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  • Share your best vegetarian recipe (Easy and for non veggies)
  • Premier Icon bentandbroken
    Full Member

    Years ago we had a meal at a vegetarians/vegans house and the food was great. Half way through the meal I realised we were eating vegetarian/vegan food.

    We are off on holiday next week and we all have our holiday challenge to cook something for the family. As carnivores, I thought it would be good to try and turn peoples heads with a vegetarian meal that they do not realise is vegetarian.

    I am not looking for meat substitutes such as vegetarian sausages/burgers etc, I would rather prepare a new/different dish that everyone enjoys and then later realises does not contain meat.

    As an engineer rather than a chef, I need a recipe, not something that says things like;
    – ‘add a dash of’
    – ‘make sure you add enough, but not to much’
    – ‘cook until ready’

    I have used Tofu and Soya Mince before, but not very well. Beans and pulses have also been a bit ‘meh’, but I am happy to give stuff like that another go if I have a good recipe.


    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member

    For an easy win I’d say the (v) nice chilli recipe below. Have made meat chilli lovers very happy with it.

    American recipe, so make your own 1/4 cup McCormick’s Chili Powder just use a copycat McCormick’s Chili Seasoning recipe here

    I recommend Gran Luchito brand refried beans. Forget the flour, just add extra pinto beans if needs thickening.

    Serve the chilli with rice, cheesy nachos (plenty of recipes around) or in bowls with side salad, guacamole, sour cream and plain/salted tortilla chips.

    Also this thread (and many others):

    Vegetarianism for a meat lover.

    Last but not least (although not so easy) :

    A delicious main course vegetable biryani:

    Paired with a masoor dahl it’s ridiculously moreish:

    Add some roti, onion salad, cold lager and you’re set

    Premier Icon idiotdogbrain
    Free Member

    I am also an engineer (well, technician) but I’ve managed to follow this: Thug Kitchen Sweet Potato, Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas

    They’re honestly amazing.

    Premier Icon sl2000
    Full Member

    This Ottolenghi black pepper tofu recipe is easy to cook, doesn’t need any unusual ingredients and tastes amazing. Maybe reduce the black pepper unless everyone you’re cooking for likes spicy food.

    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member

    Nearly forgot:

    jackfruit biryani

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    I have a similar approach to cooking as you. I don’t want a pinch of this, a handful of that and a glug of the other. If I’m doing something new I’ll collate half a dozen recipes, try and distil something unique out of a combination of all of them and then iterate each time I redo it to try and refine it.

    I have used Tofu and Soya Mince before, but not very well. Beans and pulses have also been a bit ‘meh’, but I am happy to give stuff like that another go if I have a good recipe.

    Tofu is a swine to cook well, I eventually filed it under ‘more trouble than it’s worth’ and gave up.

    Soya / Quorn mince falls down if you’re approaching it as a carnivore and treat it like beef mince, stick it on a rolling simmer for two hours and you’ll end up with slurry. It needs either frying off to give it some structural integrity, or really not much more than warming through. If it’s been more than 20 minutes from packet to pan you’ve probably overcooked it.

    All of these use meat substitute, but have you any interest maybe in either a Thai chickenless noodle soup, a chilli or fajitas? Out of everything I’ve concocted over the years they’re probably the three dishes that garner the most consistent enthusiasm when I suggest doing them for tea, my OH’s daughter goes mental for my fajitas and when it comes to food she’s more of a fussy bugger than I am. Oh, and leek & potato soup always goes down well, if you’re looking to show off then I suppose it kinda lacks a ‘wow’ factor on its own but it’d make a hell of a starter if you’re doing multiple courses.

    Shout and I’ll pitch up recipes if you want.

    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member

    Tofu is a swine to cook well, I eventually filed it under ‘more trouble than it’s worth’ and gave up.

    did you freeze/press/refreeze? Very little ‘trouble’ (really just pressing it the day before cooking, then chucking it back in the freezer overnight), and well worth it IME.

    I used that method before making baked tofu teriyaki and it was much more like chicken-textured tofu teriyaki, rather than sloppy tofu teriyaki. tastes vary but I wasn’t a fan of tofu until I tried the freeze/press/bake thing.

