Sausage and lentil stew

Sausages and lentils are a combination made in heaven. This is a one-pot hearty stew to share with friends and family. You can make ahead and freeze it if you prefer.

prep time 15 min     cook time  35-45 min
ingredients for 6
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 500g good quality pork sausages
  • 125g cubed pancetta or bacon
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 2 carrots, cut into rounds
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, picked
  • 400g lentils
  • 750ml hot chicken or vegetable stock (or water)
  • 1 (200g) can crushed tomatoes
  • small bunch of flatleaf parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • peperoncino flakes/seeds (optional)

1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large casserole or pan. Add pancetta and sausages and sizzle for 10 minutes, turning the sausages a few times until nicely browned. Scoop the sausages onto a plate.

2. Add the remaining oil and stir in the onions, carrots, pepper and garlic and sauté for a few minutes until the onions start to soften. Add also the peperoncino at this time if using.

3. Return sausages to the pan and add lentils, stock, tomatoes and picked rosemary. Bring to a boil, then cover the pan and let simmer for 30 min or until the lentils are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Check the cooking time for your lentils as it varies a lot depending on the type of lentils you use.

4. Leave covered for 5 minutes before seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

5. Scatter over the parsley and serve from the pan.



Ajapsandali is a traditional Azerbaijani, Georgian and Armenian dish consisting of onions, eggplant, tomato, bell peppers and herbs. Ajapsandali will have a better look if you use peppers of various colours. To preserve vitamins and colour, do not stew vegetables for a long time. Some variations include also potatoes and chili peppers. This is a fabulous hearty one-pot meal. You can pair this with good salty feta unless you want to keep it strictly vegetarian.

prep time 25 min     cook time 45 min
ingredients for 6-7
  • 3 large eggplants
  • 2-3 sweet peppers
  • 1 green pepper
  • 3 onions
  • 4 big potatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • 4-5 big tomatoes (or a can of peeled or crushed tomatoes)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • chili pepper or peperoncino
  • fresh dill
  • fresh coriander
  • salt and pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • optional: feta cheese

1. Cut the eggplant into cubes, sprinkle salt on them and let sweat while you prepare the other vegetables.

2. Cut the peppers into long strips, the carrots into large rounds and the potatoes into chunks. Slice the onions, chop the garlic and the herbs.

3. Pat dry the eggplant cubes and fry them in olive oil for a few minutes. Turn the heat on low.

4. Add the potatoes, sprinkle some salt and pepper on top. Keep adding in layers the onions and tomatoes, then the peppers and garlic. Add some salt and at the end 1-2dl of water.

5. Turn up the heat to a boil and  then simmer on medium for 35-40 minutes without the lid until the vegetables are cooked and some liquid has evaporated. At the end add the chopped herbs.

6. Serve with crusty bread and some feta cheese.


Chickpea salad

I have a yummy salad recipe for you today: chickpeas, leafy greens and eggplant. This is one of those salads where you can use whatever veggies you have at home, and it is always good and filling.

prep time 10 min
ingredients for 2
  • 1 can (400g) chickpeas
  • roasted eggplant slices
  • 1 small cucumber
  • either a bag (125g) leafy greens or bag (125g)of baby spinach or both
  • handful of radishes
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • balsamic vinegar

1. Place the leafy greens on your salad plate or bowl.

2. Drain the chickpeas and place the on top of the leafy greens.

3. Wash cucumber and radishes, slice them and add to the salad.

4. Halve the roasted eggplant slices and add to the bowl.

5. Make the dressing with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and toss the salad with it.

tip: like I said, you can use different ingredients. Here I have halved cherry tomatoes and celery rounds, but no radishes nor leafy greens.


Quick tuna salad

One of my favourite light lunches in spring or summer time is a tuna salad. There are many ways to make it, I have two slightly different recipes.

prep time 15 min
ingredients for 2
  • 300 g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 160 g tuna
  • small cucumber, diced
  • handful of olives
  • a few basil leaves
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients, add salt and pepper.


leave out cucumber and use capers instead of olives.

You could easily add corn, carrots, pickled veggies, arugula, mixed greens or whatever floats your boat.


Fresh veggie salad with grapefruit

I love spring for many reasons, mixed salads being one of them. It is still soup season for those chilly nights, but when the sun is out and start warming I start craving salads. This veggie and fruit salad is one of my favourites. It is perfect for a light lunch which leaves you full of energy.

prep time 15 min
ingredients for 2
  • 1 bag (125g) baby spinach
  • 1 grapefruit, peeled, pithed and sliced
  • 200g button mushrooms, halved
  • 6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced or cut into cubes
  • 1 avocado, cut into cubes
  • handful of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and chopped walnut
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamico
  • salt
  • fresh thyme

1. Toss lightly all the ingredients in a serving bowl or platter.

2. Mix the olive oil with balsamico and add salt. Pour on top of the salad.

3. Add seeds and fresh thyme and serve.

tip: you can add a small can (125g) of chickpeas for your protein


Bean salad

This salad is a fantastic side dish but can also be served as a light lunch. Full of nutrients and healthy protein from the legumes and feta.

prep time 10 min
ingredients for 4
  • 1 can (400g) chickpeas
  • 1 can (400g) beans
  • 1 red onion, diced or sliced thinly
  • 7-8 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 125 g cherry tomatoes
  • small cucumber, diced
  • a few artichoke hearts, pickled or in oil
  • 10 pitted olives
  • handful of dill, parsley and basil
  • olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper for the dressing
  • 150 g feta, crumbled

1.  Place all the ingredients except the feta and the dressing in a serving bowl.

2. Mix 5-6 tbls each of olive oil, lemon juice and vinegar, add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the salad and mix carefully. Add more dressing if needed.

