Today – Five great vegetarian recipes
Christmas is approaching fast, and it’s sometimes difficult to know what to cook to keep everyone happy in the cold winter months. Here are five great vegetarian recipes that are packed full of flavour – try them all and see which one is your favourite!
Jacket potatoes with Brie and cranberry
Jacket potatoes are a failsafe wintertime winner – they’re cheap, easy to make, and warm you up when it’s cold outside. But because it’s Christmas, we can jazz up the humble jacket potato a little – Brie and cranberry is a classic combo, and makes a great festive filling for your jacket spuds (I’ve gone for a vegetarian version, made with non-animal rennet). If you’re short on time, these jacket potatoes from McCain are a great idea, as they take just five minutes in a microwave.
- 4 medium jacket potatoes
- sea salt
- 250g vegetarian Brie (such as Godminster), cut into thin slices
- 50g cranberry sauce
- Give the potatoes a quick rinse under cold water, then prick all over with a fork.
- Rub a generous pinch of sea salt over the skin of each potato, then bake in an oven preheated to 200˚C
- Bake for 1hr, turning once, until the skins are nice and crisp
- When ready, cut each potato in half and add 2-3 slices of Brie over each one
- Grill for 3-4 minutes until the cheese bubbles, then remove from the heat and spoon over the cranberry sauce.
Whole Roasted Cauliflower
The humble cauliflower – or ‘the new kale’ as some people would have it – gets star billing in this delicious recipe. Cauliflower takes spice really well, and you can mix things up and choose your favourites, although this recipe opts for north African spices, including cumin and coriander, to deliver plenty of aromatic fragrance. This would be great served with basmati rice or some couscous.
- 1 large cauliflower
- 2tsp cumin seeds
- 1tsp coriander seeds
- 50g butter
- Trim the cauliflower of any leaves that are covering the white florets, and cut the base so that it sits upright in a roasting tin
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, then gently lower the cauliflower in, base side up, and cook for 8-10 minutes. Drain and leave to dry for 15 minutes
- Toast the spices in a dry pan until they give off a tempting aroma, then quickly remove from the heat (they burn very easily). Crush in a pestle and mortar
- Tip the crushed spices into a bowl, then add the softened butter and stir well, seasoning with salt and pepper
- Rub the spiced butter all over the cauliflower, then place the cauliflower on a baking tray and roast in a hot oven (220˚C) for 25-30 minutes, until it is well browned on top.
Spicy lentil dahl
Dahls are so simple to make, but so tasty! They need a long, slow cook, but they’re fine to tick away on the hob while you get on with other things. All the ingredients are easy to come by, and once you’ve made your first dahl, you’ll wonder why you’ve never made one before!
- 450g red lentils
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- a thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
- 3 green chillies, finely sliced
- 3 large tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1tsp garam masala
- 3tsp cumin seeds
- 2tsp turmeric
- a bunch of coriander, finely chopped
- Add the lentils and 1.5l of water to a pan, and cook for 45 minutes on a low heat
- Skim off any foam that rises to the top of the pan
- In a frying pan, heat a little olive oil and cook the onion for 5-6 minutes until it softens
- Add the garlic, ginger, chillies and cook for a further 3-4 minutes
- Add the spices and cook for 2 minutes, checking that they don’t catch on the bottom of the pan, then add the tomatoes and cook for another 2-3 minutes
- Add the onion mixture to the lentils, then simmer for 15 minutes and then stir in the coriander
- Check for seasoning, then serve with poppadoms and mango chutney.
Mac and cheese
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like mac and cheese! It’s such a comforting dish, and it’s ideal to serve when it’s cold outside. You can use any cheese you like, but it’s a good idea to use a strong one to give the dish plenty of flavour.
- 1 pint of milk (full fat is best)
- 1 white onion, peeled and cut in half
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 bay leaves
- 400g macaroni
- 50g butter
- 50g plain flour
- 200g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
- 1tsp wholegrain mustard
- 50g Manchego cheese, grated
- 50g breadcrumbs (coarse, not too fine)
- Add the milk to a pan, along with the onion, garlic and bay leaves. Heat until almost boiling, then remove from the heat, leave to infuse for 15 minutes then strain
- Cook the macaroni in a large pan of salted water until almost soft then drain
- In a small pan, melt the butter, then add the flour to make a roux, stirring continuously for 4-5 minutes
- Gradually add the milk to the roux, whisking as you do so, until you have a consistency similar to double cream
- Remove from the heat, then stir in the Cheddar and mustard until smooth
- Combine the pasta with the cheese sauce, then pour into an earthenware dish
- Sprinkle the Manchego and breadcrumbs over the top, then bake in a hot oven (200˚C) for 20 mins until the topping has browned
- Serve with a green salad.
Halloumi burgers with kimchi
These halloumi burgers are great for festive parties, and you can make the burgers any size you like – so, if you have lots of guests, you can make dozens of little sliders, or keep them big if you only have a few people popping over. And if you’ve never tried halloumi cheese before, you’re in for a treat!
- 200g halloumi cheese
- 1 courgette
- 1 carrot
- 1/2 pre-cooked beetroot
- a small handful of mint, leaves picked
- 125ml Greek yoghurt
- 2tbsp tahini (sesame-seed paste)
- 2tbsp fresh lime juice
- good squeeze of honey
- Coarsely grate the halloumi and vegetables into a bowl, then finely chop the mint leaves and add them to the bowl, too. Shape the mixture into burger patties
- Add all the dressing ingredients into a bowl and stir well
- Heat a frying pan with a drizzle of olive oil, and fry the burgers for a few minutes each side until golden brown
- Serve with a green salad alongside, and a generous spoonful or two or kimchi.
There you have it – five delicious vegetarian recipes, all great to serve at festive parties or even the big day itself! These recipes show just how versatile vegetarian cooking can be, and your family and guests will love them. The only question is which one will you try first?
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