Vegan Moroccan Tagine (serves 8)

Vegan Moroccan Tagine by The Fat Foodie

Vegan Moroccan Tagine by The Fat Foodie

One of my favourite meals is a Moroccan tagine, so the other day when I was searching for inspiration in the fridge and I realised that I had quite a few vegetables that needed used up I decided to make a vegan Moroccan tagine recipe. Whenever I’ve made tagines in the past I’ve always used lamb in them and cooked them in the slow cooker for hours, so it felt a bit odd to make this vegan Moroccan tagine within an hour. However, it turned out to be really tasty, with a wide variety of spiced vegetables incorporated within it, and it was pretty substantial thanks to the inclusion of chickpeas.

It’s easy for non-vegans to discount vegan food as being bland or boring because they think that the omission of meat from a dish equates with a lack of flavour, but I think the opposite can often be said of vegan food. A dish without meat can frequently surprise you because it allows the unique and delicate flavours of the vegetables, pulses and spices to sing due to the fact that they are not being overpowered by the strong taste of meat.

If you enjoy Moroccan flavours and fancy a light, but hearty vegan tagine then this is the recipe for you. One of the benefits of this meal is that the choice of vegetables can be altered to suit whatever you have in the fridge and whatever suits your FODMAP needs. You can tweak the recipe to suit your own tastes too, so add less cinnamon if you’re not a fan of it or feel free to go to town with the fresh chilli if you’ve got a mouth made of asbestos. It’s all about cooking something that works for you.

I was concerned in case it would be very spicy so I served my family’s tagines with a dollop of crème fraiche resting on top, but you could use coconut yoghurt if you can’t tolerate dairy and want to keep it a completely vegan Moroccan tagine. I also served mine with a generous scattering of toasted flaked almonds, a component I would wholly recommend you use because it adds a lovely nutty crunch to each spoonful you munch. You can serve it with rice, cous cous, flatbreads or on its own, but either way, it’s just a really easy, big ol’ comforting bowl of spicy, tasty veg that’s just the ticket on a cool, drizzly autumn evening.

200g red bell pepper (cut into bite-sized pieces)
2 carrots (cut into bite-sized pieces)
150ml water
4 tbsps. soy sauce (or tamari – a gluten-free soy sauce)
1 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp asafoetida powder
2 tsps. ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsps. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. fresh ginger (minced)
½ a fresh red chilli (deseeded and thinly sliced, but optional)
The juice of ½ a lime
300g of tinned chickpeas (drained & well rinsed)
700g of tinned chopped tomatoes

To serve (optional):
20g flaked toasted almonds
Freshly chopped coriander
Chopped fresh chilli
Lactose-free crème fraiche or coconut yoghurt
Rice, cous cous or flatbreads.


This is a really easy one that doesn’t really require much work apart from the veg prep.

Prepare all of your ingredients as directed.

Put a large pan over a medium heat.

Put the soy sauce and water in the pot and then add all of your vegetables.

Cook for 10 mins and then add all of your spices and the lemon juice. Stir thoroughly and cook for another 10 mins.

Add the chickpeas and chopped tomatoes and stir well.

Reduce the heat to a slow simmer and cook for another 15-20 mins.

Put your flaked almonds in a dry frying pan and toast them, stirring frequently so that they don’t burn. Once they’re golden brown remove them from the frying pan.

Garnish each bowl of tagine with chopped fresh coriander and flaked almonds and add any other accompaniments as desired.











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Mediterranean Vegetable Quiche (serves 4-6)

Mediterranean Vegetable Quiche by The Fat Foodie

Mediterranean Vegetable Quiche by The Fat Foodie

My friend and I had made a date to have lunch the other day, but for a number of reasons I couldn’t make it into town so she kindly came to my house instead. In return I promised I’d make us a tasty Mediterranean vegetable quiche for lunch and as she’s a vegetarian I figured I’d make use of some of the baby summer vegetables that were ready to be picked from my garden.

