Vegan Pesto Pasta Salad

Vegan Pesto Pasta SaladI’ve recently started a new job and Sam has been working loads so cooking excellent food and blogging about it has kind of been on the backburner this week! As lunch times are either just before or just after work I wanted to make something quick and healthy that could stay in the fridge. So I made my pesto pasta salad. I always make this for buffets or family parties because it is just so simple yet the taste and texture are awesome. These quantities are for a massive batch that you can shove in a bowl, leave in the fridge, and grab yourself a plate in a rush but if you want to make smaller portions, go ahead!

You will need: 200g Fusili, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 5 tablespoons of green pesto (I love pesto!), 2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds, a good handful of walnuts, 100g pitted queen olives and 25g chopped nuts.

Pop your pasta in a pan and cook (I cook mine for 12 minutes). When it is done to your liking, drain in a colander and leave to cool. Take a large salad bowl and pour the cool pasta in. First of all add your pesto and give it a really good stir with a wooden spoon. Slice your olives and add them along with the rest of the ingredients. Season to your liking (I used aromat, black pepper, and some basil) and make sure everything is mixed together.Vegan Pesto Pata Salad

And that’s it. A really gorgeous healthy meal that takes no time to cook and is a bit different from an egg mayo sarnie. It’s also vegan (hurrah!) but if you fancy you could put some chunks of mozzarella or feta in. In fact, I am tucking into a plate myself now.

Love, Mrs Gardom

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Heavenly Vegetarian Tart

20131226_194346      My hubby absolutely adores roast dinners, however we don’t eat meat so sometimes coming up with a veggie main to go with all those lovely roast potatoes and vegetables is a challenge. For boxing day tea, I invented this epic tart, filled with homemade pesto, loads of cheese, mushrooms onions and a bit more cheese. It really is comfort food, a lovely english roast dinner, no animals necessary. It does require a bit of time and effort, but it is worth it, promise!

You will need… 4oz butter/margerine, 6oz plain flour, 50g walnuts, 60g olives, a big handful fresh basil, pepper, salt, olive oil, 150g mushrooms, 1 small onion, 75g mozarella cheese, 1 slice of bread, 25g cheddar cheese, pestle and mortar, 20cm flan dish, mixing bowl, rolling pin.20131226_175214

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. First of all make the pastry. For this you need to put your flour and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Cut your butter into little chunks and mix these into the flour with a knife, when all the butter is covered in flour add 3 tablespoons of warm water and stir in. Form the pastry into a ball (f you need to add more water to bind it together, add it by the teaspoon), cover in cling film and pop in the fridge.20131226_170127

I wanted to add an extra texture to my tart so I created a walnut pesto, if you don’t have a pestle and mortar you could always use ready made green pesto, but the homemade version is much nicer! For this, put your walnuts into the pestle and mortar and grind down into tiny pieces, add your handful of basil and squish this as well. Then add your olives, mixed herbs, salt and pepper and a tablespoon of olive oil and grind this in a circular motion until it looks like a thick paste.

Dice the onion and fry in a tablespoon of butter, slice your mushrooms and add these to the frying pan once the onions are soft.

20131226_185722Roll out your pastry on a floured surface until it will cover the flan dish and is about 5mm thick. Put your pastry over the flan dish and press down carefully. 20131226_185822Spread your pesto over the bottom of the pastry, then layer half the mushrooms on top of this.20131226_190231

Slice your mozarella and form a layer of this on top of the mushrooms.

20131226_190308Add another layer of mushrooms and onion. Blitz the bread into breadcrumbs in a food processor or just tear it by hand and cover the dish with these. Finally grate your cheddar and sprinkle over the top.

20131226_190434Place your tart into the preheated oven and cook for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is nice and golden and the cheese is all melted. 20131226_194905

Serve with crispy roast potatoes, vegetables and cauliflower cheese (if you fancy more cheese!) or for a lighter meal serve with a lovely rocket salad. A glass of gorgeous red wine is also a must, our favourite is Marques de Carano Reserva 2009. This is one of my favourite dishes and is a really great go to recipe if you have vegetarian guests or you want to cook something a bit special.

Enjoy, Love Mrs Gardom