A vegetarian ‘mujaddrah’ inspired lentil & quinoa dish..

 “Mujaddrah” is a typical Lebanese dish made with lentils and rice and topped with caremalised onions. It’s something I’ve wanted to make for a while, but as I started to do so, mine evolved into something else with more ingredients in it…I’ve read several versions of the recipes, some with spices and some without, and I used these various recipes as my inspiration, as well as my own ideas for pimping it, when I made this dish, which turned out really tasty, although not that colourful to photograph! 


250g green lentils, washed, soaked overnight and cooked as per instructions on the pack 

100g quinoa, uncooked

3 red onions, thinly sliced

2 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped

2 medium aubergines, cubed

2tbsp olive oil plus more to drizzle over aubergine 

1tsp cumin seeds

1tsp ground cumin

1tsp ground coriander

1/4tsp cayenne pepper

1tsp ras el hanout

Salt to taste

Water as needed

Lemon juice to serve 


Heat the oven to 200C, drizzle a little olive oil over the chopped up aubergine and roast for 25-30 minutes until nicely cooked through, then take out and keep to one side until you need them 

Heat oil in a wide pan over a medium heat and add the cumin seeds

Cook on their own for a brief time until the pub start to sizzle then add the sliced onions 

Cooked them over the medium heat for 10-15 minutes until they start to caremalise and get all lovely 

(If you were making Mujaddrah this is when you would remove some of the onions from the pan to save for later to garnish the dish but I forgot to do that for my dish!)

Add the garlic after about 10 minutes and give it a chance to cook without getting burnt 

Add the roasted aubergine cubes and all of the spices and stir them all through 

Cook together for 2-3 minutes

Add then lentils and again stir through and cook together for a few minutes but don’t let lentils break down

Add the quinoa, stir it in and add 100ml water – you may feel that you want to add a bit more, but don’t overdo it – I used my quinoa cooking method here which is 1:1 ratio of uncooked quinoa:water plus there will be moisture in the pan from the vegetables and this is a good way of soaking some of that up 

Bring the pan to the boil and turn down the heat and simmer for 5-6 minutes

Turn off heat, and leave with lid on and allow the steam to finish cooking quinoa

And serve!

I ate mine with a handful of cashews that I’d roasted myself. I also enjoyed it again the next day by heating a portion in a frying pan with some olive oil and added some nuts in at the same time. 
Happy Weekend! I hope the partygoers at Fiesta Friday like my dish :) 

Pimp Your Veg part 8: dips, dips, and more dips! (perfect for using up leftover vegetables) 

  Yes, it had to be done didn’t it? I’ve been called the ‘dip queen’ so often that I couldn’t ignore one of my fundamental kitchen practices during this series…I have made dips with sweet potato, butternut squash, aubergines, shallots, garlic, cauliflower, potato, tomato, spinach, coriander, parsley, parsnips, sprouts, pumpkin, courgettes/zucchini, peas, endemame beans, avocado, peppers, beetroot, swede/rutabaga, carrots…basically, no vegetable is ever safe from from being whizzed up in a blender with various other ingredients in my kitchen and being turned into a super tasty dip! 

It’s also another great way to use up leftover vegetables, cooked or uncooked; and another great way to get more people eating vegetables…its a win win!

There are more examples of dips below, and even more in my recipe index if you’d like more inspiration. 

My simple go to method is to whizz up my chosen vegetables with tahini, lemon juice and sometimes some water, if necessary, to loosen the mixture. 

Alternatively, you could use peanut butter or another nut butter, plain yoghurt or soft cheese, cashew cream or hemp seed cream (example below), experiment with lime juice or vinegars, it all depends on your tastes. The key thing is to give it a go. 

You can roast, steam, boil or cook your veggies however you want to make dips by design, or use up leftovers. Alternatively, try using raw vegetables and see what you think. 

Adding spices or herbs is a definite for making a real difference to the flavour. Vegetables roasted with spices make great dips. 

Get your blender out and have a go! 

Sweet potato (link above) 

Spiced roasted potato 

Roasted tomato and garlic


Swede (rutabaga) and carrot – basically roasted root vegetables blended with tahini and lemon juice 

Homous and harissa – a blend of things I had left over 

Chermoula and tahini sauce – yum! Again, I was using things up 

Fava bean and salad 


Wild garlic pesto 

Roasted carrot, red onion and garlic – this is a really favourite: beautiful roasted carrots, red onion and garlic whizzed up with some homous – so good! 

