Best friends don't let other best friends go for dinners they can't afford. I was meant to be headed out for a meal with my oldest BFF Nina a few days ago, but realising I didn't really have the cash to be stepping out for French 75s, I asked if we could stick to my kitchen instead. Nina bought the Aperol Spritzes and I spent £15 on a huge dinner for three of us, which went on to feed four people for lunch the next day. Easy peasy.
There isn't a specific recipe here- just a few ideas for a low-maintenance dinner you could also make for your nearest and dearest. If you're barbequing, these would be good extras and then you can do the grilled vegetables straight on to the grill, maybe with some vegan sausages if you can find them. But here's a simple dinner that'll look like you've worked for hours on it, when really you were sippin' on Spritz and trying not to eat all the distraction snacks*.
To serve this, I put a square of greaseproof paper down on the bottom of a big tray I have, and just poured all the vegetables and chickpeas in and piled it high. It was really nice to have a plate people could choose what they wanted from, whilst being as relaxed as a day in a sweltering city calls for.
- Homemade bread or rlly nice bread - I happened to have some focaccia I'd made myself.
- Shredded red cabbage slaw- Just slice a red cabbage into really thin strips, then add salt, pepper and a little olive oil, and leave to chill while you prepare the rest.
- Sweet potato fries- peel and slice up a few sweet potatoes and place on a greaseproof paper-lined baking sheet. Bake on high for about 20-30 minutes, making sure they don't burn. Remove and allow to cool.
- Roasted tomatoes, carrots and mushrooms
- Roast cauliflower with turmeric and seasoning
- Grilled courgette, peppers and aubergines- Stick these on the barbeque or use a panini/sandwich grill to toast them without needing any oil.
- Sliced avocado for a bit of creaminess
- Spinach and lemon pesto for a dressing
- Sliced lemon is the only other dressing or ZING you really need- it'll bring those courgettes and aubergines to life big time.
- Pour two big tins of chickpeas into a large dish, add the roasted vegetables on top, followed by the grilled ones, dot the avocado around, dress with the pesto, and you're ready to serve.
*If you don't have these in your house, but do have a significant other that likes to eat ALL the food you own, get to know distraction snacks. They're the low cost, highly filling snacks you can ply your loved one with so they don't start gorging on the good stuff before you've even managed to cook it.