    This looks ace/naughty in a healthy way. Is an oddly satisfying video, must have watched more than a few times in recent years but yet to try cooking it…


    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    I didn’t but honestly, this was kinda my point; I prefer other options and they’re less effort.

    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member

    I didn’t but honestly, this was kinda my point

    Self-opening packets? 😉

    In the interest of transparency though, I did use a mains-powered freezer. I’m not some kind of masochistic hairshirt!

    When/if you master the zen art of ‘putting in the freezer’ then I’d definitely recommend one day ditching the ready-made/plastic-packed and going in for the ‘making fresh tofu’. If you can make pizza dough then this is easy.

    Step 1: First make the soy-milk

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    I’m increasingly thinking I should just come round to yours for tea.

    Premier Icon Murray
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    Those tofu hacks look good. I like the texture of normal tofu but my wife hates it – this could be a way to sneak in more.

    Premier Icon PiknMix
    Full Member

    Linguine with mushrooms, garlic and sage.


    • linguine 150g
    • butter 25g
    • chestnut mushrooms 250g, sliced
    • garlic 2 clove, crushed
    • Sage a handful of leaves, chopped
    • lemon 1, juiced
    • grana padano (vegetarian hard cheese) 50g, finely grated


    • STEP 1 Cook the linguine. Heat the butter in a frying pan, add the mushrooms and fry until really soft and golden and any liquid has reduced to almost nothing. Add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the sage and cook for another minute. Season really well.
    • STEP 2 Drain the pasta but keep a teacupful of the cooking water. Add the linguine to the mushroom pan with the lemon juice, parmesan and enough pasta water to make a light sauce. Toss everything together until the pasta is coated then serve.

    Not sure where it came from, probably the BBC but it’s delicious and takes about 15 mins all in. It does fail your “hope they don’t realise it veggie” requirement, but it’s so delicious no one will care.

    Premier Icon bassmandan
    Free Member

    I would highly recommend splashing out on this book:

    River Cottage Veg Every Day!

    As a meat eater, I don’t want veggie food that tries to replace meat, I want things that showcase actual vegetables. The recipes in this book are fab. There is a whole ‘tapas style’ section which the author recommends throwing a bunch of together for entertaining or feeding larger numbers of people.

    Premier Icon LAP13
    Free Member

    As others have said, don’t try and replace meat with a meat substitute.
    I’m a recent convert to paneer, I wasn’t sure but the texture holds up and it takes on the flavours of what you’re cooking, something like a good butter curry.

    Have a look at Bosh! Their mushroom wellington looked incredible and I have it on good authority that it is really good. I just haven’t bothered to try yet.
    They have a YouTube channel

    Premier Icon tuboflard
    Full Member

    This is one of my favourites. I’m not a veggie but live with one and I do all the cooking.

    Get good quality feta though, and I’ll also tend to use parsley as well as or instead of the basil. Bloody delicious.

    Premier Icon kilo
    Full Member

    Cauldron sausages, mash and peas, beer to accompany – easy, tasty not really a meat substitute as being a reformed carnivore they are better than most meat sausages. Or just do an arrabiata sauce such as

    Premier Icon timmys
    Full Member

    I’m a big fan of the Ottolengi Black Pepper Tofu dish already posted, but it’s not for the faint hearted!

    My go to for veg recipes is this book;

    If want to try before you buy then just search for recipes from her Guardian column.

    Premier Icon IHN
    Full Member

    If you have a curry recipe you like, just substitute paneer for the meat.

    Premier Icon mogrim
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    If you’ve got an oven in the holiday cottage these are easy and taste great:

    I chop up a block of halloumi and add it in to the mix before baking, adds a nice bit of extra taste and texture. It uses korma paste and a pack of filo pastry, so you are cheating a bit, but then again you are on holiday 🙂

    Premier Icon Freester
    Free Member

    A couple of my favourite vege recipes right now…

    Butternut and Chickpea Stew

    Vegetarian tagine with roasted cauliflower, apricots and chickpeas

    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member

    If going on self-catering holiday in my own country I learned always to plan a special meal by pre-buying and prepping spices/spice blends and any special dried or ambient-store packaged ingredients beforehand (usually keep a decent stash of spices in the larder, also beans, pulses, lentils, dried mushrooms etc)

    I’ll take the necessary amount along in little jars, carried in the picnic hamper. Having these makes it much easier to cook (say) a decent dahl or whatever with little fuss and extra expense of double-buying (usually more expensive and/or hard to find) ingredients while on holiday.