Chimichurri pea and quark

Hemp seeds and parsley 

Green sauce 

You may find this recipe of use as a base for your dips: my homous holy grail, and tahini sauce is a blend of 1 part tahini plus 2 parts water plus the juice of 1-2 lemons depending on taste. You can make it thicker or thinner by controlling the amount of water you add. 

I hope you like my suggestions :) 

I’m going to share this over at Fiesta Friday today in case anyone needs some ideas for using up leftover vegetables from their Thanksgiving Day meal xx

Pimp Your Veg part 7: flatbreads aplenty – perfect for adding more vegetables to any meal..and great for kids! 

 I was only introduced to the concept of flatbreads with vegetables as part of the dough last year via various of your blogs, in particular, Indian food blogs like Simply Vegetarian 777 (these cauliflower and mixed grain roti for example), Cooking With SJ (like these roasted beetroot parathas) and many more, you’ll know who you are! I would read these great recipes, especially recipes for aloo parathas (spiced potato filled flatbreads) and think it would be difficult to make them and it was a while before I was brave enough to try it, but once I did, actually it really is pretty easy and definitely worth it :) 

A bit like the fritters/patties, there’s a standard set of rules to making flatbreads and including vegetables in them..you can use pretty much any vegetables really, you’ll see that from the various recipes below, and once you’ve tried and tested a few recipes and feel confident making them, you’ll find the key thing is to feel your way with how much flour you add to create a dough. Adding herbs and spices adds extra flavour, and you can cook them with or without oil, or even bake or grill them. 

How fab does this dough look, full of spinach and spices? And this was a great success with my son, and is the only time he has ever eaten spinach, I was so happy to see him eating and enjoying them. 

I’ve made these several times now, and this week also used the same dough as a pizza base..

I also played around with the dough and made a gluten free grilled version too..

Last week I shared my sweet potato onion bhaji breads..

I’ve also made other sweet potato breads too..

The breads below are tomato versions..gluten free and very tasty..

And these tortillas are made solely from cauliflower and egg..

I hope you find this collection of flatbread ideas of interest and that they are useful, and maybe they will bring some new ideas for adding vegetables to your households meals like they have mine :) 

For tips and ideas about making flatbreads, have a good look round Sonal’s blog, including this post, complete with photo instructions. 

I am bringing all of these flatbreads to this week’s Fiesta Friday, co hosted this week by the lovely Loretta and Petra – both great cooks and lovely ladies :) 

Have a great weekend xx

Pimp Your Veg part 6: Sally and her spirilizer 

One of the methods I wanted to include in my Pimp Your Veg is the use of a spirilizer to prepare and seriously pimp vegetables – I don’t own one, but I know that they can be a great tool for pimping vegetables…so I have invited the lovely Sally from Bewitching Kitchen to share some tips and ideas for using a spirilizer…Sally has brought some great ideas for your kitchen. Enjoy!!! 

First of all, I’d like to thank Elaine for inviting me to write this guest blog post on Foodbod, giving me the chance to share my passion for the gadget known as “spiralizer“, or if you prefer, “spiral cutter.” If you are looking for ways to pimp your veggies, the spiralizer is one of the easiest ways to achieve that. Even before I had one, I already felt that by prepping a veggie in a slightly unexpected way you’ll end up with wonderful dishes. For instance, shaved asparagus are great in salads or stir-fries. Grated tomatoes offer a texture that will amaze you in a fresh tomato sauce. But the spiralizer takes veggies to a new level and opens so many possibilities! In this post I’ll share two types of recipes, a refreshing salad and a comforting sweet potato “noodle.”

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

juice of 1 lemon

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

¼ tsp salt

1/2 tsp minced fresh dill

1/2 can chickpeas, rinsed

2 medium cucumbers

2 large carrots (thick, appropriate for spiralizing)

toasted cashew nuts to taste

Make the dressing by whisking together lemon juice, grapeseed oil, vinegar, salt, and dill. In a medium bowl mix the chickpeas with the dressing and reserve while you prep the veggies.
Cut the cucumber into spirals and place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to remove excessive moisture. Cut the carrots in spirals, place in a microwave-safe dish, add 1 tablespoon of water, cover with plastic and microwave for 30 seconds. Drain and place on paper towels to cool.
Once the carrots are cool and dry, add them and the cucumber to the bowl with the chickpeas, mix well to combine. Sprinkle with toasted cashews and serve. 