This year I’ve tried growing tomatoes (utter failure), courgettes (pretty successful, but very small), cucumbers (I managed to harvest a small one, but it was really nice), and aubergines (a simple ‘nope’ would cover the aubergine fiasco). Although the courgette plant was my favourite because it was the plant which yielded the most produce, my favourite part of the courgette plant was the flowers it produced. The spreading plant exploded with big, blousy blossoms that made me wish I owned a deep fat fryer so I could make crisp cheese-stuffed courgette flowers, but instead I had to settle for adding them to salads. I know you can bake stuffed courgette flowers in the oven, but sadly it doesn’t produce the same effect as that of a brief dunking in a bath of hot oil.

Courgette Flowers

Courgette Flowers

I had three small, sweet courgettes at hand that I’d picked that morning and I thought they’d work well in a vegetable quiche. This Mediterranean vegetable quiche uses the Hairy Bikers’ parmesan and spelt crust that I’ve used before and it works very well with the courgettes and yellow peppers, adding a cheesy nuttiness to the creamy egg filling. The beauty of this recipe is that you can add whatever vegetables take your fancy, but broccoli florets, oyster mushrooms, sliced red peppers or fresh tomatoes are suggestions which would work beautifully.


For the pastry:

180g gluten-free flour (plus extra for dusting) (I use Dove’s Farm G/F flour because it’s made with low FODMAP ingredients whereas many other gluten-free flours are made with high FODMAP options.)

100g cold non-dairy butter

2 tsp chopped fresh lemon thyme

50g Parmesan (finely grated) or non-dairy version

1 egg yolk

1 tsp ice-cold water

For the quiche filling:

3 medium eggs & the egg white left over from making the pastry

30g of sundried tomatoes (finely chopped)

1 tsp of mild American mustard

30g green spring onion tips (chopped)

1 tbsp chives (finely chopped)

40g parmesan, Grana Padano (finely grated) or non-dairy version

3 baby courgettes or 1 small normal one (cut into thin discs) – no more than 240g of prepared courgette in total

200g red bell peppers (diced)

8 pitted green olives (sliced)

100g cheddar cheese (grated) or non-dairy version

1/4 tsp ground black pepper


To make the pastry:

Put all of the pastry ingredients into a large bowl and then rub the butter in until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.

Add the egg yolk and cold water and mix until it forms a ball. (If you feel it’s too dry, add a little bit more water until it comes together).

Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and put it into the fridge for at least half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas 4.

Line a quiche tin with greaseproof paper.

Sprinkle some flour onto your work surface and roll out the pastry until it’s the right size for the quiche tin.

Place the pastry into the tin, leaving the sides to slightly overhang the edges of the quiche tin.

Prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork a few times (this releases any air that might get trapped underneath).

If you have them, fill the tin with baking beans, if not don’t worry about it.

Bake in the oven for about 15-20 mins, or until it’s golden brown. (Baking the pie crust first will ensure your quiche won’t have a soggy bottom.)

To make the quiche filling:

Put aside 50g of the grated cheddar and a small quantity of sliced courgettes and red pepper for decorating the quiche.

Mix all of the remaining ingredients together.

Pour the filling into the pastry case and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top before decorating with the slices of courgette and red pepper.

Cook in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the egg mixture no longer wobbles when shaken.

Trim off any excess pastry from the side of the quiche and serve with a nice fresh green salad.

Mediterranean Vegetable Quiche by The Fat Foodie

Mediterranean Vegetable Quiche by The Fat Foodie

A fresh, crisp garden salad by The Fat Foodie

A fresh, crisp garden salad by The Fat Foodie




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Steak Fajitas with a Side Helping of Science and Guacamole (serves 4)

Steak Fajitas by The Fat Foodie

Steak Fajitas by The Fat Foodie

Some time ago a friend of mine asked me if I’d consider doing a blog post on fajitas, but every time I made chicken fajitas I never felt as though they were interesting enough to feature on my website. However, I came to realise that this was down to two reasons. One, I’m utterly bored to death with eating chicken in fajitas when there are much more interesting options out there instead. And two, I needed to know more about how Mexicans created authentic fajitas (i.e. what meat did they tend to use? How did they marinate it? And what herbs and spices did they use?). This realisation led me into an investigative journey into the chemistry that creates a fantastic fajita.


