There’s nothing fishy about this veggie fish and chips / David Frenkiel

Vegetarian food can be quick and easy, and there’s almost a meat-free answer for anything you might miss, from cauliflower fish and chips to quinoa meatballs 

Cauli “Fish” and Chips

Our freezer has three drawers. The top one is reserved for frozen berries, fruit and ice cream. It’s always jam-packed. The second drawer is for all kinds of frozen veggies, usually a mix of peas, spinach, broccoli and corn. In the third drawer we keep our left overs. There are often a couple of unmarked and forgotten soups and curries in the bottom, a bag of bread, a roll of Perfect Pesto (page 25) and, on lucky days, we also have a bag of these veggie “fish” bites. They are our vegetarian take on a classic. As with most food that you can eat with your hands, these are very kid-friendly, but adults seem to love them too.

Even if they don’t imitate fish exactly, they do have the right light feeling and with a squeeze of lemon on top and dunked in tartare sauce it all feels rather convincing. We have created the recipe so that the potatoes are baked at the same time as the “fish”, which is also very convenient. Make a double batch of the cauli “fish” so you’ve got an extra portion in the freezer for lucky days.

For the cauli “fish”

2tbsp virgin coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, peeled
1 leek, washed, trimmed and tops removed
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 medium cauliflower head and trimmed stalk
1 courgette
2 free-range eggs
120g almond flour
150g cottage cheese
Zest of 1 large unwaxed lemon
½tsp sea salt potato chips
500g baby potatoes, scrubbed
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

​For the tartare sauce

2tbsp capers, drained
3tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
250ml plain yoghurt
Juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve

Fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Lemon wedges

Preheat the oven to 200C (400F/gas mark 6) and line two baking trays with parchment paper. Heat the oil for the cauli “fish” in a large frying pan on a medium-low heat. Finely chop the onion, leek and garlic, transfer to the pan and sauté for about 15 minutes or until the onion and leek have softened. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, roughly chop the cauliflower, transfer to a food processor and blend until the texture resembles coarse breadcrumbs, then set aside. Grate the courgette, squeeze out the excess water (you should end up with about 130g of grated courgette) and set aside. Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk until the yolks and whites are combined. Add the sautéed vegetables, cauliflower, courgette and the rest of the cauli “fish” ingredients and mix until combined.

Dip 2 spoons (or your hands) into hot water and shake off the excess water. Take a generous scoop of the cauli “fish” mixture and pass it repeatedly between the spoons, turning and smoothing each side until a neat quenelle or ball is formed. Place the quenelles on one of the baking trays. To prepare the potato chips, quarter the potatoes, pat dry with kitchen paper and transfer to the second baking tray. Drizzle over the oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss until well coated.

Bake the cauli “fish” and potato chips at the same time for 25-30 minutes or until cooked, golden and crispy. In the meantime, roughly chop the capers and transfer them to a small mixing bowl. Add the rest of the tartare sauce ingredients, season with salt and pepper and mix until combined.

Serve the cauli “fish” accompanied by some chips and topped with a dollop of tartare sauce, scattering of parsley and squeeze of lemon juice. ​

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Hummus and shakshuka creates the ultimate comfort food (David Frenkiel)

Shakshuka on a Bed of Hummus

Cracking a few eggs straight into a pan of bubbling, spicy, cumin-flavoured tomato sauce is one of the easiest and most wonderful one-pot dinners that we know, especially when it’s served with some bread on the side, for scooping up the sauce. However, ladling the shakshuka on top of a thin bed of hummus makes it even better.

The rich and creamy hummus balances the sweet, spicy and tangy shakshuka just perfectly, and it also turns it into the ultimate comfort food. Whether you serve this shakshuka with or without hummus, it is a very easy recipe to get creative with. The red pepper can be replaced with finely diced aubergine or courgette. Spinach or kale can be added to the tomato sauce and a pinch of saffron can be added for extra flair.

2tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, peeled
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
½ fresh red chilli, seeded
1 red pepper, trimmed
½tsp harissa, plus extra to serve
½tsp ground cumin
720ml tinned tomatoes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 free-range eggs

To serve

Hummus
Roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or rocket leaves
Zaatar (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Warmed pita breads or gluten-free flatbreads

Heat the oil in a large frying pan on a medium-low heat. Finely chop the onion, garlic and chilli and cut the red pepper into chunks. Transfer to the pan along with the harissa and cumin and sauté for about 15 minutes or until the onion has softened. Add the tomato sauce or tinned tomatoes and season to taste. Bring to the boil, then simmer until the sauce is heated through, stirring from time to time so the sauce doesn’t burn. Add more water if the sauce becomes too dry.

Create four small wells in the sauce and crack an egg into each one. Cook the eggs to your liking. Spread out a layer of hummus in four bowls. Ladle one egg and shakshuka on top of the hummus. Top with extra harissa, a handful of parsley or rocket, some za’atar and seasoning. Serve with a drizzle of oil and some flatbread.

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Cruelty-free spaghetti and meatballs: just like mama used to make (David Frenkiel)

Popeye Polpette (spinach, quinoa and ricotta “meatballs”)

Would you believe me if I said that my middle name is Popeye? It actually is. I had such wide shoulders when I was born that my parents thought that giving me the name of the spinach-loving sailor, was fitting. Little did they realise how that name would grow to suit me as I became a vegetable advocate and spinach lover (still not entirely there with the tattoo and biceps though). These polpette are airy and light, yet comfortably nourishing. We often steal a few polpette straight from the baking tray, but they are even better served tangled in linguine or courgette noodles with tomato sauce poured over. Our Big-batch Tomato Sauce (page 22) is perfect for this.

Makes about 24 polpette
Serves 6
Prep and cook time: 40 minutes

100g sunflower seeds, toasted
300g cooked quinoa
250g fresh ricotta
100g baby spinach or regular spinach, stems removed
1 handful fresh basil
1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Zest and juice of ½ unwaxed lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve

Courgette noodles or cooked pasta of choice
720ml of Big-batch Tomato Sauce (page 22) or tinned tomatoes
Freshly grated pecorino or parmesan
Pine nuts, toasted
Torn fresh basil leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200C (400F/gas mark 6) and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Place the sunflower seeds in a food processor and blend until the texture resembles coarse flour. Add the rest of the polpette ingredients, season to taste and blend until smooth. Dip two spoons (or your hands) into hot water and shake off  the excess water. Take a generous scoop of the polpette mix, and pass the mixture repeatedly between the spoons, turning and smoothing each side until a neat quenelle or ball is formed. Transfer to the baking tray and repeat with the rest of the mixture. Bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked and golden with a crispy outside.

Serve on top of courgette noodles or pasta with tomato sauce. Top with cheese, pine nuts, basil, seasoning, and a drizzle of oil.

Tip: For a nut-free alternative, replace the pine nuts with pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds.

Green Kitchen at Home: Quick and healthy vegetarian food for everyday by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl. Published by Hardie Grant, £25

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