Lessen your animal product consumption with these sublime veggie suppers.

Veganuary has become entrenched in our collective new year psyches, a useful reminder to be cognisant of how much meat we consume and what impact that may have on the planet. For the committed carnivore, there are, of course, better ways to consume meat (the higher-quality the better – think local and organic). But for those who want to eschew fleshier delights for the month, or indeed for longer, there are some truly delicious and nutritious recipes to ensure that flavour need never be the reason not to stick to the veggie way of life.

If you simply wish to reduce your carbon footprint and eat less meat, or go vegetarian rather than vegan, every little helps. According to the BBC, ‘All meats have a higher climate, land and water footprint than the same quantity of plant-based foods. In the worst case (meat from ruminants, like beef and lamb), this can be 10–100 times greater than plant-based foods.’ In other words, given the climate emergency we face, any substitutes are worth making.

We’ve compiled seven hard-to-resist and easy-to-cook recipes that we would choose every time from any menu.

Braised Chickpeas With Chard


The Modern Proper


Chickpeas are a staple for the meat-swerving – so much so, in fact, that they’re almost a cliché. Yet, as with many clichés, they have become so because of their inherently excellent qualities. They pack in the protein; they’re a great source of fibre and they work brilliantly as a vehicle for big flavours. In this case, those consists of smoked paprika and marinara sauce. We cannot stress enough how improved the humble chickpea is by the process of cooking – whether that is roasting, toasting or braising. This recipe is quick, it’s nutritious, it’s cheap, and it’s the kind of thing most of us have lurking somewhere in the store cupboard. Serve it alongside dark leafy greens and a slice of sourdough and you have the ideal winter night supper. Cook it.


Pea Fritters With Crème Fraiche


Taste


This may be billed as a springtime dish, but we’ll take it any day of the week through the winter too. All that goodness from the greens; the vitamin C boost from the citrus; and the proliferation of microbiome-kind feta and fresh herbs: all are precisely what we need to pep up our health and our moods while the days are still short. Breakfast, brunch, lunch or supper: this is an easy, delicious and nutrient-packed dish without a scrap of meat in sight. Cook it.


Aubergine & Cherry Tomato Curry


Meera Sodha


Curries are precisely what we crave through the big chill, the comfort, spice and warmth feeding our appetites and our souls. There are hundreds of excellent curry recipes in which veggies are the star, but we’re especially fond of this one. The brilliant Meera Sodha says, ‘You can do all sorts of wonderful things with an aubergine, which is why an Indian kitchen is rarely without one. This aubergine curry was one of the first curries my mother ever taught me how to cook, and although I’ve adapted it slightly to include cherry tomatoes because I enjoy their sweetness, it’s still one of my most frequently cooked dishes during the week.’ Simple and so very tasty. Cook it.


Jacket Spuds & Homemade Beans


Jamie Oliver


You can rely on Jamie to take a comfort food classic and then make it better. A good old jacket potato is always a good idea on a cold and dark night. But why make do with serving it with sugary canned baked beans when you could have oozy cheese, smoky cannellini beans and broccoli that not only serve our taste buds better, but also our health? Cook it.


Cheesy Baked Polenta With Garlic Butter, Mushrooms And Chickpeas


Delicious


There are few dishes more comforting than creamy polenta – and yet it is one that is often forgotten in favour of the more mainstream likes of pasta. We would urge you not to neglect this Italian basic store cupboard number though. Not only is it inexpensive – no inconsiderable thing in a cost-of-living crisis – but it is the perfect thing to eat fireside on a cold night. This rendition is made especially tasty thanks to the addition of mushrooms, pesto, garlic, cheese and chickpeas. A real winner. Cook it.


Vegetarian Lasagne


Olive


Everyone who foregoes meat has at least one dish that they especially miss, especially at the outset. For many it is a bacon sandwich. For others, it is bangers and mash. For us, it’s lasagne. And yet, despite our love of Italian comfort food, we are converts to this veggie alternative, which is unbelievably tasty, veg-packed – and every bit as soothing. Cook it.


Roast Jerusalem Artichoke And Kale Salad


Gill Meller


We are big fans of Gill Meller and all that he stands for (his new book, Outside, is one of our new and possibly all-time favourites.) This dish is a case in point: perfectly balanced, exquisitely tasty: it’s exactly what we want to eat now. Indoors or out. Cook it.

By Nancy Alsop
January 2023

Nancy Alsop

Editor

Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.

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