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Get #FastOnWaste with these 3 recipes from Eco Chef Tom Hunt

During the sacred month of Ramadan, we here at Islamic Relief have been on a mission to actively reflect on our relationship with food – how it nourishes us, sustains us and how it unites us in community and tradition – and crucially, how much we waste…

The global food system is currently responsible for 25-30% of all greenhouse gases. At every stage of its journey, the food that we eat, draws on resources from our planet and emits greenhouse gases.

When food is wasted, not only are all the resources that went into producing and transporting also wasted – causing unnecessary greenhouse emissions – but food sent to landfills decomposes and produces methane gas, which is one of the most potent of all greenhouse gases.

That’s why, as part of our #FastOnWaste campaign this Ramadan, we’re working with acclaimed Eco-Chef Tom Hunt to produce three fantastic no-waste recipes for you to use this Ramadan and beyond! Each recipe is expertly designed to use whatever you have in your fridge and pantry to produce excellent meals for you and the family to enjoy.

Mousakka With Lentils, Spinach and Seasonal Root Veg

Notes from Tom:

This is a vegetarian twist on a classic moussaka using local-seasonal vegetables and pulses. It’s full of flavour and sustenance and a good way to use up any root veg lurking in the back of the fridge. I like to use yoghurt or a plant-based alternative in place of béchamel to simplify and speed up the recipe.

I love aubergines, however, they are tricky to grow in the UK and I like to use seasonal fruit and vegetables in my cooking whenever possible. Here instead of aubergine I’ve used seasonal root vegetables, which layer beautifully with the protein-rich lentil, spinach and tomato sauce. Any roots will do, so use up what you have available.

Moussaka keeps well for up to five days in the fridge. In fact it’s better the next day after the flavours have merged and it has set a little. It also freezes really well. I like to save energy by batch cooking two or three times the recipe and freezing portions for later.

Ingredients – makes 4-6 servings

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or other

1 white onion, thinly sliced

1 tsp cumin seeds

400g (tin) green lentils, drained

800g (2 tins) chopped tomatoes

200g spinach, roughly chopped including the stalks

500g sweet potato, squash, beetroot or/and other seasonal root vegetables

300g yoghurt or a plant based alternative

Pinch of grated nutmeg, optional

Heat a saucepan with a tablespoon of olive oil (or another oil) over a medium heat. Add the onions and fry slowly with the cumin seeds for 5-10 minutes, or until softened, whilst stirring occasionally. Add the lentils and two tins of chopped tinned tomatoes and bring to the boil. Once ready stir in the spinach and turn off the heat. Season to taste with black pepper and sea salt.

Slice the sweet potato, squash or/and other seasonal root vegetables, lengthways into five-millimetre-thick slices. Steam or boil them for five minutes to soften slightly, then drain.

In an earthenware dish, layer with half the lentil mixture, then cover with half of the root vegetable slices. Drizzle with half the yoghurt mixture and repeat with another layer of each. Finish with the yoghurt and a grating of nutmeg. to taste. Bake in a preheated oven at 190C (fan) for 25 minutes, then allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Smashed Beetroot and Chickpea Chaat

Notes from Tom:

Legumes, including beans and peas are a key sustainable protein that have the ability to nourish both personal and planetary health. They’re an integral part of a regenerative food system, helping replenish lost soil nutrients and reduce our dependence on animal protein.

If you can find beetroots with a fresh plume of leaves still attached, you know they’re fresh and were most likely picked in the last few days. Save waste and money by eating the leaves which are surprisingly even more nutritious than the root! Beetroot leaves are the same species as chard and just as delicious, with an earthy flavour and vibrant colour.

I first discovered chaat whilst travelling through India where it’s served on the streets as a delicious snack on palm leaf plates. This recipe is a take on aloo chaat which is made with potatoes. The smashed beetroots in combination with the chickpeas and spices create a hearty dish bounding with flavour.

Chaat masala is an aromatic concoction of spices that gives chaat its unique flavour. You can buy it from some local Indian shops or online, however, it’s easy to make yourself (there are plenty of recipes online) and freshly ground spices are always more fragrant, just like freshly ground coffee. Or you can break convention and use another spice mix like garam masala. The dish will still taste absolutely scrumptious!

Enjoy as a light lunch or supper or as part of a feasting table.

Serves 2

500g bunch of beetroot (with their leaves if available)

1 tbsp oil (e.g., mustard, coconut, or olive oil)

4 tsp chaat or garam masala

240g cooked chickpeas

2 spring onions, finely sliced top to tail

6 sprigs coriander, stalks finely chopped, leaves roughly

Green chilli to taste, finely sliced

2 tbsp tamarind paste

Yoghurt or a plant-based alternative, to serve, to taste

2 wedges unwaxed lime or lemon, to serve

Remove the leaves and stalks from the beetroots, roughly chop them, then wash and drain in a colander.

Boil the beetroots whole in a saucepan with a lid covered with water for one hour and 15 minutes or until they are soft. Or boil them in a pressure cooker for 25 minutes following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Crush the beetroots into large rough pieces using a masher, then fry them in a medium-hot frying pan with the oil. Don’t turn them until they start to brown on one side, then cook them on the other side until they begin to colour. Mix in two tablespoons of the chaat or garam masala, beetroot leaves and stalks. Once the leaves begin to wilt, spread the mixture out onto a serving platter.

Place the frying pan back on the heat, add the chickpeas and fry until they start to brown and become crispier, then stir in a tablespoon of masala, the spring onions and coriander stalks, before scattering them over the beetroots. Finish the dish with the coriander leaves and drizzle with tamarind and yoghurt. Serve with a wedge of lime or lemon and final dusting of masala, to taste.

A Spring Tabbouleh with Millet

Notes from Tom:

Millet is a scrumptious little grain and a truly climate friendly crop. It’s much higher in nutrients (including calcium, iron, phosphorus) than rice or wheat and is ready to harvest in half the time. It has been cultivated for more than 5000 years in Africa and at least 3000 years in Asia where it’s a common staple. It can thrive in poor soils, with little water and has a higher natural resistance to pests than most other grains meaning it is relatively easy to grow without excessive chemicals. In a changing climate where rice and wheat are pesticide and water intensive, millet is an ideal alternative.

Kale, chard, spinach, spring onions and turnips are all delicious nourishing seasonal produce that grow well in the UK during this time of year. Kale and chard can be a bit tough when raw, especially the stalks! Save waste by finely chopping the stalks across the grain. Massaging the dressing into the tough leaves and stalks helps break them down and makes them super delicious.

Serves 2 as a main / 4 as a side salad

100g millet

100g seasonal greens (beetroot leaves, kale, spinach) stalks finely cut, leaves shredded

1/2 lemon, zested and juiced

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp honey

75g dried cherries, barberries, or raisins

9 sprigs parsley and/or mint, stalks finely cut, leaves roughly

5 spring onions, finely chopped including the dark green tops

190g pickled red cabbage or turnips (optional)

To cook the millet, first toast it in the bottom of a dry saucepan for a couple of minutes, then add 250ml of boiling water and simmer for 10 minutes with a lid on, or until the millet is cooked firm to the bite. The water should evaporate as the millet becomes ready but add a dash more water if needed. Turn into a sieve and rinse with cold water, then leave to drain.

Place the shredded greens and their finely cut stalks into a bowl and pour over the lemon juice and zest, olive oil, and honey. Massage the dressing into the leaves to break them down. Mix in the cooled millet, dried fruit, herbs with their stalks, spring onions and pickled vegetables. Serve as part of a mezze or simply with your choice of yoghurt and flatbread.

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