A Vegetarian January

Happy New Year everyone!  2019 is going to be a good year, with many, many meals, so why not make some of these vegetarian?!

Quite a few of my friends who are not vegetarian are going to try a meat free month for January. Well, I have decided not to this year, mainly because it sounds really hard.
Year on year I find myself cutting down on meat regardless. The cost of meat seems.to be increasing compared to vegetables, and with growing my own I feel rather happy eating more of my own food.
So alongside my new series, Allot to Learn, which you can follow on Wednesday evenings, throughout January I am doing a short series on vegetarian meals to support those of you who are doing a meat free January. I wish you the best of luck!
There are 3 things that are key for a successful meat free January:
  1. All the meals need to be meat free. This sounds obvious, however one of the big falls is that meat eaters want to have a piece of meat. So at times the food will need to simulate meat based meals. For example, meat and two veg can be difficult to beat.
  2. The meals need to be cheap. Let’s be honest, we have just had Christmas, money is tight. Let’s keep this month cheap.  A great way to do this is to start by using any leftovers and anything that may still be in the ground on your allotment.
  3. The food needs to be in season. In keeping with our ethos, all food needs to be in season, or have been preserved to use.
So every Monday during January I will release three vegetarian recipes that showcase vegetables at their core.
The following recipes are for this first week. They use some of your leftovers that you may have from the Christmas festivities. Things that probably will not last much longer.

Vegetarian Recipes

Flat breads with cranberry dip and hummus

This is a lovely recipe for a light tea. And it is quick and easy.
You often find jams and chutneys being served in Middle Eastern cuisine, but cranberry sauce is overly sweet by itself. Mixed in with the pomegranate molasses, lemon juice and sumac you get a lovely sweet and sour dip that contrasts with the hummus.  And best of all it is vegetarian!
Ingredients
  • 50ml cranberry sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 10ml pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tablespoons of sumac
  • 1 tin of chickpeas
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons of tahini
  • Teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
  • 3 pitta breads
Method
  1. Start by making the cranberry dip. Take your left over cranberry sauce, the lemon juice and pomegranate molasses and pour all into a small pan over a low heat. Mix well and then add the sumac. Continue to stir so the flavours mix together.
  2. Drain your chickpeas and place them into a blender.
  3. Peel the garlic clove and chop roughly and place the pieces in the blender with the chickpeas.
  4. Finally put the tahini into the blender. Blitz all together until as smooth as you like it. If you want it slightly looser you can add a drop of lemon juice.
  5. Toast the pitta bread and cut each into halves. Serve all together.

Blue Cheese and Brassica Soup

This is a great way to use up some of the blue stilton that you have left over. Often you see blue cheese with broccoli in soups, however in this soup you can use other brassicas, so sprouts, kale and cabbages all work. I recommend a mix of the three.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
  • 1 leek
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 potato
  • 1 onion
  • 10 brussel sprouts
  • 100g kale
  • 100g green cabbage
  • 150g of blue cheese
  • 1L made up vegetable stock
  • Teaspoon black pepper
Method
  1. Start by cooking all the vegetables: slice the onion, leek and celery finely. All the other ingredients can be cut into rough cubes at this point.
  2. Put the rapeseed oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion for a few minutes until translucent.
  3. Add the celery and leek and cook for another few minutes.
  4. Add the potato and fry for another 5 minutes.
  5. Pour in the stock and the cabbage, sprouts and kale and cook for 15 minutes.
  6. Place the soft vegetables and stock into a blender and blitz until smooth. Add the black pepper.
  7. Crumble the blue cheese into the hot smooth soup, stirring and allowing to melt through. Leave a few pieces of the cheese to top the soup in the bowls.

Vegetable fritters

These use a mix if left over vegetables from your Christmas dinner. Fantastic and healthy they are a light, cheap vegetarian meal for your first week off the meat.
Ingredients
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 parsnip
  • Quarter of red cabbage
  • 100g kale
  • 1 medium onion
  • Teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • Teaspoon of ras el hanout
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh parsley chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh coriander chopped
  • 2 tablespoon of fresh dill chopped
  • 100g feta cheese
  • 150g all purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 500ml Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons of harrisa paste
  • 30ml rapeseed oil

Method

  1. Start by grating the carrots and parsnips and slicing the kale and cabbage very finely.
  2. Slice the onion very finely.
  3. Toast the cumin seeds in a heavy based frying pan and then grind to a fine powder. Mix with the ras el hanout blend. Mix the spices with the fresh herbs and then mix all with the grated and sliced vegetables.
  4. Mix the spices with the fresh herbs and then mix all with the grated and sliced vegetables.
  5. Place the feta cheese (crumbled into chunks) in the mix as well.
  6. Next, make the batter mix. Take your eggs and beat in the flour. Again, mix the batter with the veg mix until all is coated.
  7. Shape the fritters, you want them to be about 1cm thick, but they can be as wide as you like.
  8. Pour the oil into a frying pan and put over a high heat. When hot enough place in your first fritter and fry until crispy, then turn over and crisp up the other side.
  9. Once the fritters are done place on a piece of kitchen paper to drain the excess oil. Finally make the dressing. Mix the harissa and Greek yogurt together. You can add more harissa if you like it more spicy.
  10. Finally make the dressing. Mix the harissa and Greek yogurt together. You can add more harissa if you like it more spicy.
Well, there you have 3 lovely meals for your first week of no meat. Hopefully they encourage you to keep going. Good luck and talk soon.