No Cook Summer Pasta

No-Cook Summer Pasta- Emma's Little Kitchen

Hello friends! It seems pretty apt that I am sharing this incredibly simple and low key “No Cook” Summer Pasta recipe with you today. I returned from a two week holiday in the homeland this Monday, and my post holiday to-do list is leaving my very little time for kitchen activities! I was in England for the wedding of my oldest friend Lauren, and her now-husband Liam (wedding of the yearrr!!). Not to let the transatlantic flight go to waste, I tagged on a couple of weeks before the wedding so I could catch up with family and friends.

No-Cook Summer Pasta- Emma's Little Kitchen

Among my highlights, the wedding (obviously…!), walking with my Dad at Longsleddale in the lakes, afternoon tea with my sissie in York, picking out wedding flowers with my other sissie, running along the river with my Mum, munching pizza with my friends Harriet and Harriet, and spending a little quality time with my Grandparents… it was certainly a busy few weeks! My goal for this week and next is to take it EASY! Starting, of course, with this pasta dish.

I admit “No cook” is perhaps a slight stretch… obviously the pasta must be cooked… but the tomatoes when left to slowly marinate are so sweet, tangy and flavorful, no cooking is required at all! It’s perfect for those days when it is simply too hot to stand over a steaming pan, or turn on the oven. The only requirement is a little forethought, and then you will be minutes away from summer pasta bliss!

No-Cook Summer Pasta- Emma's Little Kitchen

What do you like to eat when you’re to busy to cook?

No-Cook Summer Pasta
 
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Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
  • 2 pints (790g) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup (60ml) olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 10 large basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • pinch chili flakes (optional)
  • 1 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • pepper to taste
  • ¾ cup parmesan, grated (plus more for serving-optional!)
  • ½ lb (225g) wholewheat spaghetti (or other pasta of choice!)
Method
  1. Combine all the ingredients except for the pasta and cheese in a large bowl.
  2. Cover and allow to macerate for 3-6 hours
  3. When you are ready to eat, simply cook pasta according to package instructions, and drain
  4. Return the cooked pasta to the warm pan, and pour the tomato mixture and cheese over the top of the pasta
  5. Using kitchen tongs, toss everything together until the pasta has a nice oily coating
  6. Serve in warmed bowls

Notes

Adapted from Ina Garten’s Summer Garden Pasta.

Blueberry Vanilla Muffins

Blueberry Vanilla Muffins- Emmas Little Kitchen

So the other day, or maybe more like a couple of months ago, my sissie Laura requested a recipe for wholewheat blueberry muffins, with “no bananas or other random ingredients please”. Message received. It has taken me a wee while to get around to creating her the perfect breakfast treat, but I think I finally have a winner in these Blueberry Vanilla Muffins!

Blueberry Vanilla Muffins- Emmas Little Kitchen

Blueberry Vanilla Muffins- Emmas Little Kitchen

As requested, they are made with wholewheat pastry flour. They also contain greek yoghurt for a little protein bump, and the addition of vanilla keeps the sugar a little lower than other muffin varieties. Having eaten several batches almost solo (this food blogging gig really is a chore…),  I can tell you that they make for a pretty satisfying breakfast.

Blueberry Vanilla Muffins- Emmas Little Kitchen

Hope you like them, sis!

Blueberry Vanilla Muffins
 
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Healthier wholewheat blueberry vanilla muffins, perfect for breakfast, brunch or snack!
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast/Baked Goods
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 5 tbsp butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar (I used raw demerara)
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup whole greek yoghurt
  • 1½ cups wholewheat pastry flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup fresh blueberries (frozen can be used too, no need to defrost)
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 375F/190C
  2. In a large bowl beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  3. Add egg, yoghurt and vanilla, and continue beating until well mixed
  4. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the wet ingredients, and mix well until fully combined
  5. Gently fold in the blueberries being careful not to over mix
  6. Divide the mixture into a greased 12 muffin tin (use muffin cases if you wish, I didn't bother)
  7. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until slightly golden

Notes

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Perfect Blueberry Muffins and this beloved book.

Muffins are best eaten fresh on the day, but also freeze well if you make too many!

