The other day i stuck up a short video clip on the net inviting people to the challenge of ONE week with no meat.
And a lot of you put your hands up and said we can do this [one of you said he thought he could manage a week without veg!]
So the challenge is to join us in a week’s time [Week of Monday 24th August] when tbV and i enter our 4th week [one on, one off] of going meat-free. And seriously, if you can’t do one week without meat, you should seek some kind of help.
But i wanted to make it as easy as possible:
One thing tbV and i have found is that if we plan the week’s meals beforehand [typically on Sunday and then Val will go out to shop and buy what we need] it becomes a lot easier than opening the fridge and hoping something vegetarian will pop out in a way that is fun. So sit down for ten/twenty minutes before you shop and plan the week ahead. Also helps you diversify your meal choice.
Also this is an incredible way to try out some new things you don’t normally eat and Uncle Google is amazing for things like that – there are programs where you can insert all the ingredients you have and it will pop out a recipe. And just this last week i made a really tasty crumb-and-cheese covered cauliflower and butternut veg dish which really was mouth-watering.
The last thing i did to make things easier was to call on some of my vegetarian friends to share some of their meals and perhaps a recipe or two to give you some inspiration. If you don’t know how to make a dish a quick Google will sort that out and if you have any questions please post them in the comments and i will find the answers for you. Remember i would love for you to write a short piece after the week letting us all know how your experiences were:
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tbV aka The Beautiful Val
* Plan out your meals for the whole week and do one shop. On our veg heavy weeks we tend to go to Food Lover’s Market for some great deals (you know, the ones where they do the bag of potatoes, onions, butternut, carrots and oranges for something ridiculous like R70!)
* We only buy enough for the meals we’ve laid out that week so that we’re not wasting veg.
* Try not to go back to the store in-between – you might be unduly tempted by either the meat or the snack aisle.
* Know what you’re cooking each night and how to cook it. I found that meat recipes tend to be “easier” to whip up because I’m so familiar with them. If I haven’t planned my meals ahead then chicken breasts and pasta becomes a lazy alternative (or a chop and mash)
* You might “feel” hungry but in all likelihood that’s just your meat-reliant body telling you vicious lies. Kick that beast down. We’ve found that we no longer have that “not-quite-full-something’s-missing” gnawing feeling now when we eat veg only meals.
Stirfry Veg Wraps
Finely chop a variety of fresh veg like purple cabbage, peppers, carrot, eggplant and mushrooms (Food Lovers Market does a kick-ass 400gr bag for R16 already chopped which is good for two meals for two). Stirfry with a bit of soya sauce and sweet chilli sauce. Warm wraps in pan and wrap burrito style with stirfry veg, cheese, and avo (if in season). Sour cream a great add. Leftovers for LUNCH!
Cook collection of winter vegetables – potato, carrot, onion, sweet potato, butternut, mushrooms – in 500mls of vegetable stock. Reduce (use a packet soup and/or cornstarch or whatever you prefer to make it a thicker stew). Place in casserole dish and cover with puff pastry. Bake in oven at 200degrees for 20 minutes until pastry risen. One casserole dish of veg pie lasted us Dinner, Lunch and Dinner the next night.
Cauli/Butternut Cheese Bake.
Brett came up with a brilliant recipe in which he chopped up cauliflower and butternut and layered in a casserole dish, made a cheese sauce and poured over and sprinkled with bread crumbs and baked for 30 min. Perhaps not the healthiest of the meals but SO SO good! And enough for lunch the next day. We ate this with peas on the side.
Stirfry Chinese Egg Noodles
Same deal as with Monday’s stirfry veg (Seriously, that R16 bag is perfect to have in the fridge for a 15 minute meal!) Cook Chinese Egg Noodles per directions (3 minutes in boiling water). Add together in the wok and mix, seasoning to taste – personally, I’m a cayenne fan. A little kick in this is perfect. Sadly, none left for lunch d; (
As you can see we left Wednesday out as Leftovers served us well for at least one or two lunches and dinners…
Yep, you may get snacky so keep fruit, crackers & cheese, nuts, muffins, or trusty popcorn on hand.
