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I am not the biggest fan of vegetables but of course I try and eat as many as I can to get the nutrients and vitamins from them. Probably the only vegetable that I actually really enjoy is mushrooms and it is certainly the only vegetable that I eat purely for the taste.
I love them cooked in any way but one of my favourite mushroom recipes is for Mediterranean stuffed mushrooms as they can be eaten as a meal themselves without the need for meat though they also make a fantastic side dish.
Roasted red peppers
Chopped black olives
Dried Italian herbs
These stuffed mushrooms are seriously easy to make. All you have to do is clean the mushrooms and remove the stalk. Chop the tomatoes, roasted red peppers, black olives and feta into small pieces and then add a little lemon juice, olive oil, the herbs and salt and pepper to season and mix everything all together and spoon onto the mushrooms.
Put the stuffed mushrooms onto a baking tray and cook in a preheated oven at 180c for about 20 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked and the filling is soft and browned. You can garnish them with a bit of chopped basil or parsley if you like.
They are surprisingly filling and hearty and a couple of them served with a salad make a delicious meal by themselves but having one as a side dish with some meal makes a really nice and special looking side dish. They have become something that I make a lot as I not only enjoy the mushrooms but the filling is really tasty and the Mediterranean taste of it makes a nice choice when you are in the mood for something a little bit different.
I have a few friends who are vegetarians, even the brother in law is. So when it's my turn to cook and a vegetarian is coming for tea I tend to have to make more than one sort of dish.
When cooking for others I like to start with a soup, not only because they are simple to make but also because whilst the gits... I mean guests are slurping on the soup I can catch up with the rest of the cooking. So when a vegetarian comes around I opt to make then a simple leak and potatoe soup as that's as far from meat as you can get really, although I did have a recipe for this that said use chicken stock but I use vegetable stock instead. It works as well and the veggies seem to love it.
This dish takes about 10 minutes to prepare and about 25 – 30 minutes to cook, although when it's cooking it needs little attention apart from the odd stir.
You will need....
A kitchen with a hob... (The cookery books don't tell you that do they? They just assume you already have a kitchen..?? I was told to never assume).
Anyway, you'll also need......
* 2 Tbsp of butter or margarine
* 1 clove (½ tsp dried) of garlic (Finely chopped)
* 2 leeks (chopped)
* 2 potatoes (chop into cubes)
* 2 pints (900 ml) of vegetable stock
* salt and pepper to season
And to make the soup you will need to.....
Melt the butter/margarine in a good sized pan, (medium), then, once melted, add the chopped leeks and garlic. Then fry for about 10 minutes, or until the leeks are soft enough.
Make sure you stir as you don't really want the leeks to brown.
Once the leeks are soft, add the chicken stock and the potatoes into the pan and bring to the boil.
Once boiling turn down heat to simmer for around 15 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
When stirring try not to scrape the sides of the pan as any 'bits' will drop into the soup... stir gently from the centre.
When the soup is cooked it's then a simple matter of mashing the potatoes, using a masher of a hand held mixer, so that the soup thickens slightly.
And the soups done …. ready to be taken in so the veggies can sample it....
If you want to, as you may see posh restaurants doing, you can swirl a little cream over the top before serving so that it looks 'posher'. I don't bother because my guests aren't really that posh, (Although one of them does think she is....)
ROAST CAULIFLOWER AND BRUSSELS SPROUTS
This is very popular in my town in Italy. It is a side dish that is served with pasta or fish but in England I make it alot to serve as a vegetarian dish when I am having a dinner party, I entertain my clients and clients of my husband also and sometimes we have guests and we do not know if they or their dinner partners are vegetarian so it is good to have a vegetarian dish that can be served. If nobody is a vegetarian I serve it as a side dish like in Italy.
This makes 4 small portions but you can double the ingredients very easy.
THE INGREDIENTS YOU NEED
A large cauliflower
300g of brussels sprouts
50g pine nuts
10 saffron strands
2 tbsp garlic oil
2 tbsp olive oil
TO MAKE THE DISH
Put your oven on and heat it to 200C. Put the pine nuts on a baking tray and roast them in your oven until they are golden brown colour. Let them cool down while you cut the cauliflower into small florets and slice the Brussels sprouts in half, you have to cut the bottom off each sprout and hold the leaves while you slice to stop them from falling apart.
