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Seven days’ worth of meat-free dishes to get you through National Vegetarian Week

If you’ve already gone totally plant-based for a month, what’s one week of being veggie? I won’t hear one word about a meatless meal being boring, writes Hannah Twiggs. Here’s seven recipes to prove it

Wednesday 28 April 2021 18:39 BST
Level up your lunchtime with this light and refreshing vegan buddha bowl
Level up your lunchtime with this light and refreshing vegan buddha bowl (Cauldron)
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You’ve almost definitely heard of Veganuary, but what about National Vegetarian Week? Call it Veganuary’s older, but far less demanding, sibling. The premise is much the same: try eating vegetarian food for a week, nominate two friends to do it with you and at the end donate £3 to the Vegetarian Society. And, of course, you can make sure all your friends know about it by mentioning it constantly. I jest, but seriously: it’s for a good cause.

You’ll be in pretty good company, too. The roster of celebs that have signed up to take part include Stephen Fry, the Hairy Bikers, Joanna Lumley, the BOSH! boys, Chris Packham and a host of other foodies.

With plenty of us still spending more time at home and in the kitchen than ever before, “there’s never been a better time to try cutting out meat and living a plant-based life,” says Fry. “I’ve found it good for health and energy, and if we all joined in… well, wouldn’t the planet be pleased!”

It’s not just the planet and your palate that you’ll be helping either: the great work the Vegetarian Society does includes raising money for food banks and sending out vegetarian and vegan emergency food parcels to the families that need them the most.

And we’re not talking warming up a can of lentils in the microwave. Most vegetarians and vegans will scoff at the mention of: “Well isn’t plant-based food bland and boring?” From just a single day in 1992 to today a whole week, the main mission of National Vegetarian Week is to prove just how easy it is to whip up a delicious, nutritious and filling vegetarian meal without breaking the bank or taking up too much of your time.

No one’s asking you to make the switch permanent, either. I’ll bet you a can of chickpeas that you can already vegetarian-ise some of your favourite dishes.

Don’t believe us? Try out some of these delicious recipes from the likes of National Vegetarian Week sponsors Cauldron, vegan chef Katy Beskow, sustainable chef and food writer Trine Hahnemann and Chinese cooking don Kwoklyn Wan, as well as some tried-and-tested Veg Soc staples.

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Level up your lunchtime with this light and refreshing Vegan buddha bowl. It’s packed full of inviting flavours and colour to make sure that your lunchtimes are as healthy as they are tasty.

By: Cauldron

Prep time: 30 mins | Cook time: 45 mins

Makes: 4 servings


For the salad:

100g quinoa

1 pack of Cauldron falafels

50g baby kale

1 avocado, halved, de-stoned, peeled and sliced

40g ready-to-eat edamame beans

½ carrot, grated

¼ red cabbage, thinly sliced

1 tbsp black sesame seeds

For the crispy chickpeas:

200g tinned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp salt

1 tbsp olive oil

For the dressing:

1 avocado, halved, de-stoned and peeled

10g fresh parsley

10g fresh coriander

1 tbsp lime juice

50ml water

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper


Cook the quinoa according to the packet’s instructions. Set aside and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 190C/170C fan/5 gas. In a bowl, toss the chickpeas with the smoked paprika, salt and oil. Transfer to a lined baking tray, along with the falafel and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the falafel from the tray and shake the chickpeas, then return the chickpeas back to the oven for a further 15 minutes.

To make the dressing, add all ingredients to a food processor and blitz until smooth. Set aside.

To assemble the buddha bowls equally, divide the quinoa between two bowls. In sections, top each bowl with the falafel, kale, avocado, edamame beans, carrot and red cabbage. Scatter the roasted chickpeas over the top and sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Drizzle over the dressing to serve.

A great source of vitamins A and C and a small amount of protein (The Vegetarian Society)

Yakisoba is a fresh and vibrant Japanese-style noodle stir-fry made using edamame, pepper, broccoli and traditional sauce ingredients. Broccoli is not only a source of vitamins A and C, but it also contains a small amount of protein.

By: The Vegetarian Society

Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

Makes: 4 servings

Dairy free | Egg free | Nut free | Vegan


For the sauce:

3 tbsp mirin

2 tbsp low-sodium dark soy sauce

2 large cloves garlic, crushed

1 small red chilli, finely chopped

20g ginger, grated

1 tbsp cornflour, mixed with 2 tbsp cold water

For the stir-fry:

2 tsp sesame oil

4 spring onions, sliced diagonally

1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks

1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into strips

200g purple sprouting or tenderstem broccoli, trimmed and cut into three equal pieces

400g frozen edamame beans

75g green cabbage, shredded

50g kimchi

200ml vegetable stock made with 1 low-sodium stock cube

300g soba noodles, cooked as directed on the pack and drained

1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

1 red chilli, sliced for garnish

Black pepper, to taste


Place all of the sauce ingredients into a small bowl and mix well until combined.

Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add the spring onion, carrot and pepper. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.

Add the broccoli, edamame beans, spring greens and kimchi. Stir-fry for a further 2-3 minutes.

Pour the sauce over the vegetables along with the stock. Gently bring to a simmer for 2-3 minutes until the sauce thickens. Add a splash of water if the sauce looks a little too thick.

Stir in the noodles and heat gently for 1-2 minutes until piping hot. Season with black pepper to taste.

Transfer the noodles to warm bowls. Sprinkle over the toasted sesame seeds and garnish with sliced red chilli.

Speedy chickpea burgers

Quick, simple and satisfying burgers for when the need arises (Katy Beskow)

When the need for a burger arises, it arises fast. Enter the 15-minute burger! This go-to recipe is quick, simple and satisfying. The burger mix is suitable for freezing: simply defrost, shape and fry lightly for fresh burgers with even less effort. Serve with burger sauce or tangy mustard and apple slaw.

Recipe from: Easy Vegan Bible: 200 Easiest Ever Plant-Based Recipes by Katy Beskow

Makes: 2 servings


1 x 400g can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed, refrigerated until chilled

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp rose harissa paste

Generous handful of at-leaf parsley, including stalks

Generous handful of coriander, including stalks

1 thick slice of day-old white bread, grated into fine breadcrumbs

1 tbsp sunflower seeds

4 tbsp sunflower oil

2 white seeded bread buns, toasted

2 heaped tsp vegan mayo

2 handfuls of wild rocket leaves

8 thin red onion rings, generous pinch of salt


Add the chickpeas, cumin, smoked paprika, harissa, parsley and coriander to a high-powered blender or food processor and blitz until semi-smooth. A few chunks means extra bite!

Carefully remove the mixture from the blender and shape into two burgers.

Mix together the breadcrumbs and sunflower seeds on a plate, then press the burgers into the mix, coating on all sides.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat until hot. Carefully place the burgers in the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side until golden.

Arrange the toasted bread buns on plates. Place the cooked chickpea burgers into the buns, then top with vegan mayo and load over the rocket and red onion.

Easy tip: Keeping the chickpeas refrigerated before use gives your burgers a firmer texture.

Here’s one way to use up end-of-season asparagus (Trine Hahnemann)

At the end of the asparagus season the first potatoes are ready to dig up; they are a pair of vegetables that work so well together. One is earthy and nutty and the other fresh and sweet. Serve this salad as a main course with bread on the side, a green salad, or a fried egg on top.

Recipe from: Scandinavian Green: Simple Ways to Eat Vegetarian, Every Day by Trine Hahnemann

Makes: 4 servings


For the vegetables:

800g small new potatoes

15 green asparagus spears, trimmed of woody stalk

Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing:

1 tbsp chopped mint leaves

1 tbsp chopped tarragon leaves

2 tbsp chopped chives

2 tbsp chopped dill, any coarse stalks removed

2 tbsp chopped curly parsley leaves

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


For the vegetables, boil the potatoes in salted water until just tender but still firm. Cool down, then cut in half and place in a large bowl.

Slice the asparagus into 1cm pieces and mix with the potatoes.

In a food processor, blend all the ingredients for the dressing and fold into the potatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Ho Chi Minh fried spring rolls

These pan-Asian rolls are a nostalgic dish for Kwoklyn Wan (Kwoklyn Wan)

Growing up in his parents’ restaurant, these pan-Asian rolls were Wan’s all-time favourite dish. Crispy rice paper spring rolls stuffed with crunchy peppers, crisp beansprouts and noodles, all wrapped up in an ice-cold lettuce leaf and then dipped in a sweet, tangy chilli sauce – sheer heaven.

Recipe from: The Veggie Chinese Takeaway Cookbook: Wok, No Meat? Over 70 Vegan and Vegetarian Takeaway Classics by Kwoklyn Wan


2 nests of glass (mung bean) noodles

1 tbsp sesame seeds

1 tbsp oil (vegetable, groundnut or coconut), plus extra for shallow frying

1 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tbsp dark soy sauce

2 tbsp sriracha chilli sauce

1 tsp Chinese five spice

1 tsp ground Sichuan pepper

½ tsp salt

225g firm tofu, cut into 5mm slices

10 rice paper rounds, 22cm in diameter

½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced into strips

1 carrot, thinly sliced into strips

3 spring onions, halved and thinly sliced into strips

Small handful of beansprouts

1 round lettuce, leaves separated, washed and drained, to serve

For the sweet chilli vinegar dip:

125ml water

125ml rice vinegar

50g sugar

4 tbsp honey (or use agave or maple syrup)

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

½ tsp grated garlic

1 red bird’s-eye chilli, finely chopped

1 tsp tomato ketchup


Put the glass noodles into a large bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to soak for 3–5 minutes. Once the noodles are soft, drain and set to one side.

