Seven Suppers for Meat Free Week
All my friends, whether or not they are vegetarian, want to eat more simple, seasonal, vegetable-led food. As the number of vegetarians in the UK slowly creeps up, the number of people reducing the amount of meat in their diet is sky-rocketing.
For me eating without meat opened up a new and exciting world of food, where meat is no longer the focus, allowing me to be more creative in the kitchen, to think about layering flavour and texture. For me being vegetarian is easy and how I live; for you it might be different, a few nights a week without meat maybe, or perhaps a Meat Free Week in September.
It’s an all-round win. Here’s to vibrant, joyous, knock out delicious food that’s kinder to our bodies and the planet, starting this week.
I’m not sure if it’s just me, but it seems that ratatouille got left behind in the 90s – but it’s a great dish that deserves reviving. This is my quick version – the ideal thing to make on a weeknight.
You can use any grain here – I like pearl barley for its chewy, pillowy heartiness, but quinoa, millet or even brown rice would work a treat. It’s just as good the next day and travels particularly well, so I often make extra for lunch.
The beans are cooked simply and in keeping with tradition with tomatoes, chilli and spices, cinnamon and nutmeg both used in Syrian kitchens.
This is not a run-of-the-mill pizza – the base is made from cauliflower, oats and ground almonds, and makes a crispy, hearty and delicious vehicle for the mozzarella, tomato and fennel that sit on top of it.
This is based on one of my most-cooked recipes, but made a little simpler and easier on the wallet. Mix and match the grains as you like – this is a great way to use up those odds and ends left at the bottom of a jar, but steer clear of couscous, as it cooks too quickly.
Please be assured that this is not the breaded sweetcorn and mushroom mush excuse that usually shows up between two white buns. This is a hearty health-packed wonder that makes no apology to anyone.
This is how I like to work the deep, fragrant, southern Indian flavours into my day. It’s an anytime dish with big flavour hitters in the shape of curry leaves and black mustard seeds, which give the potato the warm subtle punch that is the deeply clever balance of southern Indian food.
Illustration: Jess Lea-Wilson