PS. My sister and I on a coastal jaunt last week-

Blue skies at the coast with sissie #blueskies #britishcoast #northwest #greatbritishsummer #sissie

 

 

Kale Greek Salad

Kale Greek Salad- Emmas Little Kitchen

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I am back home in the UK this week! I am having a lovely time catching up with my family, and I am REALLY looking forward to my best friends wedding next weekend. Before things get too busy, I wanted to drop by and share this Kale Greek Salad with you!

Kale Greek Salad- Emmas Little Kitchen

Dear friends, this salad is so so delicious! Greek salad is my fave, and I eat it weekly through the summer when all the ingredients are in season. The other week, on a whim, I decided to throw some kale into my usual mix of tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, olives and chickpeas. I loved the result, and the boost in nutrition.

Kale Greek Salad- Emmas Little Kitchen

If you have been wary of kale salads in the past, I would encourage you to give this greek one a try! The kale is marinated slightly with a lemon dressing, making it lovely and tender. The lemon zing perfectly compliments the salty feta, and the earthy nutty chickpeas. It is just wonderful, let me know what you think!

Kale Greek Salad- Emmas Little Kitchen

Kale Greek Salad
 
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Author:
Serves: 2 generously
Ingredients
  • For the dressing:
  • Juice of two lemons
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ tsp dried mint (optional)
  • ½ tsp dried oregano (optional)
  • Generous grind of black pepper
  • For the salad:
  • 1 bunch of kale, destemmed and finely chopped
  • 10 cherry tomatoes (about a cup) halved
  • 20 mixed olives (about ½ cup)
  • half a large cucumber chopped into bite sized chunks (a similar size to the tomatoes)
  • 1 cup (160g) chickpeas
  • ¾ cup (110g) feta, crumbled or cubed
Method
  1. Whisk ingredients of the dressing together until well combined
  2. Combine in a large bowl with the kale, massage the dressing into the kale for a couple of minutes until the kale is fully coated in the dressing
  3. Cover, and put in the fridge to marinate for 30mins to 1 hour, the kale should reduce in volume
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and toss everything until well mixed

Notes

One of my favourite things about this kale salad is that I do not have to massage the kale for very long, marinating the kale in the dressing does the work for me! If you need to speed up the process then by all means massage away! Just add a little sea salt to the dressing to help the process along.

This salad was inspired by Ambitious Kitchens Kale Rainbow Detox Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette.

You could absolutely make this salad vegan by omitting the feta, it will still taste fab. Or, make your own vegan feta!

 

100% Whole Wheat Macaroni & Cheese with Broccoli

Wholewheat Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese- Emmas Little Kitchen

Two things that are currently growing: my appetite, and my waistline. I know what you’re thinking, errrrr… maybe you should cut back on the macaroni and cheese, perhaps lay off the hearty desserts for a while?. True, this would probably be a good plan, but it turns out I have a pretty good excuse…

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Thats right friends, Emma’s Little Kitchen has a bun in the oven! Our little nugget is due at the end of November, and we are very excited for our new adventure. This little nugget has been wreaking total havoc on this blog. For the latter part of my first trimester I could not stomach vegetables, beans, even whole grains! Basically all the mainstays of my normal diet suddenly became off limits! Suffice to say, this made recipe development very tricky, I just wasn’t into food that much, especially anything healthy, it was very disorientating indeed!

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Now safely in the throws of my second trimester, I am back in the swing of things and enjoying beans, greens and grains once more. Phew! The recipe I’m sharing with you today is sort of a middle ground, comfort food that has been made over to include some bolstering wholegrain goodness, and yummy broccoli.  I have actually been making this for years, ever since I moved to the States in fact!

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Let me know if you try it!

100% Whole Wheat Macaroni & Cheese with Broccoli
 
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups (150g) dry wholewheat macaroni
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 tbsp wholewheat flour
  • 2 cups (500ml) milk
  • 2 cups (200g) sharp cheddar, grated (plus additional for sprinkling on top, if desired)
  • Pepper to taste
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 375F/190C
  2. Cook pasta according to package instructions, when pasta has been cooking for a couple of minutes, add the broccoli florets. When the pasta is al dente, drain and set aside
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and add the garlic
  4. Cook garlic for a minute, and add the flour and whisk, ensuring that all of the fat and flour combine, cook for about a minute
  5. Turn the heat to low and slowly add the milk, whisking the whole time
  6. Return the heat to medium and continue to whisk until the sauce is thick and smooth, stir in the cheese until melted and season with pepper if desired
  7. Transfer the pasta and broccoli into a 9x9 baking dish, pour sauce over the top and mix together so that the pasta has a good cheesy coating
  8. Sprinkle additional cheese on top if desired
  9. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until golden and bubbly, turn on the grill or broiler for the last couple of minutes for extra crispy factor!

