Before we left to go backpacking, Jack and I really weren’t the most skilled or adventurous cooks. We would get in from work and want to eat pretty quickly. So we would usually go for a pasta dish, with a sauce from a jar or something to shove in the oven. Only at the odd weekend would we actually try new recipes and spend a bit longer in the kitchen. But we have both recently come to the decision to eat a lot less meat. Before this we would sometimes eat meat for lunch and dinner everyday. So whilst we do still eat it from time to time, we try and stick to veggie options throughout most of the week.
When I have been hunting for new recipes to try out recently, I have been searching for good veggie options. Which is a completely new realm for us, having always been incorporating meat into our meals. So that plus now also having to cook for 4 people instead of 2, as we are living with my parents. I have to make sure it is going to be a good amount for all of us! I have tried out a few recipes over the last couple of months, but these two I am sharing with you have been the best out of that bunch. We have a veggie lasagne and a chickpea curry, so keep on reading for how to cook these two amazing vegetarian recipes!
First up is the vegetarian lasagne, which is probably my favourite out of all the recipes we have tried so far. You know it might even beat the classic beef mince lasagne! With some lovely roasted vegetables and cheese sauce made from scratch, it truly is a filling meal. And if you are missing any of the vegetables used, you can easily make a few swaps for things you do have in your kitchen. I usually cook some broccoli to go alongside this for the four of us, but any vegetable side will do! As this serves 6 people, there are usually some leftovers that some of us can re-heat for lunch the next day.
This is a BBC Foods recipe so if you want to check out the original click here!
Prep Time: 30 Mins
Cooking Time: 1-2 Hours
Serves: 6 People
2 yellow or red peppers
1 large sweet potato
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 garlic cloves
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 vegetable stock cube
200ml cold water
9-10 lasagne sheets
salt and black pepper
FOR THE CHEESE SAUCE
75g plain flour
750ml milk, semi-skimmed or full fat
125g mature cheddar cheese
75g grated mozzarella cheese (or extra cheddar)
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6
Chop the peppers, courgette and sweet potato into roughly 2cm chunks and put onto a large baking tray. Drizzle with some oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast these in the oven for 30 minutes.
While the vegetables are roasting, heat oil in a large saucepan and chop and fry the onion for 5 minutes.
Add the chilli and chopped garlic. Then stir in the tins of chopped tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and crumbled stock cube. Pour over the cold water and bring to a simmer. Cook this for 10 minutes and then turn off the heat and set to the side.
To make the cheese sauce, put the flour, butter and milk into a large saucepan on a medium heat. Make sure to whisk this constantly until the sauce is thick and smooth. Then stir in about two-thirds of the grated cheeses and season. I tend not to buy mozzarella specifically for this, so just make up the difference with more cheddar!
Take the vegetables out of the oven after 30 minutes and then add to the tomato sauce mixture. Season this with salt and pepper.
That is all the components done, so now just to put it all together! First, layer a third of the vegetable mixture into an ovenproof dish and cover with a layer of lasagne sheets. Then go on with another third of the vegetable mixture and a second layer of lasagne. Then add half of the cheese sauce and then the last of the vegetable mixture. Top with another layer of lasagne, and then the rest of the cheese sauce.
Sprinkle over the remaining grated cheese on top. This goes in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the pasta is soft and the top is golden brown and bubbling. Make sure to stand for 5 minutes once out of the oven, this will make it less liquidy.
I often like to prepare the lasagne in the afternoon and put it all together in the ovenproof dish and let it sit. I just pop it in the oven about 40 minutes before dinner, and whilst that is cooking I chop up a couple of broccoli and steam them for 20 minutes.
Next up is this chickpea curry, which I found in Healthy magazine and I immediately knew I had to try it. Nothings puts me off of a recipe more than a long ingredients list. Which is why this recipe appealed to me so much. You are likely to have most of the ingredients in your cupboard already, and if not they are really easy to get hold of and pretty cheap too! This is a straight forward one pan meal, with only 5 steps to making it! Just add more curry powder if you like it spicy!
Cooking Time: 30-40 Mins
Serves: 4 People
1 tbsp olive oil
2 red onions
3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground paprika
2 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
2 x 400g tin chickpeas
2 large tomatoes
2 cups of brown basmati rice
Heat the oil in a large pan and add the sliced onions. Cook for about 10 minutes until softened.
Add the chopped garlic cloves, curry powder, cumin powder, ground coriander and paprika. Cook this for a further 2 minutes, before pouring in the chopped tomatoes. Stir this together, and leave to simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, measure out two cups of rice and four cups of water and bring this to the boil in a saucepan. Once the water has boiled, lower the temperature and let the rice simmer.
Pour in the coconut milk, bring to the boil and cook for a further 10-15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas, and then add these to the mixture. Slice the two fresh tomatoes and stir in as well. Season to taste and leave to simmer until the rice has cooked and all of the water has been soaked up.
I really hope this will inspire you to try out these recipes, even if you aren’t a vegetarian! These meals are so delicious the thought of adding meat into them won’t even cross your mind. Let me know if you try them, and if you do what would you rate it?!
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