Happy National Vegetarian week! Whether you’re already a vegetarian, pescatarian, flexitarian, vegan or meat-eater it’s time to take part! Why not invite some guests over for a weekend celebration of al-fresco veggie dining or go fancy for a mid-week meal. We’ve done the hard bit for you and put together a full veggie inspired 3 course meal to try out, so take a read of the blog below and don’t forget to tag us in your final creations!
Mint & basil griddled peach salad
Nothing says starting national vegetarian week more than a fresh salad to greet your guests with. Not only does it suit the al-fresco dining we are all taking part in, but it also makes a healthy and filling starter whilst enjoying 4 of your 5-a-day, plus it’s vegan! With mint coming into season this month, this mouth-watering salad is bursting with flavour. It’s layered with quinoa, creamy avocado and juicy griddled peaches, so you definitely won’t be missing the meat in this dish!
You will need:
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 tbsp finely chopped mint, plus a few whole leaves to serve
2 tbsp basil, chopped
2 peaches (300g), quartered
160g fine beans, trimmed and halved
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 large little gem lettuce (165g), roughly chopped
½ 60g pack rocket
1 small avocado, stoned and sliced
1.Mix the lime zest and juice, oil, mint and basil, then put half in a bowl with the peaches. Meanwhile, cook the quinoa following pack instructions.
2.Cook the beans for 3-4 mins until just tender. Meanwhile, griddle the peaches for 1 min on each side. If you don’t have a griddle pan, use a large non-stick frying pan with a drop of oil.
3.Drain the quinoa and divide between shallow bowls. Toss the warm beans and onion in the remaining mint mixture and pile on top of the quinoa with the lettuce and rocket. Top with the avocado and peaches and scatter over the mint leaves. Serve while still warm.
Vegan pulled jackfruit
When you taste how good this pulled jackfruit is in a sandwich or taco filling, combined with your favourite slaws and salads for extra crunch, you’ll want to eat it every day!
What you’ll need
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
1 x 600g tin jackfruit, drained and rinsed
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp oregano
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp tomato puree
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp treacle or dark brown sugar
200ml/7fl oz vegetable stock
chilli paste, chipotle paste or Tabasco, to taste
burger buns or flour tortillas, to serve
In a frying pan, heat the oil and fry the red onion for 5–10 minutes over a medium heat until softened and browned at the edges.
Meanwhile, drain the jackfruit and rinse well. Trim off the core and pop out the seeds with the tip of a knife. (You can skip this. The seeds taste absolutely fine, but rather spoil the “pulled pork” illusion.) Cut each piece of jackfruit in half.
When the onions are caramelised, add the garlic, the smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, black pepper and tomato puree. Fry for a minute, stirring, then add the jackfruit, soy sauce, treacle or brown sugar, and vegetable stock. Stir everything together, bring to a gentle simmer for 20 minutes.
When the sauce is reduced and thickened, remove the pan from the heat and use a fork to mash the jackfruit into shreds. Taste and adjust the seasoning with a bit more soy sauce, sugar or some chilli sauce of your choice.
Serve immediately in the burger buns or wraps.
It’s time to get your apron on and try out this gorgeous, hearty, vegetarian wellington from our friends at BBC Good Food Magazine. This meat-free wellington is sure to impress the guests and most certainly leave them wanting more. Filled with beetroot, mushroom and butternut squash, then wrapped in puff pastry, these ingredients work perfectly together to create that meaty texture you may be missing. This dish takes a little longer than usual but is definitely worth the effort and works perfectly for a weekend celebration of all things vegetarian!
You will need:
500g butternut quash, peeled and cut into 1cm dice
2 tbsp olive oil
small bunch sage, leaves finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
500g closed cup mushrooms, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
150ml double cream
200g fresh breadcrumbs
½ tsp ground mace
150g cooked chestnuts, chopped
whole nutmeg, for grating
500g block puff pastry
plain flour, to dust
6-8 cooked beetroot (similar sized – about 400g)
1 egg, beaten, to glaze
1 tbsp sesame seeds or poppy seeds, to decorate
1.Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Toss the squash with 1 tbsp oil, half the sage and some seasoning. Tip onto a baking tray and roast for 25 mins until tender.