Put these into a roasting try and pour the garlic and olive oils over after you have scattered the strands of saffron over the vegetables. Roast it in the oven for about 25 minutes.
When it is cooked put the cauliflower and brussels sprouts into a bowl for serving and mix the pine nuts and sultanas through with the vegetables and serve it with salt and pepper for people to season it how they like it.
5 Dooyoo Stars.
We generally eat in two 'sittings' in our household, so I much prefer meals that are simple to prepare and can be left to their own devices whilst I'm doing other things.
This sauce is my favourite store cupboard standby, including a tiny handful of ingredients which are basically left to roast in the oven and then served with freshly cooked pasta. It really couldn't be simpler.
If cooking for two people, I simply quarter a medium sized peeled red onion and then place this in a small pyrex dish with a generous drizzle of olive oil. Roast for 15 mins at 200 degrees then flatten out the onion pieces. Add a whole tin of tomatoes and break down roughly. Stir in one and a half Kallo vegetable stock cubes - really crucial as these add a fantastic flavour without being too salty- and mix in thoroughly. I also normally add a couple of crushed garlic cloves.
This mixture then goes back into the oven for a further 20 minutes. The ingredients are really basic, cheap and readily available but the results, thanks to the oven roasting, are simply divine. The roasting makes the tinned tomatoes slightly more concentrated and richer tasting and the onions add a lovely sweetness to the sauce. No additional liquid is needed and I don't feel the need to add any extra seasoning either because the stock cubes add plenty of flavour.
This sauce coats any style of pasta perfectly but I usually go for some nice farfalle so that the tomato and onion pieces fit into the twirls. Add a dash of parmesan if desired and serve with garlic bread and/or salad. Enjoy!
Cheesy Baked Bean Baked Bean Baked Bean Bake
So-called because of the difficulty in remembering which "Bake" to stop at, this is comfort food to warm you up on a cold night. It is traditionally made for youth groups and the like where finding something that all the notoriously fussy teenagers will eat is a struggle.
Splash of milk and some margarine for the mashed spud
Quantities are highly variable depending on how many teenagers you are feeding and how many are on diets; about 1 spud and a third of can of beans per person is about right. Probably.
1. Fry the onion.
2. In the meantime, boil and mash the spuds
3. When the onions are fried, add the baked beans to the pan and heat them up
4. Spread the mashed potato on top and then grate the cheese.
5. Stick it in the oven or under the grill until the cheese is melted.
You can add some herbs, pepper or soy sauce to the onion/beans mixture if you like.
For additional healthiness you can do some separate veg like carrots or sweetcorn - anything goes with it really.
This is a fairly quick recipe, taking about half an hour all told, and is generally popular and reasonably nutritious recommended for large groups of young people who can usually be prevailed upon to help prepare it!
Baked Spinach Cannelloni
Preparation time 20 minutes
Cooking time 20-25 minutes
This recipe is delicious and very easy to make. This is also great for kids to become involved with as there are lots of 'messy jobs' which kids will love.
8 cannelloni tubes
225g spinach, washed and trimmed
225g ricotta cheese
1 egg yolk
pinch of sugar
1 garlic clove, crushed
1. To make the filling put the spinach in a saucepan with a small amount of water. Cover and cook for about 7 minutes on a low heat. The leaves should be limp and dark green in colour. Drain well.
2. Chop the spinach and stir in the crumbled ricotta cheese. Seperate the egg and add the yolk to the mixture. Stir well.
3. Spoon the filling into each cannelloni tube and arrange them in an oven-proof dish.
4. Mix the passata, sugar and garlic together and pour over the cannelloni, making sure it is well covered. Sprinkle with cheese and bake in a preheated oven at 200C/ 180 fan/ gas mark 6 for about 20 minutes until bubbling and golden brown.
This recipe is now a firm family favourite. Delicious served with salad and garlic bread.
It is also very cheap to make so perfect for a family on a budget.
This will make a very tasty veggie curry for two.
120g Quorn chicken style chunks
Pataks Korma paste
Small tin coconut milk (200ml)
1 green pepper
Chop and fry the onion until brown, about 10 mins
Meanwhile chop and cook the carrot and cauliflower in the microwave.
