Welcome to Day 3 of Vegetarian Week
A quick note before we start: The Paws are vegan, so although this is a series for National Vegetarian Week, all our dishes are actually vegan, too!
Neither of us were very hungry this morning, but since breakfast is really important, we shared a pitcher of pressed apple juice and picked at a platter of fruit and veg we usually have with dips or desert – chunked banana, red and green grapes, and celery sticks.
Ricecakes, spread with houmous and smushed together to make impromptu sandwiches. This format makes it feel more substantial to us, and more fun to eat, but your results may vary; go with whatever suits you!
We ate today’s recipe for lunch, but it also makes for a perfect evening meal, as the preparation and cooking is nice and low maintenance. We call it Broccoli and Mushroom Bake. This recipe serves 4 as a side, or 2 as a main. Thirty minutes is roughly how long it should take to cook and prepare.
4 large mushrooms (we tend to use big closed cup mushrooms. If using a small variety use more mushrooms; if using portobellos, then 2-3 are probably ample).
1 tin of tomatoes
1 Onion. We prefer red.
Garlic Cloves, to taste. 1 is sufficient for us.
Vinegar, to taste. We use 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, because it adds to the fruitiness of the tomatoes, and makes a lovely contrast with the smokey taste of the baked veg.
Sugar, to taste. 1-2 teaspoons is ample for our palates.
Seasoning. Pepper, herbs, salt.
Step One: Prepare the broccoli. Wash the whole broccoli and peel the stalk. Divide the head into florets and cube or slice the stalk and place in a large bowl.
Step Two: Slice the mushrooms in half and add to the bowl. Add oil and massage into the veg until it is all slick and evenly coated.
Step Three: Prepare the onion. Peel the onion and slice or dice into small pieces. The onion will be used in the sauce, which we want to have a chunky texture, so use that as a size guideline. Heat oil in a sauce or saute pan, and add the onion. Cook on a medium/low heat until soft.
Step Four: Cook the veg. Place the mushrooms and broccoli onto baking tray[s], making sure you give each chunk plenty of room – roasted veg has a lovely crisp texture and needs space to breathe while cooking, otherwise it will steam and end up soggy and lacking smokiness. Pop into a preheated oven (around 180C) for 15 minutes.
Step Five: The sauce. While the veg is oven baking, add seasoning, vinegar, and sugar to the onions. Continue to cook until half of the liquid has gone. Pour in the tin of tomatoes. Stir as often as needed to break the tomatoes down to the texture you prefer. This sauce is meant to be thick and chunky, so don’t feel too concerned if the liquid reduces. If it becomes too thick for your taste or starts sticking to the pan, try covering the pan with a lid so some of the steam can condense.
Step Six: Finishing the vegetables. Remove the mushrooms and broccoli from the oven and flip the chunks on the tray. We also rotate the trays before putting them back in the oven for a further 10 minutes.
Step Seven: Service. Once the veg is well baked and has enough crispy browning for your taste, remove from the oven. Arrange carefully into a serving dish and pour the sauce over the veg. We use a wooden spatula to help distribute the chunky tomato sauce over all the broccoli and mushroom. Voila! Tastes great with chunky-cut multi-seed bread, perfect for mopping up sauce and stray bits.
Crisps! Homemade or shop-bought, many crisps are vegetarian and delicious. Pringles are a big brand with clear labelling and many vegetarian and vegan options, but we also love to bake our own kale crisps in the oven – low heat, for about 30 mins, rotating half way through the bake.
Leftovers! One of the great things about home cooking is that you are always in control of your quantities, and the state of your leftovers. We had some spare mixture from our burgers yesterday (parcooked lentils and quinoa, raw onions and celery) so it was really easy to just spoon the mix into an ovenproof dish and cook for 15 mins, or until the top begins to go brown and crispy. Yummy and oh so simple.
And that concludes Day 3 of the Paws do Veg Week. We hope you enjoyed reading, and maybe even found some inspiration. Please feel free to share your own stories or experiences below
Happy meat-free eating,