Notes

Adapted from Rachel Ray’s Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese, and 100 Days of Real Food’s Whole Wheat Macaroni and Cheese.

The baking in this recipe is optional, you can eat it as a “Stovetop” Macaroni and Cheese too.

Thai Spiced Carrot Soup

Thai Spiced Carrot Soup- Emmas Little KitchenAhhhhh what a crazy couple of weeks! As if moving home isn’t trying enough, Kirk and I had 30 days to find a new place to live, and move our lives, whilst living in different states… not fun! So it actually seems fitting today that I am sharing this Thai Spiced Carrot Soup with you, it is very simple, no fuss, and both comforting and bolstering… the perfect antidote to the stress of a big move.
Thai Spiced Carrot Soup- Emmas Little Kitchen

So what’s happening besides moving and making lazy soup recipes? Well I have been busy unpacking and settling into my new home, which includes trying to find some good running routes (so far- a little underwhelmed). The big news is I get to go home for a visit to England next weekend… for two weeks!! I’m so ready for a little injection of English wit and weather. In fact, yesterday it dawned on me that I have not enjoyed the British Summer since 2009! Refresh my memory… I should leave my Summer dresses at home, yes? Or just pack lots of cardigans?!

Thai Spiced Carrot Soup- Emmas Little KitchenThai Spiced Carrot Soup- Emmas Little Kitchen

Anyway, enough about me and my weather concerns, let’s talk about how lovely this soup is. Simple really, its a carrot soup with infused with beautiful thai ingredients- coconut milk, lemongrass, lime, chili, ginger and coriander. The coconut milk makes it creamy and luxurious, and the thai flavours and a little zip! Let me know if you try it! And thank you all for your patience and well wishes- this little blog has certainly been neglected in the past couple of weeks, but I’m looking forward to sharing some good stuff with you soon!

Thai Spiced Carrot Soup- Emmas Little Kitchen

Thai Spiced Carrot Soup
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Thai
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil (or other oil)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp chili flakes (more or less to taste)
  • 1 thumb sized piece of ginger, minced
  • 750g/26oz carrots (about 6 large carrots), peeled and diced
  • 150g/5oz small potatoes, peeled and diced (about 2 potatoes)
  • 500ml/16oz vegetable stock
  • 2 sticks of lemongrass, bashed with a rolling pin (or some other blunt object!)
  • 225ml /7.5oz creamed coconut
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • handful of fresh coriander (cilantro)
Method
  1. Heat oil in a large pan, add onions and sauté for a few minutes until soft
  2. Add the garlic, chili and ginger, cook for a few more minutes
  3. Add carrots, potatoes, stock and lemongrass, bring to the boil and then simmer gently for 20 minutes until vegetables are cooked through
  4. Add the coconut and simmer gently for five more minutes
  5. Remove the lemongrass, add lime zest and juice and coriander
  6. Liquidize until smooth and creamy, either in a blender or in the pan using a hand blender
  7. Garnish with additional coriander leaves and dig in!

Notes:

Adapted from the Whaletail Cafe Cook Book, the Whaletail is a small vegetarian cafe in the town where I grew up- Lancaster UK.

If you don’t have carrots, or want to change this a little, I think Butternut Squash or Sweet Potato will be fantastic instead of carrots

This soup freezes well, I like to make big batches and freeze it into individual portions for lunch emergencies!

Blueberry Peach Crumble

Blueberry Peach Crumble- Emma's Little Kitchen

At some point during my early teenhood, my parents developed an interest in gardening. Pretty flowers, the odd bush, a smattering of herbs, and the most overactive fruit trees you could imagine. For some reason, the pear tree and the plum tree would produce an overwhelming harvest each year, and in order to keep up, we had to get creative with our fruit consumption.

