Vegetarian Collection

A selection of delicious vegetarian recipes and meals that make it easy to live meat-free.

Quinoa & avocado salad with orange dressing

This appetising make-ahead salad is so colourful that it will tempt even the most fussy family member.

Green bean & chickpea salad with cherry tomatoes & red onion

This brightly coloured salad is packed with healthy, nutritious ingredients and makes a great vegetarian lunch or supper, but is also good served as an accompaniment at a barbecue.

Baked feta & walnut salad

This is a rustic Greek-style salad with baked feta cheese, walnuts, mixed salad greens and thinly sliced fresh radish and courgettes, tossed with a tangy lemon–garlic dressing.

Gorgonzola, spinach & pecan salad

Such a classic! Serve as a starter for six or a family meal for four. If you like your pecans sweetened, add a couple of pinches of brown sugar just before the nuts have finished toasting.

Moroccan chickpea soup

This delicious soup looks wonderfully colourful and has a lovely citrus flavour that really brings it to life.

Chinese spring rolls with beansprouts

Traditionally spring rolls were prepared to celebrate the spring harvest and were, accordingly, packed with vegetables. Spring roll wrappers are available in Asian markets.

Croquettas with spinach

Finding a crowd-pleasing vegetarian version of tapas can be quite a feat, but these oozy spinach croquettes are a winner with everyone.

Fennel, pepper & tomato tart

Shop-bought puff pastry is a gift to vegan cooks, as most major brands are dairy-free, but check before purchasing. This pie is particularly attractive and is a taste sensation.

Aubergine dip with walnuts

The combination of the walnuts and the stinging sharpness of the vinegar used in this recipe gives this Greek dip, called 'melitzanosalata me karythia', a nice tart taste that goes wonderfully with wedges of pitta bread, raw vegetables and salty cheeses.

Butternut squash & quinoa patties

Butternut squash is one of the most versatile of all the vegetables. Its flavour blends with quinoa and rice to make these delicious patties. They're surprisingly delicious considering they're also very healthy!

Rösti

The aroma of cooking rösti is irresistible! This Swiss potato pancake makes a great accompaniment for almost all dishes that do not contain potato. Rösti is also great on its own as a light lunch treat with a green salad or for breakfast served with grilled tomatoes or baked beans.

Middle eastern fritters

The flavour of these very simple little chickpea fritters, known as sambusac, will vary according to the spice mixture you add to your filling.

Lentil & rice-stuffed tomatoes

Conveniently, brown rice and lentils take the same time to cook, so if you substitute any other rice, cook it separately. If possible, stuff these tomatoes several hours in advance or even the day before, to allow the flavours time to blend.

Asparagus with spinach, garlic & pine kernels

A spring vegetable native to the Mediterranean, asparagus is well worth the wait for its unbeatable flavour and freshness. This dish is so simple to prepare and the combination of textures from the asparagus, spinach and pine kernels is a treat.

Grilled courgettes with pesto

The slightly smoky flavour of the grilled courgettes is perfect with the freshness of the pesto, the piquancy of the garlic and the lovely fresh intensity of the fresh basil.

Gnocchi with spinach & walnuts

Gnocchi is fine and filling and great for a near-instant supper. As it comes vacuum packed, it has a long shelf life and is a handy standby; it also freezes well.

Aubergine parmigiana

This skinny version uses oven-baked aubergines to keep down the fat content.

Japanese braised vegetables

Lightly cooked vegetables are given an intense, bright flavour using Japanese-style sauces.

Patatas bravas

Patatas bravas simply translates as brave potatoes. They are sliced fried potatoes smothered in a rich tomato sauce with a hint of smoky spiciness.

Potato dauphinois with garlic & swiss cheese

Potatoes are layered with swiss cheese, onion and garlic and baked until the flavours are blended together and the top is golden brown.

Korean stirfried potatoes

This delicious dish of stirfried potatoes is often served on its own as a snack with pickled vegetables. It is also a tasty accompaniment to a number of curries and grilled dishes.

Warm lentils, goats' curd & beetroot

This is tapas at its best. The creamy curd cheese slowly melts into the warm lentils, while the beetroot releases its juices. All the flavours ooze together. If you cannot find goats' curd, a very young and soft chèvre (goats' cheese) will make a fine substitute.