Add the Quorn chunks, pepper and courgette (both chopped into small bits) to the onion and fry for a few minutes.
Stir in the Korma paste - 4 heaped teaspoons - and fry for 1 minute. Then add the rest of the vegetables and the coconut milk. Cook this for about 15 minutes, adding in the sweetcorn towards the end. Cook rice or heat the naan (or both) and serve!
You can substitute almost any other veg for that listed, this is what we usually have available.
You could use cashew nuts instead of the quorn chunks.
Obviously you can add more or less of the curry paste, or use a different variety to suit your preferences.4 teaspoons of Korma gives a mild but tasty flavour. You can start a child off on eating curries by using about 1/4 teaspoon of paste to start with, and build it up a little.
I am not a Vegetarian but I wouldn't say that I am huge meater either! A few days of a week I eat more of a Vegetarian diet than anything else really and although I don't 'cook' very often and usually eat ready meals and the likes I do make these rather often, in fact I have just made up a batch for tomorrow night as I am having a party and they are fine refrigerated and heated too!
I will give you this recipe for 4 people which is what I usually make up per time.
4 large flat mushrooms
3 tbsp olive oil
3 teaspoons of dried thyme (you can use fresh if you prefer)
3 teaspoons of dried rosemary (again you can use fresh if you prefer)
3 small red shallots, chopped really, really thinly
200 g breadcrumbs (I use old bread) crumbled up by hand
2 garlic cloves (small ones) and I squish those in a garlic crusher (you can use less or more!)
3 tbsp of dried mixed cheese
1 small red or green chili (depending how daring you are)and chopped up all really small
All I do is peel my large mushrooms, removing the stalky bit on each at the same time as peeling them and I place them on a large baking tray and drizzle them with half of the olive oil the and I then sprinkle them with the the Thyme and Rosemary and mix all the other ingredients together in a large mixing bowl - no need to blend, I just mix the ingredients by hand and then when I'm done I shove that mix all over the mushrooms, replace the stalk to each (if I have room) and then use the remaining olive oil I saved over the top of them and I bake them for about 25 minutes on Gas mark 6.
These taste great, are filling and are really easy to make up and also look really nice and the topping goes golden in colour and slightly crunchy. I eat them as part of a main meal or make them for friends, myself or family as nibbles. I don't think that these are ok for freezing, I never have personally froze them but like I mentioned earlier I do refrigerate mine sometimes once made up for a day or so and they are fine for doing that with in my experience! I simply find these really, really tasty and so do people I make them for and if course they are suitable for Vegetarians too!
I'm always amazed by the fact that everyone in the world seems to be in love with onions and I'm always treated like a freak when people find out I don't like them. It's a very strong, pungent taste and I would have thought it would be more of an acquired taste. After all, I love garlic but that's also a strong, pungent taste and there are far more people who hate garlic and yet they don't get treated like a freak!
Onions are the bane of my life. They are in EVERYTHING. I've even bought foods before that didn't previously have onions in them and they change the recipe to include them which can be a very nasty surprise for me. Did the onion lovers miss them that much that they demanded they become included?
Sure, we do cook a lot of our own food from scratch at home so they can easily be excluded but, if I want to buy something ready made; be it a sandwich, salad, sauce, soup, pie, quiche or a whole ready meal, I have to study the ingredients carefully for a long time before I decide if I can eat it or not. Even a tiny presence of these nasty bulbs can ruin the entire experience for me as it's all I can taste.
It's also embarrassing if I go round to someone's house for dinner and the dish includes onions as I really struggle to eat them and my throat actually closes up and won't let me swallow if I taste them. I once went round to someone's house after telling them I didn't like onions, so they presented a mushroom pie. Great, I love mushrooms. Except it wasn't a mushroom pie. It was an onion and mushroom pie. The description on the box said "mushroom pie" but there were definitely a lot more onions than mushrooms. Why didn't it say this in the description?
Even if most people do like them, it annoys me the way they are included in the vast majority of ready made food. I can't think of another single ingredient that's so prevalent in everything.
As you can probably gather, onions make me angry because I hate them so much and they are everywhere. They ruin any and all food they are present in and it makes my life quite difficult.
