Some tasty vegetarian recipes

A couple of weeks ago I was reading a post on someone else’s blog and the conversation turned to the importance of vegetarians who exercise getting enough protein in their diet, and I mentioned that I have some nice recipes for meals based around pulses. I said I would post them here and then forgot all about it. But now I have remembered, so here are some of my favourite vegetarian recipes.

Chickpea, watermelon & feta salad

In a large bowl, toss together drained tinned chickpeas, chunks of peeled watermelon, and some watercress sprigs. In a smaller bowl whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, chopped mint and a little honey. Toss the salad with the dressing and top with crumbled feta.

Aubergine & chickpea tagine (this is a Gillian McKeith recipe but it’s delicious)

Serves 4.

1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, peeled & chopped
2 celery stalks, trimmed & sliced (I use courgette instead because celery is the devil’s penis)
1 small leek, washed, trimmed & sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled & finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cinnamon
400g chopped tomatoes (I use 2 tins as I find one is too dry)
1 large aubergine, diced into 2 cm pieces
2 small red peppers, deseeded & diced
2 small yellow peppers, deseeded & diced
1 tbsp vegetable bouillon powder
410 g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 300g dried ones soaked overnight then boiled for an hour)
1 handful fresh basil
1 handful fresh coriander

Place the oil in a tagine or covered casserole dish and warm gently over a low heat. Add the onions, celery, leek and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add all the spices, tomatoes and vegetables and cook for a further 3 minutes. Mix the bouillon with 2 tablespoons of boiling water and add to the tagine. Lower the heat and simmer for 40-50 minutes. Add the chickpeas and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the fresh herbs and serve from the dish with brown rice.

Lentil stew. (again Gillian McKeith, again I use courgette instead of celery)

Serves 4.

225g brown lentils
2 onions, peeled & finely chopped
1 vegetable stock cube
4 carrots, trimmed, peeled and chopped
1/2 a butternut squash, peeled, deseeded & chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled & diced
4 small white potatoes, peeled & diced
1 celery stalk, trimmed & chopped
50g fresh garden peas (or frozen)
100g watercress
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 tsp tamari sauce

Soak the lentils in cold water for 20 minutes, then rinse thoroughly and drain. Place the onions and stock cube in a saucepan with 750ml water and bring to the boil. Add the lentils, carrots, sweet potato, squash and white potatoes. Bring back to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the celery and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Add the peas, watercress, dill and tamari and serve.

You can add extra water and stock and bung it in the blender to turn it into soup.

Pumpkin & Goat’s Cheese Lasagne (I generally use butternut squash instead of pumpkin)

Serves 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
25g/1oz butter
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1.6kg/3.5lb pumpkin, peeled, seeded, diced – this leaves you with approx 1.1kg/1.5lb pumpkin flesh
1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed
salt and pepper
150-175g/5-6oz lasagne sheets
1 quantity of bechamel sauce or tomato sauce
200g/7oz goat’s cheese log, sliced into thin rounds

Bechamel sauce
50g/2oz butter
40g/1.5oz flour
600ml/1 pint milk
1 bay leaf
fresh parsley
slice of onion
a little extra milk
60-120ml/4-8 tablespoons cream (optional)
salt and pepper
freshly grated nutmeg

Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. When it froths, stir in half the milk and beat well over the heat until it thickens. Add the rest of the milk and keep stirring vigorously, still over the heat, until the sauce is thick and smooth. Add the bay leaf, parsley, and slice of onion then leave the sauce over a very low heat for 10 minutes. Thin the sauce by stirring in a little extra milk if necessary. If you are making the sauce well in advance, do not stir in the extra milk but pour it over the top of the sauce and leave it, to prevent a skin forming. When you are ready to use the sauce, stir it, remove the bay leaf, parsley and onion, add the cream and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Tomato sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 x 400g/14oz tins tomatoes or 900g/2lb fresh tomatoes, skinned and roughly chopped
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onion. Cover and cook gently for about 10 minutes until tender but not brown. Add the garlic, stir well and cook for 1-2 minutes longer. Stir in the tomatoes and bash them about a bit to break them up. Bring to the boil, then let simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the liquid has disappeared and the sauce is thick. Season with salt and pepper.