Sizzling mushroom fajitas

Beef-tasting portabello mushrooms, in place of traditional beef or chicken, make delicious fajitas, too. Serve with flour tortillas, guacamole, and fresh salsa.

Mexican chilli-bean tortilla lasagna

This lasagne is made with tortillas instead of pasta, and the cheese is added near the end. If you prefer it less spicy, leave out the fresh chilli. If your tortillas are too big, cut them to fit.

Triple tomato risotto

This very special risotto combines the rich intensity of roast cherry tomatoes and flecks of sun-dried tomato with the subtlety of tomato-flavoured bouillon.

Caramelised onion polenta pie

A great dish to cook ahead of time and it freezes well, too. Hot or cold, it is great accompanied by a salad, particularly one containing lots of ripe, juicy tomatoes.

Chilaquile casserole

One portion of this amazing, Mexican-inspired layered dish provides a healthy serving of all five food groups.

Mushroom masala

Mushrooms are a great alternative to meat for most vegetarians, since they have a strong, meaty texture and can take on heavy flavours. This dish is a wonderful way to treat your vegetarian guests.

Vegetable cashew thai green curry

This creamy vegetarian dish can be gently spicy or quite fierce, depending on your taste or mood. If it is your first time using a particular brand of Thai curry paste, add a little initially, then add more to taste, as they vary widely in strength! This dish goes well with a portion of sticky jasmine rice but is delicious with any type of rice or noodle.

Cauliflower & spinach curry

A classic quick curry — the vegetables, coconut milk and spices are well blended, but not fiery hot. Use the optional chilli if you like your curry spicy. Serve with naan or flatbread, if you want a change from rice.

Fudgy brownies

This is a classic. The trick with brownies is not to over-bake them; you need to take them out of the oven as soon as they pull away from the sides of the pan, while the centre is still soft. Served warm, they are delicious as a dessert with a few strawberries and some ice cream, but they are equally tempting eaten cold with a glass of milk.

Crema catalana

Crema catalana is a pudding that’s very similar to crème brûlée, but the custard base is not baked but thickened and set with a little cornflour. It has a great depth and warmth of flavour from the lemon and cinnamon.

French apple tart

To make the pastry by hand, sieve the flour into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Place the butter and egg yolk in the well and mix to a coarse paste. Draw the flour over egg mixture and chop through with a palette knife. Sprinkle with water and bring the dough together with your hands, kneading until smooth.

White chocolate strawberry cheesecake

This cheat’s cheesecake requires no baking and can be served either as soon as it is made or kept covered in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight.

Strawberry tart

Simple and easy to prepare, a seasonal fruit tart looks and tastes wonderful. Leftover pastry can be made into jam tarts, which are surprisingly popular with young-at-heart adults and children alike.

Low-fat sharp lemon tart

Calories have been slashed from this classic recipe by using the low-fat crust, cutting the number of egg yolks and being economical with the sugar. Using brown sugar adds a richness to compensate for fewer egg yolks.

Carrot cake with lemon icing

If you wish, you can use just wholemeal flour and brown sugar, but choose a finely milled wholemeal flour for best effect.

Almond & apricot meringue roulade

Adding cornflour and either lemon juice or vinegar to the mixture keeps the centre of the baked meringue marshmallow-soft and the outside crisp.

Mushroom, tomato & mozzarella ciabatta

This is a simple and tasty snack for two or can be cut into small squares and served as part of an antipasto for larger groups.

Quinoa tabbouleh

A superfood version of classic tabbouleh using quinoa in place of bulgar wheat, delicious on its own in a wholemeal flat bread with a drizzle of live yoghurt or served with a selection of other salads or grilled meat.

Garlic & coriander naan bread

These naan taste authentic and make a great accompaniment to an Indian curry.

Mushroom & bamboo stir-fry

With a hint of ginger and chilli, this is a satisfying Chinese-influenced main course stir-fry. Serve with rice or noodles.

Country slaw

This crunchy and colourful slaw made with crisp, raw vegetables has a simple, rustic feel. Make it in late summer when sweet peppers and tender courgettes are at their best.