OK, maybe the title is a bit over the top but I have decided to post this in response to the comments left on one of my Le Creuset reviews. This is something that I made up as I went along although I am sure that you will find similar in cookery books. I just do not bother with being organised when cooking, never have. I like to make it up as I go along and somehow it all seems to work. This recipe is actually Vegan up until the finishing touches but many people would prefer to lob some grated cheese and a big homemade crouton on top so if you are Vegan ignore that bit or use that 'orrible vegan "cheese" stuff that smells like socks...
This recipe is for a very flavoursome bean stew/casserole or a very thick soup. For omnivores you can add sausages or bacon. Veggies can add quorn sausages. It needs neither as it is delicious as it is.
DISCLAIMER IN THE INTERESTS OF KEEPING MARRIAGES ALIVE:
This WILL make you fart unless you are used to eating lots of beans. Just warning you...
Ok, the main ingredients will be beans. Preferably a mixture of beans including at least one dark skinned one (kidney, aduki etc) to increase the iron content. I usually have bags of dried beans that I will soak overnight as this is the most economical way to cook. Tinned work ok too though. I vary what type of beans that I use for this but generally use about 5-7 types, my favourite being butter, pinto, black eyed, haricot and kidney.
ALL ABOUT THE INGREDIENTS:
Beans are legumes, a class of vegetable which also includes peas and lentils. They are a super-food, an incredibly nutritious and versatile ingredient which are low in fat, high in fibre and are usually high in folate and other essential minerals. They are very high in protein which is great for veggies or vegans.
This recipe contains protein, large amounts of vitamins, minerals and lots of immune boosting ingredients. Lycopene from the passata and cooked tomatoes is a powerful antioxidant especially when combined with garlic and onions. This recipe is low fat. You can add whatever herbs and spices to taste. I tend to eat lots of this when there are colds about or to recover from one.
Soak the equivalent of 5 handfuls of uncooked mixed beans overnight in unsalted water. I use handfuls because as I said, I weigh nothing....a good handful of each type of bean will work. If you make too much then the finished product can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days or frozen. Soaking the beans will make them more digestible. It is best to wash the beans a few times too, you will be horrified at how grubby they can be. Just leave them overnight with a lid on and in the morning you can wash them off and drain them ready for cooking.
Two large bottles of passata (or 2 x litre bottles of tomato juice)
2 x tin tomatoes chopped
8 x fresh tomatoes ( or another tin if these are unavailable)
8 cloves of garlic ( in thin slivers or chopped small )
1 x large red onion (finely diced)
1 x large white onion (finely diced)
1 x pepper ( chopped-any colour will do)
Olive oil (you can use any oil or butter)
All to taste- black pepper (I like course ground), sea salt, chilli (I like fresh or seeds), chunk of fresh ginger, black mustard seeds. ( you can add tumeric, cumin or any spice that you wish)
Add your soaked and drained beans to a large pan of water. Add no salt. Bring these to the boil and then simmer until they are at your preferred texture. I like them non squishy but your mileage may vary. I generally cook mine for between 30-45 minutes dependent upon the beans that I have chosen.
Whilst the beans bubble away heat up some oil in another large pan. I say "some oil" - you need a good splosh to fry the onions and garlic etc. When the oil gets hot pop in a teaspoon of black mustard seeds (if you are using them) and watch them "pop" in an entertaining and loud fashion. When they have all popped you can add in your chopped onion and garlic. I turn the heat down at this point or they burn.
When your onions are slightly translucent, add in the spices, salt, herbs of your choice and cook them down a bit. Your kitchen should now smell amazing. Then simply add the chopped pepper, passata and tomatoes and cook on a low heat for 10 mins.
Now drain your cooked beans and add them to the sauce. Mix them well and chuck the lot in a big fat casserole/oven dish. Cook this for 20 mins until hot and bubbling. You can take this out and place slices of french bread and grated cheese on top if you wish, returning it to the oven until browned off. If not then it is ready to serve. You can pour a little good quality olive oil or balsamic vinegar on top, creme fraiche etc and use good bread to dip. This is a very versatile base for a lot of dishes and can be eaten as a thick soup, a main or as a dip etc.
