Quick weeknight vegetarian recipes for the whole family

Mushroom and goat's cheese omelette. Picture: Supplied
Mushroom and goat's cheese omelette. Picture: Supplied

Looking for new, delicious recipes to liven up your weeknight repertoire? Wanting to eat more plant-based meals in your everyday diet? Vegetarian food sometimes gets a bad reputation for being long and complicated, but the recipes in 'The Busy Vegetarian' are designed with your modern, on-the-go lifestyle in mind. With chapters for quick weeknight dinners, easy vegie meal prep and fruit-filled desserts, there's great vegetarian recipes perfect for the beginner cook to the seasoned professional.

  • The Busy Vegetarian, by The Australian Women's Weekly. Are Media. $34.99.

Mushroom and goat's cheese omelette

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 400g mixed mushrooms, sliced (see tip)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp chopped thyme leaves
  • 8 eggs
  • 100g drained marinated goat's cheese
  • 1 cup frozen shelled broad beans, thawed
  • 60g baby rocket leaves

Method

1. Heat half the oil in a 20cm non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat; cook mushrooms, stirring, for eight minutes or until golden. Add garlic and thyme; cook, stirring, for two minutes. Season to taste. Transfer to a heatproof bowl; cover to keep warm. Wipe pan clean.

2. Lightly beat eggs and 1/3 cup water with a pinch of salt in a large bowl until combined.

3. Heat 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining oil in the same pan over high heat. Add a quarter of the egg mixture, tilting the pan so it covers the base. Draw the outside edge of the egg mixture into the centre of the pan with a lifter or spatula, letting the uncooked egg run over the base. Repeat until the egg is almost set. Top half the omelette with a quarter each of the mushroom mixture, cheese and broad beans. Fold omelette over; slide out of pan onto a plate. Cover to keep warm.

4. Repeat step three three more times with remaining oil, egg mixture, mushroom mixture, cheese and broad beans to make four omelettes in total. Serve topped with rocket.

Tip: We used a mixture of mushrooms, including button, swiss brown, flat and oyster.

Swap: You could substitute frozen peas for the broad beans in this recipe.

Serves 4.

Spinach dhal

Spinach dhal. Picture: Supplied

Spinach dhal. Picture: Supplied

Ingredients

  • 2 cups lentils, freekeh and beans superblend (see tip)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 2 fresh long red chillies, seeded, chopped finely
  • 2 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 16 curry leaves, plus 2 stems extra
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp tamarind puree
  • 1 bunch spinach, trimmed, washed
  • 300g tempeh, crumbled

Method

1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Rinse lentil mixture under cold running water. Add to pan of boiling water; cook for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain well.

2. Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan; cook onion, chilli and mustard seeds, stirring, for three minutes or until onion is soft. Add remaining spices and 16 curry leaves; cook, stirring, for one minute or until fragrant. Add drained lentil mixture, stock and tamarind to pan; cook, stirring, for five minutes or until mixture is thickened slightly but still a thick soup consistency. Stir through spinach until just wilted; season to taste.

3. Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat; cook tempeh, stirring, for five minutes or until crisp.

4. Heat remaining oil in a small frying pan over high heat; cook extra curry leaf stems for five seconds or until crisp. Top dhal with tempeh and fried curry leaves; serve.

Tip: We used McKenzie's brand blend of lentils, freekeh and beans, available from major supermarkets.

Serves 4.

Quinoa biryani

Quinoa biryani. Picture: Supplied

Quinoa biryani. Picture: Supplied

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 200g paneer, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 1 cup tri-coloured quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, sliced thinly
  • 400g cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 400g butternut pumpkin, peeled, cut into 1cm pieces
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped coriander
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, toasted, chopped coarsely
  • extra coriander leaves and lemon halves, to serve

Method

1. Combine half cup of the yoghurt, the ginger, garlic, turmeric and cardamom in a large bowl; season. Add paneer; toss to coat. Cover; set aside until required.

2. Meanwhile, place quinoa and two cups water in a small heavy-based saucepan; bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until tender. Keep warm.

3. Heat two tablespoons of the oil in a large wok over high heat. Remove paneer from marinade, discard marinade. Cook paneer for two minutes each side or until golden. Transfer to a plate; cover to keep warm.

4. Heat remaining oil in wok. Stir-fry onion, cauliflower and pumpkin for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add peas and quinoa. Season to taste. Stir-fry for one minute to combine.

5. Combine remaining yoghurt and the coriander in a small bowl; top with pistachios. Season.

6. Top quinoa biryani with paneer and extra coriander leaves; serve with coriander yoghurt and lemon halves.

Swap: You could also use leftover cooked rice, barley or other grains instead of the quinoa in this recipe. For an even faster recipe use a precooked packaged quinoa.

Serves 4.

Harissa eggplant skillet lasagne

Harissa eggplant skillet lasagne. Picture: Supplied

Harissa eggplant skillet lasagne. Picture: Supplied

Ingredients

  • 200g silverbeet
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 2 medium eggplants, cut into 1cm pieces
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp harissa paste
  • 2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped basil
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp finely grated vegetarian parmesan-style cheese
  • 375g packet fresh lasagne sheets (see tip)

Cheesy yoghurt topping:

  • 2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups Greek yoghurt
  • 1 1/3 cups finely grated vegetarian parmesan-style cheese

Method

1. Cut stems from silverbeet; chop finely, then tear leaves.

2. Heat oil in a three litre, 30cm (top measurement) ovenproof frying pan or round cast iron dish over medium high heat. Add silverbeet stems, eggplant, onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, for eight minutes or until eggplant is golden and onion is soft. Add harissa; cook for one minute. Add tomatoes, stock, silverbeet leaves and basil. Reduce heat to low; cook for five minutes. Season to taste. Transfer to a bowl.

3. Meanwhile, process pine nuts and cheese until chopped finely. Transfer to a small bowl.

4. To make cheesy yoghurt topping, whisk ingredients in a bowl until smooth and combined; season with salt and pepper.

5. Wipe the frying pan clean; oil lightly. Place two lasagne sheets over base; top with half the eggplant mixture. Top with another two lasagne sheets, then remaining eggplant mixture, spreading out evenly. Top with another two lasagne sheets, pressing down gently onto eggplant mixture.

6. Spread with cheesy yoghurt topping.

Storage: Recipe can be prepped two days ahead. Store lasagne, covered in the fridge. Store pine nut mixture in an airtight container, in the fridge.

To serve: Preheat oven to 200C. Cover lasagne with foil. Bake for 25 minutes, remove foil; sprinkle with pine nut mixture. Bake, uncovered, for a further 15 minutes or until lasagne is bubbling and pine nut mixture is golden. Drizzle lasagne with extra oil and sprinkle with small basil leaves, if you like. Serve.

Serves 4.

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This story The busy vegetarian first appeared on The Canberra Times.