Almond & roasted pepper couscous

This quick and easy dish is great as a side, or take it to work for a healthy lunch.

Mixed dal

In many Indian households, a different dal (using varieties of dried beans, peas and lentils) is cooked each day, accompanied by a complementing vegetable.

Spiced potato salad

The dish literally takes minutes to bring together, but if you let it sit for a short time, the flavours intensify.

Cinco de mayo grilled vegetable platter with salsa verde

Cinco de Mayo, Spanish for the “5th of May”, is a Mexican national holiday celebrating the victory over the French at Puebla de Los Angeles in 1862. Foods in the colours of the Mexican flag – red, green and white – are popular.

Vegetarian chilli

This is a vegetarian staple and for good reason: it’s healthy, filling and very economical to make — and oh yes, very tasty, too! For a hotter chilli, break open the chillies to release the seeds.

Quinoa with rosemary & peppers

Highly nutritious and one of the only grains that constitute a whole protein, quinoa has been eaten for thousands of years. It was cultivated by the ancient Incas.

Fresh tomato & basil soup

A perennial favourite, the flavour of this particular version of the soup is enhanced by slowly cooking the tomatoes in garlic-infused oil.

Pitta bread

Pittas are best eaten immediately, and freeze well, but you can store them in an airtight container for 1–2 days, and reheat in the toaster.

Souper noodles

Super quick, super healthy, the ultimate fast superfood.

Black bean stew with eggs

Beans and eggs are both great sources of protein, low in calories and inexpensive. Cooked with the warming flavours of the spices, this makes a wholesome and satisfying meal.

Pasta primavera

The wonderful produce available in supermarkets has made the preparation of fresh vegetables easy in this “spring pasta”. So if pressed for time, buy your vegetables ready prepared and your spinach washed. Sometimes these items come packaged together, so feel free to mix and match. This is lovely served with crumbled goat's cheese.

Skinnier garlic mashed potatoes

This version of mashed potatoes cuts down on the fat without sacrificing the flavour, by exploiting the richness of Maris Piper potatoes and pairing with roast garlic. Potatoes themselves are calorie-rich, so be aware of portion size.

Falafels with tzatziki

A low-calorie choice for a starter, these are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They are especially delicious with tzatziki, a mint yoghurt sauce.

Cannelloni ai funghi (mushroom cannelloni)

One of the best things about cannelloni is that they are so versatile and can be filled with almost anything (such as this mushroom filling) before being coated with sauce and baked. You can prepare it in advance and then bake just before serving.

Mixed-vegetable curry

This dish is best enjoyed when served with a side of freshly made warm rotis and a light chutney. It also works well alongside a flavourful pulao and some salad.

Greek spanakopita

This delectable vegetarian pastry is easy to prepare and always well appreciated.

Oaty apple pancakes

These healthy, low-fat pancakes are a tasty way to start the day and are very quick to make. They are delicious with cranberry syrup or try them with warmed apple sauce.

Sprout salad

You could serve this either as a first course or alongside a spicy meat curry. For a quick fix, add in a few extra veggies, like tomatoes, and turn it into a nice, filling lunch or light dinner.

Gnocchi di zucca con burro e salvia (pumpkin gnocchi with butter & sage)

These pumpkin gnocchi taste sweet and delicious and look gorgeous with their deep orange colour. They are especially delectable when served with sage butter.

Hot camembert with cranberry sauce

Break the ice with this great dish to share. It looks impressive, but is so easy to make.

Asparagus summer rolls with hoisin chilli dipping sauce

Using spring roll wrappers makes this Vietnamese speciality a very beautiful and unusual starter.

Spiced carrots

You can serve this dish as a side with some chicken or fish curry and a helping of rice. Throw in a salad, and you’ll have a complete, well-balanced meal.

Aloo gobi

A simple everyday Indian dinner usually includes a dal, rotis, some rice and a vegetable side, so it is quite common to find quick and simple vegetarian dishes like this being prepared. Aloo are potatoes and gobi is cauliflower.

Spicy potato wedges

These Indian-inspired potatoes make a great change from rice as an accompaniment for curries, and also pair perfectly with roasted chicken or lamb.

Spicy mexican cornbread

This spicy cornbread is really colourful and extremely good with a chilli dish. Use as much mild or hot chilli as you like.

