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Social distancing and Vegetarian/Vegan/Free from diet recipes to try

19 replies

Sprayitall · 19/03/2020 20:17

Starting this thread because there were so many ideas and recipes to try during this period of self isolation and social distancing. With Supermarkets and deliveries struggling to cater, creating new recipes and managing with whatever left or with whatever we can afford at the moment is becoming the usual norm. So feel free to share your ideas, recipes and culinary experiments.
Please note this is a vegetarian/vegan/ free from diet recipes thread to help people with special dietary requirements.

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fruitybum · 19/03/2020 20:58
Nice quick and easy recipe that can last a few days. We add chorizo sausage in ours

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fruitybum · 19/03/2020 20:59

Oh and garlic bread

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Sprayitall · 19/03/2020 21:16

@fruitybum oh wow.. that’s lovely.. I have never personally tried vegan sausages with them.. but I have always loved vegan meatballs or falafels with sphagetti/ pasta.. but I would love to try this one now.. I used to make this chorizo recipe from bbcgoodfood except I use vegan sausages, a little curry powder and vegetable stock. The taste is slightly different but makes a good meal.

I am also trying to add few simple food cupboard recipes here where you need no more than few ingredients. Will keep it posted

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WisestIsShe · 19/03/2020 21:19

I'm a cm and recently we've tried this for one of my vegan mindees here everyone loved it, it's very easy and super tasty.

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Sprayitall · 19/03/2020 21:27

@wisestisshe That’s lovely. I’m from India myself but living here in the U.K. for more than a decade and half.. I find all curries here are very different to authentic ones. I haven’t tried this one though.
Dd loves what I call “pizzadillas” I don’t remember if I made that name up or saw the recipe somewhere but it’s just a combo of pizza and quesadilla .. with potato as the pizza crust and some marinara sauce, cheese and steamed veggies on top. They don’t have gluten either so it’s good.

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Judystilldreamsofhorses · 19/03/2020 21:28

We’re not really veggie, but this is a staple here. You could use whatever veg you have, really, or sub some of it out for eg a tin of butterbeans or kidney beans.

Chop an onion
Mince some garlic
Chop some sticks of celery, a carrot, and a pepper.

Gently heat the onions with some olive oil, then add the rest of the veg. Chuck in a tin of drained chickpeas, a teaspoon of smoked paprika, and a good pinch of harissa spice powder. (If you don’t have it, a bit of cumin and chilli flakes would do). Add a tin of tomatoes. Simmer down for about 20 minutes, longer if you have it.

Serve with pitta breads.

(I sometimes add leftover cooked chicken if we’ve had a roast, for any non veggies.)

This tends to do me and DP for dinner, then a portion to take to work the next day - it works just as well cold. Just up the veg for more people eating.

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MotherOfDragonite · 19/03/2020 22:45

Lovely idea for a thread!

We like to make pizzas on tortilla wrap bases. The kids enjoy pretty much any vegetable on top including peas and sweetcorn! The only essential is lots of cheese on top! (and, I guess, a tomato sauce)

Soups are an excellent way of using all sorts of vegetables together, including ones that children may not be so keen on. If that's the case, whizz it all up so they can't tell. Have some vegetable stock or bouillon in your cupboards.

We like putting chickpeas or lentils in with our pasta as a protein source (it's also very tasty).

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MotherOfDragonite · 19/03/2020 22:46

Oh and what DD1 calls "lemony beans". It works well with cannellini beans or any other kind of white bean. You just sautee a bit of crushed garlic in olive oil, put the drained and washed beans in, warm them up, and add lots of lemon juice and a bit more olive oil at the end.

If you want to do something fancy for guests, you puree it, and everyone is extremely impressed. It's especially good with roast veg. You're welcome!

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Graphista · 20/03/2020 00:20

Op thanks for this. As a native Indian person I for one would LOVE if you’d post authentic indian recipes (are there mild ones to suit people like me?)

Two times I realised that the “Indian” (and “Chinese”, “Italian”, “Spanish”...) food we get here is not even CLOSE to authentic:

First holiday to Spain - total revelation!

When I went to live in Germany with ex (army) and the “Chinese” was loaded with garlic! So weird! Got talking to the owner and he’d lived in France and Netherlands too and discussed with me how restaurateurs of national cuisines have to adapt the food to the tastes of the country they’re now selling in.

I’m veggie over 30 years but struggling to think of own recipes!

