These wonderful recipes, taken from Rachel de Thample’s book Less Meat, More Veg published by Kyle Cathie, are great examples of how you can cook delicious food that’s good for you and the planet.
‘Gathering around a delicious meal that happens to be really good for you and the planet is the absolute perfect way to celebrate WWF’s Earth Hour. All the recipes below are easy to make and the best thing is that you can prepare them in advance so you can relax and enjoy the occasion without stress.’ Rachel de Thample
Smoky butterbean soup with pan-fried rosemary bread
The smokiness in this soup comes from a few rashers of bacon, but if you want to create a vegetarian version with the same rustic smoky edge, finish the soup with a drop of balsamic vinegar and a little pinch of oak smoked sea salt, which is fairly easy to find these days.
Serves 4 and gives you 3 of your 5 A Day
- A glug of olive oil
- 4 rashers smoky bacon, snipped into lardons
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 leek, white and light green part only, thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2cm dice
- 2 ribs celery, cut into 1cm dice
- 2 handfuls of seasonal veg: diced root veg, butternut squash, fresh peas, snips of asparagus
- 800g tinned butter beans, drained
- A spring or two of fresh rosemary or thyme leaves only
- 1 litre chicken or veg stock
- Sea salt and black pepper
- A large handful of basil, roughly torn, to serve
For the rosemary bread
- A splash of olive oil
- 2 large sprigs of rosemary
- 1 fat garlic clove, crushed flat and skin removed
- 6 slices of sour dough
Heat a glug of olive oil in a large saucepan. When it’s hot, add the bacon and onion. Cook over medium heat until the onion has softened and the bacon starts to pick up a golden tint.
Add the garlic, leek, carrots, celery and your pick of seasonal veg. Cover and leave to soften over a low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the butter beans, rosemary or thyme and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer until the beans are soft, pillowy and warmed through.
Spoon 2 large ladles of the mixture into a blender and whizz to a smooth puree. Stir this back into the soup so that it thickens a little. Season with a good bit of pepper. Add salt as needed. If making ahead, you can cool and chill the soup at this stage.
For the rosemary bread, splash a bit of olive oil into a warm pan. Add the rosemary, garlic and a pinch of sea salt. Press your sourdough into the hot, fragrant oil and cook on each (or just one) side until golden.
Finish the bowls of soup with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh herbs and the warm rosemary bread
Rolling-pin ravioli with roast butternut squash and sage
I always find that cheese gets lost when it’s tucked inside a ravioli parcel. So, these ones are packed with a pure taste of pumpkin and garlic. That means you can drizzle a generous gloss of sage butter over the top and finish with a dusting of Parmesan. The flavours are much more prominent.
Serves 4 and gives you 2.5 of your 5 A Day
For the filling
- 1 small to medium-sized butternut squash
- 2 garlic cloves
- A few thyme sprigs
- Sea salt and black pepper
For the pasta dough
- 230g plain f lour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 tablespoons water
For the sage butter
- 75g butter
- A small handful of sage leaves, finely chopped (about 1 heaped tablespoon)
- Sea salt
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
- 400g baby leaf spinach
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- Sea salt and black pepper
- A little Parmesan cheese, grated
Heat your oven to 200˚C/gas 6. Halve your butternut squash. Scoop out the seeds. Rub the cavities with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Pop on a tray. Add a garlic clove and some thyme to each cavity. Roast until mashably tender, about 1 hour. Turn upside down halfway through cooking to help cook faster and more evenly.
Once cooked, pop the garlic cloves from the skins – they should be squidgy like toothpaste. Scoop the squash from its skin and mash or whizz in a blender to a smooth puree. Season well.
For the pasta, tip the flour and salt in a large bowl.
Make a well and break the eggs into the centre. Add the oil and water. Fold together, mixing to form a soft dough — add drops of water if it’s too dry or more flour if it’s too sticky. Knead on a floured surface, until smooth and elastic. Quarter the dough. Roll on a floured surface. Cut into about 6-7 diameter rounds using a small glass, jar or a round cutter. Press each round a bit thinner using the heel of your hand. Pair the circles.
Now fill the ravioli: brush one of the circles in each pair with water. Add a dollop of filling, leaving plenty of room around the edges. Top and seal, pressing the sides together and drawing out any air pockets. Dust with plenty of flour to keep them dry and to prevent them from sticking. Place on a baking sheet, cover with a dry cloth. Continue with remaining dough. At this stage, you can freeze the ravioli, or refrigerate the ravioli for up to a day. Just ensure they’re well coated with flour and set in an even layer, not overlapping. If refrigerating, lay a clean tea towel over them to ensure they don’t get moist, which would make them sticky.
Before cooking the ravioli, cook the spinach and sage butter, which you’ll serve with the raviolis. Place the spinach, garlic and a pinch of salt in a large, lidded pot, over medium-low heat and let it wilt down – no water or oil needed at this stage. Once the spinach has cooked down, tip into a colander and gently press out the bitter juices. Add a splash of oil and fluff through. Season and set aside.
Place the butter in a small pan and let it cook slowly until frothy and lightly browned. Add the sage and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
Cook the ravioli: bring a very large pot of salted water to the boil. Cook in batches for 3–5 minutes – until glossy and cooked through. Use a slotted spoon to remove from the pan, place on a tray with a drizzle with oil.
Arrange the ravioli on the plates. Dot the spinach around them. Gently reheat the butter, spoon over the ravioli and scatter Parmesan over top.
Instant 100-per-cent fruit sorbets
Every time I whip up one of these I think they’re too good to be true, as making sorbet in the traditional manner involves making a sugar syrup and lots of churning. But all you need to make a delicious sorbet is frozen fruit and a blender or food-processor, and there are so many flavours to experiment with.
To make a nice-sized scoop, you need 120g of fruit, which will give you 1.5 of your 5 A Day.
Here’s how it works
Finely chop some ripe fruit. Pop it into a plastic tub. Freeze.
Break up or chop the frozen pieces, if they’re stuck together. Tip into a food-processor or blender.
Blitz until all the fruit is chopped up and the mixture starts to come together into an icy, smooth, creamy paste.
You’ll have to process it for a good bit — as you do the fruit will start to melt a little bit, which helps the fruit come together and gives it a softer, creamier texture. Serve immediately. (Sadly, they don’t refreeze but they’re so quick to whip up that it’s easy to make them fresh.)
Peel and finely chop. Freeze. Whip until smooth. Delicious with chopped pistachio nuts and a drizzle of honey over the top.
This is really delicious. Just freeze whole grapes and whip them up once they’re frozen. Add a drop of dessert wine, if you like.
Cut into really small dice (1cm cubes). Freeze. Blend. For a twist, add vanilla seeds and a bit of finely chopped chilli before you blend.
Finely chop ripe berries. Freeze them, along with any accumulated juices. Whip in a blender or food processor with a little drizzle of coconut milk or orange juice. Add vanilla seeds or rose water for added flavour. Fold a few spoonfuls of icing sugar through, if needed.
Remove the stones and tear the cherries in half. Freeze. Blend. Add vanilla seeds or a drop of brandy, if you fancy.
All recipes taken from Rachel de Thample’s book Less Meat, More Veg published by Kyle Cathie