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Affordable vegan dinners that also fight food waste

Hummus doesn’t have to be made with chickpeas – try this lentil-based twist  (Sorted)
Hummus doesn’t have to be made with chickpeas – try this lentil-based twist (Sorted)

Trying a vegan diet doesn’t have to cost the earth.

In this month’s Budget Bites column, we are ditching meat for smooth lentil hummus bowls, banging meat-free dan dan noodles and a super comforting orzo dish that will keep you coming back for more.

These recipes from Sorted Food – who we’ve teamed up with the bring you easy, affordable, quick and (most importantly) tasty dishes once a month – are perfect for time-poor home cooks on a budget who are trying to reduce their meat intake and incorporate more veg into their diets.

One shopping list with ingredients used across all recipes also ensures minimal food waste, making your weekly food shop go that bit further.

Shopping list

  • 1 orange

  • 1 lemon

  • 1 aubergine

  • 200g cherry tomatoes

  • 30g fresh coriander

  • 10 spring onions

  • 10g fresh ginger

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • Olive oil

  • Vegetable oil

  • Tahini

  • Soy sauce

  • Harissa paste

  • 1 vegetable stock cube

  • Caster sugar

  • Ground cinnamon

  • Ground allspice

  • Ground cumin

  • 560g extra firm tofu

  • 200g orzo

  • 100g flat rice noodles

  • 100g couscous

  • 250g microwave puy lentils

Lentil hummus and roast aubergine bowls

Hummus doesn’t have to be made with chickpeas! Serve up our lentil-based twist with steamed couscous and soft harissa roast veg.

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 aubergine

200g cherry tomatoes

5 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp harissa paste

100g couscous

1 lemon

250g microwave puy lentils

1 clove garlic

3 tbsp tahini

2 spring onions

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Fill a kettle with water and put it on to boil - this will be for the couscous later.

2. Remove and discard the green stem from 1 aubergine, then cut the aubergine into bite-sized chunks.

3. Tip the aubergine onto a large baking tray with 200g of tomatoes, 1 tbsp of harissa paste and a generous pinch of salt. Drizzle over 2 tbsp of the olive oil and give everything a good mix. Ensure the veg is spread out to 1 even layer.

4. Roast the veg in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until everything is soft, jammy and golden in places. Get on with the rest of the dish in the next steps while you wait.

5. Tip 100g of couscous into a large mixing bowl. Finely grate in the zest from 1 lemon and drizzle in 1 tbsp of oil. Season with salt and pepper, then give everything a good mix.

6. Pour enough boiling water from the kettle into the bowl with the couscous to just cover the grains. Give everything another quick mix, set aside and allow the couscous to slowly soften while you get on with the rest of the dish in the next steps.

7. Tip 1 250g pouch of lentils into a large mixing bowl, then squeeze in the juice from the zested lemon. Peel, then finely grate in 1 clove of garlic, add 2 tbsp of the tahini and 4 tbsp of water.

8. Blitz everything together, until smooth with a hand blender. Loosen with a splash of water if necessary - we are looking for a smooth, mashed potato-like consistency. Season very generously with salt and pepper.

9. Once the couscous has softened, fluff the grains with a fork. Thinly slice 2 spring onions and fold them through.

10. Dollop the hummus into bowls and spread it out with the back of a spoon. Load in the couscous, veg and finish with a ½ tbsp dollop of tahini in each bowl.

Vegan dan dan rice noodles

Sichuan’s answer to comfort food (Sorted)
Sichuan’s answer to comfort food (Sorted)

Dan dan noodles are Sichuan’s answer to comfort food. Noodles are coated in a silky sesame sauce and served with spiced tofu in our very vegan take.

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

3 tbsp vegetable oil

280g extra firm tofu

2 tbsp tahini

10g fresh ginger

1 clove garlic

1 tsp caster sugar

½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground allspice

½ tsp ground cumin

100g flat rice noodles

3 spring onions

20g fresh coriander

1 tbsp light soy sauce

Method:

1. Fill a kettle with water and put it on to boil - this will be for the noodles later.

2. Place a large frying pan over a high heat and drizzle in 3 tbsp of vegetable oil.

3. Once the oil starts to shimmer and loosen, crumble in 1 280g block of tofu.

4. Fry for 6-8 minutes, tossing occasionally, until golden and crisp in places. Get on with the rest of the dish in the next steps while you wait.

5. Add 2 tbsp of tahini and 1 tbsp of soy sauce to a large mixing bowl. Peel, then finely grate in 10g of ginger and 1 clove of garlic. Add 1 tsp of sugar.

6. Give everything a good mix and season to taste with a little more soy sauce if necessary.

7. Once the tofu is crisp in places, tip in ½ tsp each of cinnamon, allspice and cumin. Toss and fry for a further 1-2 minutes, then take the pan off the heat. Season to taste with salt.

8. Add 100g of noodles to a medium saucepan and tip in enough boiling water from the kettle to just cover them. Place the pan over a high heat and boil for 3-4 minutes, until soft but still with a slight bite.

9. While the noodles cook, thinly slice 3 spring onions.

10. When the noodles are ready, use tongs to transfer them into the bowl with the sauce. Add spring onions and 15g of the coriander - we will use the rest for garnish later. Toss everything together, loosen with a splash of the noodle’s cooking water if necessary. The sauce should coat the noodles in a silky sauce.

11. Divide the noodles between bowls and spoon over the spiced tofu. Dress with the remaining 5g of coriander and serve!

Tofu and harissa orzo

A super speedy one-pot wonder (Sorted)
A super speedy one-pot wonder (Sorted)

A super speedy one-pot wonder. Tender orzo in a silky, creamy sauce flavoured with plenty of harissa and bright orange.

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

5 spring onions

2 tbsp olive oil

280g extra firm tofu

200g orzo

1 vegetable stock cube

2 tbsp harissa paste

10g fresh coriander

1 orange

Method:

1. Fill a kettle with water and put it on to boil. Cut 5 spring onions into rough 2cm lengths.

2. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a large frying pan and place it over a medium-high heat.

3. Once the oil starts to shimmer and loosen, tip in the onions and crumble in 1 280g block of tofu. Fry for 5-6 minutes, tossing occasionally, until golden in places.

4. Add 200g of orzo to the pan and give everything a toss to coat the grains in the oil.

5. Measure out 500ml of boiling water into the pan. Crumble in 1 stock cube, then add 2 tbsp of harissa and a generous pinch of salt.

6. Bring everything up to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Stir occasionally, until the orzo softens but still has a slight bite and the liquid coats the grains in a loose glossy glaze. We are looking for a risotto-like consistency. Get on with the rest of the dish in the next steps while you wait.

7. Finely chop 10g of coriander, then crack on with a bit of washing up while you wait for the orzo.

8. Once the orzo is ready, take the pan off the heat and finely grate in the zest from 1 orange. Squeeze in its juice and fold in ¾ of the coriander. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

9. Divide the orzo between bowls and scatter over the remaining coriander. Tuck in!

In response to the rising cost of living, we have teamed up with Sorted Food to bring you easy, affordable, quick and (most importantly) tasty recipes once a month. Find out more about Sorted and their nifty meal-planning app Sidekick at sortedfood.com/sidekick.