Set the oven to 200C/400F/GM6. Grease a lasagne dish approx 20x30cm/8×12″ and at least 6cm/2.5″ deep.

Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan and fry the onion gently for 5 minutes with a lid on the pan. Then add the pumpkin and garlic and mix so that the pumpkin is covered in the butter and oil. Cover the pan and cook slowly for 15-20 mins until the pumpkin is tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Rinse the lasagne sheets under the cold tap and then arrange some in the base of the dish to cover it. On top of this, add a layer of bechamel or tomato sauce, then half the pumpkin. Add another layer of lasagne, more bechamel or tomato sauce, a layer of half the goat’s cheese and the rest of the pumpkin. Then one more layer of lasagne, then the remainder of the bechamel or tomato sauce and the rest of the goat’s cheese.

Bake for 35-40 mins until the pasta is tender and the top is golden brown.

Chickpea, Chilli and Coriander Soup (this is a Delia recipe)

8 oz (225 g) chickpeas, soaked overnight in twice their volume of cold water
2 small red chillies, halved, de-seeded and chopped
1 level tablespoon coriander seeds
1 x 15 g pack (or ½ oz) fresh coriander, leaves and stalks separated
1 level tablespoon cumin seeds
2 oz (50 g) butter
6 fat cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 level teaspoon ground turmeric
grated zest 1 lemon
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 x 200 ml tub crème fraîche
salt and freshly milled black pepper

For the garnish:
1 mild fat red or green chilli, de-seeded and cut into very fine hair-like shreds

You will also need a large saucepan of 6 pint (3.5 litre) capacity.

Drain the chickpeas in a colander, rinse them under the cold tap then place them in the saucepan with 2¾ pints (1.75 litres) of boiling unsalted water. Then bring them up to simmering point, put a lid on and cook them very gently for about 1 hour or until the chickpeas are absolutely tender and squashy.

While they’re cooking, prepare the rest of the soup ingredients. The coriander and cumin seeds should be dry roasted in a small pre-heated pan for 2-3 minutes, then crushed in a pestle and mortar. After that, melt the butter in the pan, add the crushed spices along with the chopped garlic and chillies and cook over a low heat for about 5 minutes. Now add the turmeric, stir and heat that gently before removing the pan from the heat.

As soon as the chickpeas are tender, drain them in a colander placed over a bowl to reserve the cooking water. Transfer the chickpeas to a liquidiser together with a couple of ladles of cooking water and purée them until fine and smooth. Now add the lemon zest, coriander stalks and spices from the pan along with another ladleful of cooking water and blend once more until fine and smooth.

Next, the whole lot needs to go back into the saucepan with the rest of the reserved cooking water. Bring it all up to a gentle simmer, give it a good stir, season, then simmer gently for a further 30 minutes. All this can be done in advance, then, when you’re ready to serve the soup, re-heat very gently without letting it come to the boil. Stir in half the crème fraîche and the lemon juice, taste to check the seasoning, then serve in hot soup bowls with the rest of the crème fraîche swirled in.

Scatter with shredded chilli and coriander leaves as a garnish.

Potato & aubergine curry (This is a Linda McCartney recipe. I make it quite often and freeze it. I love it. I never put the burgers in it)

1-2 tsp chilli powder (depending how hot you like it)
½ tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin (or to taste)
1 tsp ground coriander or to taste
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp tomato paste
60g vegetable oil
450g aubergines, sliced
1-2 tsp cumin seeds
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 fresh hot green chilli, seeded and finely chopped
450g canned crushed tomatoes, with juice, or peeled and chopped fresh tomatoes
4 medium potatoes, cut in cubes and steamed til tender
170g Linda McCartney vegetarian burgers, cooked and cubed (optional)
Fresh coriander for garnish

Mix the spices, salt and tomato paste with 1 tbsp of the oil in a small bowl. Spread the spice mixture over the cut sides of the aubergine slices. Cut the slices into strips. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and fry the cumin seeds until they begin to pop. Add the aubergine strips and grated ginger and turn the heat down. Cover and cook for 8 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add the chilli, tomatoes and potatoes with 3-4 tbsp water and simmer, covered tightly, for 15-20 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add the browned vegetarian burger pieces, and mix well. Serve garnished with the coriander leaves.