  Comments: You could conceivably skip the short microwaving step I suggested for the spiralized carrots. For my personal taste, I find the texture of raw spiralized carrots a little too harsh. By microwaving for 30 seconds they get a bit softer, and interact with the dressing a little better. Again, if you love super crunchy carrots, omit the microwaving.

Now for a warm version of pump your veggies… the spiralizer is wonderful to turn veggies such as zucchini and sweet potatoes into noodle-like entities. I already have zoodles (zucchini noodles) in my blog, so for this post I decided to go with sweet potatoes. They have a lot less water content than zucchini or cucumbers, so once you cut them you will notice they are pretty sturdy by comparison. I paired them with a hearty mushroom sauce made in the pressure cooker. 

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for the mushroom sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 shallot, minced

1 celery rib, minced

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

10 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, sliced

10 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup veggie stock (or water)

1/4 cup sherry

salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons heavy cream
for the sweet potatoes:

3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in spirals

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

minced chives and freshly grated Parmigiano cheese to serve

First make the mushroom sauce. Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan (or pressure cooker). When hot, add the shallots and celery and saute until soft and fragrant, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper. Add the flour, cook over low heat for a couple of minutes. Add the mushrooms, veggie stock and sherry. If using a pressure cooker, close it and cook for 25 minutes. Release the pressure quickly, open the pan and simmer the sauce a little longer if you find it too liquid. Finish the sauce with the heavy cream right before serving, adjust seasoning. Reserve.

Cook the sweet potato noodles. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large non-stick skillet over medium-heat. Add all the sweet potato “noodles”, increase the heat to high and move the noodles around to prevent the strands at the bottom from burning, season lightly with salt and pepper. After a couple of minutes, add a tablespoon or two of water, cover the pan and simmer for a few minutes. Check for doneness, once the strands are tender, shut the heat off, and keep them warm.
To serve, mix the mushroom sauce with the noodles, sprinkle with chives and a nice coating of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. 

Comments: You can cook the sweet potatoes strands in many different ways. For instance, you could add them to a baking sheet, coat lightly with olive oil and roast them until done. You could also steam them, or even drop them in boiling water like regular pasta. I prefer to saute on a non-stick skillet because it is easier and faster. You should use whatever method suits you best. As to the mushroom sauce, the pressure cooker gives a depth of flavor hard to get in a regular pan, but if you don’t have one, simply sautee the mushrooms together with the shallots and celery until they release some of their liquid and develop some color, then add the flour, cook for a couple of minutes. Add the liquid and simmer gently until thick, finishing with a touch of heavy cream as described.

The beauty of the spiralizer to make noodles is that you can opt to go real light by using zucchini, or a little more substantial with parsnips, rutabagas or sweet potatoes. Just as with regular pasta, your imagination will be the limit to what types of sauce to pair your veggies with. Cacio e pepe with zoodles? Bechamel with sweet potatoes? Fresh tomato sauce? Genovese pesto? Let your taste be your guide… and have fun with it!

I hope you enjoyed this little tour of Pimp Your Veg with a Spiralizer. There are many types of spiral cutters in the market, mine is this one. It has three blades that can give you flat ribbons, and two thickness of strands. The only drawback of this model is that carrots need to be very thick in diameter to properly work. Other than that, it is a great gadget to have and play with.

Elaine, I cannot thank you enough for your invitation to write a post on your blog, absolutely loved it!

Thank you for sharing your tips and lovely recipes, Sally xx

So, who’s ready to get spiralizing? If you like these ideas but don’t have the tool, try grating your vegetables to get an idea of whether you fancy making the purchase. Try grating strings as long as possible done the side of your grater – have fun! 

Sweet potato onion bhaji breads..

