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10 vegetarian dinner ideas from the nutritional experts

June 13th 2016 / Elizabeth Bennett Google+ 10 vegetarian dinner ideas from the nutritional experts / 2 comments


Whether you're embracing #MeatFreeMonday, catering for an awkward dinner guest or are a fully signed up member of Club Veggie, these recipes from some of our favourite experts will be sure to inspire you to get your cook on...

1) Natasha Corrett of Honestly Healthy's Asian Noodle Soup

If you’re in need of a fix of Asian flavours, then this delicious and aromatic dish will hit the mark; it’s both warming and cleansing. Here, the cinnamon and star anise provide the mouthwatering base flavours as well as supplying their nurturing and antiviral properties. The soup is amazing for your immune system and tastes wonderful too.



serves 2

1 tbsp coconut oil

½ white onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, grated

5cm piece of root ginger, sliced

3g cinnamon stick

1 star anise

1 tsp coriander seeds

6 tbsp cold water

1 tbsp tamari

10g Chinese celery, roughly chopped

3g sweet Thai basil

720ml boiling water

1 tbsp bouillon powder

50g mangetout

100g pak choi

60g shiitake

mushrooms, sliced

5g fresh coriander, roughly chopped

50g rice noodles

juice of 1 lime

50g tempeh, cut into strips, to garnish

6 thin slices of red

chilli, sliced at an angle (optional)


1) Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan and add the onion, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, star anise and coriander seeds. Leave to sauté on a medium heat for 2 minutes.

2) Add the cold water (not the measured boiling water) and the tamari and leave to simmer for a further minute. Stir in the Chinese celery and sweet basil.

3) Add the boiling water to the pan along with the bouillon, stir and leave until the liquid has reached boiling point again.

4) Meanwhile, chop the mangetout on the diagonal and slice the root off the pak choi so that the leaves are released. Add to the pan along with the shiitake and half of the chopped coriander. After 1 minute add the rice noodles and cook for a further 3–4 minutes until they are done.

5) Finish off by squeezing the lime juice over the top and stir through with the tempeh, the remaining coriander and the sliced chilli if you want a kick of spice.

Recipe taken from Honestly Healthy Cleanse by Natasha Corrett (Hodder & Stoughton £25)

2) Natasha Corrett of Honestly Healthy's Butternut Squash and Spinach Tagine

This is a dish I love to serve at a dinner party; what’s more, it’s simple to make and you can do all the prep and cooking the night before, leaving you more time with your guests. Butternut squash is an alkaline food, and the cinnamon included here gives it an antiviral boost, something we all benefit from during the winter months.



serves 6


1 tbsp sunflower oil

1 large red onion, finely chopped

4 cardamom pods

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp chopped red chilli

1 tsp chopped root ginger

1 tsp raw honey or agave syrup

700g butternut squash, cut into 2cm cubes

1 tsp bouillon powder

400ml boiling water

150g unsulphured dried apricots, chopped

finely grated zest of ½ lemon

140g almonds (optional)

200g spinach

4 tbsp roughly chopped coriander leaves

For the millet cous cous (optional)

200g millet

1 onion, sliced

1 tsp sunflower oil

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tbsp mint leaves

2 tbsp parsley

2 tbsp coriander

Juice of ½ a lemon


1) Heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté the onion for 2 minutes until starting to soften. Add all the spices, chilli, ginger and raw honey/agave, stir well and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes.

2) Add the butternut squash and continue to sauté for a further 5 minutes, adding a tablespoon of water if the pan gets too hot.

3) Add the bouillon powder to the boiling water to make a vegetable stock and stir until the powder has dissolved. Set aside.

4) Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3.

5) Add the apricots, lemon zest and the bouillon to the squash mix and simmer on a medium heat until the squash is soft but not quite mashable.

6) If using the almonds toast them on a baking sheet in the oven for around 5 minutes until they start to release a delicious smell. Remove them from the oven, chop them finely and set aside.

7) If serving the millet couscous with the tagine, cook the millet as per packet instructions. While the millet is cooking, caramelise the onions in a pan with the sunflower oil. Once they begin to develop a good colour, add the cumin and garlic and continue to sauté for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

8) Roughly chop the herbs. Add the onions to the cooked millet and stir through with the chopped herbs and salt. If the mixture is looking thick and stodgy, stir through some water to loosen it. Finally, stir through the lemon juice, check the seasoning and set aside until the tagine is ready.

