Vegetable and Bean Chilli

I spoke a little while ago about make ahead meals. Ones that I can prepare in advance, then reheat when dinnertime arrives. Well the other advantage of these meals is that you often have leftovers too – which can be portioned and frozen for future meals.

And so with the husband making his way back from Sydney the other day – I dove into the freezer and pulled out two portions of this vegetable and bean chilli. Reheated on the stove top, and kept warm until he walked in the door. Served with quinoa, and finished with some fresh parsley.

 This vegetarian chilli is packed with beans, spices and vegetables. In fact, it is so filled with flavour that you don’t miss the meat component at all. And while on this occasion I served the chilli with quinoa, you could easily substitute the quinoa for rice or even tortillas. The addition of fresh avocado or some  natural yoghurt or sour cream would also work beautifully if you had any on hand.

Print Recipe
Vegetable and Bean Chilli
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and fry for a few minutes.
  3. Add the spices, and cook for 30 seconds, stirring.
  4. Add the vegetables, and stir to coat with the spices.
  5. Add the tomatoes, beans and water, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Stir through the spinach, cacao powder and parsley, and heat for a few minutes, Season to taste.
  7. Divide and among serving bowls, and serve with quinoa or rice and extra parsley.
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Vegetable and Lentil Soup with Spiced Eggplant

One of my favourite meals to make in the cooler months is soup. For it is both easy, and versatile, and almost certainly guarantees that those last few veggies in your crisper drawer are used up at the end of the week.

I find that soup is also a particularly good option on the days when I know that the husband will be home late from work. I make a batch during the day and eat early with the kids. Then his serve can easily be re-heated when he arrives home – without the worry of it being mis-timed or overcooked.

On this occasion, I found inspiration in Taste Magazine – in the form of a tomato based vegetable and lentil soup – that was topped with spicy eggplant. And we all know how much I like my eggplant! 

The addition of lentils resulted in a hearty soup, that warmed us up from the inside out. The eggplant was quite the star too – and definitely not short on spice!

From memory we served the soup with some toasted sourdough with lashings of butter (of course).  The perfect soup ‘dipper’.

What about you? Do you have a favourite soup?

(ps. I hope you are enjoying the new ‘printer’ friendly versions of my recipes, which I think you can also adjust to suit what serving size you are after. Let me know what you think!)

Print Recipe
Vegetable and Lentil Soup with Spiced Eggplant
Course Soup
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Soup
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the leek, carrots and zucchini, and cook for a few minutes (or starting to soften). Add the garlic and spices, and stir until fragrant.
  3. Add the lentils, tomatoes and stock. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Season the soup, and divide among serving bowls. Top with fresh parsley and the spiced eggplant.
For the Spiced Eggplant:
  1. Preheat oven to 200C, and line a tray with baking paper. Dice an eggplant into 1-inch cubes. Combine 1tsp garam masala, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1/2 tsp chilli flakes and 1/4 tsp turmeric in a bowl. Add the eggplant and toss to coat. Spread onto the lined tray and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until cooked through and golden brown.
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Grilled eggplant and lentil salad

I’m going through a bit of a phase.

An eggplant phase.

Yes not the normal sort of phase you might find yourself going through, but its a recent craving that I’ve been more than happy to satisfy.

I suspect it has something do with eggplant’s heartiness. It feels like it adds a bit of bulk to dishes – particularly when you are using it in place of meat, for example.

Take this salad, for instance. So simple to prepare, but quite easily a stand-alone meal (although it would almost certainly work as a tasty side dish too).

I thinly sliced the eggplant, and grilled the slices for 5 minutes or so until soft and golden. Then it was simply a matter of combining the eggplant slices with baby spinach, lentils, capsicum, cucumber and feta – and finishing the dish with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

I’d give you a recipe – but there really is no more to it. Just lots of simple, fresh flavours – that come together to make a tasty meal.  Not to mention colourful!

Mushroom quinoa “risotto” with roasted tomatoes


While I love risotto, sometimes it feels a little heavy for dinner (particularly if I am eating close to bedtime). A solution? Use another of my favourite ingredients in place of rice..


The added bonus being that it is quicker to prepare and packed with protein (especially if you are opting to otherwise keep the dish vegetarian).