Some other meal ideas?
Mushroom and Pea Risotto; Rice & Beans Burrito (with Avo and Sour Cream you won’t even miss the meat!); Broccoli Mac & Cheese; Butternut Soup and Beer Bread; Cottage Pie (Like shepherds pie but hold the ground beef); Roast Veg (yep, just chop them all up and season then put in the oven for 45 min); Butternut & Feta Couscous; Baked Potatoes; Broccoli Soup; Stuffed Peppers; Fettucine Alfredo with Peas & Mushrooms; Roast Veg Pita Bread; Mini Pizzas; Egg fried rice; Dahl; Vegetable Thai Yellow Curry on Jasmine Rice.
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10 meal Ideas from Megan Furniss
1. Shakshuka or Turkish breakfast
2. Rice and Spinach
3. Butternut curry
4. Chickpea and leek soup
5. Mjadera or Lebanese rice and lentils
6. Mac and cheese
7. Nigella’s most spectacular lemon risotto
8. Spanakopita (although it is very challenging and time consuming to make)
9. Vegetarian sushi
10. Thai green veg curry
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I grew my own sprouts from lentils and would drizzle some honey over raw sprouts with pinneaple and banana.
Smoothies: banana base with any fruit in the house and cinnamon and nuts on top.
Oats with grated apple, raisins, almonds, honey and cinnamon. Tastes like apple pie.
I would make a large pot of soup every days and eat it for lunch and have as starter at dinner
Lunch: left over soup/salads/raw veggies with humus/avo
Carrot soup: carrots, sweet potato, thyme, blended… Add honey and toasted almonds…
Beets, spinach, tomato paste… Blend.
Add feta and sundried tomato
Salads, grilled veggies, fish,
Stir frys with frys
Pastas with spinach feta
Burgers made with chick pea patties
Chick pea and butternut curry with coconut milk
Bean and veggie curry on basmati
If we braaied i would have roasted veggies on fire wrapped in foil with garlic and rosemary… Soft veggies like cauliflower, baby marrow, cabbage, onion, broccoli, all in one “foil pocket” and sealed well.
Mealies on braai
Butternut on braai
I didn’t eat much fish and when i went vegan had no dairy at all, used rice milk.
Desserts were fruit platters with fresh dates and figs and berries with Nutella dip.
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Kari Cousins [my soon to be Xhosa classmate]
[Because we have not yet met, i will extend ambassadorial grace to Kari for sneaking in mention of the “food type” raiSINs, although we all know the truth, right?]
Because I am always bushwhacked on a Monday evening I’ll do something easy like Fallafel in pita breads.
Pitas – from Spar bakery or wherever is nearest
Fallafel (you can go the lazy route and buy them ready made or make them.
Sauces to spice it up: Hummus, Tahini, or Tzaziki
To add some texture:
Use finely chopped tomatos and onion or spring-onion as a salad mix.
and some shredded lettuce or cabbage – it’s wise to put some of this in first to stop the pita getting soggy & leakey at the bottom!
How to make your own SPICY FALAFEL
1 tin chick peas (drained well)
1 medium red onion
2 medium cloves garlic (finely chopped/grated)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons fresh mint
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pinch of salt
1 fl oz vegetable oil
2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
Start off by blending onion & garlic. Preheat oven to 200ºC.
Then, add remaining ingredients (except oil) and blend until desired consistency or until everything is well combined and a fine mix.
Taste for spice and seasoning – adjust accordingly. Now, you can make standard falafel (around 8-10) or falafel burgers (4-5). Form into balls, place on baking sheet and press down slightly. Brush with a tiny amount of vegetable oil, and bake for 20-25 mins until hot in middle and crisp.
Alternatively, you can fry in a hot pan for about 2 minutes on both side, then finish in a hot oven for 10 minutes.
