Are you planning a celebration meal for your veggie friend or loved one, but you have no idea what to cook? Well, you do not need to revert to the nut roast to treat them to a meal they’ll remember (although, hey — a nut roast’s still a winner!).
Indeed, there’s way more to veggie food than lentils, Linda McCartney sausages, and goat’s cheese. In fact, with a little forethought, you can sate the appetite of the most committed carnivores with celebration veggie meals that feel luxurious AND surprisingly satisfying.
This article includes some stunning veggie masterpieces that EVERYONE will love.
Ready? Let’s get cooking!
Truffle-roasted celeriac with a cheese & hazelnut veloute
Don’t worry; you don’t need to take out a second mortgage for truffles.
Truffle oil is the secret weapon in the veggie kitchen — excellent for drizzling, but it’s also used for baking in this recipe. Don’t waste it in the frying pan — you shouldn’t overcook truffle oil; it ruins the taste.
You roast the celeriac whole in a 350ºF/180ºC oven for 2 hours. But first, rub in the truffle oil, season it with salt & pepper, scatter 3 sliced garlic cloves and a small bunch of chopped sage, and wrap it into a parcel of parchment paper or baking foil. Baste it with extra truffle oil halfway through cooking.
The cheese sauce
While the celeriac is baking, make a cheese sauce by melting 40 g butter into a pan until it foams, then adding 40 g flour, and stir until smooth (that’s the roux). Then whisk in 1.5 cups of whole milk, a little at a time, until it’s creamy and smooth. Then, whisk in 100 g vegetarian parmesan and ¼ cup of heavy cream. Season to taste.
Once baked, cut the celeriac into four portions, spoon over the cheese sauce. Then, scatter with a handful of chopped hazelnuts.
Creamy dhal with crispy-fried onions
OK. We joke about lentils, but actually, most vegetarians love them. Lentils aren’t just hippy food — they’re an Indian staple, and there’s nothing more satisfying, delicious, and warming than a dhal.
Dhals take a while to make, but they’re sooooo worth it! Perfect for a slow cooker, or cook it slow and low on the stovetop.
This recipe uses black urad beans (aka black lentils or black gram beans), but yellow or orange lentils will work equally well (and won’t need soaking overnight). Read the packet — you may need to soak your black lentils overnight.
The spice mix
This classic dhal needs spice and heat, so you’ll need to include:
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander seed
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp chili powder (or go crazy and add a little more to taste)
- Small bunch of cilantro
- 1 fat, red chilli
Melt ⅔ cup of butter or ghee in a pan, and add 2 large sliced white onions, 3 crushed garlic cloves, and a thumb-sized piece of peeled, chopped ginger root — and cook slow and low for 15 minutes until the onions caramelize.
Then, stir in the dry spice mix, cilantro stalks, and a cup of water. Add 2 cups of passata and the whole chill, pierced a couple of times to release its heat without overpowering (you can leave this out if you want something milder). Bring it all to a gentle simmer.
Add the lentils
Now, add the lentils, topping up with another 1.5 cups of water. It might all seem a little wet at this stage, but it will thicken beautifully. Pour the mix into your slow cooker and leave it for 5-6 hours (or cover and cook on the stovetop for 2 hours on a super-low heat).
Add the cream, serve the dish
Once the dhal is cooked, it will be thick, velvety, and fragrant, and the lentils soft and yielding. Stir in a cup of heavy cream and serve with cooked rice, naan bread, or even baked sweet potatoes.
Sprinkle with freshly chopped cilantro, sliced chili, and crispy salad onions. Serve with lime wedges to lift and complement the spice.
This dish freezes really well, too — so you can store it for up to two months and reheat it before enjoying it.
There’s nothing like the Greek spanakopita for that wow factor at the dinner table. And hey, this recipe is FULL of cheese, so it will satisfy everyone (apart from the vegans! — that’s another article to come!).
And despite appearing super-impressive, a spanakopita is actually really simple to make. But don’t waste your life making phyllo pastry! Buy this delicious, crispy, flaky pastry from the supermarket ready-made.
The cheesy mixture
Wilt 7 cups of spinach in boiling water — this will take seconds. Tip it into a sieve to drain, and leave it to cool before squeezing out the excess water and chopping it roughly.
Roughly chop a jar of sundried tomatoes in oil (saving the oil), and mix it into the spinach, along with 3.5 oz (or 100g) crumbled feta cheese and 2 whole eggs.
The phyllo base
Now, unroll the phyllo pastry, covering it with damp kitchen roll to stop it drying out.
Take a sheet of pastry and brush it with some of the sundried tomato oil. Then, place the sheet oil-side down into a cake tin or lasagne dish, ensuring some of the pastry hangs over the edges. Add another oiled sheet on top of that, continuing in the same way till there are at least three layers of phyllo on the base of the dish — be generous.
Now, spoon in all the filling and cover with more sheets of oiled phyllo — again, at least three sheets.
Place the dish in the oven for 30 minutes at 350ºF/180ºC until the pastry becomes crispy and golden.
Then, allow it to cool for 15 minutes before removing it from the tin or serving it from the dish. Enjoy with salad, boiled potatoes, or blanched green beans.
Deeeeelicious and impressive!
Celebration meals for veggies!
So, there you have it. Three fabulous veggie meals suitable for the poshest dinner party! And these dishes are so tasty that even the meat-eaters will love them.
But what if your family member or friend is a vegan? Don’t fret — recipes are on their way. Just be patient!
Thanks for reading, and happy eating, y’all.