Sunday, 26 April 2015

Cheap and Easy Vegetarian Recipe with Chickpeas

Chickpeas and Roasted Vegetables in Low-Fat Cheese Sauce

bean chart from
Healthy Chickpea Vegatarian Recipe
Beans and pulses are cheap and healthy. This is a tasty vegetarian recipe using chickpeas and roasted vegetables in a cheese sauce. This recipe uses low fat ingredients to make a low calorie dish. It is really tasty, full of healthy nutrients and really cheap to make. It is ideal for a lunch or supper and you will find non-veggies clamouring for it as a side dish.
Not only do chickpeas add a delicious nutty flavour and texture to this dish, they are full of protein, dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals which make them the ideal for vegetarian health. They are thought to help lower cholesterol and they are a slow-release food which makes them ideal for weight management.

Why eating beans is good for you

Anyone on a vegetarian diet is generally healthy but one thing they need to consider is how to get protein into their diet - carnivores get their protein in meat and fish. Protein is needed every day to help build and renew every cell in the body. Chickpeas are part of the beans and pulses family, and they are rich in protein as is the cheese in this recipe. Beans are low in saturated fats, those bad fats that cause high blood pressure, strokes and heart disease. They are also high in fiber to maintain a healthy digestive system. Beans are also considered to be antioxidants which fight free radicals, those things that cause premature aging and some cancers. Beans are also very rich in minerals and vitamin including Vit B complex, Vit C and K, iron and copper.
Beans are a slow release food, they release their energy over a period of time which keeps blood sugar at steady levels - this helps to reduce those cravings that make you break your weight loss diet. Beans make you feel fuller for longer. Include 2-3 cups of beans or pulses in your diet every week for optimum health.
legumes from

How to prepare dried beans for cooking

Dried beans and chickpeas are very cheap to buy and are much healthier than tinned ones. The only tinned beans I use are red kidney beans because they need extra preparations to ensure the removal of toxins. Red lentils don't need preparation for cooking but everything else does. You need to soak beans and hard lentils, usually overnight, then cook for 30 minutes before they can be added to your recipes. They do freeze well though so prepare a whole bag at once and freeze in small portions so they can just be taken out and added to any dish.


  • Empty a whole bag of dried beans into a large bowl or saucepan.
  • Cover completely with cold water.
  • Leave to soak overnight.
  • Drain the beans and rinse under clean running water.
  • Put them in a large pot with loads of water.
  • Bring to the boil, and boil fast for 10 minutes. You may have to skim a little scum from the top of the water.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes.
  • Drain the beans in a collander.
  • When they are cold, divide into 2-4 ounce portion bags and freeze. They don't need to be defrosted before use.

Courgette or Zucchini

Home-Grown Courgette
my home grown courgettes

Cook Time

Prep time:
Cook time:
Ready in:
Yields: Serves 1

chickpeas and roast vegetables in cheese sauce
chickpeas and veggies in cheese sauce

How to Make Chickpeas and Roasted Vegetables in Cheese Sauce


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 courgette, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • handful sweetcorn kernals
  • handful cooked chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
  • 1 oz low fat butter
  • 1 oz flour
  • 1 pint skimmed milk
  • 1oz mature cheese, grated

    Instructions for roasted vegetables

    1. pre heat oven to 220 degrees
    2. prepare vegetables and cut into cubes or circles
    3. place on a baking tray, sprinkle with herbs and spray with olive oil
    4. roast in oven for about 40 minutes turning at least once

    To complete the dish

    Remove vegetables from oven and place in oven-proof dish or divide between three individual dishes.
    Add chickpeas to the dish
    Pour the sauce over veggie, chick pea mix
    Top with grated cheese
    Cook in moderately hot oven 200 degrees until the top is golden brown
    Serve with baby-leaf green salad
    Add garlic bread if you are not on a diet.

    cheese board
    cheese board from

    To make the sauce

    Melt butter in a small saucepan

    Add flour, mix without lumps
    Cook for one minute
    Remove from heat
    Slowly, stirring all the time, add milk ensuring a smooth mix without lumps
    Return to the heat and bring to the boil
    Boil for 1 minute
    Remove from heat
    Add 1 ounces of grated cheese to your own taste - if you use a mature cheese you need to use less in volumn
    Season with salt and pepper

    Nutrition Values and Costs

    Courgette x1
    100g chickpeas
    handful sweetcorn kernals
    wholemeal flour x 1oz
    low fat butter x 1oz
    skimmed milk x 1pt
    mature cheese x 1oz
    If you want to lower the calorie count, do not add the cheese to the sauce, the plain white sauce goes well with roasted vegetables and chickpeas.

    The main health benefit to eating chickpeas

    chickpeas from
    Chickpeas are really high in fibre which is great for your digestive system plus it is slow-release which helps you to feel fuller longer. That is especially handy if you are health conscious. We all know by now that it is best to maintain a steady blood sugar level throughout the day without huge surges or sudden drops. A slow-release food like this keeps your blood sugar level up there till your next meal.
    Of course for vegetarians it is an important source of protein. You need protein for cell building, for renewing cells and that applies to brain cells. People who have high levels of protein in their diet tend to be much more resilient, they can concentrate for longer and their energy levels keep constant.
    It is thought foods like these help the body fight free radicals, those elements that are believed to cause cancers. They are full of anti-oxidants. They are also high in iron and manganese and a whole raft of vitamins.
    There are lots of places you can learn more and I've included some links below that you might find interesting.

    Tuesday, 21 April 2015

    Easy Vegetarian Recipe: Mini Sweet Pepper Boats

    Mini Sweet Pepper Boats

    The vegetarian on the 5:2 diet

    vegetarian pepper boats with feta cheese
    recipe card mini pepper boats
    I hope you enjoy my easy vegetarian recipe for mine sweet pepper boats with feta cheese. 

