Meat-free marvels: National Vegetarian Week
Going veggie – even for just a few days a week – has become more popular with recent food trends (not to mention the beautiful rainbow bowls of veggies that flood Instagram). For National Vegetarian Week (16-24 May), we’re trying some goodies from Linda McCartney’s easy frozen range, which we’ll be reviewing next week. In the meantime, we thought we’d share some of our favourite places to go meat-free – whether cooking for yourself or eating out.
National Vegetarian Week
Are you doing a meat-free Monday (or Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday…)? Here are some easy recipes to cook at home – or a few of the tastiest places to grab a veggie meal while you’re out and about.
Easy recipes for delicious dinners and tasty lunches.
Roast Veggie & Hummus Pie – Holly
My boyfriend became vegetarian at the beginning of this year, so it has really made me think about cutting down the amount of meat I eat. I have a couple of favourite recipes which we tend to have a couple of times a month. The first is a gorgeous Indian recipe for daal. The spicy lentils are so lovely and warming, and it is great for making big batches to freeze. We sometimes add sweet potato and cauliflower too. Don’t forget a warm oven fresh naan for dipping! My second and perfect summery veggie recipe is a roast veggie and hummus pie. It is so tasty and goes great with a side salad and a glass of white. It’s easy to, and can easily feed four of you. I usually take a slice into work the next day and watch my colleagues’ mouths water.
Falafels – Sophie
A great and mega easy veggie spesh is falafels. I can’t pronounce them properly, but I can make some!
You need hardly anything: an onion, a garlic clove, 400g tin of chickpeas, 2tsp cumin, 1tsp coriander, one egg.
- Fry the onion and garlic in oil
- Tip in a bowl with chickpeas and spices
- Either use a blender or smash with a potato masher
- Add egg, make into balls
- Bosh in the oven for 20-25 mins. Done!
Tip: can add more flavour with chilli, lemon, fresh parsley, black pepper. I’m all about improv!
Halloumi, Papaya & Watercress Salad – Nell
My brother has been vegetarian for 10 years, so when cooking with him I’ve liked experimenting with new flavours and meat-free options. One of my absolute favourite vegetarian recipes is the Halloumi, Papaya and Watercress Salad from Hemsley & Hemsley. The combination of sweet and salty flavours in this salad give it a refreshing and unique flavour, and it’s so simple and easy to throw together!
Pea and Mint Risotto – Harriet
Risotto is a great excuse to crack open a bottle of wine or Italian beer early in the evening. All that stirring takes a while and patience, so sipping a glass of red during the stirring process is perfectly acceptable.
This dish is so simple, but tastes great. Make a pea puree, with finely chopped mint and lemon juice. Cook the risotto rice with a glass of white wine and good quality vegetable stock, ladling in spoonfuls at a time and stirring continuously. Combine the two together; top the dish with pea shoots and shavings of Parmesan. Wala! (How the Italians say Voilà!)
Sweet Potato Burritos – Whitney
Although I don’t consider myself a vegetarian, I absolutely love vegetarian food, often more than meaty meals on the menu. It’s colourful, it’s fresh. And once you get beyond the masses’ comfort food of lasagnes, chicken and chips, and bacon-this, bacon-that – there is just so much out there on the vegetarian spectrum.
My mum is an avid vegetarian, so I am lucky enough to be in possession of some of her best recipes in a handwritten cookbook. In celebration of National Vegetarian Week, I’d like to share one (just one now) with our Janes.
Prepare yourself for a simple taste revelation that will leave you forgetting meat even exists:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 can red kidney beans
- 1 pack burritos (preferably with bonus seasoning sachet included)
- 1 onion
- 2 crushed garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cups sweet potato
- 125g grated cheese
- 1 optional avocado (because it’s da bomb)
How to make:
- Heat oil and sauté onion and garlic until soft
- Stir in kidney beans and mash mixture lightly
- Add in burrito seasonings (or your own blend of spices) and stir in the water
- In the meantime, cook and mash sweet potato
- Divide bean mixture and mashed sweet potato evenly between your warmed burritos, placing mixture in the middle
- Top your burrito with cheese and optional avocado, fold up Mexican-style, and place on a baking tray
- Bake for 12 minutes and serve with homemade salsa. Yum!
Don’t feel like cooking? Treat yourself to some yummy veggie dining at these restaurants.
Not a stuffed mushroom in sight – Sophie
The Gate in Angel is so delicious, proper fancy but filling veggie food. There’s so much variety on the menu and you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. Not just the standard veggie option – a f*** off mushroom or goat cheese thrown on whatever green leaf they can find. You feel all smug and healthy until you order a delicious glass of white wine to go with it.
If you’re around Euston, there’s a veggie curryhouse, Diwana Bhel Poori House, that does delicious veggie Indian food with lots of dosas on the menu (a southern Indian speciality, thin crepes made from fermented rice and lentil batter and stuffed with various treats). Also it’s BYO, (self-five!) and mega cheap eat for London too. If you can’t get in, there’s also Ravi Shankar a few doors down.
Easy working lunches – Nell
Mildred’s is a great vegetarian restaurant. I love the one in Soho for an easy, delicious and healthy vegetarian lunch while I’m at work. They have a menu filled with interesting veggie mains or you can just opt for a large plate of mixed salads. Delicious.
Don’t forget the high street – Becky
You don’t have to head to a veggie-only restaurant to try great vegetarian food. Many restaurants have moved on from just offering tomato pasta or a stuffed pepper (thank goodness). Even high street chains are getting in on the act. I recommend giving the Classic Zucca at Zizzi’s a try for a punchy hit of rosemary and roasted butternut squash. Or try the Halloumi and Hummus Burger at Bill’s for a dish packed full of zingy flavour.
Are you giving veggie a go for National Vegetarian Week (and beyond)?
Let us know – @tweetjanes.