Vegging Out

22nd May 2009

National Vegetarian Week – the annual awareness-raising campaign ‘promoting inspirational vegetarian food and the benefits of a meat-free lifestyle’ – is now in its 17th year.

Whether you’re a committed vegetarian, or, indeed, a committed meat-eater, this is a fantastic celebration of delicious food and fresh ingredients, as well as a great opportunity to look at what we eat and its impact on the environment, animals and health. As NVW 2009 draws to a close, here are some splendid recipes with an emphasis on summer living, courtesy of the Vegetarian Society.


Tofu Kebabs with a Mustard Mayonnaise Dressing

Ingredients

Serves 4

250g/9oz regular tofu, drained and pressed
150ml/5fl oz (½ jar) mayonnaise
15ml/1tbsp Dijon mustard
15ml/1tbsp medium curry paste
1 clove garlic, crushed
2.5cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper
16 cherry tomatoes
8 shallots, halved
16 button mushrooms
vegetable oil to brush
8 bamboo skewers
1tbsp smooth mango chutney

To serve:
225g basmati rice, cooked

Method

1. Cut the tofu into bite sized cubes and place in a shallow dish.
2. Mix the mayonnaise with the mustard, curry paste, garlic and ginger and season well. Pour over the tofu and stir gently to coat. Cover and leave to marinate for 30 minutes.
3. Thread the tofu onto the bamboo skewers, alternating with vegetables. Reserve the marinade.
4. Preheat the grill.
5. Brush the kebabs with a little vegetable oil and grill until cooked and the marinade starts to bubble and go golden brown.
6. Place the reserved marinade in a small sauce pan with 1tbsp smooth mango chutney. Heat through gently.
7. Serve the kebabs on a bed of rice with the warm marinade drizzled over.


Potato Salad with Chopped Mint & Lemon

Ingredients

Serves 4

16 small potatoes, scrubbed
zest of one lemon
1tbsp fresh, chopped mint
2tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed

Method

1. Boil the potatoes until cooked but firm and cut into half length ways.
2. Mix all the other ingredients and pour over the warm potatoes.
3. Chill for 1 hour.


Warm Avocado Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Dressing

Avocados are usually served cold, but quickly frying them develops the flavour and adds a new dimension. You could also drizzle them with a mixture of olive oil, raspberry vinegar and a dash of balsamic vinegar over the top for a summery variation to this dish.

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 red pepper
2 cloves garlic, left whole with skins intact
olive oil
50g ground almonds
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1tbsp fresh coriander
150ml dry white wine
salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 large ripe avocados, peeled & stoned
1 packet mixed salad leaves
fresh coriander to garnish

Method

1. Place the red pepper and whole cloves of garlic on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast until the pepper skin is starting to blacken and char and the garlic is soft when pierced with a knife. Remove skin and seeds from the pepper, retaining the juices and squeeze the garlic out of the skins.
2. Blend the red pepper flesh, reserved juice, garlic, ground almonds, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, mustard, balsamic vinegar and fresh coriander together until smooth.
3. Add wine and blend until the desired consistency is reached. Season to taste and set aside.
4. Cut the avocados in half and then into slices. Heat the remaining olive oil in a non stick frying pan and, when hot, quickly toss the avocados in the oil until heated through but not soft.
5. Heat the sauce gently over a low heat. Meanwhile, arrange the mixed leaves on 4 serving plates with the avocado slices on top. Drizzle the warm sauce over them and garnish with fresh coriander.


Marinated Halloumi Cheese Skewers with Mediterranean Vegetables

Ingredients

1 garlic clove, crushed
18 whole pitted black olives
100ml (3fl oz) olive oil
400g (l4oz) halloumi cheese
3 large tomatoes • 6 new potatoes
2 large courgettes
1 red onion
1 aubergine
6 kebab skewers
pitta bread to serve

Method

1. Mix the garlic, olives and olive oil together to form a marinade.
2. Cut the cheese into 2.5cm (1in) cubes.
3. Cut tomatoes into four and remove the seeds. Cut potatoes in half lengthways.
4. Chop the remaining vegetables into 2.5cm (1in) cubes and thread them onto skewers with the potatoes and tomatoes.
5. Marinate the kebabs for two hours.
6. Cook over barbecue until tender, turning after two minutes on each side, and serve immediately in pitta bread.


Spiced Sweet Potato Slices

You can vary the spice mixture used in this recipe to suit your own taste and it can also be brushed over raw slices of squash or aubergine and grilled in the same way.

Ingredients

Serves 4 (vegan)

12 large pink sweet potatoes, peeled and left whole
30ml olive oil
1/2tsp ground coriander
1/2tsp ground cumin
1/4tsp ground cardamom seeds
sea salt to taste

Method

1. Parboil the sweet potatoes for about 10 minutes, until just tender.
2. Allow to cool slightly and cut into 6mm slices, lengthways.
3. Mix the olive oil and spices together, brush them over the slices of potato and then place over hot barbecue coals for a few minutes on each side until crisp and golden.
4. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve immediately.


Mexi Baked Tortilla

You could also try using jalapeno peppers instead of chilli sauce, and adding fresh herbs such as coriander.

Ingredients

Serves 4

2 tins red kidney beans, drained
squeeze lime juice (to taste)
5-6 teaspoons chilli sauce
4 spring onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
quarter block cheddar cheese, grated
4 large tortilla wraps
1 pot sour cream or guacamole

Method

1. Heat oven to Gas 6/200C.
2. In a large bowl roughly mash beans, lime juice and chilli sauce. Add the spring onion and garlic.
3. Spread half the mixture onto one wrap, keeping a border around the edge, then sprinkle the cheese over and cover with the second wrap. Repeat using remaining wraps and mixture.
4. Place on a baking tray and cover loosely with foil. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake for a further 5 minutes. Serve with sour cream or guacamole.

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