    The one thing I have found difficult as a vegetarian is finding suitable recipes for my intermittent fasting days.
    I am having great success with the 5:2 diet, I have already dropped 3 dress sizes in 3 months and feel much better for it. I've talked about it before but in case you don't know -  you eat a normal healthy diet 5 days every week and on 2 non-consecutive days eat 500 calories or less. This is definitely the best way to use your body metabolism to aid in weight management. 
    This is one of the recipes I have developed for my 'fasting days'. It is only 150 calories and cost me only 97p.  I initially picked them out at the supermarket because they were so cute! Lucky for me they turn out to be as tasty as they look.

    Sunday, 19 April 2015

    Easy Vegetarian Recipe for One: Sweet Potato Noodles and Feta Bake

    Sweet Potato Noodles and Feta Bake

    This is a tasty vegetarian recipe for one that is ideal for using with an intermittent fasting diet - the 5:1 diet. It is only 216 calories and cost under £1 to make. Win Win.

    I recently heard about using vegetables as noodles as a healthier alternative to pasta and, confess, I am hooked. Vegetable noodles are delicious raw or cooked and this recipe uses sweet potato which is probably my favourite.

    The sweet potato contrasts nicely with the tang of the feta. Because the feta is salty I haven't added any more in the cooking and it was fine. Ideal for anyone trying to cut down on their salt count. The mix of the vegetable stock and feta gives this dish a delightful milky gravy.

    I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

    Tuesday, 14 April 2015

    Spiced Buns - Low Fat - Low Sugar Recipe

    How to make spiced buns 

    spiced buns
    Spiced buns

    that are low in fat, low in sugar, low in calories, high in taste!

    Sometimes you just want something sweet. These tasty spiced buns that look after your waistline! Many of us need to watch our weight but it is easy to adapt well-loved recipes to create lower fat, lower sugar editions so you can still enjoy a treat. These spiced buns makes that even easier. Replacing some of the normal sugar amounts with dried fruit and shifting to a reduced-fat butter greatly reduces the calorie values without compromising taste.
    This is also a time when most of us are watching the pennies and baking at home is becoming more popular again. You can create many buns, cakes and cookies from scratch for a fraction of the cost of shop-made produces. In addition, you also know exactly what goes into it and that puts you in control not the food manufacturers.
    These spiced buns take only a few minutes to prepare then bake and can be served straight from the oven. Ideal for afternoon tea!
    This recipe is based on UK ingredients - for example self-raising flour available here is flour that contains a raising agent so doesn't need baking powder - for US and Canada add the relevant amount of baking powder to the flour.

    Monday, 13 April 2015

    Cheap and Healthy Veggie Recipe: Vegetarian Egg Fried Rice

    My Cheap and Easy Egg Fried Rice 

    I'm not a fabulous cook, in fact I like to make things as easy as possible and this vegetarian egg fried rice couldn't be easier. This is an excellent way to use up left-over vegetables although using fresh vegetables gives them an extra bite that you might prefer.
    For a REALLY easy option, when you are cooking a meal with rice put in some extra and cook some extra vegetables and you have a cheap and easy, nutritious lunch or supper for the next day.
    I have the added benefit of using my own home-grown courgettes in this dish - there is nothing nicer than using food you have grown yourself.
    I've based the timing on using left-over rice, cooking it first you will need another 12 minutes. Just make sure it is dry after cooking otherwise it will 'spit' in the wok.
    If you don't have a wok, use a large frying pan.
    I tend to use the cherry tomatoes as garnish rather than cooked in with the rice though they do cook well if you like them that way.
    Serve with a green salad and you have a healthy meal for one.

    Cheap and Easy Vegetarian Recipes: Cooking with Lentils

    Vegetarian recipes: Cooking with lentils

    red lentils
    red lentils photo by annmackiemiller

    Lentils are a tasty healthy addition to any diet. Red lentils in particular are easy to use since they don't even have to be soaked beforehand. Included here is my favourite lentil soup recipe and a recipe for curried lentil stew. I like to make my soups and stews the night before I am going to eat them to allow all the flavours to mature.

    Lentils are high in protein and low in fat. Protein is used to build and keep every cell in the body healthy and essential for vegetarians to add to their diet. Lentils also contain folate, magnesium, essential amino acids, iron and vitamins B, A and C. These are one of the super foods, a great source of anti-oxidants that fight against cancers, heart disease and strokes. The high fiber content helps keep a healthy bowel and reduces the risk of diseases of the alimentary tract. Lentils are a slow release food to they are ideal for maintaining a level blood sugar level, essential in preventing food cravings when you are on a weight loss diet. This is also great for diabetics or people like myself who have impaired glucose tolerance.
    Images: Red Lentils by annmackiemiller - copyright 2014

    Sunday, 12 April 2015

    Eggplant or Aubergine Slow Bake Vegetarian Recipe

    Vegetarian dinner recipe: Slow Bake Aubergines

    eggplant or aubergine
    Aubergine or Eggplant from Pixabay
    This is a tasty aubergine recipe that vegetarians and non-vegetarians will love. A one-dish casserole dish, it is cooked very slowly over several hours to allow all the flavours to blend. Aubergines are also known as eggplants and are often not cooked properly which puts people off. However, you simply cannot go wrong with this dish and it also freezes very well. When you are cooking for one, cook the whole thing then freeze in meal-sized portions for a quick ready meal that you know is completely healthy. An added bonus! This is very low in fat. 
    Images: Aubergine Slow Bake by AnnMackieMiller