Blueberry Peach Crumble- Emma's Little Kitchen Blueberry Peach Crumble- Emma's Little Kitchen

There were two obvious solutions: Jam and Crumble. Both require a large quantity of fruit, jam will keep for a while so we could stock up, and crumble would be gobbled up immediately so we could make way for even more fruit. To conclude, I have eaten many a fruit crumble in my day.  Now that I am grown, and no longer at the mercy of a plum tree, I am able to experiment with different seasonal fruit, including this delightful combination of peach and blueberry, yum!

Blueberry Peach Crumble- Emma's Little Kitchen

I keep my crumble pretty simple, rustic almost. I have included a recipe below, but it is loose. Any fruit can be given the crumble treatment, and I can guarantee that it will be delicious. I also prefer to keep the topping straightforward- just butter, flour and sugar, prepared by hand rather than a food processor. A crumble comes together in minutes, requires no special skill, and is always a crowd pleaser. It may actually be the perfect dessert

Blueberry Peach Crumble- Emma's Little Kitchen

Blueberry & Peach Crumble
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • For the filling:
  • 2 cups Blueberries
  • 5-6 Peaches
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • For the Crumble:
  • 115 g/4 oz cold butter, or vegan butter spread
  • 115 g/4oz demarera sugar
  • 175 g/6 oz wholewheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 375F/180C
  2. Peel peaches (see note below) and slice into 1 inch thick semicircles, transfer into a baking dish with blueberries and toss with sugar, set aside
  3. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar and cinnamon
  4. Cut butter into small chunks and add the the bowl
  5. Using your finger tips, rub the butter and flour together until you are left with a crumb like texture (as pictured)
  6. Tip the crumble mixture over the fruit, and bake for 25-30 minutes until fruit has softened

Notes:

I have made vegan crumbles many a time by using a vegan butter spread in the place of butter, this dessert is totally vegan friendly!

Substitute for frozen fruit if you are tempted to make this out of summer, no need to defrost!

To peel your peaches, give them the “tomato treatment” slit the skins at the bottom, and submerge them in freshly boiled water for a few minutes. The skins should slip away easily

Spinach & Strawberry Salad

Spinach & Strawberry Salad

A couple of weeks ago we celebrated the birthday of my darling Sister in Law, Kayla (happy birthday Kaylaaaa!). My other darling Sister in law, Kenna, threw the bash and tasked me with bringing a salad to share. I wanted something that was very simple to prepare and used Summery ingredients. After mulling this over, I threw together this simple summery spinach and strawberry salad  with feta and almonds for texture. I opted for a champagne vinaigrette because champagne and strawberries are so lovely together.

Spinach & Strawberry Salad Spinach & Strawberry SaladSpinach & Strawberry SaladI was very happy with the results, and it seemed to be a crowd pleaser, so it has been deemed officially “blog-worthy”. It is the perfect salad to bring to a summer bbq or picnic, or just enjoy it at home for a quick and simple dinner. Yum yum! Do you have a “go to” dish for Summer gatherings?

Spinach & Strawberry Salad

Spinach & Strawberry Salad
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • Salad:
  • 300g (4 cups) baby spinach
  • 125g (1 cup) strawberries, sliced
  • 30g (1/3 cup) sliced almonds
  • 200g (7oz) feta cheese, crumbled
  • Dressing:
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) champagne vinegar
  • 2 generous tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp dijon mustard
  • 1½ tbsp poppy seeds
  • black pepper to taste
Method
  1. In a large bowl, toss together spinach, strawberries and feta
  2. In a small dry pan, toast the sliced almonds over a high heat until golden and just fragrant, add them to the bowl with the other ingredients
  3. In a small jug or jar, whisk the vinegar, honey, oil, mustard, poppy seeds and pepper (alternatively, add them to a lidded jar and shake vigorously, thats what I do!)
  4. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss again

Recipe adapted from SkinnyTaste and Epicurious.

