Good-looking, quick-cooking… its the new way to feed the family.
There’s a lot to be said for those simple family meals we cook all the time. They’re reassuring, nostalgic and also super-yum. But I also feel like they’re in need of an update. Just a few tweaks to freshen things up. Among these recipes from my new book WeekLight, you’ll find modern, veggie-forward spins on the classics, including clever ways to tie in more goodness, all in the comfort of familiar territory.
When marinating meat or vegetables in an acidic mixture such as buttermilk, it’s best to use a non-reactive container such as glass or ceramic.
You can make one large version of this if you prefer. You’ll need a lightly greased 2-litre-capacity ovenproof dish. Just increase the baking time to 45 minutes so it cooks all the way through.
Who doesn’t love a burger every now and again? Meat-free doesn’t have to mean flavour-free… in fact, my sons often prefer these veggie variations to traditional beef burgers. You can cook these patties on a chargrill pan or barbecue, if you wish.
These bases are a great gluten-free alternative to regular pizza dough, plus the sweet potato lends them extra flavour. You can top the pizzas with your favourite green leaves and crumble or grate over whichever cheese you like. Serve them straight from the oven so they stay crunchy.
I love this fresh take on traditional spinach and cheese pies – they’re simple to make and are just as tasty warm from the oven as they are cold. Serve with your favourite relish or a spoonful of tzatziki.
At my house, I put all the fillings on the table and let everyone build their own tacos – they can choose their favourite combinations, so it’s more fun. To make these tacos meat free, simply leave out the chicken and double the amount of cauliflower.
Feel free to use any combination of mushrooms and herbs. For a speedier option, use some kale instead of mushrooms. There’s no need to pre-roast the kale – just tear up the leaves (stems removed) and sprinkle on to the baked ricotta tart base with the remaining parmesan. Drizzle with the oil, bake for 5 minutes (longer for crispier kale) and you’re done!
This soup is my absolute stand-by saviour. I’ll often make a large batch and freeze it in single portions to either take to the studio for lunch, or as a late-home nutritious dinner. It’s such a warming feel-good meal. I use ground almonds to thicken the soup, and to add essential nutrients. To make this recipe nut-free, swap the ground almonds for 200g pumpkin seeds instead, blitzing them in a food processor until ground, or add 300g drained silken tofu just before blending – delicious.
The secret to turning these crispy fritters is to let them cook for the full 6 minutes on each side – don’t be tempted to flip too early! You can wrap any leftover fritters and keep them in the fridge. When ready to use, cover and warm them slightly in the oven. In the book you’ll find super-fresh meal ideas that use these crispy fritters as a base.
You can swap the smoked trout for thin slices of prosciutto, bresaola or rare-roasted beef. I’ll often make extra pickled onions and store them in a glass container in the fridge. Use them in salads, on burgers or as a zingy side to grilled fish, meat or vegetables.
Join me next month
I’ll be visiting London for the launch of the book and an appearance on BBC One’s Saturday Kitchen on 19 October. On 22 October, I’ll be taking over the Oscar Bar & Restaurant at Charlotte Street hotel, where you’ll be able to have your copy of the book signed at the end of the evening. And on 23 October I’ll be in conversation with lifestyle journalist Fiona McCarthy at Anthropologie, Regent Street, London W1.
Buy Donna’s book with 20 per cent off
These recipes are from WeekLight by Donna Hay, which will be published by 4th Estate on 3 October, price £20. To order a copy for £16 until 20 October call 01603 648155 or go to mailshop.co.uk; p&p is free on all orders.