Here are some I recently posted on another thread hope they’re of use to someone

Spiced butternut soup

serves 2 at least 3 days running (unless one of the 2 is dd when I’m lucky if it’s allowed to cool down!) best served with buttered crusty rolls


1 Butternut squash
4-6 carrots
2 cloves garlic
Teaspoon cumin
Teaspoon curry powder - strength depends on preference I have to stick to mild unfortunately
Oil for roasting and heating spices

Halve & deseed the squash
Pop a clove of garlic in the remaining hollows
Peel carrots and quarter by slicing lengthways
Drizzle with preferred oil
Roast in a med-hot oven for 45 mins

At 43 mins in heat a soup pan with a little oil in and heat up the spices, then add the roasted veg to the pan, you scoop out the flesh of the squash easy once cooked.

Give it a wee shuggle (technical term 😉)

Add 1 pint stock

Season and bring to boil.

Simmer for 10 mins

Blend and serve as is or with a swirl of sour cream or creme fraiche.

Freezes great too and will keep in fridge fine for a few days.

vegetarian Sausage casserole

makes 4 servings

4-6 Favourite sausages (I’m veggie and mine are linda McCartney especially for this dish)
3-4 dessertspoons Diced onion (I use frozen)
1 tin Baked beans
1/3 pint stock
Small pack sage & onion stuffing mix

Sauté onions
Brown off sausages in same frying pan.
Once done put these in casserole dish
Add beans and stock

Cook at 200°c for 40 mins

Then sprinkle the stuffing mix over the casserole & cook for further 10 mins, creates a lovely “herb crust”

Vegetarian “Chicken” casserole
4 servings

Diced “chicken” (I use a full pack of quorn)
2-3 dessertspoons Diced onion
4-6 carrots sliced & boiled at least par boiled (or 2 tins drained)
Tin of creamed mushrooms
Guessing here - about 1/4-1/3 pint of milk
1/2 teaspoon each dried thyme and marjoram

Put carrots on to boil
Sauté onions and diced chicken
In a bowl/jug mix the creamed mushrooms, milk, seasoning and herbs
Put chicken onions and carrots in casserole dish
Add mushroom mixture

Cook at 180° for 20 mins covered, ten mins uncovered.

Lovely with either roast or mashed potatoes also goes well with yorkies.

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84TinsOfBeans · 20/03/2020 06:56

I'd like to recommend the book 'modern way to cook' by Anna Jones. I've never had a bad recipe from it. It's changed our lives and I'll upload some of my favourites as photo later. It's reduced at the moment too.

I was originally put off by the format as it looks a bit trendy. We had it as a wedding present and it revolutionised our eating.

A Modern Way to Cook

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Sprayitall · 20/03/2020 09:24

Good morning,
Ooh I am noting down some of the recipes here on my meal planner to try. @Judystilldreamsofhorses I think that will taste wonderful even with naans because the recipe is similar to veggie masala.
@MotherOfDragonite Tortilla bases is an excellent idea .. I have never thought of them for those pizzadillas .. I just make them with largish potatoes. Oh how I wish I had bought some
of them earlier. I have one of this piadina wrap though.. can I try with them? Or may be I will add them the next time I go to the supermarket.

@Graphista If I have to say about the traditional Indian cooking it is based on Ayurveda and South Indian Tamilnadu cooking (especially the vegetarian diet) is considered a blessing from “siddhas” or “maha yogis” - they are mostly medicinal with complementing spices that balance mind and body. The aim of the balanced diet is to promote health and satiate all the 5 senses. There are spices that should be used together and there are few that shouldn’t go together. Every ingredient and their effects on the system are analysed and then spices are added to balance them out. Contrary to popular belief all the foods are not made too spicy - Each household makes it in their own way to suit their health and palette. (that’s why it will be no where near authentic here) I ran a food blog for sometime when dd was small and had quite a good number of followers. I will share my tested recipes here so feel free to ask me if you have any specific recipes in mind. I’m happy to help. What do we all start with?? What is tricky to cook in western way - lentils? Or rice based dishes?

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Graphista · 20/03/2020 13:07

Wow that sounds amazing op!

I'm an "old hippy" at heart and all you've said there really appeals to me.

I'm veggie for ethical reasons but I had all my childhood had a "bad stomach" which was thought to just be how I was.

I still have it a little (I can't eat citrus fruits or juices, have hot spicy food, have to be careful with foods with a known laxative effect) but when I stopped eating meat it stopped being every day!

