Archives for posts with tag: vegan

Green lentil and tomato salad

I had an over-indulgent day yesterday which resulted in me waking up with indigestion at 4am. Not nice, so I resolved to have a fasting day today to give my system a break. This salad is about as simple a meal as you can get, but it was an easy, filling lunch and soothed my guilty conscience about abusing my body yesterday!

Green lentil and tomato salad (serves 1)

Ingredient Calories per serving
100g/½ cup cooked green lentils 116
40g (5) cherry tomatoes, halved 7
60g iceberg lettuce leaves 8
1 tsp olive oil 40
2 tsp balsamic vinegar 2
salt & pepper 0

Total calories per serving: 175

Method: Arrange lettuce leaves on a plate, then mix the remaining ingredients together and pile on top. If you have some fresh herbs available, it would be good to add some to this dish. Still winter here, so unfortunately not an option for me!


Mediterranean chickpeas

Mediterranean chickpeas (serves 1)

Ingredient Calories per serving
100g/½ cup dried or 140g cooked chickpeas 230
30g sundried tomatoes in oil 90
90g crushed tomatoes/tomato sauce 16
2 olives, sliced 27
salt & pepper, dried or fresh herbs, to taste 5

Total calories per serving: 358

Method: Soak chickpeas overnight if using dried ones and cook them (this takes about 12 minutes in a pressure cooker, an hour or so in a regular pan). Mix the cooked peas with the other ingredients (I used dried oregano to flavour the dish). This can be served warm or cold.

Baked pinto beans

Something that can be challenging when you’re living with non-fasting people is making meals that everyone in the household will also enjoy on a fasting day. This baked bean recipe is something that can be used as the basis of a simple meal for the people who are fasting, with additions like grated cheese or sour cream (or cornbread!) for those who aren’t. I served this with baked potatoes and a bowl of grated cheese (which I then tried to ignore). A small baked potato (weighing 125g) will add around 100 calories, while a large one (300g) would add 230.

Baked pinto beans (serves 4)

Ingredient Calories per serving
1½ cups dry pinto beans 251
1 onion, peeled and diced 20
1 tsp mustard powder 6
1 tsp smoked paprika 2
1 tbsp molasses/black treacle 15
2 tbsp tomato ketchup 7
salt and pepper to taste 0

Total calories per serving: 300

Method: Soak the beans in water for at least four hours and then discard the soaking water. Cook them with two cups of water until tender (about 6 minutes in a pressure cooker, an hour or so in a regular pan). Put the remaining ingredients into an ovenproof dish with a lid and add the beans with their cooking liquid. Cover with the lid and bake at 350°F/180°C for two or three hours, or until the sauce around the beans has thickened to a creamy consistency. You can see by the photo how much the liquid level in the pot drops over the cooking time. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

I’d stopped posting here because I’d mostly stopped fasting, believing that just not eating breakfast and eating sensibly was going to be enough to maintain my post-fasting-diet weight.

Turns out I was wrong about that, and my weight and waistline have been gradually increasing, to the point where I have to be honest with myself and get back to ‘proper’ fasting. I notice from the stats on this blog that a lot of other people are in the same situation after the festive season, so welcome if this is your first visit here and I wish you good luck in your fasting!

So, back to it. I plan on making egg fried rice for supper, and I need something light for lunch just to keep me going. This lentil dal should do the trick. There are two portions here, so I’ll keep one in the fridge for my second fasting day of the week. It’s not the most exciting-looking dish, but it’s warming and comforting on a cold winter’s day like this one (-22°C with the windchill right now!).

Lentil dal

Lentil dal (serves 2)

Ingredient Calories per serving
1 tsp oil 20
1 onion, diced 22
1 clove garlic, crushed 2
1 red chilli pepper, sliced 1
¼cup red lentils 85
1 tsp ground ginger 3
1 tsp ground cumin 4
salt and pepper to taste 0

Total calories per serving: 137

Method: Heat the oil in a saucepan, then stir in the onion and cook until softened. Add the garlic and chilli, cook briefly, then stir in the spices. Add the lentils and a cup of water, then bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for about half an hour to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Toward the end of the cooking time, remove the lid and stir, raising the heat if necessary to thicken the dal to your desired texture. Season to taste, allow to cool a little, then serve.

It’s still very cold and very snowy here, so fasting meals continue to be spicy and colourful to compensate!

Today’s is a warming matar dal, similar to the one I featured back in 2012, but with winter kale instead of summer’s zucchini.

Matar Dal with Kale

Matar dale with kale (serves 1)

Ingredient Calories per serving
¼ cup yellow split peas 168
1 tbsp butter or oil 100
1 onion, diced 47
1 red chilli pepper, sliced 3
1 tsp cumin seeds 8
1 tsp mustard seeds 15
½ tsp allspice 2
½ tsp turmeric 4
25g kale, chopped 12

Total calories per serving: 365

Method: Rinse peas and place in a pan with enough water to cover the peas to the depth of half an inch/1 cm (about one and a half cups). Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the peas are tender – or cook for 10 minutes in a pressure cooker.

Heat the oil in another pan and stir in the onion, cooking on a low heat for 5-10 minutes until they have softened. Stir in the chilli pepper, then the spices. Raise the heat and cook for a few minutes until the spices become fragrant, then lower the heat and stir in the kale and cook until the kale is soft. Stir in the cooked split peas, which by now should be cooked. If the peas are too watery, strain off some of the liquid before adding them to the curry.

