‘MOB veggie’ cookbook: Recipes from nasi goreng to butternut orzo

For those having trouble finding the ultimate vegetarian dish, you can’t go wrong with these delicious recipes

Ben Lebus
Friday 12 July 2019 12:17 BST

Halloumi crouton super salad

Halloumi croutons – the greatest invention since sliced bread. Crunchy on the outside, with that beautiful soft halloumi bite on the inside. Leave the halloumi to cook until the breadcrumbs are a deep brown.

Serves 4

Time: 1 hr

2 peppers
Pine nuts
Fresh basil
1 lemon
Veggie Parmesan
3 courgettes
225g packet of halloumi​
Plain (all-purpose) flour
2 eggs
Dried breadcrumbs
250g packet of cherry tomatoes
Olive oil
Vegetable oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 180C. Cut your peppers into chunks. Add to a roasting tray with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Roast for 40 minutes or until charred and soft.

Pesto time. First toast 50g pine nuts in a dry frying pan (skillet). Into a blender add 20g of the toasted pine nuts, a handful of basil leaves, the juice of a lemon, one garlic clove and 50g Parmesan. Add five tablespoons of olive oil and blend until smooth.

Courgette time. Cut your courgettes into thin strips. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Add to a hot griddle (ridged stovetop) pan and cook for five to six minutes on each side.

Halloumi time. Cut your halloumi into small cubes. Get three bowls out. Add flour to one, two eggs to another (whisk them up) and breadcrumbs to the third. Dip your halloumi in the flour, then the eggs, then the breadcrumbs.

Get a pan on the heat. Fill it up two cm high with vegetable oil. Heat the oil, and then add the croutons to the pan. Cook for three to four minutes until golden brown. Remove the croutons from the heat and place them on some kitchen paper.

Halve your cherry tomatoes. Add all of your ingredients, along with a bag of rocket and the leftover pine nuts, to a large salad bowl. Pour over your pesto dressing, toss it all together and serve it up.

Swap chicken for a vegetable of your choice
Swap chicken for a vegetable of your choice

Veggie nasi goreng

A classic Indonesian fried rice dish veggiefied. You can also veganise this dish simply by leaving out the fried eggs. Something about that spicy hit in the morning really gets you going.

Serves 4

Time: 45 mins

5 red chillies
Fresh ginger
Basmati rice
4 carrots
2 brown onions
Fresh coriander
1 white cabbage
Soy sauce
2 limes
4 eggs
Vegetable oil

Preheat your oven to 220C. Place four of the red chillies on a lined baking sheet and bake for five minutes.

Add two unpeeled garlic cloves and a large piece of ginger (unpeeled, too), then continue to bake for around another 20 minutes, or until the garlic cloves turn sticky, the chillies start to go black and the ginger is soft. Turn down the heat to 180C if anything starts to look like it’s burning.

Meanwhile, put 400g basmati rice on (cook according to the instructions on the packet) and prep your veggies.

Grate your carrots and a small piece of ginger, finely slice the onions, four garlic cloves and one red chilli, and chop up the coriander stalks. Slice up your cabbage into bite-sized pieces.

Back to the sauce. Cut the roasted chilli stalks off, and peel the garlic cloves and ginger. Put these, along with four tablespoons of soy sauce, one teaspoon of sugar and the juice of a lime into a blender and blend.

In a large frying pan (skillet), pour in some oil. Start by frying the onions and garlic on a low heat until softened. Then add the cabbage, the grated ginger and the sliced red chilli. Allow to soften and then add the coriander stalks and the grated carrot.

Mix and cook for another five minutes, then add your rice and the sauce. Mix it all together and cook until the sauce is fully mixed in. Meanwhile, fry the eggs in a separate non-stick frying pan. Serve the rice steaming hot, with a squeeze of lime, top with an egg, then cut into those runny yolks!

Pair with a robust and fragrant wine
Pair with a robust and fragrant wine

Oozy butternut orzo

The ooziest orzo about – the perfect autumn warmer. The basil and goats' cheese really freshen the dish up so don’t skip either of them. Also, when you first roast your butternut squash, you don’t want it to get brown and charred, just soft so keep an eye on it.

Serves 4

Time: 55 mins

2 butternut squash
Vegetable stock (bouillon) cube
Orzo pasta
Fresh basil
Goats' cheese
Veggie Parmesan
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 180C. Cut two butternut squash into cubes, and place in a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until soft.

Remove the squash when it’s soft. Place three-quarters in a blender. Place the remainder back in the oven until brown and caramelised. Add a vegetable stock cube and 550ml water into a blender. Blitz. You want quite a loose puree consistency.

Get a large frying pan (skillet) over the heat. Add one clove of chopped garlic with a splash of olive oil. Once softened, pour in the squash puree. Mix it about, and then add 500g orzo.

Keep beating the orzo about, and pouring in splashes of water until the orzo has cooked through and resembles a loose, oozy risotto. At this point, add your remaining squash, and a handful of chopped basil (leave some whole leaves to garnish).

Mix it all together and turn off the heat. Add large dollops of goats' cheese onto the orzo, sprinkle over some veggie Parmesan, scatter on some whole basil leaves and serve with a last drizzle of olive oil! Enjoy!

‘MOB Veggie: Feed 4 or more for under £10’ by Ben Lebus, published by Pavilion Books. Photography by @haaralahamilton

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