Quick and Delicious Vegetarian Meals by Judy Ridgway

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Judy Ridgway

Quick and Delicious Vegetarian Meals

Easy, Healthy and Super-Fast Food

Paperback £7.99 | Kindle £4.99
Publication date 1st September 2016
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Every year, I seem to have less and less time to prepare good nutritious meals but I do prefer home cooking to bought-in food. The solution has been to devise recipes which take the minimum of time to prepare and cook. Some people think that vegetarian food takes longer to prepare than other types of food but you will see that this is just not true. All the dishes in this book can be made in 30 minutes or so and many are ready to eat in a good deal less than that. This means that a two-course meal with fruit to finish can be made very quickly indeed.

When I started on this project I thought it would be quite a challenge: dishes such as casseroles, soups and stews are traditionally cooked for quite a long time, especially those that include dried beans; ideas for vegetarian barbecues are few and far between; and party food can be challenging. In the event it was a lot easier than I expected and I have come up with a complete range of dishes, from snacks and appetisers, starters, soups and salads to light suppers and all kinds of main courses. Almost half of these recipes are suitable for vegans.

My first discovery was that long slow cooking is not always necessary to tenderise hard vegetables. Root vegetables such as carrots, swede, parsnips, beetroot and celeriac will all cook quite quickly if they are first finely diced for use in soups and casseroles or coarsely grated for use in stuffings and burgers. They also stir-fry well if they are cut into matchsticks or wide shavings.

My second discovery was that you can give depth of flavour to a dish either by using a well-flavoured home-made stock or by fast boiling to concentrate, or reduce, the cooking liquor. With this in mind I try to save all the cooking liquor from vegetables, however they are cooked. I can then use this on its own or to make vegetable stock with other ingredients.

The inspiration for the recipes comes from around the world with pasta dishes and bruschetta from Italy, curries from India, tagines from North Africa, stir-fry dishes from China and appetisers from the USA. There are also some traditional British favourites as well as recipes from Hungary, Lebanon, Mexico and France. Plenty of ideas are also included for areas in which it is sometime difficult to find vegetarian and vegan recipes such as party food and barbecues.

The introduction includes nutritional advice for the vegetarians with a look at complementary proteins and balanced menu planning with actual menus. There are also practical suggestions for a vegetarian store cupboard, finding specialist vegetarian ingredients such as rennet-free cheeses and making vegetarian stocks.

Deciding on a menu for the evening only takes a minute or two and is inspired either by the contents of the store cupboard or vegetable rack, or by the fruit and vegetables on sale at market stalls or the supermarket on the way to and from work. Some of the most successful menus developed during the testing are also included.

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