Being a vegetarian can sometimes need a lot of planning and creativity! It can also be really simple, and can mainly just consist of replacing the meat from a meal with a substitute, from Quorn through to mushrooms or beans.
Here are some delicious recipes that I have been trying out this week, in order to trial some new ideas that are hopefully tasty and also affordable on a student budget.
#Mediterranean Pasta Bake, Wednesday
A student staple of course. Although this meal usually contains meat, whether it’s spicy chicken or mince, it’s really easy to add flavour without these, mainly through roasting or grilling your vegetables before hand. Cut up two cloves of garlic, and add them to a griddle pan with your choice of vegetables, I used red and orange peppers, red onion and courgette. Add a little bit of olive oil. If you do not have a griddle pan, then you can still place the vegetables in the oven to roast. Through cooking them like this, you really bring out the flavour. I blackened mine a little on the griddle for more flavour. For the sauce, mix tinned tomatoes, a tea spoon of pesto, tea spoon of tomato puree, one vegetable stock cube, mixed herbs and salt and pepper. Add this sauce to your cooked pasta, then add in the vegetables. Sprinkle some cheese and breadcrumbs on top before grilling until golden.
#Vegetarian Pho, Thursday
This was the most adaptable recipe that I tried over the course of the week, mainly because I simply used a basic recipe before putting in whichever ingredient I felt like. I used this recipe here and just left out the mushrooms. This was honestly so easy and I just put it all in the pot when I got back from university. It’s also a great meal to take to work because it heats up quickly and tastes just as fresh. Definitely trying again.
#Quorn chicken and leek pie, Friday
This one does seem a little lazy, but before I went vegetarian this was my favourite meal and I really wanted to ensure that I could enjoy it even when I was not eating meat. I brought pre made puff pastry (because who has time for that). Take two leeks, wash and dice them, and put them in a pan with a tablespoon of butter and around 100ml of hot water. Simmer until they are soft and tender. Add two tablespoons of flour and cook off for around a minute, then add 300ml of hot water and a powdered vegetable stock cube. Add salt, pepper and a tea spoon of mixed herbs. Add in your cooked Quorn chicken and simmer for around ten minutes. Place into a pie dish, put the pastry on top and then give it a quick egg wash and cook for twenty minutes at 200 C.
#Sweet potato and chickpea burgers with carrot chutney, Saturday
I was in a restaurant last week and decided to try these and was not disappointed! I found this recipe online really easily and set about making them on Saturday evening for burger night! The finished result was really delicious, although the list of ingredients was quite extensive and the whole thing took a while, it was definitely worth it and so much healthier than standard meat burgers. Another thing I will say is that if you get any of the measurements wrong, then the burgers can be a little sticky, but I just added more flour to stop this.
#Quorn mince burritos, Sunday
Quorn mince is a brilliant source of protein that resembles meat mince massively and it makes a great base for any sauce and for a variety of meals. I brought a pack of wholemeal wraps, some microwavable Mexican rice, salsa, avacadoes for guacamole and some jalapenos for spice before cooking the mince. Add the mice to a pan with some diced onion and garlic (I used jar instant garlic, you can get it really cheap from supermarkets and it can makes thing super easy and less smelly, a teaspoon if the equivalent of a clove), and cooked this off for around five minutes. I then added some burrito powder that I got from aldi for only 29p! I’m sure you can find it in other supermarkets as well. Cook this off for five more minutes, then you’re done! Just go right ahead and assemble those burritos. These were really tasty and great comfort food after a long day.
#Veggie chilli, Monday
One of my favourites and super cheap! Like with the pasta bake, using a griddle or roasting your veg with definitely add some much needed flavour! I took this Hairy Biker’s chili recipe and just took out the mince, replacing it with lots of grilled veg! This was definitely the freshest chili I have ever tasted and is great finished off with a squeeze of lime and some sour cream. I had some avacadoes left from the night before so made a quick guacamole on the side. Delicious.
#Vegetarian sausage toad in the hole, Tuesday
I found this one so easy! I just took this recipe here and substituted the sausages for Quorn ones. I have tried this recipe before with meat sausages, yet the flavour from the vegetarian ones was still strong. I would say that you have to really shop around and see which vegetarian sausage you prefer, as cheaper brands can resemble the taste of cardboard at times. Overall, I did like it, maybe will use another brand next time. Side note, getting oil hot can be quite dangerous! I made sure that I wore long sleeves and trousers to protect myself.