Roast red pepper soup

Deeply red and full of antioxidants and cancer-protecting lycopene, this soup feels like it’s doing you good with each mouthful.

Creamed spinach

Who said that you kiss goodbye to creamy tastes when you became a vegan? This delicious spinach dish is so quick and easy to make that it will earn its place on your list of favourites. You can make your own non-dairy cream cheese and mayo or purchase them from the health food shop. If you are in a hurry, you can leave out the onion and garlic.

Spiced chickpeas

These tasty little chickpeas are great served with drinks or sprinkled over a salad for added protein. Be warned, they are addictive! They are best eaten the day they are made.

Berry oat bars

Use double the given quantities of fresh berries for an extra gooey boost; if not, dried berries will do the trick.

Spinach & antipasto roulade

Such a healthy combination of ingredients and so low in calories. Mix and match the filling according to what you enjoy most. All you need is an interesting salad on the side.

Coriander tabbouleh

A Middle Eastern classic made with nutty bulgur wheat, lemony tabbouleh makes a wonderful accompaniment, particularly for grilled meats and fish.

Warm lentil salad

Firm lentils such as brown and Puy lentils make the ideal base for salads as they retain their shape once cooked. This salad is great served warm or cold.

Sweet potato & orange cupcakes

Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene (a source of vitamin A), and eating fat with beta carotene rich foods helps the body absorb vitamins, so using them

Walnut & sun-dried tomato biscotti

Based on the classic twice-baked Italian biscuit, these savoury bites are a great alternative to crisps. Their long, thin shape also makes them perfect for dunking into dips.

Black-olive bread

You can vary the flavour of this bread with your choice of olive, so try Kalamata olives today and niçoise next week!

Farinata

When you first make farinata (chickpea pancakes), known as socca in Nice, you will be more than a little alarmed at how liquid the batter seems to be. Fear not, it will pull together quite magically as it bakes into a smooth pancake. This is the poorest of foods – just finely ground chickpeas, water, oil and salt and pepper – and yet it manages to be one of the most addictive and delicious things to eat. Try not to eat it all before serving it to your guests! Wonderful with stracchino cheese or with salami or just by itself.

Pizzette

Literally translating from Italian as ‘mini pizzas’, these are smaller than a regular pizza, although they sometimes can be up to 10 centimetres (4 inches) across. But in this case, they are only 5 centimetres (2 inches) across or smaller, to serve as a canapé.

Cambodian baked pumpkin with coconut custard

In Cambodia and Thailand, this traditional pudding is often served as a sweet snack. Once the custard-filled pumpkin is baked, the flesh is scooped out with the custard and a hot, sweet coconut sauce is drizzled over the top.

Pistachio & orange biscotti

These nutty cookies make great gifts. They store well too, so you might want to double up the quantities while you are in baking mode.

Lentils with lemon juice

This deliciously simple lentil salad, called adas bil hamod in Arabic, uses the very dark, almost black, lentils that are common in Middle Eastern countries. If black lentils are hard to find, use green French lentils instead.

Lentil & root vegetable casserole

This hearty low-fat casserole is ready to serve in under an hour.

Black bean & pumpkin stew

Pumpkins aren’t just for Hallowe'en! Try this vegan dish once and you’ll be hooked.

Pecan & cranberry rye bread

The rye flour and pecans in this bread add extra texture and interest.

Vanilla fudge

This fudge makes a terrific gift for vegans and anyone on a dairy-free diet. Give it to nonvegans, and they will express surprise. They never thought vegans could have it so good!

Chocolate cake with glossy icing

This is such a decadent chocolate cake – even your nonvegan guests will be surprised.

Lavender-dusted lemon shortbread

Lavender sugar is available to purchase, but you can make your own from a small handful of lavender petals sewn into a small cotton pouch. Place this into a jar containing 225 g (8 oz) caster sugar and leave it for 2 weeks, shaking occasionally.

Raisin–walnut quick bread

Quick breads are perfect for the lunchbox because they are best eaten the day after baking. This recipe uses ground flax seeds and walnuts, both of which are high in omega-3 fatty acids – so really healthy. The oven can get quite hot, so ask an adult to help you when using it.