Here we all are at Kayla’s Birthday! Dex is stealing the show as usual…

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Peanut Butter & Strawberry Blondies

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Greetings! Feeling a little fuzzy today coming back to reality after an idyllic, sunshiny long weekend… bliss! To ease the transition, I’ve prepared you a little treat, Peanut Butter and Strawberry blondies! But Before we get into these bite sized beauties, how was YOUR weekend? Did you have a long one too? Kirk came home for a quick visit, so we did some dune hiking with the pup, a little beach bumming on Lake Michigan, and breakfasted greedily on giant blueberry pancakes. Lovely. The warm weather is well and truly here now, which seems to be making everyone in Michigan very happy :)

Strawberry Peanut Butter Blondies

So why should you bake these blondies? Imagine a PB&J in cake form… well this is it! It also happens to be 100% wholewheat and vegan. Yum, Yum! Still not sold? They take 5 minutes to throw together, and 25 minutes to bake. Pretty wonderful if you ask me. Hope you enjoy them!

Peanut Butter & Strawberry Blondies

Peanut Butter & Strawberry Blondies
 
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These Peanut Butter and Strawberry Blondies are like a PB&J in cake form! They are also vegan and 100% wholewheat.
Author:
Serves: Makes 16 mini blondes
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (125g) strawberries
  • ½ cup + 1tbsp (100g) light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup (185g) smooth peanut butter
  • ⅓ cup (80ml) melted coconut oil (or substitute for other flavorless oil)
  • ¼ cup (60ml) almond milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (125g) wholewheat flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C
  2. Chop strawberries into small chunks, transfer into a bowl and toss with 1 tbsp of sugar, set aside
  3. In a large bowl, mix the remaining sugar, peanut butter and coconut oil smooth
  4. Mix in the milk and vanilla extract
  5. Next, mix in the flour, baking powder and salt until the mixture is fully combined
  6. Gently fold the strawberries into the batter
  7. Transfer the batter into a well greased 8x8 baking pan
  8. Bake for 25 minutes until the edges are just browning (they make look underdone, but trust me!)
  9. Remove from the oven and cool COMPLETELY (for 2+ hours) before cutting (sorry!)
  10. Cut into 16 bite sized pieces

Notes:

Adapted from these Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Blondies from Sally Baking Addiction

If you are making these out of strawberry season, I had great results from frozen strawberries. Just defrost first and drain any excess liquid! Nobody likes a soggy blondie.

Apologies for the lackluster photo, they are very hard to photograph well and they are far tastier than they look!!

Broccoli & Tofu Teriyaki Bowl

Broccoli & Tofu Teriyaki Bowl

One of the things I have loved most about blogging, is the community you become a part of. This is a community made up of food enthusiasts who pour themselves into their craft, simply for the love of it. There are THOUSANDS of great blogs, and I always have a wealth of new recipes at my fingertips to be inspired by. I also love that the food blog community is constantly sharing, tweaking and adapting each others recipes.

Broccoli & Tofu Teriyaki BowlBroccoli & Tofu Teriyaki BowlTake this Broccoli & Tofu Teriyaki bowl for example. It is adapted from Cookie & Kate’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Crispy Baked Tofu recipe. Kate adapted her recipe from Greens & Chocolate’s recipe for Siracha & Honey Gazed Brussels Sprouts and The Kitchn’s Baked Tofu. I adored the original recipe, but I wanted to put my own spin on it. So I swapped the brussels for broccoli, the rice for soba noodles, and the glaze for more of a sauce. The result is a healthy and simple meal, bursting to the brim with flavour!

Broccoli & Tofu Teriyaki BowlBroccoli & Tofu Teriyaki BowlI’m always looking for new recommendations, what are some of your favourite blogs?!

