Join the Veggie 123 Challenge - National Vegetarian Week! 10th - 16th May 2021
The past year has seen a huge increase in immune supporting health practices with many more people limiting the amount of animal products they eat or fully adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet. According to The Vegetarian Society UK the main reasons for going veggie are:
Better for your Health
Has a lower environmental impact on the planet
Better for animals (no brainer!)
Could save you a few pennies
But where do you start? Strictly speaking, vegetarians don't eat any meat, poultry, or seafood. People can have many different dietary patterns and will call themselves vegetarians. We all know someone who says “I’m veggie now….but I do eat fish!” or those that still love a Roast Chicken Dinner every now and then.
So here’s the low down:
Vegans (total vegetarians): Do not eat meat, poultry, fish, or any products derived from animals, including eggs, dairy products, and gelatin.
Lacto-ovo vegetarians: Do not eat meat, poultry, or fish, but do eat eggs and dairy products.
Lacto vegetarians: Eat no meat, poultry, fish, or eggs, but do consume dairy products.
Ovo vegetarians: Eat no meat, poultry, fish, or dairy products, but do eat eggs.
Flexitarian/ Partial vegetarians: Avoid meat but may eat fish (pesco-vegetarian, pescatarian) or poultry (pollo-vegetarian).
It can be quite challenging to transition to a full on vegetarian diet, especially if you love a bacon sarnie!. Our top tip?.....Do it gradually! If you’re eating meat or fish every day of the week, then why not start having a “Meat Free Monday”. From here you can work towards eating a plant based diet 3 days a week and build on it from there. Only you can decide which vegetarian diet is right for you.
So which are the best vegetarian recipes to try? We say... keep it simple! There are some great meat substitutes available in most supermarkets, so if you like a spag bol or a cottage pie, just swap out the meat for quorn and you’ll soon be adding some tatsy veggie dinner recipes to your repertoire.
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous then check out one of our favourite Mary Berry Vegetarian Recipes. It’s a real crowd pleaser and family favourite any time of the year….The Vegetarian Lasagne!
1 onion, chopped
400g button mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tins of chopped tomatoes
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme (or ½ Tbsp dried)
2 Tsp balsamic vinegar
a dash of sugar
2 Tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
500g baby spinach, trimmed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
6–8 sheets lasagne (fresh or dried)
50g (2 oz) butter
50g (2 oz) flour
600ml (1 pint) hot milk
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
250g (9 oz) Gruyère cheese, grated
You will need a 1.8 litre (3 pint) capacity ovenproof dish.
Preheat oven to 200˚C/Fan 180˚C/Gas 6
Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and fry for a few minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and fry for 2 minutes, stirring. Add the tinned tomatoes, thyme, vinegar, sugar, tomato paste and spinach and fry for a further 5 minutes, until the spinach has wilted and the sauce is bubbling. Season with salt and pepper.
To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a pan, add the flour and stir for a minute. Whisk in the milk, add the mustard and half of the cheese. Season and bring to the boil, whisking for a few minutes to thicken.
Put a third of the vegetables in the base of the ovenproof dish. Spread a third of the cheese sauce over the top and then finish with half of the lasagne sheets. Continue until you have three layers of vegetables and cheese sauce and two layers of pasta. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Place in the middle shelf of the oven at 2 for about 30–35 minutes or until golden brown, bubbling around the edges and the pasta is tender.
If like us you love a bit of Mexican flavour, The Hairy Bikers Veggie Recipes include this quick and easy Veggie Tacos Recipe
For the refried beans
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
2 x 400g cans of black or pinto beans, drained
250ml vegetable stock or water
Sea salt and black pepper
For the veggie filling
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into strips
1 red onion, cut into thin wedges
200g butternut squash or pumpkin, diced
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp chipotle paste (or more, depending on how hot you like it)
100g kale, cavolo nero or chard, shredded
For the avocado crema
juice of 1 lime
A few coriander leaves
2 tbsp half fat crème fraiche or soured cream
8 corn tortillas
½ red onion, finely chopped
A few coriander leaves and lime wedges
First make the refried beans – heat the vegetable oil in a medium pan or a deep frying pan. Add the onion with a splash of water, cover the pan and saute until the onion has softened and turned golden brown. Add the garlic and oregano and cook for another couple of minutes.
Add the beans and plenty of salt and pepper. Pour the stock or water into the pan, then mash the beans with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon until about half of them are broken up. Simmer over a gentle heat, stirring to prevent the mixture catching on the bottom, until you have thick puree. Keep warm or reheat gently just before you serve the tacos.
For the filling, heat the oil in a large, lidded frying pan. Add the sweetcorn, red pepper, red onion and squash or pumpkin, then cook over a high heat, stirring infrequently so the vegetables build up a bit of colour on each side. The texture should be still al dente, with a light charring or browning around the edges. Stir in the tomato puree and chipotle paste and season with salt and pepper. Add 200ml of water, then pile the greens on top. Cover and simmer for several minutes until the greens are cooked through, then stir everything together.
For the crema, mash the avocado with the lime juice and a generous pinch of salt. Put the avocado in a small food processor with the coriander and crème fraiche or soured cream and blitz until the mixture is smooth but still flecked.
To serve, heat the tortillas in a dry frying pan or a pancake pan until they’re very lightly browned on each side. Keep them warm – a basket lined with a tea towel to fold over the tortillas works very well.
To eat, spread some of the refried beans over the base of a tortilla, then top with some veggie filling, avocado crema, red onion, a few coriander leaves and a squeeze of lime
There you go!....a few recipes we hope will inspire you on your veggie journey. If you want to find out more or want to take part in this years Veggie 123 Challenge, visit The National Vegetarian Week website where you’ll find lots more tasty vegetarian recipe ideas…..Enjoy!