Fusilli with french beans & tomatoes

The rich tomato base used for this pasta dish is extremely versatile and can be adapted for many uses.

Refried bean tacos

Making your own tacos is the one way to be sure that you're getting a truly vegan taco. The ‘cheese’ here is optional for those who seek authenticity!

Quick green vegetable curry

Here's an ideal supper dish suitable for friends or family. Don’t feel restricted by the selection of vegetables. Use what is readily available or try using vegetables such as baby aubergines, okra, bok choy or sprouting broccoli. Serve with a chapati or with rice.

Mixed vegetable stirfry

This recipes is so quick to prepare! The hob can get quite hot, so ask an adult to help you when using it.

Mediterranean warm roast vegetable wrap

These deeply satisfying warm wraps are equally good when served cold. Try them as a lunchbox meal. Simply allow the vegetables to fully cool before constructing the wrap.

Hummus with dukkah

Making your own hummus is a great money saver and you get to select organic ingredients and adjust the acidity, spices and texture to suit your tastebuds. You may not need all the dukkah, but keep it in a sealed container and use it on salads or vegetable dishes. Serve this hummus as a dip with toasted pita bread.

Tapenade with crudités

This classic dish is usually flavoured with anchovies, so if you are tempted to buy your tapenade, check the ingredients carefully. The vegetables sticks can be prepared a few hours in advance and kept in an airtight container in the fridge until needed.

Mushroom herb pâté

Whether you serve this tasty pâté as an elegant starter or as a sandwich filling, you’ll enjoy the pungent, earthiness of the mushrooms. Portabella mushrooms are used here for their strong flavour, but there are many mushrooms to choose from. Just pick your favourite.

Cheese soufflé

Ideal for a starter or lunch, this soufflé should be quickly made and quickly eaten.

Onion bhajis with chickpea flour

Usually this would be a starter to an Indian-themed dinner, but it makes a wonderful appetiser before any meal.

Tomato rice

Make this dish at the peak of summer, when tomatoes are at their best.

Coriander & mint rice

You can vary this recipe seasonally, depending on what herbs are available in shops at the given time. The flavour and texture of the dish will change, but it will be worth the effort every time.

Fried aubergine

As you cook this dish, the spice blend penetrates through the aubergine, making it succulent on the inside and slightly crisp on the outside.

Paneer & pea hash

The mild flavour of paneer works perfectly paired with peas; combined with spices, this makes a wonderfully light and delicious curry.

Fresh avocado salad with lime & chillies

Rich and buttery avocados get a complementary lift from fresh lime juice and chillies in this easy-to-assemble salad. To keep the avocados from discolouring, make the salad right before you want to serve it.

Mexican scrambled eggs

Scrambled eggs are a good foundation for a multitude of flavourful ingredients. This Mexican recipe, with its tortilla strips, tomatoes and pepper, can be easily varied.

Vegetable mole oaxaca

Every family in Mexico has their own way of preparing this fabulous dish, which originated in Oaxaca, so feel free to experiment with the recipe. Use your favourite chillies, vegetables and beans or add raisins or almonds.

Barbecued sweetcorn with chipotle butter

Barbecued sweetcorn goes perfectly with a barbecued lean steak or chicken breast. It makes a tasty light meal in itself too.

Apple strudel

Using frozen puff pastry makes this dessert simple to make and it looks very impressive, too. It is one of those recipes that, once tried, will be revisited many times over the years. Serve with lightly whipped cream or with vanilla ice cream.

Black beans & rice

Beans and rice make a staple meal in cultures throughout the world. If funds are tight, this is a good dish to fall back on in its own right but it makes a tasty accompaniment too. Use whatever beans you have to hand and substitute brown rice, if you like, but remember it takes longer to cook and you will need a little extra liquid, too. In some countries, such as Cuba, hot pepper sauce, slices of mango and wedges of lime are served on the side.

Baked tortilla chips & chunky salsa

This is a great sharing dish, which will keep you and your friends going while you put the world to rights.

One-pot mac & cheese

This is a clever variation on the classic. Instead of cooking the macaroni and making the cheese sauce, you cook the macaroni in the milk and the starches from the pasta thicken the milk into a smooth sauce. Add cheese and, hey presto!

