Meat Free Monday: ‘Meat’balls

Last year I used to have meatballs pretty much every week; they’re relatively cheap and I thought they tasted great with a tomato sauce and pasta/rice. Now, the thought of them kind of grosses me out… I haven’t had red meat for a while and I don’t think I’m going to eat it again!

Anyway, I thought I’d try to recreate a meat free version of them. I found this recipe on the Thug Kitchen.

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Now, mine don’t look like the pictures from Thug Kitchen! But they tasted amazing, and really filled me up. I don’t think I let the mixture cool down enough, as I was too impatient. So that could be why the texture was off. Also, I think it’d help if the lentils were blended after being boiled – they were definitely the biggest bits that kept falling apart.

Another thing is that this seemed to take a while… However, because this makes enough for 5/6 people, you can always freeze the remaining meatballs and reheat them for a much quicker meal!

I served it with rice, chopped tomatoes and green beans this time. However, I’m sure it’d be amazing with pasta.

Overall, this hasn’t replaced traditional meatballs for me, but with a couple of adjustments it’ll be there!

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Meat Free Monday: Baked Polenta with Spinach and Melt-y Cheese!

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So this recipe uses Polenta – I bought a load when I made a recipe from Deliciously Ella, so I thought I’d try this out to use some more up! It isn’t the most beautiful food, but it was so comforting and tasty.

This time, I baked the Polenta in a tomato sauce, spinach, kale and added some melty cheese towards the end. Super simple!

I couldn’t find any of the vegan cheese that melts – I think it’s called pizza cheese, so I used regular non-vegan cheese. But this could easily be made vegan by swapping that out.

One 500g packet of Polenta made enough for 4/5 meals! So I’ve kept some of this in the fridge as a ready meal. This is a great weekday meal, because even making it from scratch only took 40 minutes, and most of that it’s just sat in the oven! So it’s a great one for meat free Monday 🙂

Meat Free Monday: Mushroom Stroganoff

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This is the ultimate comfort food recipe – unfortunately this is a vegetarian version as I couldn’t find vegan ribbon noodles or vegan sour cream! But it tastes AMAZING and it’s super quick and easy to make.

This is one of my favourite kinds of recipe as it uses less than 10 ingredients and takes less than half an hour to make something comforting and wholesome. I halved this so it made 2 rather than 4 and served it with a load of greens 🙂

This is so yummy! I recommend everyone tries this as it’s cheap and easy to make and even fussy eaters can’t complain.

Meat Free Monday: Gardener’s Pie

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This is another recipe from the student cookbook I used before – again using pretty basic ingredients! I would have expected this to take AGES but actually it was around 45-50 minuted including prep time.

This is vegetarian, but could be made vegan by using a vegan cheese to top it off!

This is made up of potatoes (boiled, then sliced), and a LOAD of veggies (onion, celery, tomatoes, green beans – but you could use any vegetables you have!) as well as a tin of beans (borlotti) and some pesto. As you can see – it’s very plant based!

The reason why it doesn’t take too long to cook, is that you cook all the ingredients before you put them in the pie; so the potatoes are boiled, then you have a pan full of all the veggies simmering away until they’re tender. Only then is it all put together and grilled for 10 minutes.

This serves four so it’s great for families, but also just to have a speedy ready meal in the fridge for a day when you don’t have time to cook!

Healthy Chocolate Snacks – Graze Unboxing

SAM_1620Sometimes you just want chocolate. Especially at a certain time of the month!

But instead of devouring huge quantities of unethical chocolate bars, I’ve been demolishing the Chocolate Graze box. There are 25 snacks available in a chocolate box, and it costs £3.99 – you can choose to have it delivered twice a week, once a week or once a fortnight. I wouldn’t say these are totally healthy, but they’re a lot healthier than some other snacks that I crave. And these genuinely keep you filled up as chocolate is mixed with dried fruit and seeds/nuts.

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I received:

Chocolate Orange – orange flavoured raisins, milk chocolate buttons, jumbo raisins and orange chocolate raisins.

Florentine – dark chocolate buttons, pumpkin seeds and cranberries.

Copacabana – brazil nuts, dark chocolate buttons and milk chocolate buttons

Cookies and Cream – white chocolate buttons, mini cocoa cookies, Cornish cocoa fudge and sunflower seeds

I really loved the Cookies and Cream and Florentine snacks! I’ll definitely be getting these again – they’re not cheap, but they’re the perfect snack to stop you going for the really bad stuff.

There’s quite a few other options and you can edit it, so if you’re allergic to a nut then you can tell them so you won’t receive any boxes with that in. The website also contains all the nutritional information.

If you like the look of this you can use the code: EMMAL84YP to receive your first, fifth and tenth box free (plus it gets me £1 off my boxes!). You can cancel it at any time so it’s worth a try!

Note: Obviously this isn’t vegan.

Meat Free Monday: DIY Instant Noodles

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Some days you just want to eat without any fuss. This was one of those days! I made this in advance and had the rest in batches so I could defrost it from the freezer in minutes.

It’s essentially instant noodles, except you know all the ingredients in it, it looks a lot more colourful and there are actual vegetables in it!

I used this recipe. Personally I’ll have to experiment a bit more with this; I found it a tad too salty so I’ll play around with the soy sauce and salt a bit. But I am sensitive to salt as I never add it to anything normally!

I used rice noodles in an attempt to make this dish vegan, but unfortunately I used quorn pieces in place of tofu or chicken (they’re cooked in egg white). So this is almost vegan!

Meat Free Monday: Simple Power Salad

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As it gets warmer (slowly but surely in the UK), I prefer filling salads rather than anything hot! This one is made up of what I had in the fridge at the time (cucumber, peppers, spinach, avocado, tomatoes), plus rice and quinoa (it came in a mix – it works really nicely together and makes the meal more substantial) and a topping of mexican cheese and a squirt of lime.

This tasted clean and yet also filled me up. I really like this in the summer and I’m sure some more meat-free Monday meals will be different types of salad! But this is my simple one that I didn’t have to plan for 🙂

Does anyone have any favourite ingredients to include in salads?