Stephen and David Flynn share three exclusive recipes from their next book, The Veg Box, each using a different vegetable to create a tasty, family-friendly dish
Serves: 4 Takes: 40 minutes
This delicious vegan take on spaghetti and meatballs is quick and easy, comforting, and a great anytime dinner. A simple way to get veggies and wholefoods into a familiar family favourite. As an optional extra, serve with some vegan Parmesan to give another pop of flavour.
100g cashew nuts
400g dried wholemeal spaghetti
100g uncooked beetroot
2 red onions
4 small cloves of garlic
1 x 400g tin of black beans
100g fresh breadcrumbs
1 tsp fennel seeds (optional)
2 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
A few fresh basil leaves, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 170C Fan/190C/ Gas 5.
2. Spread the cashews on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 6-7 minutes. Set aside.
3. Bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil and add a generous pinch of salt. Add the spaghetti and cook as per the packet instructions, then drain, rinse, and put the pasta back into the same pan.
4. While the pasta is cooking, make the beetballs. Wash the beetroot and remove any dirt and blemishes. Then coarsely grate it into a bowl. Finely chop the onions and garlic. Drain and rinse the black beans.
5. Put a non-stick pan on a high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and, once hot, add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, until they start to brown. Turn the heat down to medium, add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove half the garlic and onions and set aside to use later for the tomato sauce.
6. Add the grated beetroot to the onions and garlic in the pan, along with 1 teaspoon of salt and the drained black beans, and cook for 5 minutes.
7. Remove from the heat, then transfer to a food processor with the breadcrumbs, toasted cashew nuts, and a pinch of black pepper, and blend until smooth. Remove the mixture from the food processor and shape into 14-16 small, smooth balls about the size of a lime. Flatten each ball slightly.
8. Put the same non-stick pan back on a high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Once hot, add the fennel seeds and fry for 30 seconds, then add the reserved onion and garlic. Fry for another couple of minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of black pepper, and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato sauce to the cooked pasta, mix well, and set aside while you cook the beetballs.
9. Put the same non-stick pan on a high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Once hot, add the flattened beetballs and fry in batches, until brown, for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove from the heat.
10. Serve the spaghetti with 3 or 4 beetballs per person, with some basil leaves and grated vegan Parmesan scattered over.
Makes: 4 sausage rolls Takes: 30 minutes
All Steve’s kids adore these, and they don’t even know they’re eating mushrooms! These rolls are so good — sweet, earthy, crispy and chewy, and definitely one of the nicest sausage rolls we’ve tasted!
1 x 320g sheet of vegan puff pastry
250g oyster mushrooms or mushrooms of choice
2 cloves of garlic, or ½ tsp garlic powder
1 medium red onion
2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
3 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
100g cashew nuts
50ml oat milk or non-dairy milk of choice
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1. If using frozen puff pastry, make sure it is fully thawed. Preheat the oven to 200C Fan/220C/Gas 7. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
2. Slice the oyster mushrooms. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Peel and finely slice the red onion. Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium frying pan over a high heat. Once hot, add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt and cook for 3-5 minutes, until all the moisture from the mushrooms begins to evaporate and they begin to brown. Reduce the heat and add the garlic and a pinch of black pepper. Cook for 1 minute, stirring so that the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the tamari, stirring to coat all the mushrooms, then remove from the heat. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl, then carefully wipe out the pan and use it for the caramelised onions.
3. Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the pan over a high heat. Once hot, add the
sliced red onion and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are browned and softened. Add the maple syrup and stir to coat the mushrooms, then reduce to a low heat and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the onions are sticky. Add the vinegar and cook for another 5 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and set aside.
4. Put the cashews into a food processor and pulse until they have a breadcrumb consistency. Add the caramelised
onions, mushrooms and a ½ teaspoon of black pepper. Blend until the mixture comes together but is not too smooth. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if it needs it. Remove from the processor and divide into 4 x 80g sausages, approximately 12-13cm long.
5. Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut into 4 even rectangles approximately 12 x 16cm. Place a sausage at one side of one of the pastry rectangles, 2-3cm in from the edge. Roll up the sausage in the pastry until the pastry overlaps. Brush with oat milk to seal. Place the sausage roll seam side down on your work surface and gently press down on the roll with the palm of your hand. Repeat with the remaining sausages and pastry.
6. Using a pastry brush, brush each sausage roll with a light coating of oat milk and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Place them on the lined baking tray and cook in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.
Makes: 12 small cupcakes Takes: 50 minutes
These are light and creamy and that perfect, small, delicate size that makes you feel like you’re not over-indulging — and you might even have a second one!
50g walnuts, plus 12 to decorate
200g self-raising flour
150g light-brown muscovado sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground allspice
220g vegan cream cheese
75g icing sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 180C Fan/200C/Gas 6. Line a standard 12-muffin tray with cupcake liners.
2. Roughly chop the 50g of walnuts. Put them into a large bowl with the raisins, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice and a small pinch of salt, and mix well.
3. Peel and grate the carrots and put them into a second bowl with 140ml of vegetable oil and 90ml of water. Mix well.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well again. Divide the mixture evenly between the cupcake cases. Bake for 20 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
5. Make the icing while the muffins are in the oven. Put the vegan cream cheese into a bowl and mash with a fork, so it will be easier to mix with the icing sugar. Sift in the icing sugar using a sieve so there are no lumps. Using a whisk or a fork, whisk the vegan cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth. Pop the icing into the fridge until ready to use.
6. Take the muffins out of the oven and leave to fully cool. Once fully cool, ice them with either a piping bag or a spoon. Pop a walnut on top of each muffin.
‘The Veg Box’ by Stephen and David Flynn (The Happy Pear) is published by Penguin Life and is available in shops and online from June 9