Batch cooking a freezing it in portions is a great way to save time and often money. Cooking large batches of food often does not take much more time than make just a single portion and it can help reduce your food waste if you increase the quantity to suit the size/quantity the ingredients can be bought in rather than leaving the rest in a cupboard and not using them i.e. if the recipe calls for 250g lentils but they are sold in 500g bags then make double the recipe and use all 500g.
Once you have cooked it, cool it, portion it and freeze it so then all you have to do is remember to get a portion out the night before so if can defrost and then reheat/cook it.
Persian noodle soup
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 4 onions 2 roughly chopped, 2 thinly sliced
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1.5 tsp garlic granules/powder
- 400 g tin chickpeas rinsed and drained
- 100 g small brown lentils or green lentils
- 400 g haricot beans rinsed and drained
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 40 g butter/margarine
- 100 g linguine
- 200 g fresh spinach If using frozen add just before the pasta
- 4 tsp dried parsley
- 3 tsp dried coriander leaf
- 2 tsp dried mint
- 500 ml soured cream or yoghurt
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat, and fry the onions for 5 minutes, or until soft and pale golden in colour. Add the turmeric and garlic and cook for a further 3 minutes.
- Add the remaining herbs and spices and cook for a further minute
- Add the chickpeas, lentils and haricot beans to the onions and pour in the stock. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Melt the butter/margarine in a non-stick frying pan over a low heat. Fry the sliced onions for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are deeply caramelised.
- When the beans have simmered for 30 minutes, add the pasta to the pot and cook for a further 10 minutes.
- Add the fresh spinach to the pan and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Fold in the soured cream/yogurt and serve with the caramelised onions on top.
Vegan Squash Lasagna
- 1 Large Butternut Squash
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 4 cups kale ripped (no stems)
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp nutritional yeast
- 1/3 cup olive oil may need extra 2tsp
- dash of salt
- dash of pepper
Cashew Nut white Sauce
- 2 cups cashews soaked in hot water for at least 2 hours & drained
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp nutritional yeast
Make the Cashew Nut White Sauce
- Soak 2 cups of cashews in hot water for at least 2 hours to soften up.
- Drain cashews and add all cheese ingredients to a blender, mix until smooth and set aside.
Make Kale Pesto
- Mix all ingredients in a food processor, add more olive oil as necessary (up to 2 tsp more). Set aside.
Prepare the Squash
- Pre-heat the oven to 450f degrees / 220C degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Peel a butternut squash, from the top slice into 1/4 inch thick slices then cut each slice in half to create semi-circles, when you get to the bulb remove the seeds and slice the remaining flesh into 1/4 slices.
- Toss the butternut squash slices with 2 tsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper, arrange slices in a single layer on the baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes until tender.
- Let squash cool for 10 minutes until you can handle the slices, reduce the heat to 350f degrees. 180C /160C for Fan or gas mark 4
- Lightly grease a glass dish (if freezing use individual portion trays) and start by arranging the squash slices slightly overlapping. Next, add dollops of pesto all around, then the same for the cashew sauce. Add your 2nd layer and continue until you're done aim for 3 layers of squash, you may have a little pesto or cheese leftover depending on how much you use.
- Bake lasagna for approx. 25-30 minutes and serve, if freezing do not cook the portions, leaving to cool and then freeze uncooked.
- If freezing you can cook from frozen or defrost;COOK FROM FROZEN - To cook straight from the freezer, heat oven to 180C/160C fan/ gas 4, and cook, covered, for 1 hr - 1.5 hr . DEFROST - Defrost overnight at room temp, pop in the fridge until ready to eat, then cook as directed, above, adding an extra 10 mins to the cooking time.
- 1 tbsp olive oil/rapeseed oil 15ml
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2-3 carrots finely shredded/grated
- Pinch sea salt plus more to taste
- 800 g Classic marinara sauce or 2 tins of passata
- Pinch red chilli flakes
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp sweetener (Stevia/Xylitol) or honey
- 1/2 cup water 120ml
- 3/4 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained 144g
- Heat a large pan over a medium heat. Once hot, add oil, shallot, Sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until slightly softenedt. Turn down heat if browning.
- Add carrots, and a pinch of salt and stir. Cook for 3-4 minutes more, then add marinara sauce and stir to coat.
- Add garlic, chilli flakes, basil, oregano, sweetener, water, and lentils. Increase heat slightly and bring mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to low/medium-low and continue cooking until lentils are tender - stirring occasionally - about 20-25 minutes. Add a bit more water if mixture gets too thick.
- Once lentils are cooked, taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt to taste, chilli or herbs to create a flavour balance to suit your tastes.
Classic Marinara Sauce
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 tin/pack passata approx 500g
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil or use rapeseed oil
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 pinch dried chilli flakes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano more to taste
- 1/4 tsp dried basil
- Heat the oil in a large shallow pan (do not use a deep pot) over medium heat,
- Add the garlic powder, chilli flakes, oregano, basil and warm for 30 seconds , don't burn then just warm them slightly
- Add the tomatoes, passata and salt and stir
- Simmer sauce until thickened and oil on surface is a deep orange, about 15 minutes. (taste sauce after 10 minutes of simmering, adding more salt and oregano as needed.)
Sweet Potato Chili
- 2 cups sliced onion (1 large)
- 3 medium to large peeled and cubed sweet potato
- 2 courgettes
- 3 tins black beans , or another bean
- 3 tins chopped tomatoes
- 1 1/2 tbsp . chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp orange zest
- 1 cup water or vegetable stock
- Combine all ingredients in a big pot, and bring to a boil.
- Then lower the temperature and cook until the sweet potatoes are soft. The chili tastes even better the next day, after the flavours have had a chance to combine.