Apparently I look like a vegetarian.
I mean, I don't walk around in a Gaga-esque meat dress proclaiming my passion for steak, but similarly I don't wear 'I love broccolli' t-shirts. Nonetheless, people often assume I'm vegetarian and then are surprised when I get excited about sausages.
Just recently, though, I have got quite interested in vegetarian and vegan food. Partly to give me new ideas to get me through my veg box every week (and the obvious health/cost benefits) but also because I just like eating and finding out about new food and things to cook. After all, pasta seemed exotic 'til quite recently (it still is to my father) and I'm very worried about all the other wonderful food that might exist that I just don't know about...
There are two blogs that I keep coming back to at the moment for interesting ideas: Keeping Healthy, Getting Stylish, and Oh She Glows, both of which are worth following for inspiration and deliciousness.
It's also National Vegetarian Week right now and I've realised that, quite accidentally, I haven't eaten any meat all week. In celebration of all things leafy and beany then, here are some of my meat-free culinary delights from the last seven days.
From the top, left to right...
Just chopped up cabbage and radish, grated carrot and a dressing made from mayonnaise, yoghurt, lemon juice and a splash of balsamic vinegar. This is a new favourite, definitely, and a fantastic way to make cabbage appealing. And you can chuck in whatever salady stuff you've got languishing in the fridge.
Yes, I know it's brown... This was a chocolatey one. For lots of Green Smoothie ideas, have a look at the Green Monster Movement website, but the basic idea is banana, milk (dairy or non), spinach and ice in a blender. You honestly can't taste the spinach. I made this one with chocolate soya milk, and it also had some frozen berries, vanilla protein powder, lettuce and linseed in it, and then some fruit muesli sprinkled on top.
Chia Seed Pudding
This is a revelation. Chia seeds (you can find them in health food shops - I got mine in Whole Foods) turn into a puddingy, almost jelly-like substance when you soak them in liquid for a while. This was two tablespoons of chia seeds with chocolate soya milk poured over, left in the fridge for an hour or so. And then topped with a mixture of Greek yoghurt and berries.
Cheesey Pasty Bake
Based on Laura's recipe for Cheesy Leek and White Bean Bake I constructed this using the bean and nutritional yeast idea for the sauce, but stirring it through some cooked pasta instead. I also threw in some frozen mixed veg (trying to use it up!) to bulk it up. I'm not vegan, so did put some real cheese on top and popped it under the grill for a while, but it would have been just as good without.
I think I got the idea of roasting chickpeas from a Domestic Sluttery post ages ago. It's an inspired idea - they go all chewy and nutty. This was chickpeas roasted with some chestnut mushrooms, then stirred into a tomato sauce and topped with cheese.
Red Lentil Dhal
I always use Delia's recipe, but amend it based on what vegetables I have. Quick, easy, delicious comfort food, and just what you want when your oven's not working and the floorboards are up.
Um, and another picture of the chia pudding because it was pretty...
Happy long weekend everyone!