VEGETARIAN LENTIL BOBOTIE
250 ml Lentils – if you use canned ones you can skip steps 1 & 2 below
30 ml Sunflower Oil
1 medium Onion – grated (about 200g)
½ t Salt
1 ½ t Turmeric
1 t Durban Masala
1 t Cumin
2 slices Bread
80 ml Milk
80 g Raisins
1 Apple – grated
Custard Topping: 2 egg; 160 ml yoghurt; Bay Leaves
Soak lentils over night in cold water.
Cook the lentils until al dente or just cooked and set aside.
Soak the bread in milk.
Heat a large pan. Add oil and sauté the onion and add spice, shake about until soft and aromatic.
Add lentils, raisin, apple, soaked bread to the onion pan and season very well.
Mix all the ingredients together and pack tightly in a greased 18x14cm pan.
Top with egg and yoghurt mixture and garnish with bay leaves (cook’s note: you can half the yoghurt amount resulting in a reduced final cooking time).
Cover with tin foil and back at 180 ̊ C for 20 minutes. Take foil off and continue cooking until the custard topping is cooked, about 20 minutes.
Serve the bobotie with yellow rice and raisins, sliced banana, chutney and coconut.
QUICK THAI PUMKIN & GREEN BEAN CURRY
Butternut squash (or another kind of pumpkin of similar size, cut into half inch chunks)
500 grams green beans (topped and tailed)
1 tablespoon green Thai curry paste
2 tablespoons coconut cream
2.5 cm fresh root ginger (grated finely)
1 clove garlic (minced)
½ lime (juice and grated rind of)
1 handful coriander (leaves only)
1 teaspoon Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
200 ml water (or vegetable stock)
Cut and skin the pumpkin, prepare the beans.
In a large wok, add a tablespoon or 2 of coconut cream, a tablespoon (to taste) of Thai curry paste, garlic, ginger and the water/stock. Allow this to come to the boil and stir.
Place the pumpkin over the liquid in a steamer and steam for about 5 minutes until tender (adding more water if necessary).
Add the beans and steam until heated through but still retaining a crunch.
Add the pumpkin and beans to the steaming liquid and then add the remaining ingredients to taste. Cook for another 5 minutes to combine, then eat with whatever kind of rice you prefer.
MEXICAN STYLE LASAGNE – as a change from Vegetarian Lasagne (although that, when well-made, is lovely too!)
for the sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion (peeled and chopped)
1 red pepper (deseeded and chopped)
2 green chillies (chopped with seeds)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh coriander (finely chopped)
2 cans chopped, peeled tomatoes
1 ⅔ cups water (swill this in the empty cans)
1 tablespoon tomato puree
for the filling
2 cans black beans drained and rinsed
2 cans sweetcorn kernels drained
2 ½ cups grated Cheddar (or cheese of your choice)
8 soft flour tortilla wraps
You will need a round ovenproof dish, approx. 26cm diameter x 6cm deep
Preheat the oven to 200°C, slipping in a baking tray at the same time (to catch spills!).
To make the sauce, heat the oil in a pan on the stove and fry the onion, pepper and chilli. add the salt and cook gently for 15 minutes and, once soft, add the chopped coriander.
Add the canned tomatoes, then swill the cans out with water and add this too. Spoon in the ketchup and let things come to a simmer, leaving the sauce (or salsa, in keeping with the Mexican mojo) to cook while you get on with preparing the filling – about 10 minutes.
To make the filling, mix the drained beans and sweetcorn in a bowl. Add most of the grated cheese, reserving some to sprinkle on the top at the end, and mix together.
Start to assemble the lasagne by spooning about a third of the salsa into the bottom of your ovenproof dish and smearing it about, then layer on 2 tortillas so that they cover the sauce overlapping slightly, like a Venn diagram.
Add a third of the beans and cheese mixture, covering the tortillas, and then about a quarter of the remaining salsa and another 2 tortillas.
Repeat with another third of beans and cheese, and some more salsa before layering on another 2 tortillas.
Finally, add the last layer of beans and cheese, nearly all of the remaining salsa and cover with the last 2 tortillas. Spread the very last bit of salsa over the tortillas and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, and let it rest for a good 10–15 minutes before slicing like a pizza. [Makes great left-over snacks!]
