Going meat-free? Vegetarian recipes you will love!

-Dec 8, Jenny Paul , Nutrition -

With more of us embracing the meat-free Monday and a flexitarian diet, going plant-based suddenly seems like a simple change which can be easily accommodated.

Certainly there have never been so many meat substitutes on the market for those who are used to the look of meat and three vegetables, or just want to change their usual recipes. 

A new year is around the corner so it is a fabulous time to give some veggie dishes a go where no fakes are needed. Why not try these healthy recipes this month – they might just stay in your repertoire for the rest of the year too…

Mexican Beans

Beans are such a gift to anyone looking to eat a healthy veggie diet. Whether you buy them ready-cooked in a tin or dried and boiled they are a cheap and easy way of getting protein in your diet. They also don’t have to be boring! These Mexican Beans are so tasty thanks to the smokiness of the smoked chilli and the cayenne pepper tang. Best of all they are easy to make, gluten-free and freeze brilliantly. Which makes them fabulous as a quick meal on toast, in a baked potato, with rice, in a burrito or with a side of quinoa and salad.


  • Splash of sunflower or coconut oil
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ yellow pepper, finely diced
  • ½ green pepper, finely diced
  • 600-650g cooked mixed beans of your choice, drained if using tinned
  • 1 large smoked chilli
  • 500g passata
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Cook the onions with the lid on over a medium heat until soft, around 5mins should do it. Add a splash of water if they are catching.
  • Add the chopped peppers and garlic, a splash of water and cook again with the lid on until the peppers are soft. This should take 5mins. 
  • Add the chilli and cayenne pepper, stir well and add the passata. Cook with the lid off for 5mins over a medium heat, the sauce should be gently bubbling.
  • Add the cooked beans and combine well. Cook for another 5 to 10mins until the beans are heated through and the sauce thick.

Saffron Risotto

Risotto is a fabulous one-pan meal and can be served with salad or vegetables on the side. This one takes it’s unique flavour from saffron and Parmesan. Look out for vegetarian versions of the Italian hard cheese as most contain rennet which is an animal product. It’s a fab light dinner or easy lunch for friends. It’s also a brilliant dish for kids to make as it’s happy with plenty of fussing and interaction! 


  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 300g Arborio risotto rice
  • 130ml dry white wine or Prosecco
  • Large pinch of saffron, about half a teaspoons worth
  • 50g Parmesan, or vegetarian alternative, finely grated 
  • more Parmesan for garnish


 Add the saffron to the hot stock. 

 Melt the butter in a large pan then stir in the shallots. Cook on a low heat for around 5mins until they are soft but not browning. 

 Stir in the rice so it’s well coated in the butter. Cook for around 3mins until the grains are slightly translucent. 

 Add the wine and stir in, cook on a medium low heat until all the wine is absorbed, this should take a few minutes. Add ¼ of the stock, stir through and cook on a medium to low heat. When it looks like the stock has almost all been absorbed add another ¼ of the stock. Keep repeating and stirring the rice intermittently so it doesn’t stick. 

 After around 20 to 25min all the stock should be added (be sure to scrape out any of the saffron from the bottom of your jug or pan) and the grains should be plump and cooked through but with a little bite in the middle.

 Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese so it melts. Serve with a garnish of freshly grated Parmesan. 

Mushroom Burgers

Fully load your bun with salad and sauces of your choice and enjoy a burger to not only get your teeth into but also count towards your five-a-day! These can be made in advance and chilled before cooking. Simple to throw together and so tasty. This recipe makes four burgers.


  • 2 tbsp dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 400g button mushrooms, chopped small
  • 2 x 215g can butter beans, drained
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 handful of finely chopped parsley


  • Place the porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and pour over 2 tbsp boiling water and allow to steep until soft. Then remove from the bowl, pat dry and finely chop.
  • In a frying pan add 1 tbsp oil and cook the button mushrooms until they are soft and any liquid has evaporated. Then add the butter beans and chopped porcini mushrooms.
  • Remove from the heat and mash well (a potato masher is great for this) until the butter beans are completely mushed and thoroughly mixed with the mushrooms. 
  • Stir through the garlic and parsley and season with salt and pepper.
  • When cool, shape the mix into 4 burger patties and ready for cooking.
  • Heat another tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and gently place in the burgers. Cook them on a medium heat for 4mins before turning and cooking for another 4mins.
  • Serve in buns with salad.

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