Vegetarian Corn Chowder

Note: I’ve republished this recipe from 2010 (one of my first!) with a few updates because it is on HIGH rotation here at VMHQ and I though y’all would like it. One of the few soups I make again and again over the years and am excited to eat every time. Enjoy!


Creamy, buttery corn chowder to chase away the frosty days! theveggiemama.com

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Briami (Greek Vegetable Stew)

Briami: A delicious, silky blend of veggies, garlic, and lemon braised together in the oven to make a delectable Greek vegetarian stew

When I first went veg I went to all my favourite recipe sites and typed in “vegetarian”, then hit the search button. I tried so many new flavours, new ingredient combinations, and so many more recipes than I had ever thought existed. Suddenly a whole new world opened to me – and one of those worlds was cuisines from other cultures who took vegetables pretty damn seriously.

So seriously that their vegetables were unlike anything I had ever tasted before. Take this Greek stew for example – it’s not just roast vegetables, people (although they are my favourite!), it’s a mix of slowly braised/roasted veg with loads of garlic, onion, herbs and lemon, cooked for hours until it melds into a delectable, sweet, flavoursome (dare I say unctuous? weird word, but it’s perfect) mix of soft, crispy, chewy vegetable stew-like deliciousness.

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Roasted Pumpkin and Millet Risotto

 

Millet makes a lovely creamy risotto, a great alternative to rice. This recipe has roasted pumpkin and optional cheese.I know, I thought the same thing. Why millet when you can arborio? Or even carnaroli? Won’t millet be less creamy than risotto rice? Well, yes and no. But the point is, it’s delicious. It’s even gluten-free, if that’s your thing. If you’re avoiding white rice, then let me assure you, it’s got a great risotto texture. I was both surprised and pleased, then I scarfed the lot.

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Broad Bean, Lemon, and Chilli Fettuccine

broad beans, chilli, lemon zest and fettucine in a rich, creamy sauce : theveggiemama.comI know, I know – broadbeans sound like such a spring vegetable! But if you’ve got a bag o’ em in the freezer, and you’ve got plenty of lemon and chilli floating around then you’ve got a pretty gnarly cool-weather dish if you are, in fact, in cool weather.

If you are not, play on!

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Spinach and Tomato Bechamel Pasta Bake

rich tomato, fresh spinach, and creamy bechamel all make friends in this cozy baked pasta dish.

You guys, it’s getting colder.

There’s no denying that creep of autumn into Melbourne. Cool, dark mornings, days where it just doesn’t quite warm up, the re-emergence of evening socks. What, you don’t have evening socks?

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Roasted Veggie Pasta Bake

Roasted-Tomato-and-Asparagus-Pasta-2

There is something about this time of year, when I’m still half in school holiday-mode, where all ideas of meal plans and being organised in dinner-related dinner activities go flying out the window with all of my cares and most of my dreams.

This means I’m either scrabbling to find dinner out of whatever we happen to have in the cupboard, or I’ve forgotten about dinner until it’s dinner time. Which is where I drag out the pasta bake. Find sad veg, add to pasta, top with cheese, EAT WITH WINE.

Normally I’m even lazier and I just chop veg and throw it in the sauce, then throw the sauce on the pasta. Then throw the lot in the oven. This time I pre-roasted the veg which is only ever going to be a good thing – roasting really brings out their flavour. And if you’ve got half a container of black olives, throw them in too – the more flavour the better!

I usually cook one 500g packet of pasta to just before al dente (it will keep cooking in the oven) – I’ve been buying organic pasta in bulk lately so I’ve got PLENTY to go round. This time I roasted a bunch of asparagus (cut into pieces), a few mushrooms, a mixture of all the tomatoes I could find lying around, some onion, and a couple of cloves of garlic. All in the same pan, all with a generous pour of olive oil and plenty of sea salt and cracked black pepper. Mix that lot once cooked with a can or two of tomatoes or a jar of tomato passata, pinch of sugar, bit o’ basil and some more salt, pepper, and olive oil. Stir the sauce through the pasta, top with excruciating amounts of a good, sharp cheese, and pop in the oven until all have had a change to mingle and perhaps even a couple of them make out in the corner.

Pour wine into a glass. Sit on the couch with a bowl of this in one hand, and your wine in the other. Enjoy.

 

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Minted Pea Soup with Goat Cheese and Watercress

I can’t remember what reminded me, but I was thinking about minted pea soup, and I remembered reading a recipe by Sophie Dahl where she said she thinks of English summers and cricket and whatnot when she makes it. I don’t know what I think of, except it’s delicious, and before I knew it, I found myself in front of the freezers at my local shops trying to buy a kilo of tiny sweet little globes of goodness.

Minted-pea-and-watercress-soup

Which I lovingly simmered in some homemade veggie stock with some sauteed onion and garlic and a little mint from my struggling balcony pot. Then I blended to within an inch of its life, topped with Meredith goat feta, watercress, and mucho black pepper.

Now I’m not one for frozen veggies usually, but if you’re going to take the time to shell fresh peas, then you should really eat them boiled with a little butter and salt – enjoyed in their natural state! It’s criminal to sit through all that effort only to blend them when frozen peas taste just as good in soup.

Minted-pea-and-watercress-soup-2

Keep things vegan by omitting the sauteeing butter, and the extra goat feta at the end. It’s still (as with most vegan food) utterly divine. You won’t miss a thing.

So tell me, do you soup? Do you pea soup? I know some of you out there loathe peas with the fire of a thousand suns – are you one of them?

Minted Pea Soup with Goat Cheese and Watercress

Ingredients

  • 1 Large onion, diced
  • 2 Large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil
  • 1kg frozen peas
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 pinch sugar, salt, and pepper
  • 1 handful mint
  • 100g goat cheese
  • 1 Small bunch watercress

Directions

Step 1
Heat a medium pot over medium heat and saute the onion and garlic gently in the olive oil and butter.
Step 2
Add peas, mint, stock, and a pinch of sugar.
Step 3
Simmer on low for 20-30 minutes until the peas are soft. Blend with a stick blender until as smooth as you can get it (it won't be totally smooth) and check for seasoning.
Step 4
Serve hot or warm with a topping of goat feta and watercress. Don't forget the extra black pepper!
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Vegetarian Meatloaf

I  know, right – meatless meatloaf? What is it, then?

Well, it’s delicious, is what it is. In fact, when I first found the recipe, it was called “Really Good Vegetarian Meatloaf (Really!)” and I was intrigued. It had high ratings, and people who tried the recipe appeared to agree.

I’ll be the judge of that, I thought.

Really Good Vegetarian Meatloaf (excellent if you're looking for a veg option on Christmas)

Yeah, ok – they were right. It was really good.

Really Good Vegetarian Meatloaf (excellent if you're looking for a veg option on Christmas)

What you’re really looking for anyway is something baked in an oven that is the vehicle for gravy, amirite?

Anyway, we really liked it, and although next time I will probably put the mix in a food processor rather than just mashing the lentils, I think it does what is says it’s going to do. And if I was home for Christmas, this is what I’d be making. Alongside 84 kilos of potato bake, all the roasted pumpkin in the land, minted peas, and a pavlova chaser.

Really Good Vegetarian Meatloaf (excellent if you're looking for a veg option on Christmas)

If you’re wanting something festively veg for Christmas dinner (besides these vegetarian Christmas meal ideas, of course!) then may you enjoy really good vegetarian meatloaf. Really!

 

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