Many vegetarian risottos rely on cheese
for the protein. In this quirky variant I use ½ rice and ½ red lentils to give
some protein while still getting that risotto texture.
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 150g risotto rice
- 150g red lentils
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 150g runner beans cut into short lengths
- 200g cooked broad beans
- 50g vegan Parmesan or Parmesan cheese
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 heaped tbsp chopped fresh herbs or 1 tsp dry herbs.
oil in large pan, add onion and lower heat keep stirring until onion is tender
and transparent. Add rice and lentils (pre washed) to the pan and stir for a
few minutes to slightly brown. Add vegetable stock and once up to boil reduce
heat to simmer. 5 minutes before the end add the two different beans and stir
through. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese (or vegan parmesan cheese), pepper and
herbs for flavour before serving.
- 1/4 red cabbage finely shredded
- 1 red onion finely diced
- 1 medium beetroot, grated
- 1 red apple, grated
- 2 TBSP tahini
- 1 TBSP balsalmic vinegar
- Ground black pepper
- Pinch of salt
Mix vegetables in a bowl. If you have red runner beans you could also add small strips of these. Mix the dressing ingredients in a container. Stir through salad. Try to stand for 30 minutes before serving.
This post is really about the obvious end of the vegetarian diet -when you go vegetarian legumes become an important source of protein in your diet.
If you start cooking vegetarian food you quickly realize that doing beans out of cans is expensive. Dried beans are cheaper. Unfortunately they take a long time to cook in a pot on the stove. You can also end up with pot-burning disasters if you are like me and you wander off while cooking your beans and boil them dry.
Your remaining two options are slow cooker and pressure cooker beans.
Slow cooker beans
Slow cooker beans are great. Rinse the beans under cold water and discard broken, and odd looking beans. They do not need soaking, with the exception of red kidney beans, which need to be put in a pot and covered with boiling water and left to stand for at least 1 hour. Once the red kidney beans have been soaked, then rinse them, cover them with water in the pot and bring to the boil, letting boil for 10 minutes. Transfer them to the slow cooker and cook for the remainder of time.
||Water for 500g
|Black eyed peas
||4 – 5.5 hrs
||4.5- 6 hrs
|Red Kidney Beans
||5-6 hrs after 1 hour hot soak and 10 min rapid boil
Pressure cooker beans
Not everyone has a pressure cooker but if you are making a commitment to eating at least 3 meals a week of vegetarian foods it soon becomes obvious that a pressure cooker is very useful. I have ended up getting some pressure cooker envy going into small appliance retailers as I use my cheap old-fashioned one, I picked up from a charity shop…here is hoping my family realizes my next big birthday is within a couple of years and I would really, really, really like one of the fancy ones!
Understanding pressure cooker times is what matters, and the different ways of reducing pressure once cooked. Also most beans (red kidney beans the MAJOR exception) can be cooked from hard rather than soaked, but if you do soak the cooking time of many beans is seriously short.
This link is excellent and has all the information you need on cooking with a pressure cooker. Most of our pressure cookers work at 15 PSI.
Pressure cooker beans
Storing your beans
If you are cooking up bulk beans, spreading them thinly on a tray to cool then freezing them so you can then put the free-flow into a container is a great idea. I have learned to label my recycled ice-cream containers extremely well to avoid disappointment of going into the fridge and hoping there is ice-cream.
This started its life as an idea for a patient who appeared
to be sensitive to tomatoes. It then reincarnated when my lovely partner
pointed out he was getting sick of tomato based pasta sauces.
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves or 2 tsp crushed garlic/
- 1 kg of squash or pumpkin peeled, seeded and cut into 1 cm cubes.
- 1 red chili de-seeded and cut into fine strips.
If you have time and a warm oven the day before, prepare the
squash or pumpkin and put onto a lightly oiled tray for about 20 minutes in a
moderate oven, this will roast it and give it a nice caramel taste. It is an
optional step but a great option.
Heat oil in a pan and add onion and garlic and saute until soft. Add in the squash or pumpkin and chili. Add about 1 C water, bring to the boil, then reduce heat. Put lid on and leave 5 minutes. Check if the pumpkin is tender. If not add another ½ C boiling water and leave to simmer with lid on another 5 minutes. Blend until very thick and smooth. Use in place of tomato based pasta sauce. This can last in the fridge for about 5 days, but unfortunately is not good to preserve in jars unless you use a pressure cooker method, because it is not acidic enough to be safe to preserve.
- 500g green or runner beans, cut to 2cm lengths.
- 1/2 cup finely chopped spring onions
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar.
- 4 Tbsp olive oil.
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves.
- ½ C vegan Parmesan cheese substitute (about 45g)
- Freshly ground black pepper.
Most people leave runner beans too long before picking them.
Ideally they should be not much bigger than regular green beans or they get
kind of chewy.
Bring a large pot of water seasoned with 1 TBSP salt to the
boil. When it is a rolling boil dunk a colander or sieve with your prepared
beans into the water for 1 minute. Remove and run under cold water for 1
minute. This blanches the beans and makes them more flavoursome and less chewy
for little people.
