Vegetarian meal plan

Vegetarian meal plan

vegetarian meal plan

Vegetarian meal plan

The aim of this vegetarian meal plan is to provide some ideas for tasty vegetarian meals.  We are not normally vegetarian but have recently have been eating more vegetables. As the season progresses and we grow more and more of our own vegetables, it makes sense for vegetables to play a larger role in our meals. The criteria for a recipe to be included in the vegetarian meal plan was that it was tasty and worth cooking again.

The inspiration for this vegetarian meal plan was Hannah – a Canadian girl who came in April. The original challenge was to write a post with a 14-day vegetarian meal plan. The food varied according to what was in season and what was available. As time went by, the meal plan grew and now totals 31 meal ideas. As I discover new recipes they will be added.

vegetarian meal planThe recipe and video for how to make the garlic mayonnaise can be found here.

vegetarian meal planDAY 1: tortilla de patatas, steamed broccoli with soy sauce and sesame oil, guacamole, green salad, garlic mayonnaise.

vegetarian meal planDAY 2: spicy chickpea stew, fried eggs, red cabbage coleslaw, green salad, garlic mayonnaise.

vegetarian meal planDAY 3: vegetable cauliflower and broccoli curry, brown basmati rice, pimientos padrón, green salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 4: fried eggs, rosti potatoes, steamed broccoli, green salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 5: pizzas, green salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 6: moussaka, green salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 7: falafel, devilled eggs, kale salad, green salad, garlic mayonnaise.


vegetarian meal plan

DAY 8: green lentil and kale stew, coleslaw, fried eggs, green salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 9: huevos rancheros (pinto beans and friend eggs), steamed broccoli, green salad, garlic mayonnaise.

vegetarian meal planDAY 10: spaghetti puttanesca, salad.

DAY 11: curried rice salad, fried eggs, coleslaw, green salad.

vegetarian meal plan

DAY 12: vegetarian tagine with couscous, green salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 13: mushroom risotto, green salad, red cabbage coleslaw.

vegetarian meal planDAY 14: leek, mushroom and goat’s cheese quiche, green salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 15: spinach and ricotta pasties, small jacket potatoes, salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 16: Mexican meal: kidney bean stew, tortilla wraps, sour yoghurt, tomato salsa, green salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 17: curry meal 1: dal, sag aloo, curried aubergines, brown basmati rice.

vegetarian meal planDAY 18: pumpkin risotto, steamed broccoli, green salad.

DAY 19: vegetarian chilli sin carne, brown rice, green salad.

DAY 20: pasta with tuna and tomato sauce, green salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 21: spinach and ricotta omelette, tomato salad, cucumber and mint raita, salad.

fried polenta cakesDAY 22: fried polenta cakes, braised chard, fried eggs, tomato salad, salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 23: rosti potatoes, sautéed broad beans, fried eggs, salad.

vegetarian meal plan

DAY 24: curry meal 2: chana masala, vegetable samosas, onion bhajis, creamy egg curry, rice.vegetarian meal planDAY 25: leek and cheese quiche, jacket potatoes, sautéed broad beans witth spring onions, green salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 26: scrambled eggs with garlic sprouts and oyster mushrooms, fried jacket potatoes, tomato salad, green salad.

DAY 27: fennel and lemon risotto, tomato salad, salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 28: vegetable stir-fry, egg-fried rice, salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 29: stuffed cabbage leaves, fennel chickpea salad, tomato salad, green salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 30: cheese and mushroom omelette, cucumber tomato rice salad, green salad.

vegetarian meal planDAY 31: pumpkin canneloni, green salad

Cucumber tomato rice salad

Cucumber tomato rice salad

cucumber tomato rice salad

Cucumber tomato rice salad

This fresh summer salad is made with brown rice, tomatoes, cucumber and mint and is dressed with lemon juice and olive oil. It can also be made with cous cous.

brown rice, cooked
1 cucumber, finely chopped
2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
juice of one lemon
a handful mint, finely chopped
salt and pepper
olive oil

Mix together all the ingredients in a bowl. Pour over the lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.


Fennel chickpea salad

Fennel chickpea salad

fennel chickpea salad

Fennel chickpea salad

In the summer when the fennel comes into season, it’s good to have a couple of recipes for different ways of preparing it. This recipe for fennel chickpea salad uses raw fennel which is dressed with lemon and olive oil. The secret is shred the fennel very finely so that it is softened, almost cooked, by the lemon juice.

Fennel has a distinctive slightly sweet taste reminiscent of aniseed. It has a number of  health benefits and is an excellent source of Vitamin C, fibre, folate and potassium.