Aubergines in a north-south sauce (this is a Madhur Jaffrey recipe)

4 tablespoons olive or rapeseed oil
1/8 teaspoon ground asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon skinned urad dal or yellow split peas
1/2 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds (kalonji) if available
1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
675g/1 1/2 lb aubergine cut into 2/5cm/1″ chunks
2 medium tomatoes, grated
250ml/8fl oz chicken stock or water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Pour the oil into a very large frying pan  and set over a medium-high heat. When hot, put in the asafoetida and the urad dal. As soon as the dal turns a shade darker, add the mustard, cumin, nigella and fennel seeds in that order. When the mustard seeds start to pop, add the onion. Stir and fry for 1 minute. Add the garlic and the aubergines. Stir and fry for 4/5 minutes or until the onions are lightly browned. Add the tomatoes, stock, salt and cayenne pepper. Stir to mix, and bring to the boil. Cover, lower the heat and cook gently for about 20 minutes, or until the aubergines are tender, stirring now and then.

Green lentils with green beans and fresh coriander (a Madhur Jaffrey recipe)
Serves 4-6

250g/9oz green lentils
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
115g/4oz green beans, cut into 2cm/3/4″ segments
60g/2oz finely chopped fresh coriander
3 tablespoons olive oil or rapeseed oil
1/8 teaspoon ground asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 medium shallot, peeled and sliced into fine slivers
lemon wedges (optional)

Put the lentils into a medium saucepan with 950ml/34 fl oz water and bring to the boil. Cover partially, lower the heat and simmer very gently for 20 minutes. Add the salt, cayenne pepper, green beans and coriander. Stir to mix, bring back to the boil, cover partially and simmer very gently for a further 20 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Pour the oil into a small frying pan and set over a medium high heat. When hot, put in the asafoetida and cumin. Let the seeds sizzle for 10 seconds. Add the shallot. Stir and fry over a medium heat until it turns reddish. Pour the entire contents of the frying pan into the pan with the lentils. Stir to mix. Serve with lemon wedges if desired.

Spinach with black-eyed beans  (recipe says serves 4 but I think more like 3, recipe by Anjun Anand)

3 tbsp vegetable oil
rounded 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
2-4 dried red chillies
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated to a paste
14 fresh curry leaves
250g whole leaf spinach, shredded, or baby leaf spinach, well washed
salt, to taste
lots of freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground coriander
1 rounded tsp ground cumin
400g can of black-eyed beans, drained well and rinsed
1 1/2 – 2 tsp tamarind paste (I tried three or four places but found it in the Bismillah shop on Nicolson Square)
good handful of roasted salted peanuts

Heat the oil in a non-stick saucepan. Add the mustard, fenugreek seeds and chillies. Once the mustard seeds have spluttered, add the garlic and curry leaves and cook gently until the garlic is just starting to turn golden. Add the spinach, seasoning and a splash of water, mix well and cover. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the spinach is well wilted, stirring occasionally. Add the coriander and cumin, half the black-eyed beans and a splash of water. Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes. Take out one-third of the mix and blend to a fine puree. Return to the pan with the remaining beans. Stir in the tamarind paste and peanuts. Boil off any excess water until you are left with a thick creamy mass. Taste, adjust the seasoning, add more tamarind paste if you want more tang, and serve.