100% healthy and delicious, also very economical for larger groups. Can be frozen. The above recipe will provide approx 6 large servings or 8 smaller in my experience and I often make more to batch freeze.
* Stuff in a pitta/ tortilla wrap with cheese and salad
* Good on toast
* As a casserole on its own or with added sausages/veggie sausages etc
* With rice if you have added lots of chilli
* As a soup, you can thin it with more tomato juice/ blend it
* Stuffed in steamed cabbage leaves and then rolled up and served with a cheese sauce
* With bread as a healthy dip
* As an alternative to a toasted sandwich filling with cheese added in.
I hope that this has inspired :)
For a long time it has been quite easy to get a vegetarian meal in a restaurant at night and nowadays they are decent meals rather than an omelette or salad, but it is at lunchtime I find it most difficult especially in pubs.
When we went to Leicester a few years ago, we stopped off at a pub for lunch and I was quite pleased with the choice. The one that caught my eye was the Mediterranean Cheese Baguette. I am not too keen on the recent idea that aubergine and courgette are good for sandwiches but this was a bit different. It was mushroom, peppers and onion, mixed with cheese and olives.
I was a bit concerned that the bread may have been a bit soggy due to the melted cheese but this was not the case. The baguette was firm and just lightly toasted. Since having this I have made it plenty of times at home.
Rather than a baguette I often make toast and put the mixture on there. It only takes about 10 minutes from start to finish and depending on how much you use it is easy to make it so as you are having 2 of your 5 a day. I have tried this with a number of different cheeses and it works really well with any hard cheese.
I have found that the way I used to make it made the cheese too runny so now when I am making it I fry the onions and mushrooms, then add the finely sliced peppers then the olives, and mix them for about a minute.
It is only after I have taken them off the heat that I add the grated cheese, stir for about 20 seconds and then put it on the toast. If the cheese is mild or a bit bland I will add black pepper and this gives a different but just as nice taste.
It is a fairly cheap meal to make and as the cheese needs to be grated and then melted, it is ideal for cheese that has started to go a bit hard. I won't put amounts down as everyone will want to mix their own ingredients with an emphasis on their favourite vegetable, but as long as it is more than enough to cover the toast, with a little around the sides, it keeps me full for a good few hours.
If I have felt that I want something a little more filling, then I will use the mix and add it to a baked potato.
Basically, this is a tiny quick home recipe that I love and is great for a weekend lunch in the garden as a dish with other salad dishes too. Now before I begin, I need to say a few things. 1) I'm not a vegetarian, however this pasta salad is a vegetarian dish, unless meat lie ham is added to it. 2) this isn't a very professional recipe and I don't have exact measurements and all that, it's purely based down to opinion :)
Pasta - how ever much you like, some people prefer to have more vegetables than pasta but usually looking at the packet of whatever pasta you buy it tells you what a decent sized serving is. I like to use the spiral pasta for this dish best.
Peppers - green pepper, red pepper, yellow pepper, orange pepper, whatever you want. I usually do about three different types of pepper but use the amount of 2 whole ones.
1 Onion - I prefer to use just a normal onion but you can also use spring onion or even do both if you like onions!
Sweetcorn - I love sweetcorn and I think it goes really nicely in this dish, to be honest you could add in whatever vegetables you think goes nicely.
Cheese (optional) - not a lot, just enough to grate on top for presentation, you could stir in grated cheese if you wanted to to make it taste a bit different.
Stir through tomato sauce - You can buy one in a jar from the supermarket or if you have more time and are feeling a bit more adventurous you could make your, unfortunately I can't help you out there!
** METHOD **
1. prepare all the vegetables by dicing them to around 1cm square or smaller. You obviously don't need to worry about sweetcorn or anything else you might add like spring onion that won't be worth dicing.
2. cook the pasta for however much time it says on the packet in boiling water, you could even add a dash of salt if you wanted.
3. when the pasta is cooked, drain it through a colander and pour it back into the saucepan that now has no water in it.
4. Add the jar of tomato pasta sauce or home made sauce to the hot pasta and stir through. Stir in the vegetables and transfer to bowl/dish/container.
