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The Green Parent

By The Green Parent

22nd February 2021

Katy Beskow shares her favourite simple, quick, plant based meals - each dish is made with just five ingredients, meaning that you have more time for family fun (or a sit down with a cup of tea!) and less time in the kitchen

The Green Parent

By The Green Parent

22nd February 2021

The Green Parent

By The Green Parent

22nd February 2021

It’s often thought that vegan cooking is complicated, with some recipes requiring multiple ingredients, advanced cooking techniques and hours spent in the kitchen. In reality, who has the time (or inclination) for that? I know that after a hard day of work, the last thing anyone wants to do is follow a never-ending list of ingredients and chef’s-style recipe method, which is why I’ve put together these simplified meals that are full of flavour and substance, despite their minimal ingredients lists.

Each of these recipes uses just five ingredients, all of which can be purchased from a supermarket; in fact it’s likely that you’ll already have most of the ingredients in your store cupboard! I’ve assumed that you have three basic kitchen ingredients: oil, sea salt and black pepper.

I’ll show you how to make the most of your time in the kitchen, without having to shop for obscure, unpronounceable ingredients. I’m a firm believer that a few simple, good-quality ingredients can make the most satisfying of home-cooked meals. Buy the best that you can afford, particularly fresh ingredients such as vegetables, fruit and bread, and aim to buy ingredients in season for maximum flavour. Strip it back, keep it simple and think about versatile ways to use your fresh and store-cupboard ingredients to create something memorable for the whole family.

coconut and squash traybake

Sometimes dinner is as easy as adding everything to a roasting tin and letting the oven do all the hard work. This simple traybake will be ready to serve in less than 45 minutes. I love serving it with wedges of lemon for a fresh contrast to the coconut milk.

SERVES 4

  • medium butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 3cm cubes (about 500g prepared weight)
  • handful of green beans, trimmed
  • 200g basmati rice
  • 400ml canned full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp mild curry paste (ensure dairy free)
  • generous pinch of sea salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
  2. Arrange the butternut squash and green beans in a deep roasting tin and scatter in the rice.
  3. In a jug, mix 200ml cold water with the coconut milk and curry paste until combined. Pour this into the roasting tin, making sure it covers all of the ingredients.
  4. Cover with foil, then bake in the oven for 40–45 minutes until the squash is tender.
  5. Remove from the oven and carefully lift off the foil. Season with sea salt before serving.
  6. This recipe also works well with frozen butternut squash, saving you peeling and chopping time. Frozen butternut squash is available from most supermarkets, and is a useful addition to your freezer.

cauliflower cheese soup

Combine two comfort classics – baked cauliflower cheese and a bowl of steamy soup! You’d never believe that this rich and creamy soup could be vegan, or be so easy to prepare. This is a firm family favourite, from my table to yours.

SERVES 4

Suitable for freezing

  • 1 medium cauliflower, broken into florets, outer leaves removed
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 3 tbsp vegan cream cheese
  • 500ml hot vegetable stock
  • 300ml unsweetened soya milk
  • handful of chives, finely chopped
  • generous pinch of sea salt and black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
  2. Arrange the cauliflower florets on a baking tray and drizzle with the sunflower oil. Roast in the oven for 20–25 minutes until golden and softened.
  3. Remove the roasted cauliflower from the oven and carefully spoon into a high-powered jug blender. Add the vegan cream cheese, vegetable stock and soya milk, then blitz on high until silky smooth. (If you’re using a hand blender, add the above ingredients to a large bowl, then blitz until completely smooth.)
  4. Stir through the chives and season with sea salt and black pepper to taste. Serve in warmed bowls, sprinkled with a few extra chopped chives and black pepper, and drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil, if you like.

TIP: You’ll find vegan cream cheese in most supermarkets, often in the chilled ‘free from’ section. There are many varieties and brands to choose from; a simple mild cream cheese works best for this recipe.

spicy bean and avocado wraps

Try these speedy and spicy wraps for lunch, with cooling strips of avocado. Feel free to throw in crisp lettuce, coriander or grated vegan cheese if you want to take them up a notch.

SERVES 4

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 400g canned red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 4 soft tortilla wraps
  • 1 avocado, peeled, stoned and sliced
  1. Heat the oil in a wok over a medium heat, add the red onion and cook for 2–3 minutes until softened. Add the kidney beans and Cajun seasoning and stir-fry for another 2–3 minutes until the onion and the beans are coated.
  2. Lay out the wraps and arrange a few slices of avocado on each in a line down the centre. Spoon the spicy beans on top of the avocado, sprinkle with a little more Cajun seasoning, if you like, then fold each side inwards and roll up the wrap to envelop the filling. Enjoy hot or cold.

chocolate hazelnut swirls

Discovering that many supermarket brands of pastry are accidentally vegan due to the use of vegetable fats instead of butter (always check the ingredients before buying) has opened up a world of home-baking opportunities. I love these nutty, chocolatey pastries as a sweet snack, but I’ve also been known to enjoy one or two for breakfast. Vegan chocolate spreads are available in supermarkets, health-food shops and at online vegan retailers.

MAKES 12

  • 1 sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry (ensure dairy free)
  • 200g vegan chocolate spread
  • 2 tbsp blanched and chopped hazelnuts, plus extra
  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7 and line two baking trays with baking parchment.
  2. Unroll the puff pastry sheet and spoon over the chocolate spread. Spread it liberally over the pastry, then scatter over the chopped hazelnuts.
  3. Starting at one of the short ends of the pastry, tightly roll the pastry to the other side, to form one full roll. Slice the roll into 12 pieces and place on the baking tin.
  4. Bake the swirls in the oven for 12–15 minutes until the pastry is golden. Sprinkle with a few more chopped hazelnuts, then serve hot or cold.

TIP: Find chopped hazelnuts in supermarkets, which saves chopping effort and time.

More inspiration

READ The Five Ingredient Vegan: 100 Simple Fast, Modern Recipes by Katy Beskow (£20 Quadrille)

EXPLORE More of Katy’s recipes at katybeskow.com/recipes

DISCOVER How veganism could save the world at vegansociety.com/go-vegan/environment

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