The Fed Up & Drunk team prove that any dish can be made veggie-friendly, hassle free…

Vegetarian Week

In the spirit of Vegetarian Week we are embracing all things vegetable and have tasked the team with a revamping of their favourite meaty recipes.

We all know that veggies are good for you and incorporating more natural, wholesome foods into your diet can have amazing benefits. Just have a look at our Foods For Health and Beauty series for some great ideas.

Scientifically speaking, it has become apparent that cutting down the amount of meat in your everyday diet helps with overall health. Red meat is one of the highest sources of saturated fat in the average diet and simply cutting out meat at least one day a week has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers. Once you’ve made the decision to remove meat from a dish, chances are you’ll be increasing the vegetable content, which is much better for you.

Cutting down on meat will also help keep pennies in your pocket, as you replace expensive cuts with cheap as chips vegetables.

If you’ve yet to embrace Vegetarian Week, or find yourself uttering those immortal words, “I just can’t imagine a meal without meat,” let us guide you through a list of Fed Up & Drunk’s top dishes, turned into veggie-friendly delights. Give them a whirl and let us know what you think.

Michelle Grady’s Veggie Moroccan Stew

Morrocan stew
This is a great dish to cook for a mixed group of vegetarians and carnivores – it’s so packed with flavour thanks to the fragrant herbs and spices that it’ll win over even the most keen meat eater. It’s also super easy to make, which is definitely a bonus when cooking for a crowd – basically, you just need to chuck everything in a pot and leave it to simmer gently, meaning you’ll have plenty of time to chat with your guests and sip Prosecco. The original recipe from BBC Good Food features chicken, but I usually substitute it with whatever vegetables I happen to have in my cupboard, as well as a tin of chickpeas to soak up the aromatic sauce.

(Serves 4-6)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, 1 roughly chopped, 1 sliced
100g tomatoes
100g ginger, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp each ground cumin, coriander and cinnamon
1 large butternut squash, deseeded and cut into big chunks
1 large courgette, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 tin chickpeas, drained
600ml vegetable stock
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp red wine vinegar

To serve
A handful of mint leaves
100g feta cheese, crumbled
Couscous and natural yogurt

1. Heat the oil in a large pot. Whizz the chopped onion, tomatoes, ginger and garlic into a rough paste (if you don’t have a food processor, you can just crush everything together until the tomatoes go all squishy and soft). Fry the sliced onions in the pot until soft, add all the spices and fry for a minute or so, before adding the tomato paste and frying for another minute or two to soften.
2. Add the chopped vegetables, along with the chickpeas, stock, sugar and vinegar. Simmer gently for around 30 minutes – you should aim for the sauce to thicken and the veg and chickpeas to soften and infuse with the spices. Just make sure you take it off the heat before it starts to turn to mush – you want the veg to retain a bit of bite.
3. Serve with couscous, a scattering of mint and feta, and a dollop of natural yoghurt. Yum.

Sally Webbs’s Melanzane Parmigiana

Although no pasta is involved, this is my favourite meat-free alternative to lasagne. It’s a gooey, tasty Italian favourite that, as a one-dish recipe, is great for dinner parties – as a starter or main course. Best served with a crisp salad, some crusty bread and plenty of white wine on the side, this recipe from the great Antonio Carluccio is easy to follow and comes up trumps every time. Make sure you get vegetarian Parmesan, as traditionally this cheese contains rennet which is not veggie friendly!

(Serves 8 as a main course, 10-12 as a starter)
4 large aubergines weighing altogether 1.1 – 1.2kg (about 2 1/2 lb)
Plain flour for coating
4 eggs
Plenty of olive oil
300g (10 1/2 oz) fontina cheese, sliced
115g (4 oz) Vegetarian Parmesan, freshly grated
Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for sauce
4 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 1/2 x 800g (1 3/4 lb) cans peeled plum tomatoes, chopped in the can
10 fresh basil leaves, torn
And a large over-proof dish.

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
2. Slice the aubergines into nice chunky discs (about 1cm thick). Dust all slices with the flour – both sides – before dipping each one into a bowl containing the eggs, beaten and seasoned.
3. Heat some olive oil in a pan and brown the slices on both sides, before setting them all aside on laid-out kitchen roll to soak up any excess oil.
4. Heat the oil. Add the garlic and then the tomatoes, adding the basil at the end, to create a tomato sauce.
5. Now it’s time for layering. Tomato sauce, then aubergines, then torn fontina, then a little more sauce, then a sprinkling of the Parmesan. Then start again with the aubergines, then fontina, then tomato sauce, then Parmesan.
6. Finish on a layer of tomato sauce dotted with pieces of fontina and a good handful of the Parmesan. Pop it in the oven for half an hour and then leave to stand for 15 minutes before serving, as it will be mega hot.