I served mine over rice, which adds another 170 calories to the total.

I’ve not used tofu as an ingredient before – mainly because it isn’t exactly a mainstream supermarket staple here, but I did find it recently and thought it might be worth experimenting with, especially for fasting-day meals. Tofu seems to vary a lot in calories – the brand I bought (Liberté) was 170 calories for a quarter of the pack, whereas others seem to be lighter, so do check the packaging. Tofu needs robust flavours, so I made another curry with it. With rice, this comes out on the high side for a fasting day, but you could easily use less tofu or less rice to bring the calories down.

Tofu, Pepper and Kale Curry

Tofu, pepper and kale curry (serves 4)

Ingredient Calories per serving
1 cup brown basmati rice 169
1 tbsp butter or oil 25
1 onion, sliced 11
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped 3
1 tsp cumin seeds 2
1 tsp fenugreek seeds 3
1 tsp coriander seeds 0
1 tsp mustard seeds 4
1 whole cayenne pepper, sliced 2
2 de-seeded red bell peppers, sliced 17
450g firm tofu, diced 170
400g tomaotes, blended to a purée 18
160g kale, chopped 21

Total calories per serving: 445

Method: Cook the rice in two cups of water for about 20 minutes. In another pan, heat the butter or oil over a medium heat, then add the onions and cook for 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, toast the whole spices over a medium heat and then grind them up (fairly coarsely is fine). Add the garlic to the onion, then stir in all the spices and the red peppers and tofu. Stir in the tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the kale and cook for a further five minutes and then serve.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

I’ve done a pumpkin soup on here before, but this one is spicier and lower in calories (and quicker to make). It’s perfect for a really cold winter’s day, which is what we’re experiencing here right now. The spices are just suggestions – use whatever you have to hand.

Spicy Pumpkin soup (serves 4)

Ingredient Calories per serving
1 tbsp butter or oil 25
1 onion, diced 11
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 2
1 tsp cumin seeds 2
1 tsp fenugreek seeds 3
1 tsp coriander seeds 0
1 tsp mustard seeds 4
1 tsp ground ginger 2
1 tsp smoked garlic powder 2
450g pumpkin purée (made from 1 small pie pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cooked) 38

Total calories per serving: 90

Method: Heat the butter or oil in a pan and cook the onions in it until they are going translucent (about five minutes). Meanwhile, heat the whole spices in a dry saucepan until fragrant, then grind (with pestle and mortar or in a blender). Stir the garlic into the diced onions, cook for a minute, then add all of the spices and cook for another minute before adding the pumpkin purée. Cook until the soup is warmed through. If you think it’s too thick, you can add some water or stock to thin it down. I like mine gloopy!

Ice formations

It’s well and truly winter now, but I did manage to dig up one last harvest before the snow and ice arrived.

Leek and sunchoke soup

This is one way of using some of that winter vegetable harvest up – a warming but simple soup.

Leek and sunchoke soup (serves 1)

Ingredient Calories per serving
1 tsp butter or oil 40
50g/2oz leeks, halved and sliced 31
200g/8oz sunchokes/Jerusalem artichokes, roughly chopped 146
300ml/10 fluid ounces vegetable stock 12
salt and pepper to taste 0

Total calories per serving: 240

Method: Sweat the sliced leek in the oil or butter over a lowish heat until softened, then add the pieces of sunchoke and cook for another minute or two. Stir in the stock, bring to a simmer and cook until the sunchokes are soft (about half an hour). Blend to smoothness and season with salt and pepper to your taste.

Pesto mushrooms on spaghetti squash

Pesto mushrooms on spaghetti squash (serves 1)

Ingredient Calories per serving
1 tbsp butter or oil 102
2 cloves garlic, finely diced 9
100g/4oz mushrooms, roughly chopped 21
200g/8oz (cooked weight) spaghetti squash 62
1 tbsp pesto 68

Total calories per serving: 260

Method: Cook the spaghetti squash until it is soft – either in a moderately hot oven for an hour or in the microwave for five minutes (pierce it in two or three places first using either method). Carefully cut the cooked squash in half, scoop out the seeds and scrape the flesh out of the outer shell. Keep it warm while you make the mushroom mixture.

Heat the butter or oil in a frying pan, then add the mushrooms and garlic and cook until the mushrooms are soft. Stir in the pesto, cook for a minute or two, then pile onto the warm spaghetti squash.


Now the clocks have gone back and the weather is cooling, I’m making soup on a regular basis. This is a very autumnal one, with lovely orange pumpkin and yellow split peas. The peas add a filling starchiness to the soup, while the pumpkin provides a velvety smoothness. Pie pumpkins have a better texture than regular jack-o’lantern varieties – but you could also use butternut squash for this.

Pumpkin and split pea soup (serves 4)

Ingredient Calories per serving
1 tbsp butter or oil 25
1 onion, diced 11
1 small pie pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and diced (435g) 37
1 cup yellow split peas 168
3½ cups/875ml  stock 9
A few sage leaves, finely shredded 2

Total calories per serving: 250

Method: Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently cook the onion until soft. Stir in the pumpkin and sweat with the onion for five minutes. Add the split peas and stock and simmer until the peas are soft. This will take around 45 minutes – or you can really speed things up by using a pressure cooker, which will take about six minutes. Check the seasoning and add salt or pepper to your taste. Blend until smooth and serve, decorating the soup with a few shredded sage leaves.