Yes you read that right. Best known for building homes on DIY SOS, or testing general knowledge on Who Dares Wins, Nick Knowles has now turned his hand to nutrition and wellbeing and has this vegan and veggie cookbook hitting the stands.
“I’m 6’2” and 16 stone; I’m a big unit,” he says. “I need hearty meals, not thin weedy plates, and I often work outside in cold and wet conditions – a salad won’t cut it – so this is a vegan and vegetarian cookbook full of hearty, filling, healthy recipes. Why feel bad about the cake you have with your coffee at elevenses when you can have a healthy raw chocolate cake? Why skimp in winter when you can have a hearty chestnut and vegetable stew and dumplings? And if I can do it – then you can do it.”
There’s tons of lovely vegan and vegetarian recipes in the book – we’re loving this snacky job – perfect for brunch or sharing with friends – maybe. It’s a ‘sharing’ plate until you taste it.
SWEET POTATO & BLACK BEAN NACHOS WITH GREEN CHILLI SALSA
FOR THE NACHOS
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced into 5cm chunks
¼ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
400g tin black beans, drained and rinsed
Small bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped, plus extra for serving
1 red chilli, finely diced
150g tortilla chips
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE SALSA
1 green pepper, deseeded and quartered
1 green chilli
1 small red onion, quartered
1 cucumber, deseeded
2 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp agave nectar or honey
Small handful of coriander leaves
1 Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5.
2 Throw the sweet potato into a mixing bowl along with the ground coriander, paprika, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread onto a foil-lined baking tray and roast in the oven for 25–30 minutes until they are soft all the way through.
3 Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a small saucepan and cook the onion and garlic on a medium heat until softened and slightly browned. Throw in the black beans, coriander (stalks, leaves and all), red chilli and water, stirring well. Bring to a simmer and cook out for 10 minutes. Lightly crush the black beans with the back of a wooden spoon, take the pan off the heat and leave to one side. Stir through the coriander leaves.
4 For the salsa, simply blitz the pepper, chilli, red onion, cucumber, olive oil, lime juice and agave or honey together in a food processor and season with salt and pepper to taste. You should have a tasty, bright green salsa with a good, thick consistency.
5 Check the sweet potatoes are cooked through and, if so, lightly crush with the back of a fork.
6 To build the nachos, simply spread the tortilla chips on a platter and load up with the spiced sweet potato, black beans and salsa, topping with a generous handful of freshly chopped coriander.
Proper Healthy Food by Nick Knowles (BBC Books, Paperback, £14.99)
Photography by Andrew Burton
Published 12th January