Big mushroom sandwich

Portabello mushrooms make a great vegetarian alternative to a meat burger. Select mushrooms roughly the same size as your bun (the really huge ones take longer to cook and will hang over the edge of the bun rather inelegantly).

Mango bean quinoa salad

Quinoa is a grain native to South America that has a delicious nutty flavour and crunchy texture. In addition, it is rich in complete protein, making it an ideal food to eat on the go. Quinoa quadruples in size when cooked, so you will have some to spare for another meal – it is tricky to cook less than this quantity. This salad is suitable for vegans.

Potato frittata

This is a leftovers special: cooked potatoes, a few fresh herbs and some eggs are all you need to make a fine and filling meal. Use whatever vegetables are in the fridge to add to this wonderful egg dish. It can be served hot, warm or at room temperature and is great for picnics.

Mushrooms with potatoes

Here’s a rich, creamy, substantial supper dish that’s wonderful to come home to on a winter’s evening. To reduce the fat, make it with soy-based cream or reduced-fat cream — it’s perfectly delicious. This is great on its own or served with grilled tomatoes or a tomato salad.

Singapore stirfried egg noodles

This is a very popular stirfried dish in Singapore, particularly with the Chinese population. Served at Malay, Indian and Chinese hawker stalls, the dish is packed with ingredients and suffices as a meal on its own.

Hummus

Hummus is a popular and healthy appetiser, spread liberally on griddled pitta bread, and served with crudités.

Grilled halloumi with garlic, lemon & chilli

This wonderful salty cheese is traditionally served grilled or fried, when it softens to a deliciously chewy texture. You’ll find it in supermarkets and Mediterranean food stores.

Sun-dried tomato frittata

This thick, Italian-style omelette is delicious served in wedges as a chunky snack with pre-dinner drinks or with a salad for a formal appetiser.

Frittata di zucchine (courgette omelette)

When making a frittata, the ratio of vegetable to egg varies enormously, depending upon the vegetable you are using. The basic rule of thumb is that there has to be enough egg to hold the whole thing together, but there must be enough vegetable to form the main part of the finished frittata. It’s best to use about 2⁄3 vegetable and 1⁄3 eggs. Be very careful not to add too much cheese, as it will make the frittata stick and thus make it impossible to turn successfully. The amount of time it takes to cook the frittata will depend on how thick it is and what kind and size of pan you choose.

Zuppa di fave bianche (white bean soup)

This broad bean soup is one of the simplest soups and absolutely delicious as long as the dried beans have not become stale and the olive oil is really flavoursome. Use skinless dried beans, which are creamy white in colour.

Carpaccio di zucchine (raw courgette salad)

This delicious raw courgette salad is perfect as a starter or served as a main course with a platter of cured meats. Make sure the slices are very thin and well coated with the other ingredients.

Granita al limone (lemon granita)

This is like a very simple lemon sorbet, only much more gritty and granular. It is very refreshing and can help you feel a lot less full after a very big, heavy meal. In Italy (where it is called 'granita di limone') this would be eaten either as a light dessert or just to help you cool off. It’s also delicious with a mixed citrus fruit salad.

Neapolitan roasted pepper salad

This is such a classic, delicious antipasto and incredibly addictive! Also delicious with mozzarella in a sandwich made with crusty bread.

Roasted aubergine & mint salad

A really delicious salad using aubergine and mint – a perfect flavour combination – with a little feta cheese to add some creamy saltiness to the finished dish.

Celeriac truffle gratin

This tasty but light dish is made all the more special when drizzled with a little truffle oil. Celeriac brings an unusual freshness of flavour to the gratin, cutting through the richness of the cream.

Rice salad with mozzarella & peppers

When grilled, peppers become deliciously sweet, adding a luscious, juicy punch of taste and colour to this simple rice salad.

Granola bars

Healthy food on the go, don’t leave home without these. This version gives a soft, chewy bar and though the acai and maca add superfood status they're just as delicious without.

Crunchy roast chickpeas

This is such a simple and easy dish to make. Serve as an alternative to crisps or as a side dish for a curry, or stuff into a wholegrain pitta bread with some falafel and salad.