9) The sauce will have reduced a little during cooking. Five minutes before serving, stir through the spinach until it has all wilted. Finally, stir through the chopped coriander and sprinkle over the almonds (if using) before serving.

Recipe taken from Honestly Healthy Cleanse by Natasha Corrett (Hodder & Stoughton £25)

3) Madeleine Shaw's Cauliflower Pizza 3 ways

Quite simply: the best invention ever. Gluten-free, fun to make, delicious. I like to mix up my toppings, so I’ve given you a few ways to enjoy your pizza feast. The base is always the same, and the garnishes are up to you.



makes 2 pizza bases with tomato sauce

Basic Base

1 small cauliflower, stalk removed and roughly chopped

2 egg whites, whisked

1 tbsp oregano

6 tbsp quinoa flour (or other gluten-free flour alternative)

1 tsp coconut oil, melted

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 white onion, very finely chopped

1 tsp dried rosemary

1 x 400g can tomatoes



1) Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

2) Put the cauliflower into the food processor and pulse until you have a fine texture (smaller than rice, but not quite flour). Add the egg whites, a large pinch of salt, the oregano and the flour, and blitz until a dough forms.

3) Grab a baking sheet, line it with baking paper and put half of the dough on it. Place another square of baking paper over the top, then roll or press out the pizza base with a rolling pin or spoon, until you have a circle about 1cm thick. Repeat with the other half of the dough on a separate baking sheet.

4) Brush the melted coconut oil over the pizza bases. Put them both in the oven and cook for 20 minutes.

5) Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp coconut oil in a saucepan over a medium heat for 1 minute, then add the onion, rosemary and a pinch of salt and sauté for 5 minutes.

6) Add the tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes at a medium simmer until the sauce is slightly reduced.

7) Pour the tomato mix on top of the base, and get ready to add your choice of toppings . . .

8) Cook the pizza with the tomato sauce on it for 8–10 minutes at 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4. Sprinkle on the toppings after the pizza is cooked.

Pesto, Sundried Tomato and Green Olives

3 tbsp Homemade Pesto

50g sundried tomatoes

50g green olives

Cheese and Pepper

½ red pepper, sliced into 1cm strips

100g mozzarella, thinly sliced

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

Goat’s Cheese, Spinach and Pine Nuts

100g goat’s cheese

100g spinach leaves

50g pine nuts

Recipe taken from Madeleine Shaw's Get The Glow (Orion, £10)

4) Madeleine Shaw's Cauliflower Chickpea and Lentil Dhal with Coconut Cauliflower Rice

The combined flavours in this dish make for an incomparable taste sensation. It may be vegetarian, but it offers a solid source of protein in the form of lentils. It is best enjoyed on a cold evening, snuggled up with a movie.



serves 4


1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp chilli powder

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 red onion, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic

3cm fresh grated ginger

1 x 400ml can coconut milk

1 x 400g can chickpeas, drained

150g dried red lentils

100g spinach

salt and pepper

Coconut Cauliflower Rice

1 cauliflower, stalk removed and roughly chopped

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 white onion, finely diced

½ tsp ground cardamom

200ml coconut milk


1) Put the dry spices in a frying pan, and dry-fry for 1 minute with a pinch of salt. Heat the coconut oil over a medium heat for 1 minute, then add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes.

2) Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for a few minutes more, then pour in the coconut milk with a pinch of salt and a good grind of pepper.

3) Add the drained chickpeas and the lentils. Cook, covered, for 40 minutes.

4) For the last 5 minutes, drop in the spinach and stir so it wilts in with the mix.

5) Put the roughly chopped cauliflower into a food processor and process for a few minutes until you get a rice-like consistency.

