5 healthy vegetarian meals

A vegetarian diet does not need to spell disaster to your health. Many vegetarians eat tasty, varied meals and experience the numerous health benefits associated with this lower fat diet.

Whether you are a meat lover or a meat hater preparing nutritious vegetarian meals that can be enjoyed by everyone is easy to achieve.

The recipes below are hearty and substantial, and chosen to appeal to even the most die-hard meat lovers.

Brown rice risotto

Sauté one thinly sliced onion in a little heated olive oil. Wash 200g of rice and drain well, add to the fried onion and mix for a few minutes at a low heat.
Add 400ml of hot water, 1 teaspoon of Marmite, a little soya sauce and herbs.
Bring to the boil. Turn down the heat so the water is simmering; add 2 chopped mushrooms and 100 g of either sweetcorn or peas. Simmer for a further 15-20 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
Top with 125g toasted sunflower seeds and serve.
The addition of ½ a chopped red pepper gives colour and a zesty flavour to the dish.

Serves 4

Chunky nut and vegetable roast

Preheat oven to 190 degrees C.
Put 1 chopped carrot, 1 onion, 1stick celery, 200g mixed nuts into a food processor and process until vegetables and nuts are chopped into chunky pieces. Add the nut mixture into a bowl and beat in 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons mixed herbs or spices depending on your preference. Line a loaf tin with a strip of non-stick paper, grease well and sprinkle with dry breadcrumbs.
Spoon mixture into tin and level the top. Bake uncovered for30 minutes until set.

Serves 4

Vegetable curry

Soak 100g of soya protein chunks in ½ pint of stock or water.
Fry 1 chopped onion and 1 crushed clove of garlic in a little vegetable oil until softened.
Add the soya protein, 1 heaped teaspoon curry powder, ¼ teaspoon garam masala and ¼ teaspoon ginger and stir until everything is coated with the spices. Core and chop an apple, slice 100g of mushrooms and stir into the mixture. Add a 400g tin of tomatoes and their juice and simmer gently for a few minutes.
Mix 2 heaped dessert spoons of cornflour with a little water, gradually adding the rest (½ pint) of the water until it is makes a smooth mixture.
Add the cornflour mixture to the pan gradually until the mixture has thickened, stirring all the time.
Cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Serves 4

Greek salad

Chop 3 tomatoes; slice half a cucumber and dice 125g of vegetarian feta cheese.
Place in a bowl with 10 halved black olives, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 2 tablespoons of marjoram and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and stir well.

Serves 4

Blackberry, raspberry & fennel salad

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Sprinkle 50g of walnuts on a baking tray and put in the oven for a few minutes until lightly roasted. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Cut 1/4 cucumber in half length ways and then thinly slice to make half-moon slices.Mix these with the fennel and watercress.
To make the dressing, drain 150g silken tofu by putting it in a bowl lined with kitchen paper and patting dry. Transfer 2 1/2 tablespoons of French dressing to a food processor together with the silken tofu and 1 tablespoon of honey. Blend for about 30 seconds until creamy. Put into a bowl ready to serve.
Arrange whole green lettuce leaves on four plates, and pile the cucumber mixture on top. Scatter with 125g of blackberries, 125g of raspberries and roasted walnuts and serve with the dressing on the side.

Serves 4

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