To make the sweet chilli vinegar dip, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan, bring to the boil and then simmer for 3–5 minutes until slightly reduced and sticky.

Place a wok over a medium-low heat. Add the sesame seeds and slowly toast for 2–3 minutes, until they have turned golden brown.

Transfer to a plate and allow to cool.

Put the oil, soy sauces, sriracha, Chinese five spice, Sichuan pepper and salt into a large bowl and mix well. Arrange the tofu slices on a shallow plate, then evenly coat the top of the tofu slices with the marinade, keeping some of the marinade for later. Set to one side and leave for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Lay the marinated tofu pieces on a baking tray and bake for 10–15 minutes. Turn the tofu over, cover with the remaining marinade and bake for a further 10–12 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cooled, cut the tofu into 5mm (¼in) strips.

To assemble the rolls, soak a rice paper round in warm water for 20–30 seconds. Shake off any excess water and lay flat on a clean work surface. Add strips of vegetables and tofu, a sprinkle of sesame seeds and some glass noodles. Fold both sides over the filling, then roll up the rice paper to form a sausage shape.

Heat 250ml (1 cup) of oil in a deep-sided frying pan over a medium heat. Carefully fry the rolls, turning them frequently so that they cook evenly, until golden brown all over. Drain on kitchen paper.

To eat, take a round lettuce leaf and place one crispy roll in the centre, wrapping the leaf snugly around the roll. Then dip!

A firesome one-pot wonder (Cauldron)

This firesome one-pot wonder offers a vegetarian take on the old American classic! Throw it back to the Wild West with Cauldron’s hearty Lincolnshire sausages and earthy cannellini beans, all fired up with spicy chipotle and smoky paprika. Perfect for sharing with friends around a roaring campfire or your kitchen table, it delivers on flavour time after time!

By: Cauldron

Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 1 hour 10 mins

Makes: 6 servings


1 pack Cauldron Lincolnshire vegetarian sausages, chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

4 tsp chipotle paste

½ tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp each salt and pepper

2 cans (each 400g) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

750ml passata

50g brown sugar

3 tbsp black treacle

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp cider vinegar

1 loaf crusty bread, for serving


Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof dish set over a low heat on the hob. Cook the onion, garlic, chipotle paste, smoked paprika, salt and pepper for 5 to 10 minutes or until softened.

Stir in the beans, passata, brown sugar, 60 ml water, treacle, mustard and vinegar. Bring to the boil, cover and transfer to the oven for 40 minutes or until bubbling and beginning to thicken.

Stir in the sausages and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the sausages are cooked through.

Serve with fresh crusty bread.

Who doesn’t love a creamy, leeky pie? (The Vegetarian Society)

This is a single crust filo pie that contains a creamy, thyme-flavoured white wine sauce filling. It is packed full of mushrooms, cheese and haricot beans.

By: The Vegetarian Society

Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 40 mins

Makes: 4 servings

Egg free | Nut free | Suitable for freezing


2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, finely diced

1 leek, sliced

300g chestnut mushrooms, quartered

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 tsp dried thyme

100ml dry white wine

100ml vegetable stock, made with 1 low-salt vegetable stock cube

300ml skimmed milk

2 bay leaves

1½ tbsp cornflour

2 tbsp cold water

40g half-fat cheddar cheese, grated

75g light soft cheese

2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 x 400g cans haricot beans, drained and rinsed

4 sheets filo pastry

Black pepper, to taste

To serve:

320g green beans, steamed or boiled


Preheat the oven to 190C/gas mark 5.

In a large saucepan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and fry the onion over a gentle heat for 5 minutes, until softened.

Add the leek and chestnut mushrooms. Cook for 4 minutes, until the leeks have softened and the mushrooms have browned. Add the garlic and thyme, then fry for a minute.

Pour the dry white wine into the pan, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for 2-3 minutes or until the wine reduces by half. Add the stock, skimmed milk and bay leaves then gently bring to the boil.

In a small bowl, add the cornflour and stir in 2 tbsp cold water, until it forms a paste. Stir the cornflour paste into the sauce and simmer for 3 minutes, until the sauce thickens.

Add both cheeses and the Dijon mustard to the sauce. Heat gently for a minute, until the cheese melts into it.

Stir the haricot beans into the sauce and season with black pepper. Transfer the mixture to a round ovenproof dish (approximately 26 cm). Remove the bay leaves.

Brush the remaining oil over the filo pastry sheets, half each sheet, scrunch up and place on top of the filling. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the filling is piping hot and the pastry is golden and crisp.

Serve with a portion of green beans.

Take up the Veggie 123 challenge at Have some fun, eat delicious dishes for a week and help the planet – it’s win-win.

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