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Valley of Springs

Valley of Springs - Dan and Jo Acharya

Creationtide and Eating as an Act of Worship

Satay vegetable noodles in a bowl with prawn crackersA couple of weeks ago I was introduced to Creationtide for the first time. Visiting a local Anglican church, I heard that in the annual church calendar, this period between 1st September and 4th October is dedicated to worshipping God as creator and sustainer of all life, and praying for the earth’s protection and flourishing. The practice began in the Eastern Orthodox church, but has spread into the Anglican and Catholic traditions. This year it feels more important than ever to intercede for creation and especially for those who are starting to experience the devastating effects of climate change and unsustainable economic practices.

I’ve been thinking a lot about caring for creation lately, and trying to make small, positive adjustments to my lifestyle where I can. Believe me, there is a lot of room for improvement, and many areas where I have a long way to go. But by taking one step at a time I’m hoping I can make changes that stick, and gradually move towards daily choices that are healthier for our planet.

You probably know that one of the most impactful things you can do to help the environment is to reduce meat in your diet. If we all went meat-free just once a week it would make a huge difference to greenhouse gas emissions and water usage. This is one thing that Dan and I have been working on for a while. We now have two meat-free dinners each week and are gradually cutting down on meat in some of our other meals too. Just like everything else in life, we can choose to approach eating as an act of worship, and use it as an opportunity to honour him.

I know from experience that it’s a challenge to begin eating meat-free. Most of the recipes I found when I first started looking were delicious but time-consuming, and not really suited to a simple midweek dinner. I suppose the kind of meals that you can whip up at a moment’s notice aren’t usually considered recipe-worthy! So if you’re just starting out, I thought I’d share a few of our regular staples: simple meals that don’t take too long to cook, can be easily adapted, and – I promise – are tasty too!
 

Veggie Pesto Pasta

Serves 4, total prep and cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 320g dried pasta (or however much you normally use)
  • 2 bell peppers, 6 mushrooms, 1 medium courgette, handful of olives
  • Frozen sweetcorn - a couple of handfuls
  • 2 mozzarella balls
  • 1 small jar pesto
  • A little oil

Method:

  • Boil the pasta in a saucepan with the sweetcorn
  • While the pasta boils, chop all the veg and fry in a frying pan with the olives, a little oil and garlic puree if you like
  • Chop the mozzarella into small pieces
  • Drain the pasta when done, add the veg, pesto and mozzarella and return to low heat
  • Stir well until the cheese melts a little, then serve
     

Adaptations:

  • Use any soft veg that is quick to cook – celery, tomato and onion all work well.
  • If you like you can reduce the mozzarella, swap it for vegan cheese or throw in some nuts or seeds instead.
  • Use any stir-in sauce you like instead of pesto.

Nutrition per serving (approx):

Calories: 641, Fat: 28g, Carbs: 52g, Protein: 22g


Satay Vegetable Noodles (vegan)

Serves 4, total prep and cooking time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 200-250g dried rice noodles (or egg noodles if you prefer)
  • 1 carrot, 1 courgette, 2 bell peppers, 2 pack choi or 1 small cabbage
  • Small tin pineapple
  • 1 tsp each of cumin, coriander, turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp lime or lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp oil

For the sauce:

  • 175ml coconut milk
  • 100g peanut butter
  • 1 garlic clove or garlic puree
  • 20ml soy sauce
  • 20 ml lime or lemon juice
  • 1 tsp brown sugar

Method:

  • Cut veg and pineapple into strips or chunks
  • Mix veg, pineapple, spices, lime/lemon juice and oil in a high sides baking tin
  • Bake in oven at 180 degrees fan for 20 minutes
  • Meanwhile mix and gently heat all sauce ingredients in saucepan (add a bit of cornflour if it gets too thin)
  • Cook the noodles according to packet instructions
  • When the veg are cooked, mix everything together and serve

 

 

 

 

 

Adaptations:

  • Use any veg that will hold up to baking – broccoli and frozen green beans work well.
  • To add more protein, replace some of the veg with beans or chickpeas.
  • Use a ready-made stir-fry style sauce to save effort!
  • You can freeze extra portions of veg mixed with sauce before you add the noodles.

Nutrition per serving (approx):

Calories: 479, Fat: 31g, Carbs: 39g, Protein: 12g

 

Roasted Veg with Tahini Sauce and Polenta

Serves 4, total prep and cooking time: 40 minute

Ingredients:

  • 2 carrots, 2 red onions, 2 bell peppers, 1/2 butternut squash
  • 1Tbsp lemon juice
  • Dried herbs
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 240g polenta
  • Veg stock cubes to make 960ml

For the sauce:

  • 100g yogurt
  • 50g tahini paste
  • ½ Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • A little water to thin
     

Method:

  • Chop veg into roughly 2 inch pieces and toss on a baking tray with oil, lemon juice and herbs
  • Roast veg in oven at 180 degrees fan for approx 25-30 minutes (depending on veg used)
  • Meanwhile mix ingredients for tahini sauce in a bowl – add more yoghurt if the taste is too strong.
  • Use water to thin the sauce if needed – it should be just thin enough to pour.
  • 5 minutes before the veg is done, make up the veg stock
  • cook polenta in the stock according to packet instructions
  • Serve the veg with polenta and tahini sauce on the side

Adaptations:

  • Use any veg that will hold up to roasting – broccoli, parsnip and tomatoes all work well.
  • To increase the protein, cook some firm tofu with the veg, add a fried egg on the side, or add some grated cheese to the polenta as you cook it.
  • If you don’t like tahini, use the flavoured yogurt on its own, or crumble a bit of feta into it.
  • You can scale up the sauce and freeze extra portions.

Nutrition per serving (approx):

Calories: 514, Fat: 15g, Carbs: 83g, Protein: 13g

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