Following on from my last blog post, I want to stick with the theme of vegetarian food and share some more recipes from the 3 weeks my family lived the full on veggie life. I have had lots of positive feedback from the last blog and it seems to me that vegetarian food is having a strong surge in popularity of late with many meat eaters dabbling and toying with the idea of making changes to their diet. Not to mention the current popularity of growing your own vegetables which so many people seem to be having a crack at.

I am convinced that people today are feeling the pinch on their wallets every week at the supermarkets and are coming to the conclusion that eating good quality meat is expensive. Yes, one could opt for the cheap stuff and the processed meats but I think we all know that there are arguments against doing so. By eating more vegetarian meals you should save yourself money, FACT.

I think the key is to find recipes where you honestly do not miss the meat and this can be tricky for some people. I cannot promise that my recipes satisfy the most stalwart meat lovers, but my husband and I have not missed the meat and we have enjoyed our vegetarian experience enough so be able to say that we have changed our perpetual meat eating ways for the future.

Roasted Onion Soup with Mustard & MarmiteSo, kicking off this round of recipes is a wonderful Roasted Onion, Mustard and Marmite Soup! I absolutely love this recipe as it is basically a cheats way of making delicious onion soup without standing and slaving away cooking your onions in a pan for hours! Instead, the onions are sliced and roasted meaning minimal labour involved. Then they are simmered in stock with wholegrain mustard and Marmite….yes, I said Marmite! The addition of this divisive spread is really a stroke of pure genius as it adds an immediate depth of flavour to the stock of the soup, some may argue akin to meatiness! Either way, it is delicious and I am sure that even Marmite haters would appreciate this wonderful soup.

Endive, Pear, Walnut & Roquefort SaladI also want to share 2 salads with you that we really enjoyed. Firstly, an Endive, Pear, Walnut & Roquefort Salad. We had this as a light lunch but it could work just as well as a starter. Sat outside in the sunshine with this wonderfully crisp salad with sweet pears contrasting perfectly with the crunchy, earthy walnuts and the little nuggets of creamy, salty pungent Roquefort strewn throughout, it was a fantastic dish. For those of you who normally find salads wholly underwhelming, I guarantee that this one will surprise and satisfy you!

And now for a curve ball salad that I really wanted to include as it is so unusual and astonishingly tasty! Cauliflower Vinaigrette with Capers & Red OnionI am not saying it’s much to look as necessarily but it really does deliver on flavour and freshness and I felt very virtuous whilst eating it which was a reasonably novel experience for me! Cauliflower Vinaigrette with Capers and Red Onion is very simple with just a few ingredients and offers an unusual way to use your cauliflowers. Just lightly boil your cauliflower and as it cools, dress it liberally with plenty of Dijon Mustard and Red Wine Vinegar. This dressing seeps into the cooling cauliflower and with the addition of capers which explode with flavour and red onion which adds texture, you have an amazing, tangy, unusual salad. Serve as a side dish or as part of a selection of salads and be prepared to fall in love with cauliflower in a way you never have before!

Aubergine & Tomato GratinAnd my final vegetarian recipe for you is adapted from Sophie Grigson’s wonderful cookbook Sunshine Foods. Aubergine & Tomato Gratin (Boumiano Bohemienne) originates from Avignon and is similar to the better known Italian; Aubergine Parmigiana. In this version however, the aubergines are not layered with mozzarella, they are chopped up into chunks and swathed in a rich garlicky tomato sauce then topped with béchamel, covered with a thick layer of breadcrumbs and Parmesan and then baked. This results in a softer textured dish with a good crunchy topping giving way to velvety aubergines and thick sauce. It is hearty and tasty and has even managed to convert my aubergine hating husband into an aubergine enthusiast! This one is definitely a winner!

I hope you have enjoyed reading about my vegetarian sojourn. It has been a thought provoking experience for me and my family and I believe we have changed for the better because of it. But for all you meat eaters out there, the next blog will have something for you I am sure. Until then, happy cooking!