Broccoli & Tofu Teriyaki Bowl
 
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Japanese inspired noodle bowl with broccoli, tofu and teriyaki sauce
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Tofu:
  • 1 15oz block extra firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari (low sodium)
  • 1 tbsp corn starch or arrowroot starch
  • Broccoli:
  • 1 large head of broccoli
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Teriyaki Sauce:
  • ¼ cup/60ml soy sauce or tamari (low sodium)
  • ¼ cup/60ml honey or agave for vegan
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • ½ tsp chili flakes (or more or less to taste)
  • Noodles:
  • ½ lb or 225g soba noodles
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 400F/200C
  2. Drain the water from the package of tofu, cut the tofu in half lengthways so that you have two rectangular slabs
  3. Transfer the slabs onto a clean tea towel or paper towel, place on a flat, sturdy surface. Place a chopping board or plate on top of the tofu, and put a weighty object on top of the board or plate (I use a 5lb dumbbell...!)
  4. Cut the broccoli into small florets, transfer into a roasting dish, toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper
  5. After the tofu has had a chance to drain off for 10-15 minutes, remove the weighty object and tea towel, cut each slab into 15 equal squares (3 columns and 5 rows), transfer into a large bowl
  6. Using your fingers, carefully toss the tofu with olive oil and soy sauce, when each square has an even coating, sprinkle over the cornstarch and carefully toss again with your fingers until the starch is fully incorporated
  7. Transfer the tofu onto a lined baking sheet
  8. Place the tofu in the top ⅓ of the oven and the broccoli in the bottom ⅓, cook for about 25-30 minutes, tossing half way through cooking
  9. While the broccoli and tofu are cooking, prepare the sauce and noodles
  10. In a small sauce pan, heat toasted sesame oil over a low-medium heat, add the garlic and ginger and sauté for a minute
  11. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth, bring to a simmer, and cook gently for about 15 minutes stirring often, set aside to thicken
  12. About 5 minutes before tofu and broccoli are cooked, cook the soba noodles in a large pot according to package instructions, drain thoroughly and return to the large pot
  13. Add the cooked broccoli and tofu to the pot, toss everything together with a pair of kitchen tongs
  14. Drizzle the teriyaki sauce over the top, and toss again

Notes:

Adapted from here.

This dish is gluten free as long as you use tamari and not soy sauce, also check your noodles! Soba noodles are supposed to be made from buckwheat, but many brands add wheat flour (tut, tut!), you can find a 100% buckwheat version here.

This dish is vegan as long as you use agave instead of honey.

See my other Tofu recipes here.

Spring Vegetable Barley Risotto

Spring Vegetable Barley Risotto- Emmas Little KitchenThere are few advantages to having my husband live in a different state for the next three months. In fact, I can think of only one: I get to eat Risotto. All. The. Time. That’s right, my darling husband is just not that into Risotto. I took me a while to come to terms with this, but we’re cool now.  I make this Spring Vegetable Risotto, or variations on it, often. And I know if I eat it once, then I will be eating it every week for a while, it is just lovely.

Spring Vegetable Barley Risotto- Emmas Little Kitchen

Feel free to use this recipe as a template, the vegetables are totally interchangeable. However I really dig this Spring-y combination of asparagus, peas and broad beans. When I make Risotto with barley I like to add some creaminess back into the dish. In this recipe I do that with with Mascapone, and of course I top it off with freshly grated parmesan. If you want to make this dish vegan, or less rich, simply omit the two cheeses.

Spring Vegetable Barley Risotto- Emmas Little Kitchen

One last note on the vegetable stock- I strongly recommend using a low sodium version. As the flavours cook down and become more concentrated, a normal stock could result in a too salty dish. No good!

Spring Vegetable Barley Risotto- Emmas Little Kitchen

Spring Vegetable Barley Risotto
 
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Barley risotto of spring vegetables
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup/200g pearl barley
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 7 cups (1750ml) low sodium vegetable stock
  • ½ bunch/200g of asparagus chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • 1⅓ cup/180g of frozen peas (defrosted)
  • 1⅓ cup/200g of broad beans (shelled)
  • 3 tbsp mascarpone
  • ½ cup/50g freshly grated parmesan (plus more to sprinkle on top)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • Handful of chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Method
  1. Pour prepared vegetable stock into a small saucepan, and bring to a low simmer.
  2. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat
  3. Add onions, and sauté for about 5 minutes until softened
  4. Add garlic, and cook for a minute longer
  5. Add the pearl barley and thyme to the pot, and give everything a good stir so that the barley has a nice oily coating
  6. Add a ladle of stock into the pot and stir until almost absorbed, continue this process for the next twenty five minutes, remember to stir constantly
  7. Add the asparagus to the pot, and continue ladling the stock and stirring for five more minutes
  8. Add the peas and broad beans to the pot, and cook for 5 more minutes,
  9. After 5 minutes, the barley should be tender, remove from the heat and stir in the mascarpone, parmesan and lemon zest
  10. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with fresh parsley and additional parmesan if desired

Notes:

You might have a little stock left over- it is best to start with more than you need and not use it all!

Adapted from this recipe.