Vegetarian recipes for Meat Free May

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1. SPRING GREEN AND COCONUT DAL​

serves 2

A colourful and healthy meal. Turmeric and ginger are anti-inflammatory and therefore good for digestion, as is coconut oil, which metabolises well. Organic coconut oil is available to order alongside our veg boxes; it’s great for stir-fries and curries, or for roasting veg as it has a slightly different flavour to other oils.

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 onion, finely sliced

1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped, grated or crushed

4cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

1 red chilli, finely sliced

1 tsp black mustard seeds

¼ tsp ground turmeric

1 x 400ml tin coconut milk

100g yellow mung dal lentils, rinsed in a sieve

1 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and ground

1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground

200g spring or summer greens, tough ribs removed, leaves finely shredded

handful of coriander leaves

a squeeze of lime or lemon juice

toasted coconut chips or toasted desiccated coconut, to garnish

salt

Melt the coconut oil in a large pan. Add the onion and fry on a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn up the heat a little and add the garlic, ginger, chilli, mustard seeds and turmeric. Stir for about 1 minute, until you hear the mustard seeds start to pop. Stir the coconut milk in the can then pour into the pan with the lentils and ground coriander and cumin. Fill the coconut milk can half full with water and add that too. Bring up to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the greens, stirring in small handfuls at a time, then cook for a further 5–10 minutes, until the lentils are tender and the greens wilted. Keep an eye on the liquid and add more water if needed. Season the dal with salt, stir in the fresh coriander and add a squeeze of lime or lemon juice to taste. Serve the dal prinkled with toasted coconut and a few extra coriander leaves.

Variations

* Use red lentils if you can’t find yellow mung dal lentils

* Use cabbage, spinach or chard instead of the greens

* Add a ‘tarka’, a spicy oil, to sprinkle on the top of the dal before serving for an extra kick of spice and chilli: gently heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a small pan then add 1 teaspoon each of black mustard seeds and cumin seeds, 1 finely sliced large garlic clove and a good pinch of chilli flakes and fry, stirring constantly, for 1–2 minutes until the mustard seeds are popping

2. VEGETARIAN ‘NIÇOISE

serves 4

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This is a vegetarian version of the Mediterranean summer classic. It uses capers in place of anchovies for saltiness – although you could use both. Marjoram is a similar herb to oregano, but slightly sweeter and with a floral aroma.

600g new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into halves or quarters depending on size

8 eggs

300g French beans, topped and tailed

250g cherry tomatoes, cut in half crossways

2 large spring onions, very finely sliced

150g mixed salad leaves

about 20 pitted black olives

2 tbsp capers (if they are in brine, drain then soak in cold water for 20 minutes then drain)

small handful of basil, shredded

For the dressing

4 tbsp olive oil

1 garlic clove, finely chopped or crushed

2 tsp Dijon mustard

½ lemon

3 or 4 fresh marjoram leaves or oregano sprigs, finely chopped

salt and black pepper

Put the potatoes in one pan with a good pinch of salt. Put the eggs in another pan. Cover both with water and put on a medium heat. Once the eggs come to the boil, cook for 8 minutes, drain and put in a bowl of cold water. Once the potatoes come to the boil, cook for 10–12 minutes, until easily pierced with a sharp knife. Scoop the potatoes out of the water with a slotted spoon. Add the beans to the potato water. Boil for 5 minutes, until they’re tender but still have a squeak when you bite into them. Drain and refresh in cold water, then drain again. To make the dressing, whisk the olive oil, garlic, mustard and a squeeze of lemon juice together in a large salad bowl. Stir in the chopped marjoram or oregano, then season with salt, pepper and extra lemon juice or oil to taste. Add the potatoes, beans, tomatoes, spring onion, salad leaves, olives and capers to the bowl and toss together in the dressing.

Peel the hardboiled eggs – doing this in water is easiest – then cut them lengthways into quarters. Using a wet knife will help keep the yolk and white together. Tuck the eggs into the salad, scatter over the basil leaves and serve.