I turned veggie over 30 years ago and it was really hard then to find veggie food and labelling wasn't as good as it is now. This resulted in a couple of times me accidentally eating meat/meat products and my stomach reacted instantly! On one occasion so bad I was admitted to hospital as appendicitis was suspected. I'm now VERY careful.

But I also was raised by parents (now in their mid 70's) and grandparents (Scots) who very much believed in natural remedies and a balanced way of living.

This was partly out of necessity as they were very poor and prior to the creation of the nhs in 1948 they wouldn't call a dr except in dire emergency as they couldn't afford it.

So staying healthy by eating well and being active and treating minor ailments and injuries themselves with natural/home remedies was their normal.

Included things like:

For heartburn - have dairy. Preferably milk but any non acidic dairy will do. I still will have a glass of milk for heartburn before I'll consider even taking a rennie!

Baking soda for trapped wind

Honey for sore throat


Also using herbs for certain "imbalances"

Echinacea at first sign of a cold (way before it became fashionable)

Chamomile in the oat bags for baths for our eczema

Heather - liniment for joint pain and headache, tea for uti

But as a daft kid until I was a teen and doing cooking lessons at school which were very good and went into nutritional aspects too I hadn't noticed how my mum and grans always made sure that their families were fed a wide variety of different foods throughout the week to ensure all nutrients covered and meals were balanced too, they might have been very simple (meat and 2 veg style) but they always contained protein, carbs and a good helping of veg. We also always had a dessert of some description which is frowned on now BUT it filled us up, satiated sweet cravings and got a portion of fruit into us (always some kind of fruit, usually a custard or cream topping too so dairy portion too)

They fed us seasonally too - probably again partly out of necessity as goods in season are cheaper. But what nature provides at certain times of year tallies with our biological needs at that time of year too.

And you know what? We were all slim, active and relatively healthy (I say relatively as my family has the gene/s for the allergy issues asthma/eczema/hay fever plus others)

I say bring back puddings! Grin

I have also at times tried to learn a little about Ayurvedan practice, I was very into aromatherapy at one point and still use essential oils for some things, I also used to do a little yoga and I learned more about herbal remedies.

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Sprayitall · 20/03/2020 14:57

@Graphista For us food is medicine and we have been practicing lacto vegetarianism for atleast 7 generations I know. Yes you are right we were all healthy bunch back then with grandparents having atleast 10 kids. The tellys were small and people were thin, now the telly’s are slim and people, not so much (May be Newtons third law lol) Because individual constitution is different the usage of foods and spices that’s suitable for a family were advised. Spices can contain a lipid-soluble portion or a water-soluble portion, so ideally some should be sautéed in ghee or healthy oils are added to dishes, and some cooked in the liquid portions of dishes such as by being added to soups, stews or sauces during the cooking process. This ensures we get the optimum minerals and chemicals in food.

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Sprayitall · 20/03/2020 15:32

Spices work gently and very gradually, with the benefits adding up over time & with no dangerous side effects but allergic precautions should be taken. For myself I don’t know why my constitution doesn’t agree with star anise or bay leaf much. Most traditional physicians recommend resisting the temptation of taking spices as nutraceuticals, where the so-called "bio active" ingredient is isolated and put in a pill or a capsule. It’s important we take them as nature intended to reap the benefits for years to come. Also most spices enhances digestion. Poor digestion is considered to be the main cause of accumulation of toxins in the body. When the food we eat is not digested properly, the by-product of poor digestion and metabolism builds up in the body, clogging the microchannels. Not only does this further block the efficient flow of nutrients to the different parts of the body, weakening the immune system, but it also hampers the unrestricted flow of wastes out of the body so that it becomes a "fertile breeding ground" for disease and infection to take hold.

There are two main ancient Indian medicinal systems - “
Siddha and Ayurveda . Siddha medicinal system is mainly practiced in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu (which is mine) However, some practitioners say there is also a North Indian school of Siddha medicine that developed in the Himalayas. Siddha was popular in ancient India and is believed to be the oldest medicinal system in the world - the medical knowledge being imparted to the saints by Lord Shiva himself.

Ayurveda, on the other hand, is related to the Vedic period in India and its traditional medicinal secrets were found in the books of Sushruta Samhita and Charaka Samhita.

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Graphista · 20/03/2020 16:59

“It’s important we take them as nature intended” totally agree! That’s what my mum and grans always say/said.