3. Add crumbled feta and mix lightly.

4. Place in a fridge for 15-20 min before serving.

tip: I used red beans mainly for color, but you can use any beans of your choice


Italian sausage and veggie soup

This sausage and veggie soup is definitely  a main course and not a starter. It is hearty, healthy and full of flavour. You get all in one: protein, grain and veggies.

prep time  10 min     cook time 25 min
ingredients for 4
  • 1 lb. Italian Sausage, cut into thumb size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 250g broccoli florets
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/8 teaspoon peperoncino flakes or seeds
  • 1,5-2l vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1  can (400g) diced tomatoes
  • 1 bunch chopped kale
  • 150-200g rice, barley or small pasta
  • handful of chopped fresh basil
  • salt and black pepper
2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the red peppers, zucchini, broccoli florets, bay leaf, and peperoncino. Cook about 3-4 minutes.
3. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, and rice and cook 12-15 minutes, then add the kale and keep cooking for a few minutes. Stir in the fresh basil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the sausage pieces and heat until warm. Remove the bay leaf and serve. If using barley or pasta, check the cooking time.

tip: you can make this soup vegetarian by using vegetable broth and omitting the sausage.

tip: grated Parmesan cheese adds yumminess to this soup.

FOR A GLUTEN FREE ALTERNATIVE:  use appropriate pasta


Rainbow roasted veggies

These healthy rainbow veggies are an easy way to add color, tons of vitamins and flavors to your meal in one sheet pan. They are a fantastic side dish for chicken, beef, lamb or pork. You can omit the oil, if you want to. I always use a little bit of extra virgin olive oil. I have two variations. And both times I forgot to take a photo of the cooked veggies. Prep time and cook time are the same.

prep time 15 min     cook time 30 min
ingredients for 4 (option 1)
  • 2 sweet red peppers, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 3-4 carrots,  cut into sticks
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 2 zucchini, cut into rounds
  • 1 sweet potato, chopped
  • handful of parsley, dried rosemary and dried thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 200 C.

2. Place vegetables onto a baking sheet. Season with salt, pepper and herbs. Drizzle oil on top.

3. Bake for about 30 min until the vegetables are cooked but still a little bit crunchy.

ingredients for 4 (option 2)

  • 2 sweet red peppers, chopped
  • 1 eggplant, chopped
  • 4-5 carrots, cut into rounds
  • 350 g mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 red onions, quartered
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • dried herbs: thyme, rosemary, oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Other than the above mentioned vegetables, you could choose some of these:

RED: tomatoes, beets, radishes

YELLOW: yellow beets

ORANGE: orange bell peppers, pumpkin, butternut squash

GREEN: green beans, asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, snow peas

PURPLE: purple carrots, purple cabbage

You can also add potatoes, but I hardly ever mix potatoes with the veggies, instead I make a whole baking sheet of potatoes.

tip: try to make one layer of each vegetables, they will roast better.


Chickpea and potato soup

An easy option for a quick, healthy and hearty soup. You can use cannellini beans instead of chickpeas if you want.

prep time 10 min     cook time 35 min
ingredients for 4
  • 500 g potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 can (400 g) chickpeas
  • 1 l vegetable broth
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • grilled bread cubes or croutons (optional)
  • peperoncino oil (optional)

1. Heat a few tablespoons olive oil in a large soup pot and add onion, carrots and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until onion is translucent.

2. Add potatoes and vegetable broth and cook for 25-30 min total. After 15 min add halved tomatoes and chickpeas as well as bay leaves and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Ladle into soup bowls and serve with grated Parmesan cheese, croutons and a few drops of peperoncino oil for added taste.


Spetsofai aka Greek sausage stew

Spetsofai is a rustic spicy dish made with thick country sausages and peppers in a rich tomato sauce. You can find this Greek dish in many variations. The famous spetsofai from Pelion contains aubergines, while in most areas, it is prepared with green or multicoloured mild bell peppers. If using mild sausages, spice it up with peperoncino or red hot chili peppers and hot paprika.

prep time 15 min     cook time 35 min

ingredients for 4
  • 4 country sausages, sliced
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 sweet red pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 green pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 can (400g) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • a glass (cup) of water
  • 4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oli
  • 1 glass red wine
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • peperoncino
  • 2-3 teaspoons paprika
  • salt and pepper

1. Place a saucepan over high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté the sausage until nicely coloured. Don’t crowd the pan. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

2. Into the same pan add the rest of the oil, the chopped onion and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add garlic and tomato puree and cook for another minute. Add the peppers and continue to cook.

3. Deglaze with red wine scraping the bottom of the pan with all the yummy parts and wait the wine to evaporate. Add crushed tomatoes, water, herbs and spices, turn the heat to medium and cook for 15 min with the lid on.

4. Add sausages and cook for another 15-20 min until the sauce thickens. Check the seasoning.

5. Pair it with lots of crusty bread to wipe up all the delicious sauce or serve as a main dish with basmati rice.