Simple Italian Style Tomato Sauce with Cous Cous

When I first moved to the UK to study, I was completely overwhelmed by the incredible variety of plant-based foods and products that I had never tried before. As a result, I ended up trying all of the vegan Quorn and Linda McCartney products out there (which by the way are divine) and a variety of unpronounceable ‘superfoods’ from Holland and Barrett. Eventually I realised I was spending far too much money on my weekly groceries for being a student. So I set out to try and create meals that were not only tasty and nutritious, but were also relatively cheap and simple to make for those who do not want to spend hours in the kitchen.

One of my favourite inexpensive meals to prepare is this Italian style tomato sauce with chickpeas and green beans. The recipe is very versatile in the way that you can eat it with a variety of carbohydrates such as quinoa and pasta. For the sake of making it extra cheap to prepare this time I served it with Cous Cous, which is one of the least expensive grains sold here. As a result of it being so simple and cheap, this recipe is also quite handy to use for meal prepping!

To make this recipe you will need:

  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 2 big handfuls of spinach
  • 1 handful of fresh basil
  • 2 cups of frozen green beans
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 pack of tomato passata
  • 1 can of chickpeas (rinsed in cold water)
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil (use water instead to make it low fat)
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of chilli powder or paprika
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano
  • Cous Cous, quinoa, or pasta

Servings: 5-6

Time to prepare: 15-20 mins

Method to prepare it:

  1. Place your chopped onion and garlic in a medium sized pot with the olive oil on medium to high heat.
  2. Once your onion and garlic is golden brown, add in your rinsed chickpeas into the pot.
  3. After about 2 minutes, add in your green beans that should be either left to thaw or be microwaved for approximately 2 minutes.
  4. Then add in the canned chopped tomatoes, the tomato passata, the chilli powder, italian seasoning, salt and black pepper and stir the mixture together.
  5. Allow the ingredients to combine and simmer on medium heat for about 5 minutes before adding in the spinach and chopped basil. Then cover with a lid and allow to cook for another 5-10 minutes before serving.
  6. In the meantime you can prepare your cous cous, quinoa or pasta. To quickly prepare the cous cous, mix a 1/4 cup of cous cous with 3/4 cup of boiling water (1:3 ratio of cous cous to water) and allow to sit for about 5-7 minutes (this makes one serving). In order to meal prep, mix 1 cup of cous cous with 3 cups of boiling water.
  7. When the spinach becomes tender and soft you will know that your meal is ready to be served!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as it has become one of my recent favourites and it is super simple to make for the week ahead.

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