I was a vegetarian for most of my teens and twenties, partly out of protest against the treatment of animals kept for food and partly because I just wasn't that fond of the taste of meat (these days I am more relaxed about what I eat but, more often than not, I still go for the veggie option). In that time I learnt a good many great veggie recipes, many of which I still cook on a regular basis for my non-vegetarian family.
One particular favourite is this fab nut roast recipe. Originally from Rose Elliot's Complete Vegetarian Cookbook, sadly now out of print but replaced by Rose Elliot's NEW Complete Vegetarian - an updated edition taking into account current healthy eating advice.
The recipe has been tweaked and adjusted over the years to suit what I had in the cupboard. The original recipe contains onion, carrot and celery but I substitute celery (which I hate) with any other veg I have. It's a great way to use up those lone courgettes, half a pepper or handful of mushrooms that lurk at the back of the fridge! It's cheap to make, filling and nutritious with a chewy texture that even a die hard meat eater can enjoy.
Although not my Other Half. Way to much veggie presence for his tastes... *sigh*
1 large carrot
A portion or two of any other veg you may have around - celery, pepper, courgette or mushrooms all work well
200g chopped mixed nuts - Brazil nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts (sometimes I use pre-packed chopped nuts found in baking isle at around £1 for 100g or you can chop and mix your own)
2 tsp yeast extract
2tsp Marigold Vegetable Bouillon (optional but tasty!)
1-2tsp dried mixed herbs or a handful of chopped fresh herbs
A knob of butter and a handful of breadcrumbs to line tin
Chop your veggies into chunks then throw them all in food processor and pulse until they are all chopped up. If you don't have a food processor then you can grate or finely chop all the veg by hand.
Tip the chopped veg into a large bowl. Add all the other ingredients and mix thoroughly - it will be quite a wet mix - like a very lumpy fruit cake batter!
Line the bottom of a 1lb loaf tin with a long strip of greaseproof paper so it comes up and over the 2 short sides then grease the tin with butter and sprinkle with some breadcrumbs (I blitz any slightly stale bread in the processor and freeze breadcrumbs so I always have a supply at hand. So much better than the bright orange ones you can buy in tubs!)
Pour the veg mix into the tin, making sure you tap the tin to eliminate air bubbles.
Bake in a preheated oven GAS5/190C/375F, uncovered for about 45mins - slide a sharp knife into the loaf to make sure the centre is set (just like a cake). Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes before sliding a knife all the way round the edge and turning onto a serving plate.
Lovely served warm with roast potatoes, greens and onion gravy or cold with a salad and new potatoes. I have even shallow fried slices of cold loaf for a couple of minutes on each side and served them in a roll with some grated cheese and ketchup for a veggie burger alternative.
|Chunky veg and nut loaf with salad... omnomnom!|
If you want to find out more about National Vegetarian Week please visit their website - there are a loads of hints and tips for those thinking of taking up a meat free lifestyle and scrummy simple recipes to get you started!