The temperature has definitely fallen these past few months and so some versatile, warming recipes are necessary to keep nice and toasty! Each of these recipes are quick, cheap and perfect for bulk cooking and freezing. More importantly, they are super easy and taste amazing.
Muse Editor, Katy Leverett’s Sweet Potato & Chickpea Curry
As someone who is trying to eat less meat, this meal is perfect for aspiring vegetarians and vegans. It doesn’t need meat to make it tasty as the combination of the sweet potato with the richness of the spices means it is full of flavour. As a big fan of sweet potatoes, I knew I wanted to try something like this, so I looked up some recipes for sweet potato curries online. I found several but none that were quite what I wanted, so I combined several of the recipes to make my own.
This recipe is simple, easy to follow and makes about six portions. This is perfect for students as you can put the leftovers into bags and pop them in the freezer for another day. One evening cooking is six meals sorted. Or, host a meal with your friends or flatmates and you’ll definitely have enough to go around!
Recipe serves: 6
1 onion (diced)
3 small sweet potatoes (cut into bite-sized chunks)
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 tin coconut milk or coconut cream (if you use coconut cream, add 75ml water too!)
1 tin chickpeas (drained)
½ bag spinach or 3 frozen spinach cubes
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 ½ tsp curry powder
½ tsp salt
- In a medium-large saucepan, fry the onion in a little oil (I use olive). Once golden, toss the onion in the paprika, cinnamon, ginger and curry powder and cook for a further minute.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, sweet potato, coconut milk, chickpeas, tomato puree and salt. (If you’re using frozen spinach cubes add them at this point too). Stir all of the ingredients in then bring the mixture to a gentle simmer.
- Leave the curry to simmer for 35-40 minutes, or until the sweet potato is soft. Once ready, if you’re using fresh spinach, stir this in.
- Serve up and enjoy! I usually enjoy the curry with coconut microwave rice and naan bread! The curry will keep for two days in the fridge and is suitable for freezing!
The spice measurements are a guide only, if you prefer one spice over another, add more of that and less of another! Those are entirely my preferences!
Emma McGreevy's Vegetable Risotto
This risotto recipe is a firm favourite when I'm cooking for my family! It does require a little more effort than the other recipes as it’s important to not let the rice stick to the bottom of the pan, but I promise it is worth the extra work. This recipe serves four hearty portions, so when making it just for me I like to freeze the other portions (they last about three months in the freezer). Just defrost them in the fridge overnight and they are ready to go!
Recipe serves: 4
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
1 large red onion (diced)
2 mixed peppers (chopped into small pieces)
300g risotto rice (I like to use Arborio)
1 ½ - 2 litres of vegetable stock cube. This is normally about 1 ½ -2 stock cubes depending on personal preference (you can use any stock cube.)
50g frozen peas
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional white wine: Adding wine to this dish instead of boiling water in step 2 enhances the dish’s creaminess and flavour. However, I regularly make it without wine and it still tastes delicious so really it’s just up to personal preference (and possibly how tight the purse strings are that week)
Optional protein: I love adding king prawns or chicken. If you decide to add a protein - cook it separately and add it to the rice just before it’s finished cooking to ensure it's heated through.
Optional toppings: sweet chilli, chilli oil, parsley, cheese etc
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onion and the garlic. Soften for about 2-3 minutes on medium heat to avoid burning the garlic.
- Stir the rice into the pan and turn off the heat. Add some boiling water or if you’re feeling fancy some white wine to coat the rice and stir continuously until it reduces a little.
- Add the peppers and gradually the stock, ensuring the rice is coated. Allow to simmer on low-medium heat for 22-25 minutes whilst continuously stirring the rice every few minutes. As the stock reduces gradually add the rest of it until the rice is tender and creamy. Remember to continue to stir even when the stock has been absorbed as this is when the rice can stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Lower the heat and add in the frozen peas, optional protein and salt and pepper to taste. Stir for an extra 5 minutes or until the peas have defrosted.
- Add any additional toppings and enjoy!
Quick and tasty Butterbean Stew
This flavourful stew is so simple and quick, making it the perfect meal to bulk cook and freeze.
Recipe serves: 2 (double everything but the oil to bulk cook)
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tin butter beans or chickpeas
1 brown onion
30g frozen peas
½ can chopped tomatoes
1-2 tbsp soy sauce
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
1-2 garlic clove
2-3 tsp cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
Optional protein: 1 Chicken breast or any chosen meat/ protein alternative
- Peel and finely chop the onion. Rinse the mushrooms and slice them. Drain the chickpeas and rinse them with cold water.
- Season the chosen protein with salt, pepper and soy sauce (if not adding a protein, add the soy sauce at the end) and chop into small pieces. Fry in the olive oil until cooked through (the length of time to cook will depend on your chosen protein. For example, for chicken it will take between 5-7 minutes, until the middle is no longer pink). Once cooked, remove from the pan.
- In the same pan fry the mushrooms and the onion and cook on medium heat until softened
- Add the butter beans, garlic, lemon juice, tinned tomatoes, cumin, smoked paprika and protein together and mix.
- Let the dish simmer for 10-15 minutes and then serve with some rice. I love having mine with some pitta or naan bread too!
Sweet potato, red pepper and Coconut milk soup
If you are looking for a super warming and filling nutritious soup to get you through the day look no further! This soup is one of my all-time favourite recipes and will last up to three months in the freezer.
Recipe serves: 4
2 tbsp olive oil
2 red pepper (cut into small pieces)
1 brown onion (cut into chunks)
450g sweet potato (chopped into small chunks)
2 garlic clove (crushed)
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1 can (400ml) coconut milk
700ml veg stock
- Heat the oven to 180C. Place the sweet potato, onion, red pepper and garlic onto a baking tray and drizzle the oil on top. Sprinkle the smoked paprika, cumin, salt and pepper all over and toss together. Roast in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the sweet potato has softened and is beginning to brown.
- Tip the contents of the baking tray into a saucepan. If you have a hand blender or food processor, blend the mixture together. If using a normal smoothie blender, wait until the ingredients have cooled before you proceed to blend (unless your blender states it can blend hot ingredients). Alternatively, if a blender is not available to you, use a potato masher or any other kitchen utensil that can mash your ingredients together. It may not be as smooth as a blender would make it but it’s still just as tasty.
- Once blended or mashed together add the coconut milk and heat in the pan until piping hot.
- Add any extra seasonings, serve up with some bread (I love it with sourdough) and enjoy.