Pilau rice – serves 4 (Anjun Anand recipe)

220g basmati rice, well washed
2 good tbsp ghee, or 1 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 rounded tsp cumin seeds
10cm cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
4 green cardomom pods
4 cloves
1 smallish onion, sliced
1/2 tsp turmeric
salt, to taste

Tip the rice into a large bowl, cover with water and leave to soak. Heat the ghee in a saucepan. Add the cumin, coriander, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, cloves, and cardamom and allow to sizzle for 10-15 seconds or until the cumin is aromatic. Add the onion and cook until it’s turning golden at the edges.

Add the drained rice, turmeric and salt and cook for a minute, stirring. Add 400ml water, taste the water and adjust for salt. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to its lowest setting and cook undisturbed for 12-13 minutes. Check a grain – it should be cooked. Turn off the heat and serve when you are ready to eat.

Panchmael daal (five lentils mix) (this is from a book I have called I Heart Curry. I usually dislike daal but this is delicious. I usually halve the ghee and salt though)

2 heaped tablespoons split green lentils/moong dal
2 heaped tablespoons split yellow lentils/toor dal
2 heaped tablespoons split gram lentils/chana dal
2 heaped tablespoons split and husked black lentils/urad dal
2 tablespoons split red lentils/masoor dal
1.5 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons ghee
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground garam masala
1 tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
squeeze of lemon juice

1 tablespoon ghee
1 dried red chilli
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
4 cloves
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Mix all the lentils together, wash under running water. Leave to soak in cold water to cover for about 20 minutes.

Put the lentils in a saucepan with 600ml/1 pint water, 1 tsp salt and half the turmeric. Bring to the boil, skimming off the white scum from the surface as necessary. Cover and simmer on a low heat from 20-25 minutes or until all the lentils (except the chana dal) are very soft and broken down.

Meanwhile heat the ghee in a frying pan and whe hot, add the onion and cook until golden brown. Add the remaining salt and turmeric, the chilli powder and garam masala and sauté for a minute, then add the tomato and cook until soft.

Pour the onion and tomato mixture over the lentils and bring to the boil. If the lentils begin to thicken too much, add some boiling water and keep stirring to ensure that they don’t stick to the pan. Finish with the fresh coriander and lemon juice. Remove from the heat and keep hot.

For the tempering, heat the ghee in a large ladle or small saucepan until smoking. Add the whole red chilli, cumin seeds, cloves and garlic in that order and in quick succession. As the garlic begins to turn golden, pour the contents of the ladle over the lentils and cover the pan with a lid. Leave covered for 2 minutes to allow the smoke and flavours to be absorbed by the lentils. Stir well and serve immediately.

Tangy chickpea curry (I think this is Anjun Anand)

Serves 4-5

12g fresh root ginger, peeled weight
4 fat garlic cloves
2 largish tomatoes, quartered
5-6 tbsp vegetable oil
4 cloves
4 green cardamom pods
1 black cardamom pod
2 large shards cinnamon
2 tsp cumin seeds
2-3 green chillies, whole but pierced
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp ground coriander
1/4-1/2 tsp chilli powder
salt, to taste
2 x 400g chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 1/4 tsp garam masala
1/2-2/3 tsp tamarind paste or dried pomegranate powder, or to taste
handful of finely chopped fresh coriander

Blend together the ginger, garlic and tomatoes with a little water until smooth. Set aside.

Roast half the cumin seeds in a small dry pan for about 40 seconds, stirring constantly, until they have darkened quite a bit. Grind to a fine powder. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the cloves, cardamom pods,  cinnamon and half the cumin seeds and cook until they release their aroma and start to crackle. Add the green chillies and onion and cook until the onion is well browned. Add the tomato paste with the turmeric, ground coriander, chilli powder and salt, and cook over a moderate to high heat until the oil comes out at the sides (around 15 minutes), stirring often.

Add the roasted cumin powder to the pot.

Add the chickpeas and 500ml water. Bring to a boil, then simmer over a medium heat for 7 or 8 minutes. Stir in the garam masala and tamarind paste. Mash a few of the chickpeas on the side of the pan to thicken the sauce a little. Taste for seasoning and tartness, adjusting if necessary, then sprinkle with the chopped coriander and serve.