5. Grate cheese on top for garnish.
Ok, so I hope you like my recipe and thanks for reading! :)
This is a personal favourite. I first made the recipe after wanting to make my own, healthy bean burgers that had plenty of flavour. It tastes better than it sounds! Ingredients can be altered to your own taste, with excact measurements not strictly important.
You will need:
1 large onion
half a can of kidney beans (drained)
half a can of chickpeas (drained)
half a tin of tinned tomatoes
half a clove of garlic
5 tablespoons of lemon juice
half a courgette
6 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
Optional: tablespoon or 2 of flour to thicken up the burgers.
one large bowl
one frying pan
large stirring spoon
Preperaring your ingredients:
Dice the onion until it's in tiny chunks and add to your bowl.
Empty your drained kidney beans and chick peas into the bowl along with the garlic.
Mix until a chunky paste.
Add the lemon juice, tomatoes and 3 tablespoons oil.
Chop your courgette into tiny chunks and add to the mixture.
Whisk the mixture together.
Mould the mixture (providing it's mixed together completely) into burgers the size of your palm.
Preheat the frying pan, now add your remaining 3 tablespoons of oil into your frying pan and let it spread around the pan evenly. Add your burgers and cook them gently for 3 minutes. Turn the heat up and keep the burgers moving with the spoon, ever so often turning them over. After another 6-7 minutes, check that the food is cooked thoroughly. Add salt and pepper and serve with a salad or into a bread bun.
The above recipe makes 4-6 burgers depending on how large or small you make them.
A medium bean burger will have an estimated 350-550 calories depending on how large you choose to make it. Although this seems high, the burgers are 100% healthy and full of goodness.
I'm a big meat eater but, a couple of years ago I did go vegetarian for a while, I only lasted six months until the bacon sandwiches started to call, although I did discover a few vegetarian recipes along the way which I still eat today. One of them being Potato, Spinach and Cauliflower Curry, it's really filling without being too heavy and is a great winter warmer, which, with our weather makes it great for any cold summer nights aswell.
Ingredients (serves 1):
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 crushed garlic cloves
2tbsps medium curry powder
1tsp of black onion seeds
400g can of chopped tomatoes
200ml vegetable stock
500g peeled and diced potatoes
400g small cauliflower florets
1/2 tsp turmeric
100g baby leaf spinach
100g natural yoghurt
Sunflower Oil/ Frylight Spray
To start, using the oil fry off the onions until soft, but only let it go slightly brown, I sometimes fnd a little bit of water helps to avoid the over cooked onion taste.
Once the onion is soft add the garlic, curry powder and onion seeds and cook them off for about a minute whilst stirring.
Then add in the tomatoes and stock at the same time and allow to simmer for about five minutes.
While the curry is simmering,bring a pan of water to the boil, add the potatoes, cauliflower and turmeric and cook until tender, then drain this off and add the original pan of curry sauce.
Add in the spinach and allow it to wilt, then add a final finish of natural yoghurt to serve.
I like to serve the curry with just naan bread as the sauce is really delicious and great for being mopped up as it were, although the curry also goes really well with rice. Although this recipe is just for one, it is easily adaptable to however many people you're cooking for and is a really healthy and cheap alternative to a takeaway curry which is really simple to make.
Sometimes, after an especially late night at the office I really can not be bothered to do much in the way of cooking. It's not lazy, it's close to exhaustion.
This is my easy recipe for a tasty soupy based meal. Some may call it snack.
You will need for one person, maybe two people:
half pint of vegetable stock
2-3 eggs beaten a little but not too much
1 spring onion
pinch of pepper (white or black)
pinch of chilli (optional)
Splash of Oyster Sauce
Cornstarch 1 tablespoon, more if you like a thicker soup
A spoon and a bowl
What you do:
Stock goes in the pan and gets heated thoroughly, add splash of oyster sauce and stir it in well, add finely chopped spring onion, add the pepper and chilli, add the cornstarch stirring it in nicely. Chuck your peas in. Let it go for a few minutes and then, finally start drizzling the egg in slowly whilst stirring. transfer to a bowl or eat straight from the pan.
This will take you all of five minutes to do. It is so freaking simple and quite delicious. You do not need to put peas in it unless you want to. Add a splash of light soy sauce if you want.
If you're not a veggie, you can add a small amount shredded and cooked chicken.