 Following on from making Kellie’s onion bhaji potato scones, my next experiment was a sweet potato version..what’s better than caremalised red onions and mashed sweet potato? Such a perfect marriage of flavours. These worked really well, and just as nice the next day warmed through ;) 

Sweet potato spiced onion cakes


1 very large sweet potato, roasted and cooled 

4 red onions, peeled and chopped

2-3 tbsp coconut oil 

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp ground roasted cumin

1/2 tsp ground roasted caraway 

1 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tbsp onion powder 

2 tsp amchoor powder

Flour of your choice, as much as needed, I used Kamut/Khorason flour


Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat 

Add the onions and cook until they start to soften 

Add the spices and continue to cook for 30-45 minutes over a low heat until they get really soft and caremalised 

Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan) 

Remove the skin from the sweet potato and mix the cooked flesh with the onion mixture 

Mix enough flour into the sweet potato mixture until it creates a dough

Take small handfuls of the dough and form it into balls

Line a large baking tray with parchment paper or spray oil over the surface

Press each ball into a flat round onto the tray

Bake for 10 minutes then turn them over and bake for another 5 minutes 


I enjoyed them with my fava bean dip with my pastesensation – this time made in a blender so that the ingredients were chopped finer than previously and made with my own oven roasted tomatoes and a tablespoon of tomato purée, instead of all tomato purée as previously, plus extra tahini..Hence the spoon!! 

  A whole great huge amount of flavour!! 

Enjoy your Sunday xx 

Fava bean and tahini chunky dip with my pastesensation..

I have read and researched many recipes recently for Middle Eastern ‘foul mudammas’ dishes and ‘fattet homous’ dishes.

Foul is a dish typically made with cooked fava beans (dried broad beans), in a sauce of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and cumin, often then topped with chopped tomatoes, onion and parsley. The joy is in the gorgeous sauce :)

Fattet is sometimes described as a ‘deconstructed homous’; the dish is literally made up of homous ingredients, cooked chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, all mixed together, heated, and spooned over crispy toasted pieces of Arabic bread, and often topped with chopped parsley and pine nuts. And it is GOOD!!! Eaten warm it is glorious moreish comfort food, often eaten for breakfast, but fabulous at any time. 

I’m sure you will see both feature on here very soon…this dish therefore was borne of a bit of both..

The bowl above includes cooked split fava beans (I soaked and cooked these myself in my little pressure cooker and I find that the peeled and split beans work best for me) mixed with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, chopped tomatoes and parsley; I just put the bits together and let it take shape and then ate it cold on its own and alongside other elements. 

I then threw in some of my leftover Moroccan inspired paste and gave it a new dimension..

  And it worked very very well!! So much flavour, layers and layers of it..a whole new piece of paradise on my plate!

  Apologies for the lack of detailed recipe but hopefully this still shares some ideas and inspiration and might make you chuck a few different things together this weekend?  

And finally I am joining Fiesta Friday this weekend, for the first time in weeks! Where did that time go?? Come and join the party, is week co hosted by the lovely Judi and Stef and feast your eyes on the wonderful dishes that everyone makes..happy weekend! 

See you tomorrow with some sweet potato onion bhaji breads…:) 

It all started with Kellie’s onion bhaji potato scones..

 It’s not news that I love Kellie’s blog and her recipes, she always inspires and excites me with her food :)

Recently she posted these fabulous ‘onion bhaji potato scones‘, an amalgamation of cuisines and flavours brought together to create a tasty flatbread. I made them the same week that she posted them and served them with an Indian feast that I had made for myself and my boys and they were a great success. I produced 14 mini breads and there was only 3 left at the end of the meal! 

I finished them off the next day with some roasted root vegetables and fresh tahini sauce (above & below). 

  The recipe triggered some other ideas in me…an element of the recipe is to make a spiced onion mixture and I liked it so much that I increased the quantities and cooked my version of the onion mixture with coconut oil. I like the idea of red onion chutney but I can’t stomach all of the sugar, so this was my version in a way..


4 red onions, peeled and chopped

2-3 tbsp coconut oil 

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp ground roasted cumin

1/2 tsp ground roasted caraway 

1 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tbsp onion powder 

2 tsp amchoor powder


I started by heating the coconut oil in a pan over a medium heat and added the onions to start softening them

I then added all of the spices and cooked the mixture over a low heat for 30-45 minutes so that it caramelised…

It was so good!!! I used it in various ways one of which was to create a quick pizza: 

I spread the mixture over a plain flatbread (I used ‘khobez’, Arabic bread) and topped with crumbled goats cheese and baked until the cheese softened..
How good does that look?? I can tell you that it was good!

In my next post I’ll share what else I did with the onion mixture…