6) Heat the coconut oil in a large pot over a medium to high heat, then add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Throw in the cardamom and stir for 30 seconds, then add the cauliflower and coconut milk, and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Recipe taken from Madeleine Shaw's Get The Glow (Orion, £10)

5) Karen Cummings-Palmer's Roasted and Sprouted Vegetables

I love the idea of a meal in a pan that takes just minutes to prepare and allows you get on with other things whilst is is roasting away. Packed full of skin boosting vitamins A and C this is a effortless immune-boosting, alkalising supper for early autumn evenings.



serves 2

Half a butternut squash

1 large Portobello Mushroom

1 shallot

2 carrots

A bunch of purple sprouting broccoli

A cup of sprouting chick peas

2 cloves of garlic

Himalayan salt

Preserved lemon

Apple Cider Vinegar w the mother



1) Place chopped butter nut squash, carrots, shallots, garlic and mushrooms in a roasting tin drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Himalayan salt and cover with foil and roast at gas mark 200 for about 30 minutes.

2) Add the purple sprouting broccoli, sprouting chickpeas - pour over preserved lemon juice a splash of apple cider vinegar with The Mother and Rosemary and roast for another 20 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of Karen Cummings-Palmer

6) Karen Cummings-Palmer's Spicy Asian Stew with Poached Egg

This is fast delicious nutritious dinner, with a little kick. This dish is low on effort, high on flavour, packed with vitamins A, B and C and bio-available protein.



serves 2

1 Sweet Potato

2 free range or organic eggs

Coriander Seeds



All Spice


Himalayan Salt

Coconut oil

Coconut milk



Fresh or frozen coriander



1) Chop the sweet potatoes and boil in water for about 8 minutes drain and set aside.

2) Add one heaped teaspoon of each of the spices to a little coconut oil and a generous grind of salt to a pan on medium heat. You can either use a pestle and mortar with a little water to make a paste or throw directly into the pan - use dried, or fresh spices add a half or whole green thai chilli depending on your tolerance.

3) Pour in half a can of organic coconut milk and add your vegetables (I have used broccoli and peas, but anything green would work)

4) Add organic green lentils, the sweet potato and crack the eggs onto the mixture and simmer for about 5 minutes until perfectly poached.

5) Dress with coriander and a squeeze of fresh lime to serve.

Recipe courtesy of Karen Cummings-Palmer

7) Tess Ward's Green Cauliflower ‘Couscous’ with Pumpkin Seeds

This vibrant green dish is so versatile and can act as a stand-alone salad or as a rice substitute. I often swap the broad beans for edamame or green beans.



serves 4

1 head of cauliflower,
stem and florets coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra
 to serve

2 garlic cloves, chopped

200g thawed frozen, or cooked fresh, broad beans

70g pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted

2 handfuls of mixed herbs, such as mint and basil, finely chopped

2 tablespoons lemon juice

100g soft goat’s cheese, crumbled

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1) Put the cauliflower in a food processor or blender and process to a fine couscous- or rice-like texture, in batches if you have a small food processor.

2) Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large frying pan, add the garlic and cook until lightly golden, then add the cauliflower couscous, tossing it to coat in the garlic oil. Cook for 5 minutes, or until heated through. Transfer to a large serving bowl.

3) Add the broad beans, pumpkin seeds, herbs, lemon juice, goat’s cheese and remaining olive oil. Toss until mixed. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and season to taste.
Serve warm.

Recipe taken from Tess Ward's The Naked Diet (Quadrille, £11.89)

8) Tess Ward's Yoga Bowl

This is the sort of restorative dish that your body yearns for after exercise. It is packed full of natural plant-based protein, including beta-carotine sweet potato and nutty brown rice. This is pure comfort in a bowl.



serves 4

250g red lentils

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

2.5cm piece of fresh ginger

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1 tablespoon mild curry powder

1.25 litres vegetable stock

200ml thick coconut milk

250g sweet potato, peeled and cubed

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

to serve:
coconut salsa (see page 12)


1) Wash the lentils until the water runs clear, then drain and put in a large pan.

2 )Heat the oil in a frying pan over a low heat, add the onion and sweat until soft. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin seeds and curry powder and cook for a couple of minutes to bring out their fragrance.

3) Add the onion and spices to the lentils with a pinch of salt. Cover with the stock and coconut milk. Bring to the boil and skim off any scum that rises to the surface.

4) Turn down the heat and simmer very gently, with the lid ajar, for 25–30 minutes until creamy, stirring occasionally. Add the sweet potato and cook for a further 10–15 minutes, uncovered, until the cubes are soft, but not falling apart. Add a little water if necessary, to achieve your preferred consistency, and season to taste.

5) Serve with a scoop of brown rice and a dollop of coconut salsa.