On this occasion, I packed out the ‘risotto’ with mushrooms, zucchini and a good helping of spinach. The overall result was full of flavour, but not too heavy, and it turned out to be quite the tasty midweek meal.

img_1130 Finished with some cherry tomatoes that I had roasted in the oven until soft and starting to caramelise – which added nice little sweet bursts to the dish.

I’ll have to remember this dish for next time I have vegetarian friends in town!

Mushroom quinoa “risotto” with roasted tomatoes (serves 2)

  • 100g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 0.5 cups water
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 200g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 brown onion, diced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1/2 cup tri-colour quinoa
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Place tomatoes on a lined backing tray and spray lightly with oil. Roast for 10 minutes or until starting to soften.
  2. Bring stock and water to a simmer in a small saucepan. Lower heat.
  3. Heat oil in a separate fry-pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and onion and cook for a few minutes, or until starting to colour.
  4. Add the garlic and zucchini, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Add the quinoa and stir for 1 minute, coating the grains in oil.
  6. Add the warm stock mixture, one ladle at a time. Stir until the liquid has been absorbed before adding the next. Repeat until all the stock is used and the quinoa is cooked.
  7. Stir through the parmesan and spinach, and stir until the spinach has wilted.
  8. Divide the risotto amongst two serving bowls, and top with the roasted tomatoes.



Spicy tofu bean burgers

IMG_4549I do feel a little sorry for tofu.

For all too often it is thrown into the “boring basket”.

The “bland bucket”.

Or simply overlooked by those seeking a flavoursome and hearty meal.

But it really doesn’t have to be that way. No, I think this versatile ingredient – whilst a tad ‘neutral’ on the flavour side when served plain, can be rather wonderful when combined with other ingredients. And it is certainly a wonderful base when looking to create a vegetarian meal.

In this instance a simple block of tofu was turned into a batch of tasty burgers, when combined with beans,  herbs, garlic and hot sauce.

My food processor did all the hard work to mix the ingredients, and all I had to do was shape them into patties and pan-fry (although I suspect you could save some washing up and quite easily bake them too!)


The tofu added a great texture, and soaked up the garlic / spicy flavours just beautifully.  Not to mention keeping a crunch on the outside too.



On this particular occasion I served the patties with a little cucumber salad on the side. However I think they would also work well  as burgers on the BBQ, or perhaps served atop a big garden salad with a dollop of natural yoghurt.


The choice is yours really.

Just perhaps don’t forget that you added a fair bit of chilli sauce if you freeze some for later and then try to feed them to your kids*

Spicy tofu bean burgers (makes 8)

  • 400 g can cannellini beans drained, rinsed
  • 200 g firm tofu drained
  • 2 slices wholegrain bread, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  •  1/4 cup parsley
  •  2 tbs hot sauce (or more or less to taste)
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 2 tbsp self-raising flour
  1. Process all ingredients in a food processor until well combined and smooth.
  2. Either shape into 8 patties, or divide into 8 portions and use egg-rings to shape the mixture in the frypan.
  3. Cook the patties in two batches in a little olive oil in a frypan over a medium heat Allow 2 to 3 each side, or cook until golden brown. Drain on paper towel before serving.

What about you? Are you a fan of tofu?

*This may, or may not have happened. Sorry Charlotte. #Parentingfail

Quinoa and roasted vegetable “risotto”

IMG_0103 This meal, enjoyed some time ago, was certainly a winner. But then again, when there are roasted vegetables involved – you can’t really go wrong can you? It was called a ‘risotto’ but you had to keep an open mind. For it didn’t have the creaminess of a traditional risotto – but it did have a lot of flavour. First – the roast vegetables. In my case, I used pumpkin, capsicum and a couple mushrooms. Drizzled with olive oil and baked for 20 minutes or so. IMG_0090IMG_0094 Meanwhile – I sautéed some garlic in a little olive oil – then added a cup of quinoa – allowing the grains to be coated. Next, some vegetable stock, and cooked on low until the quinoa had absorbed the liquid. To finish – it couldn’t be simpler. In went the roasted vegetables, a good amount of baby spinach and thyme leaves, a little parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of lemon zest. IMG_0097 Piled high on a plate – and topped with a little extra parmesan. IMG_0101 We really enjoyed this vegetarian meal. Simple to prepare – and packed with flavour, I quickly declared that it was being added to “the list”. IMG_0100 And with quinoa as the base – you could really flavour the dish with whatever vegetables you had on hand. I think sweet potato or semi dried tomatoes would also work beautifully…. IMG_0105 What about you? Cooked any ‘winners’ recently?

