There are many reasons that more Brits are making the switch to a plant-based diet. Some want to do their bit to help protect the planet’s natural resources, others may have an ethical opposition to consuming meat, or simply want to adopt a vegetarian diet to help them live a healthier lifestyle.
If you are considering adopting a plant-based diet, then why not get involved with National Vegetarian Week, which takes place between May 10-16 and enjoy a veggie diet for a week?
Celebrity supporters of the week-long challenge include Stephen Fry, Joanna Lumley and The Hairy Bikers – find out why they are supporting the initiative and join them by signing up at the National Vegetarian Week website.
To help you get started, we’ve rounded up our favourite veggie recipes to serve up for a tasty breakfast, lunch, and dinner:
Plant-based breakfast ideas
If you think that a veggie breakfast is simply a boring bowl of cereal, then we have some recipe ideas that will brighten up your breakfast time. There are plenty of ways to start the day with a veggie-packed breakfast that will keep you going until lunch:
If you need a quick breakfast, then this recipe for creamy mustard mushrooms on toast will set you up for the day. The mushrooms are gently fried and mixed with a cream cheese sauce, then heaped onto a slice of wholemeal bread for a healthy start to your day. This dish goes exceptionally well with roasted baby tomatoes. Add a glass of fresh orange juice – and you’ve bagged yourself three of your five-a-day before you even set foot outside your front door!
For a lazy weekend breakfast or brunch that packs a veggie punch of courgettes and cherry tomatoes, whip up a pan of Summer Eggs. This tasty recipe contains only 196 calories per serving and yet satisfies even the heartiest of appetites. Even better – the whole dish can be cooked in just one pan – so there will be hardly any washing up to do!
If you’d prefer a vegan alternative that’s easy to make and tastes delicious, try this homemade granola recipe. Packed with coconut flakes, dried cranberries, whole rolled oats and chopped walnuts, the recipe is sweetened with maple syrup and then spiced up with cinnamon. Serve with a generous helping of vegan yoghurt for a sweet start to the day!
Not another boring salad…
A fast and healthy veggie lunch isn’t restricted to a bowlful of ‘rabbit food’. There are so many tasty plant-based lunches to choose from you’ll be spoilt for choice.
If you are keen to plan ahead and get your lunches prepped for a busy week, try this savoury Double Cheese and Spring Vegetable Tart, which is filled with goat’s cheese, fresh peas and asparagus. Make the dish ahead of time and serve up the following day with a green salad for a speedy lunchtime treat.
For parents who are keen to introduce more plant-based foods into their children’s diet, we recommend this Pizza Twister Bread recipe, which is packed with hidden veggies and served ‘pizza-style’ so the little ones won’t even notice it’s good for them! Kids will love adding the toppings to the dough, making this a recipe to please the whole family.
Once Monday arrives, it can be hard to find the time to plan a veggie lunch, but with a little bit of creativity you can whip up this Creamy Vegan Broccoli soup which can be made in advance and then simply microwaved when you’re feeling peckish. The creaminess is provided by cashew nuts, which also provide an excellent source of protein – plus it’s gluten-free too!
Super veggie suppers
Having a bank of easy vegetarian dinner recipes to hand makes a mid-week supper so much easier – and it doesn’t mean endless mushroom risottos either! By keeping a few essentials such as grains and pulses in your store cupboard and a rainbow of vegetables in your fridge, there are plenty of effortless, nutritious and filling meals that can be created.
For a Mediterranean-inspired meal, this Vegetable Paella replaces meat and fish with an abundance of peppers, green beans tomatoes and a host of flavoursome herbs and spices. The vibrant Spanish-style dish can be cooked up in a single pan (if you don’t have a traditional paella pan, a skillet works just as well) and is also suitable for vegans or anyone following a dairy-free diet.
If you usually treat yourself to a Friday night takeaway but want to stick to your meat-free diet, then get busy creating some delicious ‘fakeaway’ dishes that are so tasty you’ll not miss your regular chicken madras! This Indian style Kofta Curry packs plenty of flavour as well as a punch of heat and works best when served with rice and naan. The courgette-based koftas can also be served on their own as a tasty canape.
For a hearty meal, a Vegetarian Wellington provides a plant-based twist on the traditional beef version – and also makes a great centrepiece for a family dinner. The beef is replaced with beetroot, butternut squash and mushroom, with an indulgent cream and chestnut pate all wrapped in puff pastry. Serve with a generous helping of green beans and buttery mashed potato and for a real crowd pleaser!
Following a meat-free diet doesn’t mean you have to miss out at BBQ time either. Try replacing beefburgers with Carrot and Sesame Burgers served with a green salad. The patties can be prepared in advance and are also suitable for the freezer.
Alternatively, throw some foiled-wrapped plantains drizzled with orange juice and melted butter onto the barbie for 30 minutes and enjoy a Latin American inspired dish that provides a perfect pudding for the whole family.
If we’ve inspired you to give a meat-free diet a try, sign up for the National Vegetarian Week challenge and claim your free kit to get you started.