Thakkali payaru curry – black-eyed beans with spinach and tomato (from the I Heart Curry book)

Serves 4

3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
10 curry leaves
100g chopped onion
2 green chillies, slit lengthways
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
200g tomatoes, cut into small pieces
50 g spinach, chopped
100g cooked or canned black-eyed beans
300g plain yogurt

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add the garlic, curry leaves and onion. Cook over a moderate heat for 5 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the green chillies, chilli powder, coriander and turmeric. Mix well, then add the tomato pieces. Give a nice stir, then add the spinach. Cook over a low heat for 5 minutes. Add the black-eyed beans with salt to taste. Cook for a further 1 minute or until everything is hot. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly add the yogurt, stirring well. Serve warm.

Aubergine & green bean curry (got this from the Guardian)

This is twice as much of the curry paste as you need for this curry – partly because it’s easier to blend that way, but also because it’s useful to have a second batch to hand for this or another veg curry. Keep it in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze it. Serves six to eight.

For the curry paste
5-6 shallots (or 1 onion), peeled and finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
2 thumb-sized pieces ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer layers removed, finely sliced
5-6 green chillies (medium-hot), deseeded and roughly chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric

For the curry
5 large aubergines
About 6 tbsp sunflower oil
300ml passata, or sieved roasted tomatoes
400ml tin coconut milk
300g french beans
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 handful chopped coriander leaves
75g cashews or almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
Lime wedges, to serve

Put all the curry paste ingredients in a blender with a tablespoon of water; whizz to a coarse paste. If necessary, stop the motor a few times so you can scrape down the sides.

Cut each aubergine in half lengthways, cut each half into three lengthways, then halve each piece, so you end up with 12 wedges from each aubergine. Heat two or three tablespoons of oil over a medium-high heat in a large, nonstick frying pan. Sauté the aubergine wedges in batches, until lightly browned, adding more oil as needed. As you remove each cooked batch from the pan, lay the wedges on kitchen paper to drain.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large, deep saucepan and add half the curry paste (refrigerate the rest for another use). Fry over medium heat, stirring constantly, for three to four minutes, then add the aubergines and stir for a minute or two until coated with the spice mixture. Add the passata and coconut milk, and simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes. Add the french beans and simmer until tender – about five minutes. Season generously, then stir in the chopped coriander. If using the nuts, scatter them over the top. Serve with lime wedges and rice.

Chard and new potato curry (Grauniad)
It’s also very good made with spinach instead of chard – just remove any tough stalks from 600-700g spinach, add the leaves once the potatoes are done, cook for a minute or two, then add the yoghurt mixture. Serves four.

About 500g swiss chard
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion, peeled, halved and finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
3cm piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tsp garam masala
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground turmeric
3 cardamom pods, bashed
350g new potatoes, quartered
250g plain, full-fat yoghurt
1½ tbsp tomato puree
1 small bunch coriander, tough stalks removed, roughly chopped
1 small handful almonds, cashews or pistachios, toasted and chopped

Separate the chard leaves from the stalks. Cut the stalks into 2.5cm pieces and roughly chop the leaves.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and fry the onion until golden. Meanwhile, pound the garlic, chilli, ginger and a pinch of salt to form a paste. Add to the onion and cook, stirring, for two minutes. Tip in the remaining spices and stir for a minute or two. Add the potatoes and chard stalks, and fry for five minutes, stirring frequently so they’re coated with the spice mixture. Pour in about 400ml water – enough to cover the veg – bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Add the chard leaves and cook until just wilted.

In a bowl, whisk the yoghurt, tomato puree and some of the hot liquid from the curry. Remove the curry from the heat, stir in the yoghurt mixture, return to the heat and warm through very gently. Stir in most of the coriander. Taste, season if needed, scatter over the remaining coriander and the toasted nuts, and serve with rice and naan or chapatis.


2 thoughts on “Some tasty vegetarian recipes

  1. Pingback: Soup of the Evening, Beautiful Soup* | Mitherings from Morningside

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