Sweet potato, chickpea and cauliflower curry

IMG_0215 The weather in Canberra recently has been far from mild. Icy-cold winds and rain – the effects of being only a few hours from the snow-fields I presume. And with a lingering cold / lurgy, I’ve been craving comfort food. Something to warm me from the inside out – but something that doesn’t take too long to prepare. And this sweet potato, chickpea and cauliflower curry was just that. IMG_0209 Found in a recent edition of the Healthy Food Guide, I loved how speedy it was to prepare. Simply – coconut milk flavoured with tikka curry paste and ginger… IMG_0204IMG_0207 Into which I threw some sweet potato, cauliflower and chickpeas. Simmered until the vegetables were soft, then piled high on some rice noodles and topped with coriander and a squeeze of lime juice. IMG_0210 Yes, my friends, that would be pure ‘comfort-in-a-bowl’. IMG_0212 Perfect for the chilly wintery night on which it was served. What about you? How have you been staying warm this Winter?

Curried chickpea burgers

IMG_8581 There have been quite a few new meals coming out of the BBB Kitchen recently, but I am hopelessly behind in sharing them with you.  This vegetarian meal, for example, was quite a delight indeed. And so simple to put together. IMG_8577 Onion, garlic, zucchini and curry powder, cooked until tender. IMG_8579 Then combined with processed chickpeas, breadcrumbs and coriander – and shaped to form 4 beautiful burger patties. IMG_8584 It was at this point, that I couldn’t resist adding something a little extra to the meal. Namely – a couple potatoes that I had sliced into wedges, and drizzled with olive oil, chilli and garlic. Roasted for 45 minutes or so – until nice and golden. IMG_8585 As for the burgers ….well they were pan-fried for 4 minutes or so on each side. IMG_8589 And then all that was left to do was to build our burgers! IMG_8590 Chickpea patty, tomato, cheese, spinach and tzatziki. With a side of “fries”! IMG_8594 A winner of a weekday meal indeed.  And certainly a nice vegetarian alternative. IMG_8598 What about you? Tried any yummy burger combinations recently?

One pot vegetarian chilli wonder

This meal, that graced our dinner table (some time ago now), highlights just how easy home cooking can be. Using ‘whatever’ ingredients I had on hand… IMG_9151 (onions, garlic, quinoa, frozen peas, chilli powder, capsicum, carrot, oregano and cumin) Along with a trio of beans… IMG_9152IMG_9153 We had ourselves quite the vegetarian chilli party! IMG_9160 I would give you a recipe, but there really is no need. IMG_9161 Just heat some olive oil in a large pot, add the onions, garlic and your vegetables. Throw in the other herbs, quinoa and water (using a 1:2 ratio), and some tinned tomatoes, simmer for half an hour, and you are done! IMG_9162 On this occasion we served the chilli alongside a green salad .. IMG_9167 Jazzed up with some cucumbers, raw cashews and dried cranberries. IMG_9165 Too easy! The best part being that there are inevitably leftovers to enjoy for lunch or dinner the next day! What about you? Are you a fan of one pot meals? I certainly am – especially when it means there are less dishes to do afterwards!

Vegetarian cauliflower curry

IMG_9030 In addition to soups, we have been warming up with lots of curries and stews lately. And this one, although rather simple, was packed with flavour. Just as a good curry should be, really. Inspired by a large cauliflower that arrived in my weekly vegetable box, I set about making a vegetarian curry. Using curry paste, ginger and onions as the flavour base.. IMG_9020 Simmered with water, fresh tomatoes and, of course, the cauliflower… IMG_9024 Finished with a cup of frozen peas and a a tub of natural yoghurt. IMG_9025IMG_9026 Piled high on a bed of brown rice, and served with fresh coriander. IMG_9028 And my favourite curry addition… IMG_9029 A couple hard boiled eggs! IMG_9033 Simple, fragrant, tasty. IMG_9030 And a lovely way to warm up on a cold Canberra night! What about you? Do you have a favourite curry?