Poppy seed grissini

These crunchy Italian breadsticks are delicious eaten as they are or served with a tangy dip. If you’re feeling adventurous, try making a few different varieties to serve together.

Squash & apricot tagine

This North African specialty is traditionally made in a conical clay pot called a ‘tagine’, but you can cook it in any pan with a well-fitting lid. Serve with couscous.

Fennel & pepper bake

This full-flavoured side dish works particularly well with simply cooked fish, chicken or pork. It can also be adapted as a vegetarian main course (see variations).

Cauliflower base pizza

Fabulous for low-carb or gluten-free diets.

Tomato & mozzarella skewers

These pretty red and white skewers take no time to put together. The salsa’s also quick to whizz up and you can make it in advance to save time when guests arrive.

Frittata

This is a fabulous portable snack made with eggs and leftover potatoes. No potatoes? No problem! You can use whatever vegetables you have in the fridge. Peppers, mushrooms, chopped tomatoes and courgettes would all work well. The frittata can be eaten hot, warm or at room temperature. Allow it to cool completely, then cut it and wrap it in waxed paper and slip it into a plastic bag for transporting, or alternatively, put the frittata in a plastic container.

Spaghettini with garlic & olive oil

Lots of versions of this classic Roman recipe exist, but this is my time-honoured version, eaten thousands of times, in all sorts of situations, but especially late at night…. This is the ultimate after-party food!

Vegetable chili

On a cold winter’s night, nothing beats a steaming bowl of chili, sprinkled with grated cheddar cheese and with sour cream on the side. Leave out the chili pepper, if you prefer it mild.

Pasta with genoese pesto

This is the classic way to serve this popular green sauce, with green beans and potatoes as well as pasta. It is not usual to serve extra cheese at the table with pesto.

Insalata di pomodori e olive con crema di olive (tomato & olive salad with olive paste)

To make the olive pâté for this tomato and olive salad, just process a jar of stoned black olives, drained, with a little lemon juice, a clove of peeled garlic, chopped fresh parsley and salt and pepper until smooth.

Gnocchi di semolino alla romana (roman-style semolina gnocchi)

This is the ultimate in comfort food, a delicately flavoured dish of rounded gnocchi made out of cooked semolina, coated in butter and cheese and baked until golden.

Funghi al forno (baked mushrooms)

Choose the biggest mushrooms you can find for these baked stuffed mushrooms. Autumn in Italy heralds the start of the porcini season and you can find huge fresh ones for sale at virtually every street vegetable stall, but any tasty mushroom with a good dense texture will work very well. You can, of course, vary the type of cheese according to your own preferences.

Torta di riso (tuscan rice cake)

The rich, eggy, sticky quality of this very traditional Tuscan rice cake makes it delicious and incredibly filling. It is like a homemade version of those little oval rice cakes you can buy at all Tuscan cafés and patisseries, called simply budino, which translates as ‘pudding’. This is a very substantial cake, so a little will go a long way. Don’t worry about how liquid the mixture seems when you pour it into the pan; the cake will set, but it should remain wet and sticky, although firm enough to slice neatly.

Escalibada

This Spanish salad of grilled vegetables is served all over the Mediterranean in various different combinations.

Mushrooms in garlic & herbs

While the ingredients are simple the result is excellent. Garlic really brings out the flavour of mushrooms. Be sure to have plenty of bread to soak up the delicious juices.

Mini tortilla

The great thing about doing a small tortilla is that it feeds 4 in a tapas portion perfectly, but also allows the dish to be slightly underdone, meaning a gooey middle.

Pan-fried pimientos de padrón

This is an elementary tapas dish, served with lashings of olive oil and salt in every good tapas bar. To the eye, these small smoky peppers all appear the same, but eating them is a game of gastronomic Russian roulette, as around one in every nine is fiery hot. So dive in with a cool drink in hand in case you happen to pick a feisty one.

Balsamic courgette ribbons

How easy is this? A lovely accompaniment to a simple fish or meat dish. Allow it to cool and you’ve got a wonderful salad dish, too.

Garlic and dill grilled potatoes

Plain baked potatoes are standard, clichéd barbecue fare – this recipe takes the dish to another level.

Grilled vegetable platter with balsamic maple dressing

The bright colours of the vegetables piled high on this platter look really spectacular.

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