FRIDAY – PASTA NIGHT – The simpler the better!
Linguini with lemon, garlic & thyme mushrooms
225 grams mushrooms
80 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 small clove garlic (crushed)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
4 sprigs fresh thyme (leaves not stalks!)
500 grams linguine
1 bunch fresh parsley (chopped)
2 – 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or to taste)
freshly ground black pepper
Slice the mushrooms finely, and put in a large bowl with the oil, salt, crushed garlic, lemon juice and zest, and marvellously scented thyme leaves.
Cook the pasta according to packet instructions and drain loosely, retaining some water. Quickly put the drained pasta into the bowl with the mushroom mixture.
Toss everything together well, then add the chopped parsley, grated cheese and pepper to taste, before tossing again, and eat with gusto!
3 Tomato pasta sauce – very nice with rigatone
4 fresh tomatoes *
1 can chopped, peeled tomatoes
6 sundried tomatoes
1 pinch of dried chillies (a good pinch)
1 sprinkling of sugar
1 clove garlic (crushed)
1 splash of red wine
basil leaves (fresh) OR a Tablespoon of pesto
Pecorino cheese (or Parmesan cheese – to serve)
Peel and chop tomatoes and simmer with tinned tomatoes.
Add sun-dried tomatoes (if using), chilli, sugar, garlic and wine.
Cook over low heat for about 30-40 minutes and finish with fresh basil leaves.
Serve with pasta, drizzle with olive oil (optional) and sprinkle with cheese
*It’s super-nice if you use a punnet (about 250g) of baby cherry, roma or plum tomatoes instead of chopping up big tomatoes. Roast them in the oven for about 10 – 15 minutes first.
A Winter SOUP lunch –e.g.Greek chickpea soup:
100 ml olive oil
2 onions (chopped)
2 sticks celery (chopped)
2 carrots (sliced)
2 tins chickpeas (in water, drained and washed)
1 tin tomato puree
2 lemons (juiced)
Heat the olive oil in a pot and sweat the onions. When they are translucent add the celery and carrots and continue cooking until the mixture starts to brown.
Add the chick peas and fill with approximately 2 litres of water. Bring the soup to the boil, then add the tomato pure.
Simmer for about 45 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper.
When serving, add lemon juice to taste. Lovely with lots of crusty bread.
& What’s for dinner?
6 large potatoes
2 large leeks
2 tablespoons flour
300 ml milk
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of pepper
a dash of grated nutmeg
Either parboil the potatoes or slice them so thin that they will be ‘done’ in the oven. Chop up the leeks, quit roughly.
Make a basic cheese sauce: Melt a knob of butter, then add flour, keep stirring for a couple of minutes, add the milk slowly to keep a smooth sauce, then add half the grated block of cheese, keep stirring until the sauce is smooth. Add salt etc. to taste
Sprinkle leeks on top, pour over sauce evenly, then add the rest of grated cheese. Bake at 180C for 30-35 mins, until brown at top and when the potatoes are easily pierced by fork.
Serve with a crunchy green salad on the side!