Fennel is low in calories and has a high amount of fibre, very little fat and no cholesterol.

To prepare the fennel bulb, strip off the outer, tougher leaves. You can use the whole bulb including the delicate fronds which can be chopped and added to a salad or used to makevegetable stock.

There are a number of ways of cooking fennel and you can eat it raw, boiled or roast. To boil the fennel, cut the bulb into quarters or wedges and cook in boiling, salted water for 15-20 minutes. If you prefer, you can roast it in the oven and it will take about 40-50 minutes depending on the size of the pieces.

As well as in salads, fennel can be used in soups, as a vegetable in its own right or in dishes such as fennel risotto.

fennel bulbs
juice of one lemon
400g cooked chickpeas
salt and pepper
olive oil

Quarter or halve the fennel bulbs, depending on how large they are and shred very finely, either by hand of using a food processor. Transfer to a bowl.

Add the chickpeas and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Just before serving, dress with some olive oil and mix well.

Stuffed cabbage leaves

Stuffed cabbage leaves

stuffed cabbage leaves

Stuffed cabbage leaves

These stuffed cabbage leaves can be cooked either on the hob or in an oven. They are very similar to the Turkish dolmas. Dolma in Turkish means stuffed. Vine leaves are commonly used and rolled into cigar-shaped parcels stuffed with a spicy, rice-based mixture but you can also use cabbage leaves, or even hollow out vegetable like courgettes, tomatoes or aubergines.

I’d been picking the outer cabbage leaves and was going to give them to the chickens when I remembered the recipe I used to make for dolmas with the vine leaves at our old house. The recipe I used is based on the one in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s book VEG.

stuffed cabbage leaves

Stuffed cabbage leaves

2 or 3 green cabbage leaves per person (depending on the size)

120g brown rice, cooked
1 large onion, finely chopped;
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large egg
a handful of dried fruit (e.g. cherries, sultanas, etc.)
a handful of walnuts, chopped
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
grated zest of one lemon
salt and pepper
olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
400g tin tomatoes
360g fried tomato
salt and pepper
olive oil

If you are going to bake these, then heat the oven to 180ºC.

To prepare the cabbage leaves, pare off the thick stem of the cabbage leaves using vegetable peeler or a knife. Bring some water to the boil in a wide frying pan with a lid. Blanch the cabbage leaves in the water for 3-4 minutes each one, making sure that the stems are thoroughly immersed. Transfer to a colander as they are cooked.

tomato sauce stuffed cabbage leaves

Tomato sauce for the stuffed cabbage leaves

Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan or oven-proof dish if you are going to cook them in the oven. Add the onion and fry gently until soft. Add the garlic and fry for another minute before adding the tomato, oregano and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and then cover with a lid and leave to simmer until you need it.

stuffed cabbafe leaves

Filling for stuffed cabbage leaves

To make the filling, heat some olive oil in another frying pan, add the onion and fry gently until soft. Add the garlic and fry for another minute. Put the rice in a bowl and add the onion/garlic and all the other filling ingredients and mix well.

stuffed cabbage leaves

Stuffed cabbage leaves

Lay out the cabbage leaves on a flat surface and put a dollop of the rice mixture on each one. Fold over the sides and roll up, starting with the stem end. Place the parcels in the tomato sauce and cook for about 30 minutes.

stuffed cabbage leaves

Stuffed cabbage leaves

Broccoli pasta with garlic and chilli

Broccoli pasta with garlic and chilli

broccoli pasta

Broccoli pasta with garlic and chilli

This recipe for broccoli pasta with garlic and chilli is quick and easy and takes literally minutes to make. All you have to do is cook the pasta with the broccoli. You then mix the pasta and broccoli with some softened garlic and chilli powder.

When the broccoli season starts, it’s good to have a few recipes up your sleeves. One of my favourite ways of preparing broccoli is to heat some oil in a frying pan. You then add the broccoli florets and toss well, before adding a splash of water. Cover and turn down the heat and cook for 5-10 minutes so that the broccoli still has a bite to it before dressing with some soy sauce and sesame oil. It’s a simple dish but works well as an accompaniment to most meals. Another recipe is vegetable curry made with broccoli and cauliflower. However, today I was looking for something different and as we had had a spicy meal yesterday, I wanted something tasty but not hot. The idea for the recipe came from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s book VEG.

The dish can be made with any type of short pasta (penne, fusilli, etc.) and also with any other green vegetables that you have available (cabbage, kale, etc.).