Variations

* Use roasted tomatoes for extra sweetness

* Add a few anchovies if you’re not vegetarian

3. WARM ROASTED PEPPER & LENTIL SALAD WITH OLIVES & HALLOUMI​

serves 2

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Halloumi is a very useful cheese to have in your fridge. It gives vegetarian dishes a salty hit and its firm texture means it stands up to frying or grilling, which brings out the flavour. If you’d prefer to make the dish vegan, it can stand up without the halloumi. As well as adding peppery flavour to salads, watercress wilts into soups, stews and warm salads too, giving extra nutrients,

4 red peppers

2 tbsp sunflower or light olive oil

1 small red onion, finely diced

2 carrots, finely diced

2 celery sticks, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped, grated or crushed

100g Puy-style lentils, rinsed in a sieve under cold water

1 bay leaf

¼ tsp dried oregano

¼ tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp dried mint

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

100g pitted black olives

1 pack (150–200g) halloumi, cut into 1–2cm-thick slices

small glug of extra virgin

olive oil

50g watercress

small handful of chopped fresh mint and/or parsley, to garnish

salt and pepper

Char and peel the peppers as described on page 158. While they’re cooking, heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, carrot and celery and fry on a low heat for 15 minutes, stirring now and then. If they look as if they might catch at any point, add a splash of water. Once softened, add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the lentils, bay leaf, oregano, cumin, mint and 300ml water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20–25 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Keep an eye on the liquid towards the end and top up with a little extra water as needed. Almost all the liquid should have been absorbed by the end of cooking. Once done, remove from the heat if the peppers aren’t quite ready. Roughly chop the peppers into strips and stir them into the lentils with the vinegar and olives. Remove the bay leaf and season to taste. Set aside while you fry the halloumi. Heat a dry non-stick frying pan, add the halloumi slices and fry for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden. Gently warm the lentils if needed, then stir in the watercress and extra virgin olive oil and serve with the halloumi slices on top, scattered with the fresh herbs.

Variation

* Instead of halloumi, crumble over some feta or goat’s cheese

4. KASHA, DATE & HONEYED WALNUT BOWL WITH PICKLED RHUBARB​

serves 2

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Kasha is an Eastern European dish that’s like a buckwheat risotto. Accompanied by pickled rhubarb, Medjool dates, fiery ginger and honey-coated walnuts, this is a blissful veggie bowl.

2 sticks of rhubarb

1 lemon

1 tsp + 1 tbsp honey

2 shallots

2 garlic cloves

a thumb of ginger

2 carrots

150g buckwheat

35g walnuts

a bunch of radishes

50g Medjool dates

100g baby leaf spinach

a pinch of cayenne pepper

150g yogurt

sea salt

1 tbsp olive oil

400ml boiling water

freshly ground pepper

Thinly slice the rhubarb. Add a pinch of salt and scrunch. Squeeze over the juice from half the lemon with 1 tsp honey. Leave to pickle.

Peel and finely chop the shallots. Peel and grate the garlic and ginger. Trim and peel the carrots. Finely chop them.

Place a pan over a medium heat. When warm, drizzle in 1 tbsp oil. Add the shallots and carrots and fry for 3 mins till just soft. Add the ginger and garlic. Cook for 1 min.

Pour the buckwheat into the pan and cover with 400ml boiling water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15-17 mins till just softened but with a slight bite. Add a splash more water during cooking if needed.

Warm a frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, tip in the walnuts. Toast for 2-3 mins till darkened and nutty smelling. Pour in the honey and cook for 1 min till bubbling. Tip onto a plate.

Check the buckwheat is cooked. Drain any remaining water. Add half the spinach and fold through till it’s just wilted. Add the chopped dates and half the honeyed walnuts.

Taste and season the buckwheat. Add a pinch or two of cayenne pepper. Spoon into warm bowls. Top with the pickled rhubarb, sliced radishes, spinach and walnuts. Dollop on the yogurt. Sprinkle over a little more cayenne and serve with lemon wedges.

5. INDIAN SPICED ASPARAGUS SALAD WITH POACHED EGGS​

serves 2

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Hello, yellow! Sunny turmeric and golden egg yolks make this as springy as the seasonal asparagus in this gorgeous warm and spicy salad.

500g potatoes

250g asparagus

1 lemon

2 leeks

1 tbsp cornflour

½ tsp turmeric

1 tsp cumin seeds

a pinch of chilli powder

1 tsp garam masala

4 eggs

sea salt

freshly ground pepper

100ml + 1 tbsp olive oil

Halve or quarter any large potatoes. Pop them in a pan. Cover with boiling water. Simmer for 10-15 mins till tender. Drain.

