In an attempt to reduce the amount of meat we eat, and increase the amount of veggies, I have persuaded my boyfriend that we’ll be doing meat-free Mondays. (Though as I do the cooking in our house, he really has very little choice…) While I’m completely fine with the prospect of a veggie meal, he isn’t so much, so I have tried to choose recipes which still feel hearty and filling so he won’t miss the meat.
So far, so good! We started with an easy Mushroom & Ricotta Tart on week 1, week 2 was Stuffed Peppers and on last Monday, week 3, a Veggie & Lentil Bolognese. I have been really pleased not only with the ease of making these recipes, but also how much flavour they have. I really don’t miss the meat at all! The tart and Bolognese recipes are ones I found online, and I made my own adjustments to some of the ingredients to suit our preferences. The stuffed peppers were a ‘wing it’ moment, and the result was a delicious stroke of personal genius! (If I may say so myself…) I have included links to the tart and Bolognese recipes below, as well as the full recipe for the stuffed peppers.
Now all I have to do is keep it going – and hopefully expand this to more meals each week without the meat (boyfriend-permitting). Watch this space!
Week 1 – BBC Good Food – Mushroom, Ricotta & Rocket Tart
This was really tasty – the nutmeg in the cheese makes a huge flavour difference! As I served it with salad, I missed off the rocket from the original recipe, but in a bid to add more veg to replace it, I added a handful of spinach leaves to the mushrooms while cooking, and it goes really well with the rest of the dish! Serve with a mixed salad, and possibly a buttered potato or 2!
Week 2 – Stuffed Peppers with Spicy Rice Filling
This looks really impressive, but is so easy to do! It’s a case of mixing some really good flavours together and packing the filling really tightly into the peppers to get as much yummy rice filling into each one as possible – delicious!
Serves 3-4 or fills about 6-8 peppers depending on size.
You will need:
140g easy cook basmati & wild rice (long grain or basmati works too, easy cook is faster to cook)
½ pack cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 tin pinto beans
1 pepper, cut into small cubes
1 leek or onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1 vegetable stock pot or stock cube
2 tsp paprika
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp nutmeg
1-2 fresh chillis, finely chopped (optional)
1 tbsp olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 180˚
- Cut the tops off of the peppers. Wash them thoroughly and remove the seeds.
- Bake in the oven for 15 mins.
- Meanwhile, in a non-stick pan, or casserole pot, fry the leek or onion in the olive oil over a medium heat for around 5 mins, or until they soften
- Add the garlic, peppers, tomato, rice and chilli if using. Mix well and cook for a further 10 mins. Add a splash of cold water if it starts to dry out or stick.
- Add the stock pot or cube and a glass of water. Mix well to dissolve the stock.
- Add the spices and pinto beans, mix in and cover (if the pan doesn’t have a lid, foil works too).
- Bring to the boil, then turn down to a low simmer. Cook for round 15 mins or until the rice is done.
- Remove the peppers from the oven and drain any liquid.
- Fill with the rice mixture and top with cheese.
- Bake for another 10 mins or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Week 3 – Jamie Oliver – Veggie Bolognese
This was a completely new one for me – having not cooked a veggie Bolognese or with lentils before – so I turned to my go-to source of kitchen knowledge (for those rare occasions when my Mum isn’t available, or, shock horror, doesn’t know!).
I don’t necessarily recommend that you leave them out, but when I made this recipe, I didn’t have any onions in the house – but can confirm it was still very tasty. I also swapped out the herbs for dried oregano and fresh basil, out of personal choice. (I used the oregano in place of the rosemary, and basil in place of the parsley at the end.
I will say that this does make a lot of sauce, so if like me you’re cooking for 2, it’s perfect to freeze some, of use it for lunch the next day, as I did. It reheats surprisingly well, given that its lentils, and the flavour improves, if anything!
… and my version…
Do you have a favourite dinner you’d like to convert into a veggie version? Let me know in the comments below – I’m always on the lookout for inspiration!