Meatfree Monday: three veggie recipes that will wow the veggies in your life
Gone are the days when veg played second fiddle to meat in an Irish dinner, now 'plant-based' dishes are the star attraction, as evidenced in Nina Olsson's tempting new book, Bowls of Goodness
Back to the roots
This recipe is inspired by the idea of cooking without a recipe! I frequently fall in love with ingredients not on my shopping list and come home with bags of the most vibrant-looking food I can find, rather than the food I had planned. This often results in an alternative tapas-style dinner. I like to enjoy really fresh and beautiful produce by cooking ingredients separately, for maximum flavour and freshness. Steaming is one of the best ways to keep maximum nutrition and flavour in broccoli, whereas kale releases its nutritional power and flavour best when the cellulose structure is broken down through stir-frying. By cooking the main ingredients differently, you get a variety of textures and flavours to enjoy. A good cold sauce ties everything together beautifully.
Serves 4. Gluten-free. Vegetarian.
For vegans: use nutritional yeast instead of parmesan
For the roasted veggies:
500g sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
2 red onions, quartered
50g pumpkin seeds
Olive oil, for roasting
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp cumin seeds
For the broccoli mash:
800g broccoli florets
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp tahini
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 handfuls of hemp seeds
For the sautéd kale:
A big bunch of kale
A good squeeze of lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
A handful of toasted sesame seeds
2 tbsp nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese
For the miso, tahini & carrot sauce
1 carrot, finely grated
1 tbsp miso paste
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely choped to a paste
Water, to thin
For the clean salad:
Toasted sesame oil
Apple cider vinegar
Preheat the oven to 200°C /gas mark 6 and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Put the sweet potato, onion and pumpkin seeds on the lined tray and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with paprika, thyme, cumin seeds and salt. Roast in the oven for 35 minutes. Turn the roasting veggies around halfway through and keep an eye on them to make sure they don't burn.
Meanwhile, make the broccoli mash. Steam the broccoli florets for 4 minutes. Tip into a blender with 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil and a good pinch of salt, tahini, garlic, lemon juice and hemp seeds. Blend to a chunky mash, adding more olive oil if needed. Keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.
Remove the thick stalk from the kale and tear the leaves into pieces. Heat a frying pan with a splash of olive oil and slowly fry the kale over a medium-high heat, stirring, for 3-4 minutes.
Add a drizzle of soy, lemon juice, crushed garlic clove, and sesame seeds. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese and remove from the heat.
Blend the ingredients for the sauce, adding enough water to achieve the required consistency.
Drizzle the roasted veg and kale with the sauce and serve with fresh microsprouts, spinach and herbs tossed in a little toasted sesame oil and cider vinegar.
Making your own broth can seem more complicated than it is. In fact, it's incredibly easy and pays huge dividends in taste. It's also the perfect opportunity to avoid waste because any vegetables you know you won't finish before they go off can go into the pot. Onions are great for flavour, as are celery stalks. Take your broth to the next level by adding roasted vegetables, mushrooms and more defining flavours such as ginger, garlic and spices. Just remember not to add salt - or salty ingredients such as soy sauce - until it's time to use the broth in a soup or other dish.
Vegetarian & vegan. Gluten-free
Basic vegetable broth:
Mix of root vegetables like celery, carrot and leek, washed and chopped
Water, to cover
Next-level vegetable broth:
Pick and mix add-ins to the basic vegetable broth: a handful of dried mushrooms; roasted vegetables (root vegetables like beetroot, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, onions and squash); bay leaves; herbs; kaffir lime leaves; ginger; garlic; peppers
Cover the vegetables with water. Bring to the boil and lower the heat. Let the broth simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon. Filter the broth through a colander lined with a piece of muslin or through a fine sieve.
Store the broth in tightly sealed containers in the freezer until usage.
This broth keeps for at least a month in the freezer.
Mash it up! Steaming is one of the best ways to preserve nutrition in cooked vegetables. For nourishing meals, steam vegetables and blend them into a delicious pureé. It's a perfect side dish. Almost all vegetables can be mashed, but not all stay firm like potatoes. A tip is to add cooked potatoes if your pureé is too loose. Cauliflower and broccoli are delicious to mash, and all root vegetables are great in mash. This silky-finish fennel mash is for everyday meals or dinner parties. Mashes are delicious with fried and crispy additions, such as meatballs or any sautéd or roasted vegetables. The delicious mash can be made with a base of potato or Jerusalem artichokes, but it's the fennel that adds interest and makes this mash special. This purée is perfect when you're hosting and want a fancier alternative to regular mashed potato.
Serves 8 as part of a meal. Vegetarian & vegan. Gluten-free
1 litre vegetable broth (see below)
800g potatoes or Jerusalem artichokes, cut into pieces
200g fennel, cut into pieces
Salt and pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
Cook the potato and fennel in the broth for 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain but reserve a little cooking liquid. Blend the potato and fennel until smooth, using the leftover broth to achieve desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.