National Vegetarian Week has fallen on 16 – 22 May. All around the country, people were inspired to spend the week meat-free, trying out new foods and recipes in the process.
According to The Mayo Clinic, a vegetarian diet could reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.
If, like me, two years of lockdowns have caused you to carry a bit of extra timber, this week could be the perfect opportunity to test out healthy vegetarian meals. When dusting off my kit ahead of the new cricket season, I realised that lockdowns have not helped the waistline, so you could be joining me in looking for ways to feel healthier overall for the summer!
So, in a belated celebration of National Vegetarian Week, here are three delicious meat-free recipes to try.
1. Traditional Greek salad
The Greeks are well-known for their delicious vegetarian options, with fresh vegetables and aromatic herbs often taking centre stage over meat and fish.
A traditional Greek salad can be thrown together in less than 20 minutes, and usually comprises a combination of vegetables, herbs, feta cheese, and a vinaigrette dressing.
You can combine your Greek salad with crispy garlic bread or couscous – or both! – to make it more filling if you wish.
You can follow this traditional Greek salad recipe from The Wimpy Vegetarian, or find another recipe online.
2. Vegetable risotto with grilled mushrooms
If you’re searching for a hearty vegetarian evening meal, a vegetable risotto with grilled mushrooms could be just the ticket.
Using vegetable stock instead of chicken or beef, and replacing meat with wine-soaked porcini mushrooms, this risotto could be the ideal meal to feed your hungry family.
One great thing about risotto is that although it takes around 40 minutes to make, it is made up of few ingredients. A risotto base is comprised only of onion and arborio rice, with additional root vegetables such as celery if you prefer.
As you add in the stock, you can simultaneously grill your wine-soaked porcini mushrooms. At the end, combine the two and top with cheese for a flavourful, healthy, meat-free evening meal.
You can use Jamie Oliver’s vegetarian risotto recipe, or find an alternative online.
3. Homemade veggie pizza
Who says being vegetarian can’t be fun? You can modify your favourite “unhealthy” meals, like pizza and burgers, into vegetarian alternatives more easily than you think.
If you have children who like to cook with you, rustling up a homemade vegetarian pizza from scratch could be both enjoyable and delicious.
You can make your own pizza dough at home, or buy it pre-made from the supermarket. Similarly, you can whip up a homemade tomato sauce for the base of your vegetarian pizza, or use a store-bought version.
Of course, the main event of this vegetarian meal is the toppings. Instead of your usual pepperoni or chicken, you could use a range of well-seasoned vegetables, including:
- Red, yellow, and green peppers
- Salad for last-minute toppings, such as rocket.
By loading your homemade vegetarian pizza with a combination of these ingredients, you can introduce your family to new vegetables while enjoying a hearty, filling meal.
You can find vegetarian pizza recipes on BBC Good Food or in a recipe book.
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