    One easy dish for skeptics:

    Premier Icon stevious
    Full Member

    We’re not veggie here, but since we tried the veggie chilli recipe here we haven’t gone back to con carne:

    Premier Icon bentandbroken
    Full Member

    Thanks everyone! I have been a bit tied up by work/life so have not looked/read/replied enough, but the suggestions so far look great, please keep them coming 🙂

    I will try and log on more tomorrow and delve a bit deeper

    Premier Icon BigJohn
    Full Member

    A big favourite of ours (and rarely a day goes by in our house without eating animals) is sweet potato and cauliflower curry. With a half jar of Tesco green Thai curry paste (the only pre made flavour we ever use, it’s unbeatable). Fry onion peppers mushrooms, add blanched sweet potato and cauliflower then glug some coconut milk. Perfect.

    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member

    add blanched sweet potato and cauliflower then glug some coconut milk.


    Sounds delicious.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Full Member

    OK vegan, but otherwise an excellent recipe…

    Premier Icon fenlander
    Free Member

    As above, dahl and veggie chilli are great options. Ottolenghi’s mushroom traybake ragu is amazing as well – a fussy family of carnivores here loved it. It works just as well with chestnut mushrooms rather than the posh oyster ones, and I put in a quarter of the creamed coconut or it is far too rich. I skip the pearl barley too. It is very rich so I halve the overall quantity and it is plenty for a family of four with leftovers. I like it with rigatoni and garlic bread…

    Premier Icon rockhopper70
    Free Member

    We like this in our household,

    Add some chestnut mushrooms and vary the bean types. Great with a gem lettuce and some yoghurt.

    Premier Icon tuboflard
    Full Member

    Ottolenghi’s mushroom traybake ragu is amazing as well – a fussy family of carnivores here loved it.

    It’s a bit time consuming to make but it’s bloody delicious. I don’t bother with the barley either, normally put a packet of puy lentils in instead. Great with pasta. Freezes well too.

    Premier Icon spooky_b329
    Full Member

    Super simple and easy if you are on holiday.

    Premier Icon scruff9252
    Free Member

    The last time this question came up, someone recommended the Green Roasting tin; this one

    My wife got me it for my birthday and we’ve been making our way though it – it’s really, really good. We eat meat, but phasing out “pointless” meat – ie chicken in curries / fajitas, beef in chilli etc – realising that pulses and lentils are often just as good if not better than the meat equivalent. We’re probably eating between 3-6 days a week vegi / vegan these days.

    Premier Icon atbr
    Free Member

    Jamie olivers veggie quiche is a winner. its really quick and easy and delicious.

    Premier Icon BillMC
    Full Member

    3 ripe pears (about 1 1/2 lbs.), unpeeled
    3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
    1/4 cup honey
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts
    1/2 cup crumbled goats cheese (last 5 mins)
    Dressing with lumpy mustard for leafy salad

    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member


    I regularly cook dals because (with rice) it’s a staple/complete protein meal (not to mention mega tasty), but yesterday grabbed a Waitrose tarka dal for a quick meal. Cooked some basmati, microwaved the dal and splapped some Koko plain yoghurt on top of the whole mess.

    Rices with dals are probably my top go-to meals for ‘easy and 100% satisfying’

    Good quality basmati rice cooked right is the key.

    Premier Icon sadexpunk
    Full Member

    thanks, will look into those.

    but yesterday grabbed a Waitrose tarka dal for a quick meal.

    is that like a tikka dal but a little otter?


    Premier Icon dannyh
    Full Member

    I have adapted this with extra finely chopped onions at the start, more garlic and by adding a tsp of curry powder, a dollop of natural yoghurt and some Kasuri Methi near the end.

    It is delicious even if I do say so myself…

    Premier Icon eddiebaby
    Free Member

    Creamed sweetcorn soup with a couple of Scotch Bonnets in there. Serve with soured cream, coriander and some decent bread.

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