(But it’s quite interesting so I’d keep reading if I were you…)

The perfect fajita is made up of a number of components which come together to produce a wonderful medley of Mexican flavours: a warmed soft tortilla; juicy, slightly seared around the edges meat which is encrusted in paprika, cumin and chilli; and soft, buttery guacamole that’s sharp, but aromatic, with freshly squeezed lime juice. Bliss.

Although, there’s more to it than just serving the right combination of ingredients for people to cram into a tortilla, the meat’s got to be treated right in the first place in order for it to give its all to the diner’s palate. That’s where the chemistry comes in. Upon investigation, I’ve discovered that the best meat to serve when making fajitas is beef. To be precise, good quality lean skirt steak (also known as flank).

The unique structural fibres of steak enable it to absorb the oils, acids and salts of a marinade much better than chicken or pork ever could and allow it to retain the flavours of the herbs and spices we choose to add, but it’s the important chemical effect of the marinade that leads to the production of a beautifully soft and juicy piece of cooked beef.

The best steak fajita marinade will always contain three elements: oil; acid; and salt. The oil works on three levels: it emulsifies the marinade and allows it to coat the beef efficiently; it dissolves the oil-soluble flavour compounds within the spices, enabling them to be absorbed into the meat; and it also provides a protective layer around the meat when you cook it over a high heat, hopefully helping it to retain its natural moisture. The acid, in the form of fresh lime juice, tenderises the meat and breaks down the connective tissue, leading to a softer and easier to chew mouthful of beef. And lastly, the marinade’s salt content dissolves myosin (a muscle protein) which gives the beef a slacker texture and helps retain its moisture. Also, by using soy sauce instead of plain old salt it introduces glutamate and protease (found naturally in soy sauce) into the marinade which add umami flavours and tenderise the meat further.

I did warn you there’d be science.

In an ideal world I’d marinade the steak fajita strips overnight to really let the flavours be absorbed by the meat, but if you take the notion to make these I think you can get away with an hour’s marinating (that’s what I did, to be honest). And in terms of cooking the meat, cook it fast over a really high heat and try to cook the steak medium to enable the natural juices of the steak to remain.

Serve the steak fajitas with a plethora of delicious accompaniments so that the people at your dining table can build the perfect fajita to suit themselves. Sombreros and stick-on handlebar moustaches are entirely optional though.

Ingredients for the marinade:

500g of skirt steak (cut into strips)

1 heaped tsp paprika

1 heaped tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp celery salt

½ tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp ground chilli

¼ tsp ground black pepper

2 tbsps. tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

The juice of 1 lime

Additional ingredients:

100g red bell pepper (cut into thin slices)

100g green bell pepper (cut into thin slices)

8 corn tortillas (or gluten-free tortillas)

To make a basic guacamole:

80g avocado

The juice of ½ a lime

8 cherry tomatoes (quartered)

¼ tsp fine salt


Put the steak strips in a large bowl and add all the ingredients into the bowl with it (apart from your guacamole ingredients, obviously). Stir it all thoroughly and leave to marinade.

When you’re happy that your meat’s marinated enough put a griddle pan or a large frying pan over a high heat.

Drain and discard the liquid from the steak marinade before putting the steak and the slices of pepper into the hot pan.

Cook the steak to your preferred liking. Once cooked, put the steak in a serving bowl and cover with foil and let it rest for 5 mins while you make the guacamole.