Mix vinegar oil, basil, cheese substitute together. Stir
into beans. Season with pepper to taste.
This is another great salad if you hear people saying
“salads are boring.
On Pesto – traditionally pesto is made with basil, but you can do it with just about anything green and pungent flavored…so try other herbs such as oregano.
- 1 C brown rice
- 1 C french/puy/brown lentils – well rinsed
Cook together in a pot using an absorption method
(i.e.3 C water, bring to boil, cover with tight fitting lid, reduce to a low
heat and cook for 40 minutes. Switch off and let stand for 10 minutes)
- 2 TBSP vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 325g tomato tinned tomato OR 500g fresh tomatoes chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil and then saute the onion and garlic until soft then add all other ingredients and cook until vegetables are tender.
Layer into a casserole dish (rice and lentils,
vegetables, rice and lentils, ending with a vegetable layer).
- Vegan Parmesan cheese substitute
Sprinkle a layer of breadcrumbs, if you wish add a couple of tablespoons of this homemade vegan Parmesan cheese substitute to your crumbs for extra flavor. Bake at 180 degrees until bubbling at the edges
Last week saw the publication of the report from the EAT-Lancet Commission. EAT-Lancet outlines how to achieve a globally fair and nutritious diet. They are aiming to feed the 10 billion humans on the planet by 2050. It is the first report to consider the impact of nutrition on the natural environment.
“Transformation to healthy diets by 2050 will require substantial dietary shifts. Global consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes will have to double, and consumption of foods such as red meat and sugar will have to be reduced by more than 50%. A diet rich in plant-based foods and with fewer animal source foods confers both improved health and environmental benefits.”Eat-Lancet Report
Target 1 is healthy diets. I have analyzed the report and created a table (below) with the food intake in standard portions. A copy of the report summary can be downloaded here. This is for people wanting to read the second target (sustainable production) and the 5 goals. I examine a planetary healthy diet in comparison to current NZ eating patterns .
||7.7 portions/day |
|| 80g ||3 portions/week |
All other vegetables
|| 80g ||3.75 portions/day |
||80g|| 2.5 portions/day |
||250g||1 portion/day |
Meat and poultry
||100g||3 portions of 100g/week |
||58g||1.6 eggs/week |
||100g||2 portions of 100g /week|
||90g||5-6 90g portions /week |
||30g||11-12 30g portions/ week|
||1 tsp||8-9 tsp/day|
|| 1 tsp ||6 tsp/day|
This represents a fairly strict flexitarian diet. Most people could achieve this eating patter with planning. It would be more difficult to eat like this if you were time poor or had limited cooking skills. Food manufacturers and retailers would have to change their offerings to be part of a sustainable food system.
- Whole grains: We eat mostly refined grain foods in NZ. It would involve both a shift to whole grains and increased amounts of whole grains in the diet.
- This would be less potato, kumara or taro than currently eaten.
- For most people this is a significant increase in non-starchy vegetables.
- Most people would be increasing their fruit,
- This a significant reduction in dairy intake.
- Only 6 of the 14 non-breakfast meals would have animal source protein, the rest would have legumes or nuts as primary protein.
- There would be a tight limitation on butter, with a liberal allowance of oil. Added fat intake means frying and foods with added fats (baked goods) would be an occasional treat.
- The added sugar at 6tsp per day represents a big shift away from sugar sweetened foods. It would be biggest in the diet of younger people.
Concern has been expressed over iron and calcium intake from this diet. Again, this diet relies on good cooking practices to maximize non-meat source minerals. The caloric intake provided by this diet is approximately 10.5MJ or 2500kcal. This is approximately an “average” diet for an adult and some variation would be needed.
Many people would be reluctant to make these kinds of changes. If humanity is to protect the environment, while feeding 10 Billion people, we need to start making changes now and this is a good start. On a personal level following a diet like this will both reduce the risk of long term health conditions including Type 2 diabetes and heart disease as well as managing them more effectively than the current diet.
I support and endorse the principles of this diet. Where
possible I will demonstrate how to cook and eat within the limits outlined in
the EAT-Lancet report. Please subscribe if you want to learn more.
This salad is suitable either as a main or a side. This contains seasonal vegetables as of the date of publication. Corn could be replaced with courgette or lightly cooked pumpkin.
- ½ C quinoa cooked as per directions to give you 1 C cooked quinoa
- 2 TBSP of canola oil
- 1 C of corn kernels (with fresh corn, the amount off 2 corn cobs)
- 1 C chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1 red or yellow capsicum chopped into small pieces
- 2 spring onions finely sliced
- ½ C fresh parsley or coriander
- ¼ C olive oil
- 2 TBSP lemon juice
- 2 TBSP rice or white vinegar
- 1 tsp brown sugar
Prepare the quinoa and drain in a sieve. Allow to cool.
Heat the oil in a heavy pan over medium heat. Add corn and
well drained chickpeas and cook for about 5 minutes stirring regularly until
they start to brown.
Transfer into a bowl. Add quinoa, pepper, onion and parsley
Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix. Drizzle
over salad just before serving.
If you don’t have quinoa, you can use brown rice, but always follow food safe practices when cooling and storing grain foods.