ITALIAN VEGGIE BAKE A LA JAMIE OLIVER
3 large aubergines
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
½ bulb spring garlic, or 1 clove of regular garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 heaped teaspoon dried oregano
2×400 g good-quality tinned plum tomatoes, or 1kg fresh ripe tomatoes
freshly ground black pepper
a little wine vinegar
1 large handful fresh basil
3 large handfuls Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2 handfuls dried breadcrumbs
a little fresh oregano, leaves
First things first: remove the stalks from the aubergines, slice them up into 1cm thick slices, and put to one side. Whether you’re using a griddle pan or a barbecue, get it really hot. Meanwhile, put 2 or 3 lugs of olive oil into a large pan on a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and dried oregano and cook for 10 minutes, until the onion is soft and the garlic has a tiny bit of colour. If you’re using tinned tomatoes, break them up, and if you’re using fresh tomatoes (which will obviously taste sweeter and more delicious, if they’re in season), very quickly prick each one and put them into a big pan of boiling water for 40 seconds. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and put them into a bowl of cold water for 30 seconds, then remove the skins, carefully squeeze out the pips and cut up the flesh. Add the tomato flesh or tinned tomatoes to the onion, garlic and oregano. Give the mixture a good stir, then put a lid on the pan and simmer slowly for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, grill the aubergines on both sides until lightly charred – you may have to do them in batches, as they probably won’t all fit into your griddle pan in one go. As each batch is finished, remove them to a tray and carry on grilling the rest until they’re all nicely done. When the tomato sauce is reduced and sweet, season it carefully with salt, pepper and a tiny swig of wine vinegar, and add the basil. You can leave the sauce chunky or you can purée it. Get yourself an earthenware type dish (25 x 12–15cm). Put in a small layer of tomato sauce, then a thin scattering of Parmesan, followed by a single layer of aubergines. Repeat these layers until you’ve used all the ingredients up, finishing with a little sauce and another good sprinkling of Parmesan. I like to toss the breadcrumbs in olive oil with a little freshly chopped oregano and sprinkle them on top of the Parmesan. Sometimes the dish is served with torn-up mozzarella on top, which is nice too. Place the dish in the oven and bake at 190°C/375°F/gas 5 for half an hour until golden, crisp and bubbly. It’s best eaten straight away, but it can also be served cold. You can use the same method substituting courgettes or fennel for the aubergines – both are delicious. But do try making it with aubergines – you’ll love it
Other Jamie Vegetarian offerings (and loads of puddings): http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/category/special-diets/vegetarian/#glY7s1YaJQbfP6AP.97
SUNDAY EVENINGS – in our house Sunday nights are soup or rustle-up-your own sandwich affairs. But sometimes, especially inn winter, we do pancakes like these:
SWEET POTATO PANCAKES WITH A SOUR CREAM DIP
1.5 kg Sweet Potatoes
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
3/4 cup Flour
1 teaspoon Sugar
Salt & fresh ground black pepper
Peel sweet potatoes and cut into large pieces. Remove any dark spots.
Cook the sweet potatoes in boiling water until soft.
Leave in a strainer or colander for at least 1 hour to drain completely of water
Place the sweet potatoes in a large bowl and mix with soy sauce, using your hands** (do not overmix, or the mixture will get too sticky to work with).
Add flour, sugar, salt and pepper and mix with hands. Remove any hard or black parts.
Keep mixing with hands until you get the right consistency. The batter should be soft, even and a bit sticky. If it is watery add some flour. But don’t OVERMIX!
Put the batter into a sandwich bag or other plastic bag, tie off the end and puncture on one end to make an icing bag to pipe the mixture onto the pan.
Warm up a non-stick pan and add butter, pipe cakes onto pan, fry on both sides on medium heat.
Drain on newspaper and serve warm with dip.
Cream Dipping Sauce
3/4 cup Chives
225g sour cream
1/3 cup mayonaise
salt, pepper, mustard & lemon to taste
Mix all ingredients and serve with the pancakes.
BABY MARROW & CORN PANCAKES
450g baby marrows, grated
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup corn kernels
4 large eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon dried basil/ oregano
1 clove garlic – crushed
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
Place grated marrows in a colander over the sink. Add salt and gently toss to combine; let sit for 10 minutes. Using a clean dish towel or cheese cloth, drain marrows completely.
In a large bowl, combine grated marrows, corn, eggs, basil, oregano and garlic; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in cheese and flour until well combined.
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Scoop tablespoons of batter for each pancake, flattening with a spatula, and cook until the underside is nicely golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side, about 1-2 minutes longer.
Serve warm from the pan!
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Ooh, Wow, think we’ve scored here, but definitely a lot of opportunities that should help cover one week and quite possibly force a bunch of you to have to try it again for a second week cos so much of this stuff just sounds so good. Thank you everyone who contributed…
One week away – one week of No-Meat. If you are doing this please leave your name in the comments section just so we have an idea of who all is in… it is going to be GREAT.
And please feel free to pass these food lists on cos there is too much goodness here to be kept to ourselves…