In the summer when courgettes are in season and in abundance, I’ll make this dish again adding a splash of lemon and using either grated or finely chopped courgettes. This dish was delicious served with some grated hard home-made goat’s cheese.

1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
olive oil
salt and pepper

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cook the pasta for 5 minutes before adding the broccoli. Drain in a colander, reserving some of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in the pan and add the garlic and chilli powder. Gently fry for a minute or so until soft.

Transfer the pasta and broccoli back to the pan and coat will in the oil, garlic and chilli mixture. Add a couple of tablespoons of the cooking liquid to loosen the past.

Cherry Clafoutis

Cherry clafoutis

cherry clafoutisCherry clafoutis is a traditional French cake from the Limousin region of France. The classic recipe is made with a pancake or flan batter. You can either use self-raising flour or plain flour and baking powder. Traditionally, black cherries are used in the clafoutis but you can also make it with most other fruits. It also works well with red cherries, plums, pears or soft summer fruits (e.g. raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, etc.).

The word clafoutis comes from the Occitan verb clafir which means to fill.  If fruit other than cherries are used then the clafoutis becomes a flaugnarde. Flaugnarde comes from the Occitan word flaunhard which means “soft” or “downy”. In the traditional French dish, the cherry stones are not removed as they contain an element called amygdalin which is found in almonds and they therefore add an almond flavour to the cake. It is your choice entirely whether you leave the stones in or not. Personally I prefer to take them out.

The cherries are softened for 5 minutes in the oven before the batter is poured over and the cake is baked.

It would also to be possible to cook this cake on the stove if you don’t have an oven. For a gluten-free version, see this gluten-free pear cake.

300ml milk
3 eggs
60g plain flour + 1/2 teaspoon baking powder OR 60g self-raising flour
60g sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

300 cherries, pitted
1 tablespoon sugar
icing sugar for dusting the cake with
butter or oil for greasing the cake tin

Heat the oven to 180ºC – 200ºC.
Beat the eggs with a whisk. Beat in the milk and then add the flour (and baking powder if using), sugar and vanilla extract and mix well.

Grease a cake tin and then arrange the cherries on the bottom of the tin. Cook the cherries in the oven for 5 minutes to soften.

Pour over the batter mix and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Check the cake after 15 minutes and turn the tin through 180º so that it cooks evenly.

Take out of the oven once the cake has cooked and leave to cool slightly. Dust the top with icing sugar. The cake is best served warm with cream if you like.


Vegetable stirfry and egg-fried rice

Vegetable stirfry and egg-fried rice

vegetable stirfryThis stirfry is quick and easy and a tasty vegetable/vegetarian meal.

1/3 cup rice per person, cooked, washed and cooled
1 egg per person, beaten
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garli, finely chopped
1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
1 green pepper, cut into thin strips
1 courgette, thinly sliced
mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 handfuls peanuts
peanut oil
sesame oil
soy sauce
salt and pepper

Heat some oil in a large frying pan or wok and gently fry the onion untl soft. Add the garlic and fry for anothe rminute or so. Transfer about a third of the onion/garlic mixture to another frying pan/wok for the rice.

Add the vegetables to the stirfry pan and quickly for another couple of minutes before adding the ginger and curry powder. Stir well and then add some soy sauce. Add the minutes last, stir well and then leave on a low heat while you cook the rice.

Add some oil to the rice pan and heat the rice through. You can either make a well in the middle and add the eggs, stirring well so that all the grains are coated and stirfrying until the eggs are cooked, or you can push the rice to one side of the pan and then fry the eggs in he space until they are cooked, chopping them up before combining (it’s a question of whether you prefer to see bits of egg or not). Add the peanuts and a splash of soy sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Serve the stirfried vegetables and the egg-fried rice together.


Pickled Walnuts – How to make them

Pickled walnuts

Pickled Walnuts – This is the finished product. These have been in vinegar since last year. I made 8kg last year but only have 2 jars left.

I have always loved pickled walnuts. The green immature nuts are pickled before they go hard. Apparently they are very popular in England especially before strong tasting Indian spices because available.  Their main use is with cheese in ploughman’s lunch type meals. We add them to salads and I occasionally  eat one neat right out of the jar. Before writing this post I visited about 12 other pages about pickled walnuts. Most of them have an almost identical recipe.  The main variations are the amount of salt to put in the brine, the amount of time to leave them in the brine and to either boil them after brining or to leave them in the sun. There is a lot of difference in how sweet people like them, the commercial ones are quite sweet.

I have made them for the last 3 years but each year I forgot how I did it the previous year so hopefully this blog post will help me improve them scientifically.

