusing pads is useful here) and that it doesn’t become too reduced.   It also “cheats” a little by using a small jar of ready made pasta sauce as one of the ingredients.  If you don’t have one to hand you could sub with another can of tomatoes, or equivalent of sieved tomatoes / passata type of thing.

It’s called “2 Lentil Bolognese” as it uses both the wonderful Split Red Lentils which break down so beautifully to that dhal-like creamy mush and the slower-cooking Puy Lentils which are those beautiful little round green/blue ones which keep their shape and add great texture to the dish.

I like to blend the sauce just a little using the immersion blender to break up some of the lentils and make a thicker sauce, but that’s completely up to you.  Smaller children may well like it much smoother as they often object to the presence of lentils.  🙂

This usually makes enough for 2 dinners for 4 so the rest goes in the freezer for next time!

5.0 from 2 reviews
2 Lentil Bolognese
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Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 2 small sticks celery
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 field mushroom/ 6-8 button mushrooms
  • :- all diced small
  • ½ cup red lentils
  • ½ cup Puy (French) lentils
  • 1 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 (use empty tomato) cans water
  • 2 heaped Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 heaped tsp "chicken" or vegetable stock / bouillon powder
  • 1 rounded tsp dried mixed Italian herbs
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 small (375g) jar tomato and basil pasta sauce / your favourite
  1. Fry or dry fry / water sauté the onions and garlic for a few minutes whilst you chop the other veggies.
  2. Add the celery, carrot and mushrooms and sauté for another 10 minutes over a gentle heat.
  3. Add all the other ingredients, bring to the boil, then turn down and simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Cover if required to cook longer without reducing volume.
  4. Test for seasoning, add more water if too thick.
  5. Use immersion blender if required to thicken / smooth the sauce as required.

Pasta Primavera

Another family favourite.  Creamy but low fat sauce with garlic and lemon poured over wholegrain pasta and your favourite springtime vegetables.  Top with toasted pine nuts and / or a parmesan type topping.  Try grinding almonds with some nutritional yeast, salt, and lemon zest for a delicious sprinkle.

Pasta primavera

Pasta Primavera
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Creamy sauce with spring green vegetables over wholegrain pasta
Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
  • 300g wholewheat pasta shells/penne
  • 30g raw cashews, soaked
  • 100-200ml Soy Milk
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Slice of onion
  • Salt & pepper
  • Green vegetables of choice:
  • asparagus, broccoli / broccolini, peas, snow peas, etc
  • Bunch of basil, leaves torn
  • Toasted pine nuts, for garnish - optional
  1. Put pasta on to boil.
  2. Meanwhile, in a high speed blender blend cashews, soy milk, lemon zest, garlic, onion until smooth and creamy. Amount of milk will depend on how thick you want it and how much it’s sucked up by the pasta, you can always add more milk to the pasta once you combine it.
  3. Put the vegetables on to steam .
  4. Taste cashew cream and adjust seasoning/flavourings as desired: more lemon / garlic or onion/salt pepper.
  5. Once pasta is and vegetables are ready, drain and return to pan over a very low light, add the cashew cream, vegetables (once ready) basil and pine nuts.
  6. Serve!



My kids voted this my best ever lasagne and it’s their “favourite ever” meal!
We usually have with salad and a good crusty bread.
The creamy white sauce I use for this is also on this site here.

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Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 red capsicum, diced
  • 1 green capsicum, diced
  • 2 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 stick celery, diced
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 375g jar of your favourite tomato based pasta sauce, e.g. basil and garlic
  • 50g Lentils, Red, split
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 150g Baby Spinach, chopped (or use 4 cubes frozen spinach)
  • 15 leaves basil, chopped
  • 6-8 Wholemeal Lasagne Sheets
  • Creamy White Sauce – 1 batch
  • Optional : fresh breadcrumbs
  1. Make the Creamy White Sauce - see other recipes.
  2. Sauté onion, garlic after 5 mins, then add capsicum, carrot, celery, zucchini and let soften – about 15 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes, jar of sauce, lentils, oregano, baby spinach, and basil, season to taste. Allow to simmer until spinach wilts.
  4. Heat oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
  5. In lasagne dish put a thin layer tomato sauce, cover with lasagne sheets
  6. Layer the 2 sauces and pasta alternately in lasagne dish, topping with 2nd half of white sauce (or 3 layers depending on how thick your layers are)
  7. If liked, sprinkle a cup of fresh breadcrumbs over the top of the white sauce.
  8. Bake for 35-45 minutes. Test with a sharp knife to make sure the pasta is very tender.
  9. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.


Nutritional info: Cals: 280 | Fat: 7g | Protein: 13.5g  | Carb: 34.5g  | Fibre: 10.65g | Sodium:  291mg