I was training as a nurse when we had the fad here for non butter “low fat” spreads made from sunflower oil etc. I had my community rotation around that time and the dietitian, midwives and health visitors in the gp surgery I was assigned too all bar one (youngest) said it was a fad, that the best way to eat is the majority of your food to be as close to how nature intended as possible for good health.

Then a few years later the dangers of trans fats were learned.

Thank you for such detailed and interesting replies.

Would be lovely if you’d post some mild or non spicy recipes?

I’m ok with aromatic spices it’s the hot ones I can’t tolerate. I’m fine with things like bay leaf and star anise.

Chilli, curry not so much

But I have and use cumin, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, paprika
and black pepper (very popular in Scotland, goes well in soup and on neeps)

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Sprayitall · 20/03/2020 18:20

Ok, I will share my knowledge as much as I can - because for me understanding the western taste palette and exactly catering them is very difficult.

Let’s start with easy making authentic bread varieties. I am posting one now which is my tried and tested recipe- It’s a no yeast variety of naan (traditional naans are very soft and thin - not the thick bread type we get here) These go well with all curries and can also be used as wraps. Makes 6, prep time - 30 min + leavening time

All purpose flour – 2 cups
Natural set Yoghurt or any natural yoghurt – 1/2 cup
Milk,warm – 1/2 cup
Sugar – 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp (adjust to taste)
Baking powder – 3/4 tsp
Baking soda – 3/4 tsp
Melted Ghee or softened Butter – 4 tsps

Mix the baking soda, baking powder with flour evenly (you can sieve it in the flour sieve to mix them even) first.
Then pour the yoghurt, milk, sugar and salt. Gather and mix it well gently with just your finger tips. (Don’t knead hardly just a little force will do) cling film and keep it aside for 3 hours(it’s ok if you decide to keep it for 8 hours) When you are ready , dust the platform with flour, knead it well and divide it into 6 equal balls. Roll them up with a rolling pin in whatever shape you prefer (I prefer them round) pat some water and put the water side down on a pancake pan drizzled with a little oil or butter (medium flame on the stove). Cover and cook for couple of minutes, then again turn it the other side. (Take care when you open the cover and while turning it). Apply butter or ghee on both sides and Serve hot. Finish with coriander or garlic butter to make this into garlic flavoured ones.

This recipe’s credit goes to my mum and aunt, so please ask before you copy or share, I might say yes :).

For mild curries - use less of green / red chillies and replace them with black pepper so you can adjust them to your palette. Traditional South Indian cooking doesn’t involve the use of chillies. We use peppercorns. Green peppercorns are made into fresh salad pickle condiments. Black peppercorns for curries. Contrary to popular beliefs, chillies do not belong to India and are not included in many of the traditional recipes. Chillies arrived in India with the Portuguese only in the 1400 AD. :)

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Judystilldreamsofhorses · 20/03/2020 20:52

Spraytail I feel daft sharing that recipe now I know you are Indian and clearly an amazing cook!

I made this tonight with Linda McCartney sausages. It was really good!

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Graphista · 20/03/2020 21:55

Thanks op and @Judystilldreamsofhorses

I get on better with pepper than chillis so that's good to know.

Judy that's a great simple recipe I have most of the ingredients might give it a go.

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Sprayitall · 21/03/2020 10:23

@Judystilldreamsofhorses Please don’t. It’s absolutely fine. Feel free to share any recipes that interest you. I am no where as good as my mum, grandmothers or aunts for that matter.

Today I will share a simple yoghurt based curry base recipes. This is excellent when you would like a milder version of curries but would still want to taste the aunthentic flavours. Can be used with most of the vegetables like potatoes, carrots, peas, beans, cauliflowers, pumpkins, etc (not suitable for strong flavoured strong smelling vegetables like beets, cabbages etc) . You can either make it individual veg curries or mixed vegetables are fine too. This recipe is called “Aviyal” , takes 15 min if you have ready cut vegetables and serves 4.

Your choice of steamed veggies - 2 cups
Yoghurt - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste

To grind and add
Cumin -1 tsp
Coconut - 3 tsp
Finger chilli - 1 inch piece
Rice flour - 1 tsp

To temper
Coconut oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - a sprig

To garnish
A handful of coriander leaves
A teaspoon of coconut oil.

Grind the spice mix coarsely adding a little water. Bring the steam veggies to boil (medium flame) and add the spice mix. Temper the ingredients listed under and add it. Switch off the stove, blend the yoghurt in a blender and pour. Gently mix it through. Garnish and serve. Ideal accompaniment for rice, naans, chapattis and lentil crepes.

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