You don't have to be a vegetarian to love vegetarian food.

Chive and ricotta stuffed mushrooms

Filed under: My Vegetarian Recipes — Tags: , , , , — Sarah Jayne @ 11:21 pm November 22, 2009

Have I mentioned before how much I love mushrooms? Well, I really love mushrooms! Whenever somebody tries to go a ‘getting to know you’ thing where they ask what your last meal would be, I always answer “I don’t know but there would be mushrooms”.

Truthfully, I haven’t met a variety of mushroom that I haven’t enjoyed. However, I may have to hide my face in foodie circles when I say that I think the good old fashion variety of mushrooms such as button mushrooms, flat mushrooms and chestnut mushrooms are the favourite. Sure, I will happily enjoy wild mushrooms or portobello mushrooms but I really think the ‘boring’ variety of mushrooms are the best for my tastebuds. Once more, they are far easier on the budget.

I think from this point forward, I am going to make a point of showing the vast array of wonderfully tasty thing that can be done with the traditional mushroom varieties. To begin this championing of classic mushrooms, I thought I would start with showing there is more that can be done with large mushrooms other than doing them in the pan as part of a fry up.

Stuffed mushroom recipes always sound daunting as a concept. I worry that they are going to be too fiddly to be worth the effort. However, that really doesn’t have to be the case at all. These chive and ricotta stuffed mushrooms are pretty darn simple to throw together and they cook fast enough to fill a sudden mushroom craving.

Really, any herbs you have around could go into this mixture. Even a slight change up of the herbs can actually make it a whole new dish. So, experimenting to find your favorite combination is very much encouraged. You will also notice, that I used dried herbs in the recipe. Fresh herbs are fantastic but I feel that the foodie world can get a bit too snobbish about using dried herbs. Most home cooks rely on dried herbs and I think anything that gets people cooking should be encouraged. Plus, the taste good when used properly. So, why not use them?

This chive and ricotta stuffed mushroom recipe works great as a light lunch. They would be at home at an evening meal too either as a starter or alongside a hearty salad for a vegetarian main course. I have made the recipe for two mushrooms. Even though I have said that is two servings, my mushroom related greed would most likely result in me eating both. Don’t worry if you need to make for larger numbers because the stuffed mushroom recipe is very easily scaled up.

Chive and ricotta stuffed mushrooms


2 large flat mushrooms
1 teaspoon olive oil
65 grams ricotta cheese
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon dried chives
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried onion flakes
1 teaspoon parmesan cheese, divided


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (gas mark 6, 200c).
2. Take the stems out of the mushrooms. Reserve these because they can be chopped up and used in things like omelettes.
3. Brush the outsides of the mushroom with the olive oil and then placed on a lined baking tray.
4. In a bowl, mix together the ricotta, garlic, chives, parsley, onion and half a teaspoon of the parmesan.
5. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Divide the mixture between the two mushroom caps, filing each with as mush as you can.
7. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining parmesan.
8. Put into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the cheese has started to go golden.
9. Serve.

Makes: 2 mushrooms

Baked bean and veggie burgers

Filed under: Other's Vegetarian Recipes — Tags: , , — Sarah Jayne @ 3:45 pm September 29, 2009

Beans, beans, the more you eat the more you….erm, feel full? When I decided to start eating less meat, I knew that I still had to get my protein from somewhere if I was going to be eating a healthy diet. This is where my love affair with beans and other legumes began.

I quickly discovered that if I made beans and pulses the main feature of my evening meals that I would feel satisfied and full all the way through the evening and feel no need at all to snack or nibble for the rest of the evening. The reason for this is because they are slow burning and low gi which means that it takes your body longer to break them down for digestion. All of this regulates insulin levels and helps you to feel fuller and sustain energy for longer. All of which is fantastic for me since I am insulin resistant.

Something else I discovered was that beans and other legumes are very flexible and you can get really creative with them in your cooking. Everything from a bean casserole to a bean burger can be whipped up and be both tasty and healthy. What’s more, is you don’t have to be an actual vegetarian to enjoy these dishes, either.

When I saw the My Legume Love Affair food blog event, it sounded like a perfect event for me and the Weekend Carnivore blog. The event is run by The Well Seasoned Cook and is this month hosted by Monsoon Spice.

I thumbed through my cooking magazines looking for a legume based recipe to make and the veggie bean bakes found in a recent copy of BBC Good Food Magazine caught my eye. In the past, my husband has been really receptive to bean burgers and so I was fairly sure he would eat these without much complaint.

