It is easy being green... and you don't need to wear horsetail braids, love kale or do yoga to be a vegetarian.
When I first thought about the next book that I wanted to write after Eat Yourself Beautiful, one of the books that was missing on my recipe book shelf was a complete guide to vegetarian cooking. I feel like vegetables are the complete package and because they're really high in nutrients and fibre and keep all of the important parts of your body working optimally I wanted to make them the star of the dinner table by placing them front and centre. Great produce is so important and tasty meals that are good for you, like these healthy options.
In the run up to writing my third print book, Eat Clean, Green and Vegetarian, I'd been stalked on Instagram, asked by a large number of people to include more vegetarian recipes in my books and I began to think that perhaps I was actually losing my Veg-inity somewhat, with all of the slow cooked lamb dishes I was serving up!
The truth is, I consider myself a flexitarian and someone who has a high plant based diet but I don't follow any strict rules when it comes to one diet or another. I like to listen to my body for clues about what to eat and use real food from nature where I can, remembering to eat in a mindful and balanced way.
It became evident, that the next book I wanted to create was one where every recipe was plant based, but not just your average hockey puck veggie patties or nut roasts that you often see in vegetarian books. I don't believe that you need to live on boring beans and rice dishes to enjoy a vegetarian diet and my veg dishes sparkle with freshness and the kind of flavour that hails directly out of the veg plot. They're also all gluten and sugar free and have minimal dairy.
I needed to go beyond meatless Mondays and devise a menu where any day could begin with a vegan edible smoothie, a verdant green breakfast bowl or comforting Amaranth, Walnut and Pumpkin Porridge.
I've included hearty meals such as beautiful beetroot bourguignon and French roasted ratatouille and ones that can be eaten in-season such as winter vegetable korma or summer lettuce leaf tacos. Because I consider myself a bit of a soup devotee I've incorporated a creamy mushroom with red quinoa chowder, a wonderfully filling pea soup for the soul and an aromatically curried parsnip pottage.
Healthy vego snacks if you’re feeling peckish and in the mood for a light indulgence, come in the way of celeriac fries, red onion bahjis with minted raita, mini chive pancakes or sweet spiced nuts- I’m letting you in on my secret weapon for handbags!
Supercharged Food, Eat Clean, Green and Vegetarian is rounded off with some lip smacking plant based desserts so you never have to skip dessert again. Think triple mint slices made with beauty boosting spinach! Fresh blueberry fudge which is perfect for lunchboxes or to take to high tea, cheeky spinach ice cream, and you heard it here first, a cauliflower and raspberry cheesecake, yes I said cauliflower and cheesecake in the same sentence! I know that you'll be surprised at how absolutely delicious it tastes too. And I’m not sure if I mentioned my ultimate gooey chocolate cake? Pretty hard to believe it's actually good for you.
Really there’s no reason not to nosh like a nutritionist when you have all of these healthy veg options. After my extensive research into the area of vegetarian food, I was very surprised to discover how extremely unhealthy a vegetarian diet can be if you make bad food choices.
Supermarket options lack essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients needed for health and I couldn't step far enough away from the processed soy, meat and dairy alternatives on show in local shops. Unfortunately, I discovered plot loads of vegetarian products screaming with GM soy. In particular soy protein, soybean oil and soy lecithin which is an emulsifier that’s added to many processed foods.
Soy derivatives have become a toxic additive in our food products and act as a protein and nutrient absorption blocker causing abdominal distress in some people. I'm yet to find a vegetarian based mayonnaise and salad dressing without soy bean oil and another ingredient, textured vegetable protein, or TVP as it is commonly known which contains the flavour enhancer MSG, can bring on unpleasant reactions in some people, and it was rife across instant vegetarian fare.
I'm hoping that my new vegetarian recipes will alleviate the need to buy processed vegetarian options, especially as my recipes are so easy to recreate at home and are infused with healthy ingredients.
I haven't left out vegans either with each recipe having options to veganise. If you’re a long standing vegan or going vegan cold turkey, I'm not just talking about convenient alterations, I've included and sign-posted nutritious alternatives that will really boost your health and well-being.
Whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan or flexitarian, you’ll be able to simply and easily swap out ingredients depending upon your individual preferences and eating guidelines and enjoy recipes that really benefit your health and your waistline.
No one likes to open the fridge only to find withering, limp and sad faced vegetables, so I've included a "Storing Your Vegetables" food chart which will help you to understand how to properly preserve nutrients, freshness and keep your beautiful veg edible longer.
The book contains useful seasonal guides so you can see what is in season and there’s a section on how to source the best veg at affordable prices. Vegetables have enzymes that both make and destroy vitamins and after your produce has been picked, vitamin production stops, but degradation continues so I've also included wonderful methods to store and cook your vegetables to ensure optimum nutrition from your meals.
This really is the ultimate Vegetarian guide with delicious and inspiring recipes and I hope you love it as much as I do and that you and your family gets years of enjoyment from the recipes.
Supercharged Food, Eat Clean, Green and Vegetarian is now available for order here.
Happy Cooking 🙂