It is possible to buy pickled walnuts but they are incredibly expensive. In the USA a 390g bottle costs $16  Click here to buy pickled walnuts at Amazon That would mean that the the batch I am making this year would be worth $615 or $51 per month, that is enough to pay for the internet connection.  In the UK you can buy pickled walnuts in the shops I think they are made by  Crosse & Blackwell. (or is that Branston Pickle?)

The amount of salt
If you look at other recipes they often give very inexact instructions about how much salt to add. In the end I have decided to use a 10% brine solution. Just put all the green walnuts into a bucket. Weigh the bucket with some weighing scales. Add the water until they completely cover the walnuts, then weigh the bucket again. If you are using the metric system the increase in weight is the same as the amount of water so in our case 7.6 kilos is 7.6 litres.  Then I used the brine calculator on this page

What is the salt doing? I don’t think any fermentation is going on in this recipe. The function of the salt is to draw the liquid out of the walnuts and to enable them to dry out without rotting and then replace the liquid with preservative vinegar. By the way 3 years ago I made them much too salty before pickling. I corrected this by putting them in water for a day. 

The Recipe
Date: 5th June 2015
10kg walnuts
7.6 litres water + 843g salt (10% brine solution) 

Date: 22nd June 2016
17.4kg walnuts
18 litres water +2000g salt (10% brine solution) 


Pick green walnuts with no hard shell inside: (in early June)
Prick them all with a fork
Leave then in salt water brine for 3 weeks. (move them around with your hand occasionally)
Drain the water leave them in the sun until they are dry and black. (3 days)
Put them into jars and pour vinegar over them.
Add pickling spices to the vinegar.
Malt vinegar is probably best with you can also use cider vinegar with a couple of bottles of balsamic vinegar mixed in.

By the way: The best place to buy malt vinegar is in the Asian supermarkets in Sparkbrook Birmingham UK. It is possible buy it  in 5 litre containers at low prices.


Kayley and Ian Picking walnuts

This is Kayley our Maori volunteer  from New Zealand and Ian from Scotland picking walnuts. Shep the dog tried a walnut but ended up vomitting. I tried a raw one last year and it almost made me vomit. The haircuts are done with  battery operated clippers from Lidl.

Green walnuts in the tree

Green walnuts in the tree

The green walnuts read around mid June. If you push a knitting needle through them you should meet no hard bits.


Here we are prickling the green walnuts with a table fork about 4 times each nut. I did warn Kayley and Ian  that it is best to use rubber gloves but they liked the idea of having brown hands for a few days.


Some of these nuts have blemished. It does not matter because they all turn black in the end.

Here is a the wikipedia entry for walnuts

I will put some more pictures up as the process continues.


Moroccan vegetarian tagine

Ras el Hanout spice mix

Ras el Hanout spice mix

1 large onion
1 large red pepper
1 large green pepper
1 courgette
1 aubergine
2 cloves garlic
1/2 litre vegetable stock
1 can chopped tomatoes
400g cooked chick peas
12 dried figs or prunes
olive oil
salt and pepper

1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cardamon seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground anise seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Grind and combine the spices.

Heat some olive oil in a casserole and gently fry the onion until soft. Add the remaining vegetables and fry for another couple of minutes. When the vegetables are cooked, stir in the spices and the garlic and heat through. Pour in the stock, tinned tomatoes and chickpeas and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat, cover and simmer.

Put the cous cous into a bowl, season with salt and pepper and pour over a glug of oliv eoil. Pour over boiling water over the couscous to about 1cm above the level of the cous cous and cover with a plate. Leave for about 5-10 minutes for the cous cous to absorb all the water.

Spicy chickpea stew

Spicy chickpea stew

spicy chickpea stew

Spicy chickpea stew

This spicy chickpea stew can be made with spinach, kale or chard. The idea is to cut all the vegetables to the size of chickpeas or 1cm cubes. This stew is meant to be spicy so add as much or as little chilli powder as you like.

400g cooked chickpeas
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 courgette, chopped
1 large aubergine, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 x 400g canned chopped tomatoes
300g spinach, chard or kale
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon spicy paprika
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
2 vegetable stock cubes
olive oil
salt and pepper

Heat some oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and fry gently until soft. Add the other vegetables and continue to fry for another 5 or so minutes. Add the spices and mix well. Pour in the tomatoes, chickpeas and one can of water. Season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. If you are using kale or chard, chop and add to the pan. Cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. If you are using spinach, add it now onto the top of the tomato/chickpea mixture and cover so that the heat wilts the spinach. Stir the spinach through.

This is good served with fried eggs and garlic mayonnaise.