To make the guacamole:

Half your avocados and remove the stone. Use a spoon to scoop out the avocado flesh and mash it in a bowl before adding the rest of the guacamole ingredients. Mix them all together and place in a serving bowl.

Serve your steak fajitas with warm, soft tortilla wraps, the guacamole, chopped fresh coriander, salsa, crème fraiche or sour cream (or a non-dairy version), re-fried beans, grated cheese (or a non-dairy version), and slices of fresh chilli.

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Vegetable Risotto (serves 4)

Vegetable Risotto by The Fat Foodie

Vegetable Risotto by The Fat Foodie

Although I like most Sundays to be quiet, restful affairs involving such tasks as pottering in the garden and performing small chores around the house, from the moment I opened my eyes yesterday didn’t feel like it was supposed to be one of those days. So, in order to blow off the cobwebs and embrace our itchy feet we took a slow meander along to our local Lidl to pick up some fruit and veg for the forthcoming week.

I really like Lidl’s produce selection and I love their prices too, so it wasn’t a surprise that we came home with a little bit more veg than we’d intended to buy, but this doesn’t cause me concern because I know I’ll use it all in meals throughout the week.

When I was thinking about what I was going to cook for dinner I figured I’d use up last week’s veg that was left in the fridge, topped up with a bit of the fresh stuff we’d picked up that day, so a vegetable risotto seemed the way to go. I used to be wary of risottos, thinking that they were difficult to make and that they required constant stirring, but that’s not the case at all. As long as you use decent quality stock cubes and a good quality non-dairy parmesan cheese you can’t go wrong. My risotto was supposed to include the large glass of crisp white wine that was left in a bottle in the fridge from the night before, but my partner decided that it would be better used as an apéritif to sip on while watching me prepare the risotto. Top tip: keep your wine hidden out of reach until you’ve used what you need in the risotto.

It’s up to you to choose what your additional flavourings will be because the possibilities are endless: baby summer vegetables; crispy pancetta and oyster mushrooms; chicken, mangetout and white wine; or a seafood risotto packed to the gills with king prawns, mussels and squid. There’s a risotto for everyone’s taste buds, you’ve just got to find it, but I can highly recommend the one below.


1 tbsp olive oil

100g red bell pepper (cut into bite-sized pieces)

6 cherry tomatoes (halved)

1/2 a courgette (cut into bite-sized pieces) – no more than 120g in total

60g mangetout (cut into bite-sized pieces)

100g oyster mushrooms (cut into bite-sized pieces)

100g large leaf spinach (English spinach)

300g arborio rice

3 tbsp chopped chives

A 150ml large glass of crisp white wine (vegan optional)

3 vegetable stock cubes

1 litre of boiling water

75g finely grated dairy-free parmesan (normal parmesan isn’t vegetarian/vegan)


Prepare the vegetables as directed in the ingredients list and then add the stock cubes to the litre of boiling water and stir to dissolve them.

Put a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the red pepper, courgette, mangetout, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes to the frying pan and cook until they are tender. Add the spinach and cook until it is wilted.

Put the vegetable mix in a separate pan and leave to one side.

Put the frying pan back on the heat (don’t bother washing it, life’s far too short) and add the arborio rice. If you’ve managed to keep hold of the white wine add it to the frying pan now and let it be absorbed into the rice, stirring occasionally.

Once the wine’s been absorbed add a little bit of the vegetable stock and 2 tbsps of the chopped chives and let the stock be absorbed, stirring occasionally.

Keep adding the vegetable stock a little at a time until the rice is plump and al dente (has a slight bite to it). You might not need to use all the stock so it’s okay to have some left over if you’re happy that the rice is cooked to your taste.

Stir the grated parmesan into the rice (feel free to add more if you like, but I thought 75g was plenty). Then stir your precooked vegetables from earlier into the rice and heat through.

Serve sprinkled with the last tbsp of chopped chives and more parmesan.

Vegetable Risotto by The Fat Foodie

Vegetable Risotto by The Fat Foodie













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