I followed the recipe pretty much to the letter apart from using panko breadcrumbs instead of fresh ones. That did indeed work well but I think next time I would try the fresh breadcrumbs to see if it makes any difference. I also chopped up some fresh parsley and added it to the mix. For the mixed beans, I used a can of mixed beans that included adzuki beans,cannellini beans and a few other types.

Once the potatoes are boiled, the rest of the bean and veggie patties recipe comes together very quickly. At the stage in which I was forming the patty, I thought that this would actually make a really tasty mashed potato. In the patty form, it wasn’t dissimilar to a bubble and squeak cake. Nothing that I am going to complain about!

The original recipe, calls for them to be served with salsa. We didn’t have any in the house, so I simply served them with a green salad and they went down hubby’s hatch without complaint. Next time, I will try putting some spices into the bean and potato mixture to try to pep them up even more.

Creamy parmesan polenta with garlic kale

Filed under: Other's Vegetarian Recipes — Tags: , — Sarah Jayne @ 3:14 pm September 25, 2009

One of the things I love the most about cooking vegetarian food is that there is always some new ingredients to explore. Until I started to follow a largely vegetarian diet, I had never had or cooked with polenta. I am not even really sure that I knew that it was actually cornmeal. Yet, now I love the stuff. I dig how you can have it all mushy like porridge or if you let it sit for a bit it gets nice and solid but tastes just as yummy.

When I saw this recipe over at Recipezaar, I knew I had to give it a try because I had never had polenta combined with parmesan cheese. For some reason, I have mostly kept it sweet. The recipe was posted by Sharon123,  a Recipezaar regular who has tons and tons of very good vegetarian recipes amongst her collection. Really, she is the one that should be doing a vegetarian cooking blog!

creamy parmesan polenta with garlic kaleA

I wasn’t sure about some aspects of the recipe when I first read it. In particular, I wasn’t sure how the raisins would play with the other savoury ingredients. They really did work though to balance out all the rich tasting ingredients that went into the dish. A bit like how it is always nice to add a little something sweet to a curry to balance the spice.

The original recipe – Polenta With Garlicky Greens – called for Swiss chard. I have never been able to find chard in any of the British supermarkets I visit unless it is as part of a pre-packaged salad bag and then only in very small amounts. I did, however, have some curly kale and so I used that instead and I have to say it was a good choice because the dark leafy green really carried the garlic very well.

Truly, this is a great vegetarian comfort food dish and isn’t too dissimilar to eating a big batch of cheesey mashed potatoes topped with rich garlic greens. Mmm!

Mexican bean stuffed baked potatoes

Filed under: My Vegetarian Recipes — Tags: , , , , — Sarah Jayne @ 2:58 pm September 23, 2009

The times when it gets difficult to stick to a vegetarian diet comes when I just have no energy to get into cooking a meal that takes a long time to prepare. It is also exactly these times when I am starving and need something that is really going to fill me up. It was just one of these moments when I came up with these Mexican bean stuffed baked potatoes.

I have always loved how a good twice baked potato recipe is an easy recipe but looks really impressive. The problem is though that so many twice baked potato recipes are usually rather high in fat and calories from all the butter and cheese that usually goes into making them. Anything that high in fat is a no no for me these days.

I am always looking for something else to put refried beans into. I know they don’t look pretty but I just love them and with vegetarian and low fat versions of refried beans now readily available in British supermarkets I pretty much always have a can in the cupboard. I usually have a bit of salsa in the house and we are never without some potatoes. So, this really is the sort of recipe that comes more out of a cupboard than a cookbook.

You can control the spice levels by picking the intensity of salsa that your family enjoys. I am a total spicy heat wimp. So, I used a mild salsa and then the two of us topped our Mexican twice baked potatoes with chillies. I went for the really mild banana peppers. These are fantastic and now sold as part of the Discovery brand’s range of Mexican foods. They aren’t in every supermarket but I usually can find them in Morrisons. My husband has much more of head for spices. So, he topped his with Jalapeños.

Mexican Bean Stuffed Baked Potatoes


4 baked potatoes, freshly baked
1 (435 gram/15 ounce) can fat free refried beans
1 cup salsa

Optional Toppings:

fat free sour cream
banana peppers


1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees or gas mark 6.
2. Cut off most of the top of the baked potatoes and scoop out the majority of the insides leaving just enough not to break the skins.
3. Put the potato shells into an oven proof dish and the insides into a large bowl.
4. Gently mash the potato insides but don’t mash so much that they are fully smooth.
5. Empty the can of beans and the cup of salsa into the bowl and gently mix so that everything is combined but not over mixed or it will get really loose.
6. Spoon the mixture back into the potato shells and bake for 20 minutes.
7. Top with any or all of the optional toppings and serve with a green salad for a low fat and healthy vegetarian meal.

Serves 4