Coconut Salsa

This spicy salsa makes an ideal accompaniment to warming soups. For a dairy-free version, swap the Greek yoghurt for coconut yoghurt.


150g desiccated coconut, soaked in 2 tablespoons hot water

400g thick, Greek-style yoghurt

10g coriander leaves, chopped

1 long green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

1 teaspoon lime juice

1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt


1) Place the desiccated coconut in a bowl with hot water to soften (about 3–4 tbs). Leave for 5 minutes. When the water has absorbed, mix the rest of the ingredients into the bowl.

Recipe taken from Tess Ward's The Naked Diet (Quadrille, £11.89)

9) Xochi Balfour's Spiced Tomato and Coconut Soup Bowl

I’m not really a soup person but if Heidi Swanson says jump, I say how high. They usually leave me a little unsatisfied and feel a little austere as a main course in themselves, but her inspired solution to heap everything you like or have in the fridge on top changes the game completely. Inspired by her tomato soup, this bowl of creamy, spicy Asian-inspired goodness is already becoming a favourite recipe and I have spent the whole morning making double quantities to freeze. You can use it to poach, as a base for other sauces, or as the perfect pick-me-up to have on hand. I have no doubt that as the year evolves I will have found a multitude of uses for it.



serves 4

800g cherry tomatoes

1 can organic coconut milk

2 cups short grain brown rice

2 tbsp coconut oil

2 onions, finely sliced

4 tsp curry powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

A little water to taste

2 slices of halloumi per person

1 ripe avocado

A bunch of fresh oregano

Sea salt and pepper to season


1) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and roast your tomatoes until they are juicy and a little golden. Meanwhile, boil the rice in water for about 20 minutes until it is soft but with a little bite. Drain and set aside when done.

2) While this is going on, fry the onion in one tablespoon of the coconut oil for a couple of minutes until soft and golden, then add the curry powder, cumin and chilli and stir over a medium heat for a further two minutes. Remove from the hob and set aside.

3) When the tomatoes are done, place them in a blender with the onions and spices and pulse gently to liquidise, adding the coconut milk as you go. If you prefer it thinner you can add a little water here instead of the whole can.

4) Return the soup to the hob to warm through and season to taste. Meanwhile, gently fry the halloumi in the remaining coconut oil and slice the avocado. Place a heap of rice in each bowl, ladle the soup on top and serve with cheese, avocado, fresh oregano, salt and pepper.

Find more of Xochi's recipes here and check out her lovely Instagram here.

10) Xochi Balfour's Purple Kale and Grain Bowl with Miso Cashew Sauce

Warm nutty grains, rich earthy kale and salty-sweet miso cashew paste with omega seed sprinkle and an optional nutritious soft-boiled egg to round it all off. An express winter lunch or what’s in the larder? Dinner that gives you sustenance and nutrients without the desire to curl up in a corner and nap for the rest of the day.



Serves 1

1 cup cooked grains (rice, barley, rye)

5 large leaves of kale, stems removed if on the chunky side

1 tsp vegetable stock

1 organic egg

2 tsp cashew (or almond) butter

2 tsp white miso paste

2-3 tsp boiling water

Omega seeds to sprinkle

Sea salt and pepper to season


1) Start by boiling your grains in the vegetable stock and some water according to their instructions, until they are tender but still with a nutty crunch. When they are done, remove from the heat, drain and set aside.

2) While this is going on, boil the egg in a pan for 5 1/2 minutes (longer for a harder yolk, everyone has their preference. If you literally can’t boil an egg, as all wives love to say about their husbands, or perhaps it is just my mother, learn from Delia here.) When the egg is done, run it under cold water and peel the shell.

3) Then, in a mug or small jug, mix your cashew butter, miso and 2 teaspoons of boiling water. Stir thoroughly so that the mixture is smooth and adjust according to taste. The consistency should be thick but just about pourable.

4) Finally, wash and prepare your kale and gently steam it for about 3-4 minutes so that it is dark and glistening but not soggy. Keep an eye on this is different varieties will take longer or shorter times to cook.

5) In a bowl, mix the kale, grains and paste. Top with the egg and some seeds , season with salt and pepper and serve.

Find more of Xochi's recipes here and check out her lovely Instagram here.

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