Jess Roberts’ barbecue skewers

bbq skewers
Now that the sunshine is doing more than simply peeking out from behind the clouds, it’s becoming more and more common to hear people whispering to one another that wonderful word – barbecues. Cooking outdoors is something relished by Brits countrywide, known for being an easy and relaxing way to feed the masses. Mainly a meat-focused method of preparing fare, it’s nice to include some meat-free alternatives on the grill, such as these scrumptious halloumi, courgette and tomato skewers.

(Makes 8 skewers)
1/2 tsp chilli powder
A small handful of mint, chopped
The zest and juice of 1 lemon
2tsp virgin olive oil
16 cherry tomatoes
2 courgettes, thickly chopped
225g halloumi cheese, cubed
(You’ll also need 8 skewers)
1. Mix together the chilli powder, mint, lemon and oil. Once blended, add the tomatoes, courgettes and halloumi, and then leave to marinate for 30 minutes.
2. Thread the halloumi, courgettes and tomatoes onto the skewers and place on the barbecue (or under the grill) for 7-8 minutes, rotating halfway through.
3. 3. Eat.

Dominic Stroud’s Tagliatelle Primavera

“I have to say before you read on that this is a one-pot wonder dish that will probably offend any Italians reading, but is still a tasty springtime recipe for me. I wouldn’t claim to be Jamie Oliver after making it, but it always hits the spot.”

(Serves 2)
250g tagliatelle
250g asparagus spears
100g spinach
Frozen garden peas
Single cream
Parmesan-style hard cheese

1. Bring a well-salted pot of water to the boil. While you’re waiting on this, take an asparagus spear in both hands and gently bend it. You’ll be able to feel a natural bending or breaking point in each. Confidently snap each spear in two in that place and keep the half with the paintbrush-like tip (the other half will be too woody and tough for this dish).
2. Place the tagliatelle and asparagus tips into the boiling water, and then return it to a gentle simmer. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions or personal preference, and the asparagus will come along for the ride.
3. Put a couple of handfuls of the frozen peas into the water two minutes before the pasta is due to come off the boil.
4. Once the pasta is cooked, carefully dip a mug into the water until it fills to about a quarter. Then, drain everything, return the food to the pan with the little bit of reserved pasta water and the spinach.
5. Drizzle over a small amount of cream, pop in a large knob of butter and grate over plenty of your vegetarian hard cheese of choice. Give everything a good stir so that the sauce forms with the water and the spinach wilts with the heat from the rest of the ingredients. Season to your preference, too.
6. Pop everything onto a plate and grate over more cheese. Ta-da!

Holly Nash’s red lentil, Marmite and aubergine moussaka

Marmite moussaka
Lentils are a great addition to meat-free meals if trying to create a nutritional and energy boosting evening dish. I often find it difficult to digest many varieties of this grain and, fortunately, red lentils soften quickly so can be processed easily by even the most sluggish of stomachs. I add a couple of dollops of Marmite for a salt fix, whilst a chilli or two will add a bit of heat. I also like to extend baking time slightly till edges are crispy and – arguably – a bit burnt.

Serves: 4
2 aubergines, sliced thinly length-ways
2 tablespoons olive oil
100g dried red lentils
200g carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cubes frozen crushed garlic
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 fresh red chillis, finely chopped
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes in rich tomato sauce
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato paste
1 tbsp of Marmite
½ x 28g pack fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Grated Chedder (for béchamel sauce and extra topping!)

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C.
2. Meanwhile, cook the lentils in a pan of boiling water for 15 minutes, adding the carrots for the final 5 minutes of cooking time. Drain.
3. While the aubergines, lentils and carrots are cooking, heat the remaining oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the garlic, onion and chilli, fry for 5 minutes, or until softened.
4. Add the cinnamon, tinned tomatoes, tomato paste and the drained lentils and carrots to the pan with the garlic. Add a tablespoon (or two!) of Marmite. Simmer for 10 minutes then remove from heat. Keep an eye on this, remove from heat in necessary.
5. Layer the lentil mix and aubergine slices in a large oven-proof baking dish, finishing with a layer of aubergine slices.
6. Begin béchamel sauce. I haven’t added amounts to this sauce, as it is easy to add ingredients and gage the amount as you go. This also allows you to create a sauce as thick or thin as you prefer.
7. Melt 60g of butter in a saucepan. Stir in an equal amount of flour and cook the mixture for just under a minute – known as a roux. Pour in milk and stir, a little at a time, making sure to stir well so that no lumps form. Bring the mixture to the boil, stirring constantly, so that the mixture thickens and becomes glossy. Boil for a couple of minutes. To make a cheese sauce, add grated cheese off the heat. Season well.
8. Pour cheese sauce on top, then place in the oven for around 20 minutes, adding extra sprinklings of Cheddar or even mozzarella if you dare…

Emma Cullen

Emma Cullen

Emma is an ex-Fed Up & Drunker that has been released into the wild

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