Staple Meals That The Whole Family Can Enjoy
When you’re cooking for a whole family, meeting everyone’s needs can be diﬃcult.
Some people may have intolerances, others may be vegetarian or vegan, there may be older members of the family, and there may also be small children, who can be selective in what they choose to eat.
This can cause a lot of stress and hassle if you aren’t prepared, and many people don’t even know where to start when preparing a meal for a large number of people.
That’s why we’ve put together three recipes for staple meals that are easy to prepare and suitable for all. Plus, the other good news is that all these meals can be healthy too! Particularly if you purchase your ingredients from a quality supplier – like Puratos Italia, for example – that’s committed to helping you boost your wellbeing and better support your overall health.
Vegan Shepherd’s Pie With Peas (Serves 4)
This shepherd’s pie looks and tastes just like the shepherd’s pie we all know and love – packed with a punch of savoury flavour and a subtle touch of aromatic herbs. But it’s vegan, gluten-free, and a great way to smuggle some veg into little fussy eaters!
And while there is alcohol in the raw red wine, it is boiled off during the cooking process, so the dish is also alcohol-free. Don’t panic if you can’t find soy mince in your local supermarket – you can easily substitute tofu by crumbling 2 blocks of tofu into an oiled pan and frying until firm.
Tip: If anyone in the household needs to monitor their carbohydrate intake, such as diabetics, you can also simply swap the mashed white potatoes for sweet potatoes or even carrots.
500g dried soy mince or TVP, rehydrated
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic
1 tin chopped tinned tomatoes
1 kg white or sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
250ml red wine
4 carrots, peeled and diced
200g frozen peas
2 vegetable stock cubes (or substitute mushroom stock for a meatier flavour)
2 tbsp Marmite or yeast extract
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp gluten-free vegetable gravy granules
1 tbsp thyme
1 tbsp rosemary
1 tbsp parsley
1 tbsp oregano
Vegan margarine, to taste
Salt and pepper
Vegan cheese (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180C/Fan 160C.
- Put the potatoes in a pan of salted water and boil until soft. Strain and set aside.
- Fry the onion until soft and golden, then add the garlic and herbs and cook for a further minute.
- Add the carrots and soy mince and cook through until the soy mince is firm and the carrots soften.
- Pour in the wine, stock, yeast extract, and soy sauce. Stir in the gravy granules and reduce until thick. Season to taste. Add the peas last minute and gently heat through, keeping them firm.
- Mash the potatoes with vegan margarine to taste. Season with salt and pepper.
- In an oven-proof dish, place the mince mixture and spread the mashed potatoes on top. Sprinkle with vegan cheese if desired.
- Bake the pie in the oven for 1 hour. Remove when golden and serve with assorted vegetables.
Smoky Jackfruit Pulled ‘Pork’ (Serves 4)
Pulled pork is a barbecue staple, and has become wildly popular for its deep, meaty flavour. Kids and adults, veggies and carnivores alike will love this convincing vegan replica made with jackfruit, a stringy fruit from Asia that perfectly mimics the texture of meat fibres.
You can find this versatile fruit in Asian grocery stores, and even many supermarkets. Jackfruit is also packed with vitamins, minerals and protein, making it a nutritional powerhouse for growing young bodies.
2 cans of young green jackfruit in water or brine
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 cup barbecue sauce of choice
Chipotle Cholula sauce to taste
1/4 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
Salt and pepper
- Drain and rinse the jackfruit thoroughly.
- Remove the tough inner part of the jackfruit and discard. Set aside the remaining soft pieces of jackfruit for use.
- Oil a frying pan and cook the onion until translucent and tender.
- To the onion, add the prepared jackfruit, barbecue sauce and 120 ml water. Mix well, and leave to reduce for around 20 minutes until soft and thickened.
- Mash the jackfruit using a potato masher and add the Cholula, liquid smoke, and seasonings.
- Heat on high for the final 10 minutes, stirring to prevent it from sticking.
- Serve on vegan rolls with slaw, gherkins, and pickled chillies as desired.
Quick and Easy Chana Masala (Serves 6)
This chana masala is vegan, gluten-free, and takes only 15 minutes to prepare and 35 minutes of cooking time, making it a quick and simple option for evening dinners.
Chickpeas are packed with protein, fibre, vitamins, and minerals – including over 80% of your RDA of manganese, making them a great source of nutrition for both children and adults.
They also include over 70% of the RDA for folate; as such, they are an excellent choice of protein for pregnant women.
800g canned chickpeas
3 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves
5cm piece of ginger
3 green chillis, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp mild chilli powder
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp garam masala
400g tin chopped tomatoes
Juice of 1 lime
1 pack fresh coriander, chopped
1 vegetable stock cube
1/2 can coconut milk (optional)
- Drain the chickpeas and add to 400 ml water. Bring to the boil. Turn oﬀ the heat and set aside.
- In a food processor, blend the onions, chillies, garlic, ginger, and spices.
- Oiling a frying pan, add the onion and chilli mix. Cook for 8-10 minutes, or until soft. Add water as needed to stop the spices from sticking to the bottom of the frying pan.
- Add the tinned tomatoes, half of the fresh coriander and stock cube and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas with their cooking water. Cook for a final 10 minutes, then stir in the coconut milk, if using, and the lime juice.
- Garnish using the remaining half of the fresh coriander, and serve with rice, naan, or vegetable side dishes.