2.Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp oil in a large frying pan and fry the shallots for 10 mins until tender. Add the mushrooms and fry for 15 mins until softened, and the liquid has evaporated.
3.Add the garlic and remaining sage to the mushrooms, fry for a minute, then add the double cream. Stir until it coats the mushrooms and no liquid remains. Fold in the breadcrumbs, mace, chestnuts and roast squash. Season everything well, adding a grating of nutmeg. Leave to cool before assembling the wellington.
4.Roll the pastry out on a floured work surface to a 35 x 45cm rectangle. Transfer to a large parchment-lined baking sheet with one of the long lengths of the pastry facing towards you. Spoon the mushroom and squash mixture down the length of the pastry, leaving a 7cm border along the top and 1cm on both sides. Brush all the exposed pastry with beaten egg.
5.Put the beetroots in a line down the middle of the filling – they should be touching. Fold the filling-covered, long length of the pastry over the beets, using the paper to help you. Roll up and trim the pastry with a knife when it’s overlapping by 1cm.
6.Place the wellington seal-side down, and pinch the ends to seal. Egg wash the whole thing and use a fork or blunt cutlery knife to score the pastry in a pretty pattern. Chill until for at least 30 mins, or up to 24 hrs.
7.Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Brush the wellington with more beaten egg, sprinkle with the sesame or poppy seeds and bake for 45-50 mins until golden brown and puffed up. Leave to rest for 10 mins before carving into chunky slices with a sharp knife to serve.
Self-saucing sticky toffee chocolate pudding
Name something better than a sticky toffee pudding… a self-saucing sticky toffee CHOCOLATE pudding is your answer, and lucky you, we’ve got this super easy recipe for you to try out at home. Filled to the brim with chocolate chunks and sauce, this recipe has upped the dessert game and is the perfect sweet treat for your guests to finish off their night of al-fresco dining with. Once you’ve tried this, puddings will never be the same again. This dish is easy to prep and takes just under an hour to cook. Enjoy!
You will need:
200g pitted medjool dates
100g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for the dish
75g demerara sugar
75g dark brown soft sugar
2 large eggs
250g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp baking powder
100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
vanilla ice cream or custard, to serve
For the sauce:
200ml double cream
75g unsalted butter, cubed
200g dark brown soft sugar
30g cocoa powder
1.Put the dates in a bowl and pour in 300ml boiling water. Leave to soak for 30 mins. Meanwhile, make the sauce by tipping all the ingredients, a big pinch of salt and 300ml boiling water into a pan, then whisk over a medium heat and simmer for 2 mins. Pour into a jug and leave to cool slightly. Once the dates are soaked, use a hand blender to blitz the dates and water until you have smooth paste. Leave to cool slightly. Butter a deep 35 x 25cm dish.
2.Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Beat together the butter and sugar for 3 mins until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition. Fold in the flour, bicarb and baking powder along with a pinch of salt. Once combined, mix in the date purée, then fold in the dark chocolate. Pour the sponge batter into the prepared dish and spread out evenly using the back of a spoon. Pour the chocolate sauce evenly over the top of the batter.
3.Bake in the oven for 30-35 mins until risen, then leave to rest for 2 mins. Serve warm with a big scoop of ice cream or warm custard.
Nothing beats an after-dinner drink like a refreshing cocktail. In honour of World Whisky Day on the 15th May, we thought we would share with you a classic whisky sour cocktail for you to enjoy with your dinner guests. Simply dust off the cocktail shaker, throw it all together and give it a mix to finish off your ultimate vegetarian dinner party in style.
You will need:
35ml lemon juice
12 ½ ml 2:1 sugar syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
½ fresh egg white
50p-sized piece of lemon zest
Slice of orange, for the garnish
Cherry on a stick, for the garnish
1.Shake all the ingredients (except for the lemon zest and garnish) hard with ice and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Squeeze the lemon zest, shiny side down over the drink so the scented oils spray across the surface. Discard the zest, add the garnish and serve.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our veggie dinner party menu and have been inspired to take part in National Vegetarian week – if you loved this blog, sign up to our newsletter to hear more foodie content from us.
Stay safe and happy cooking!
The BBC Good Food Shows Teams