28 October 2014

15 Lip-Smacking Veggie & Vegan Balsamic Recipes

Photo: Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary

Balsamic Vinegar

I love balsamic vinegar and seem to get through an awful lot of it. 

I like:
  • dipping crusty bread into good quality balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
  • to mix it into my favourite salad dressing with olive oil, wholegrain mustard and a good grinding of black pepper.
  • I like to dry fry cherry tomatoes until they split, then pour balsamic vinegar into the pan to make a sticky glaze that sticks to the exposed tomato flesh.  These are great on a puff pastry tart which is spread with pesto and topped with mozzarella.
  • mixing it through vegetables before they are roasted.
  • drizzling it over salads.

You may have noticed I'm giving away a bumper batch of high quality olive oil and balasmic vinegar for Gresado.

They also sent me some of their De Negris Silver Eagle Balsamic Vinegar to try.

It's a barrel aged balsamic made by artisanal producers in Modena, Italy. It has a rich and sweet flavour that ends on a sharp note. You can definitely taste the difference from a bog standard supermarket balsamic. It really does make a difference when you spend more on a vinegar like this.

Still need some ideas for balsamic vinegar?

Here are 15 of the most delicious veggie 
and vegan (v) balsamic recipes for you to try: 

figs in balsamic vinegar

Balsamic Roasted Figs  (v) - Food to Glow

Easy Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts (v) - Kosher on a Budget

Balsamic Roasted Baby Carrots  (v) - Cravings of a Lunatic
Balsamic Reduction (v) - Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary
Candied Balsamic Rosemary Walnuts -The Cafe Sucre Farine

I hope you're inspired to try out some of these 
delicious recipes and to create a few of your own.

Gresado is an online shop that provides high quality products to chefs and home cooks. Suppliers to some of London's top chef's for over 40 years, they provide high quality products, some you cannot find anywhere else in the UK. They are a small business who try to be as green as possible.

Gresado are kindly offering my readers a 10% discount on orders
via www.gresado.com during November.  No miminum spend. Just enter the code ttnov14
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Gresado. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

26 October 2014

Conchiglioni Pasta Salad with Sautéed Mushrooms and Goats' Cheese

mushroom pasta salad

I'm still on my hearty salad kick.

This time I decided to make a pasta salad. We often eat a cold pasta salad for dinner and have the leftovers for lunch the next day. It's just something a bit different. It's simple too but full of flavour.

The wonderful thing about this salad is the different textures. Firm glossy pasta shells coated in pesto and tossed with salad leaves,  soft peppery sautéed mushrooms, crunchy half moons of cucumber and creamy goats' cheese. I used bistro salad leaves which have lovely little strands of beetroot mixed through, but you could use any mixed leaves.

As this was a 'use what I have in the fridge' exercise, I used jarred pesto sauce, but it would be great with freshly made pesto. If you're looking for a good shop-bought veggie pesto try Sacla Organic Basil Pesto or for vegans try Mr Organic Basil Pesto. Those are the two brands we like.

Autumn Salad

This salad could also be served warm, with cold little bites from the cucumber and goats' cheese. It's every filling and super tasty.

print recipe
Conchiglion Mushroom Pasta Salad
Conchiglioni Pasta Salad with Mushrooms and Goats' Cheese
A hearty pasta salad coated in pesto and tossed with salad leaves, cucumber, sauteed mushrooms and goats' cheese.
  • 500g Conchiglioni (Shell) pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 50g bistro salad leaves
  • ¼ cucumber, sliced
  • 4 tbsp veggie pesto
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 50 -100g soft goats' cheese (depending on how cheesey you want your salad)
  • a good grinding of black pepper
1. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions until al dente, then rinse until cold. This is important if you want firm glossy pasta.2. Saute the mushrooms in 1 tbsp olive oil until soft and then season well with black pepper. 3. In a large bowl toss the cold pasta in 1 tbsp of olive oil and the pesto.4. Mixed through the salad leaves, mushrooms and goats cheese. 5. Enjoy!
Total time:
Yield: Serves 6

If you're still in the mood for salads, here are my three favourite salads:

and a few more from around the web:

I am entering my salad into these five foodie challenges:
  1. Credit Crunch Munch - created by Helen and Camilla.
  2. No Waste Food Challenge -  created by Elizabeth.
  3. Pasta Please - created by Jacqueline.
  4. Extra Veg - created by Helen and Michelle.
  5. Speedy Suppers - created by Sarah and Katie.

24 October 2014

Puy Lentil, Beet and Mozzarella Salad

Autumnal salad

I know that Summer's over, but I'm still enjoying salads. I'm eating a lot of comfort food too. Comforting bowls of soup, stew and chilli, which are great, but sometimes all I want is a salad.

On days when I'm at home and working flat out trying to get all my housework done and catching up online, I want something a bit special for lunch like this puy lentil, beet and mozzarella salad.

Some of my friends on Facebook will be laughing at that, as I admitted to having a squeezy Heinz tomato cup-a-soup for lunch yesterday. Hardly inspiring, but wonderfully quick and low in calories.

lentil and beetroot salad

My cup-a-soup may not have been inspiring, but this salad was. A mixture of salad leaves and slices of crunchy cucumber topped with roasted red pepper, tangy pickled baby beets, creamy puy lentils, fresh milky mozzarella topped with a drizzle of balsamic syrup. Just wonderful.

For convenience I used jarred red peppers and ready to eat puy lentils. My favourites are Cooks & Co Roasted Red Peppers and Merchant Gourmet Puy Lentils. In my opinion these are store cupboard essentials and are really handy for throwing together a quick meal.

Are you still enjoying salads or have you put them aside for more hearty dishes? 

print recipe
beet salad
Puy Lentil, Beet and Mozzarella Salad
A hearty and colourful salad for a satisfying lunch.
  • 50g mixed salad leaves
  • 50g ready to eat puy lentils
  • ½ roasted red pepper
  • a few slices cucumber
  • 5 pickled baby beets
  • ½ ball fresh mozzarella
  • a drizzle of balsamic glaze
1. Slice the red pepper and mozzarella.2. Layer up your salad in a bowl. First the salad leaves, then the cucumber, mozzarella and pepper. Sprinkle over the lentils, then top baby beets.3. Drizzle with balsamic glaze. 4. Enjoy!
Total time:
Yield: Serves 1