While the potatoes cook, snap the woody ends off the asparagus (if you bend them they will snap where the woody part of the stem ends) and discard. Trim the asparagus into 3cm long chunks. Finely grate the zest from the lemon. Juice it.

Trim the leeks. Slice a cross in the end and rinse out any grit. Slice the leeks in half lengthways. Halve again so you have 4 long lengths per leek. Slice them into long, fine, thin shreds. Put the leeks in a bowl. Add 1 tbsp cornflour and a little salt and pepper. Stir to mix them together. Set aside.

Add the turmeric, cumin seeds, chilli powder and garam masala to a small bowl. Add 1 tbsp oil and stir together. Put to one side.

Warm 100ml oil in a deep frying pan or wok for 2 mins over a medium heat. Add the leeks. Fry for 2-3 mins till golden and crisp. Lift out of the pan with a slotted spoon or tongs onto a plate lined with kitchen paper. You’ll probably need to do this in 2-3 batches.

Pour the oil out of the pan and wipe it clean with kitchen paper. Add the spice paste. Stir and fry for 1 min. Add the asparagus and boiled potatoes. Stir and fry for 5 mins till the veg are charred and tender. Take off the heat. Stir in the lemon zest and juice.

Bring a pan of water to the boil. Crack 2 eggs into separate cups. When the water is boiling, slide the eggs into the pan. Take it off the heat. Cover. Leave for 2-3 mins to poach the eggs (or cook for a little longer for set yolks). Lift out of the pan and drain on kitchen paper while you poach the remaining eggs.

Pile the spiced asparagus and potatoes onto 2 plates with the crisp leeks. Top each with 2 poached eggs. Serve straight away.

6. TWO-LENTIL DAL & SPICED AUBERGINE​

serves 2

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Dal translates simply to ‘lentils’. It’s a staple part of the Indian vegetarian diet and creates a smooth, protein-packed creamy base ready to be topped with roast vegetables: in this case, spiced aubergine, yoghurt and fresh coriander. It’s a real ‘dal-ing’

1 red onion

100g red lentils

1 aubergine

1 tbsp ground cumin

3 garlic cloves

15g root ginger

1 vegetable stock cube

10g fresh coriander

1 tin of green lentils

150g organic greek yoghurt

1 tbsp curry powder

olive oil

pepper

salt

Preheat oven to 220°C/ 200°C (fan)/ 425°F/ Gas 7. Cut the aubergine into quarters lengthways and slice into approx. 5cm pieces. Rub the aubergine with 1-2 tbsp olive oil and the ground cumin, then season generously with salt.

Heat a wide-based pan (preferably non-stick) with 1 tbsp (2 tbsp) olive oil over a high heat. Once hot, add the aubergine and cook for 1 min each side or until coloured.

Transfer the aubergine to a baking tray (use tin foil to avoid mess!) and put it in the oven for 20-25 min or until cooked through, keep the pan for later.

Boil a kettle. Peel and finely chop (or grate) the garlic. Peel the ginger (scrape the skin off with a teaspoon) and finely chop (or grate). Peel and dice the onion. Return the reserved pan to a medium heat with 1 tbsp (2 tbsp) olive oil.

Once hot, add the onion with a pinch of salt. Cook over a medium heat for 5 min or until softened. Add the ginger, garlic and curry powder and cook for a further 3 min.

7. GOLDEN HALLOUMI, LEMON & PEAR SALAD​

serves 2

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This recipe features warming baharat, salty halloumi, zesty lemon and refreshing pear. The different textures compliment each other beautifully and every mouthful of this protein-packed dish is bursting with goodness! Simple method- complex flavours.

1 lemon

1 pear

75g puy-style lentils

10g fresh mint

225g cypriot halloumi

20g fresh parsley

130g brown rice

1 tsp baharat

olive oil

pepper

salt

Boil a kettle. Pour rice and lentils into a sieve. Rinse thoroughly with cold water.

Add rice and lentils to a large pot with 500ml (1L) boiled water and cook over a medium heat for 25 min or until tender. Once cooked, drain, rinse and return to the pot to cool.

Meanwhile, slice the halloumi. Drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with the baharat and season generously with pepper.

Strip the mint leaves from the stems and chop finely. Chop the parsley finely, including the stalks. Add the herbs to a bowl large enough to fit the lentils and rice.

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