All of us are aware that we need to eat more veg, and of the extraordinary health benefits attached to doing so. But, in a busy, fast-paced life where meat is so convenient and available on every corner, the question is – can veg dishes really cut the mustard?
Can they be truly tasty and make you feel satisfied and happy? I believe that the answer is a gigantic YES! So, with that in mind… welcome to the wonderful world of delicious food that just happens to be meat-free.
Not just for vegetarians – everyone’s welcome
In the recipes that follow, I want to show you just how tasty and comforting veg-based meals can be when given the respect and thought they deserve. And I also want to stamp out any pre-existing prejudices around food choices. My new book, Veg, is not just for vegetarians: everyone’s welcome – especially classic meat eaters who might be stuck in a bit of a rut but know that they could, and should, be welcoming more veg into their diet. Whether you’re looking to embrace a meat-free day or two each week, live a vegetarian lifestyle or just want to try some brilliant new flavour combinations, I believe the book will tick all the boxes and help you enjoy things you may never have tried before.
Family-friendly – and comforting
The recipes are a broad assortment of the food that I love to eat at home with my wife and kids, and are everything I would deliver flavour-wise in any other cookbook: they’re dishes that make me feel energised, comforted, complete and full up. There’s upfront nutrition info on every page so you can make fast, informed choices. Plus, I’ve given some extra tips on how I like to serve the dishes myself, as well as ways to tweak the recipes to include a whole array of beautiful veg.
No labels – just super-tasty, easy recipes
Putting labels on food preferences, I have to say, frightens the life out of me – there are enough things in life that divide us, and I feel that food shouldn’t be one of them. But it is. As far as I’m concerned, if it’s good, it’s good. Everyone’s on their own food journey, and people are all at different stages. And that’s OK! In the Oliver household we try to eat veg-based meals at least three times a week. Promoting less meat (but better quality) and more veg is something I’ve always done. Even so, I’ve been constantly asked by the public (sometimes berated!) to do a 100 per cent veg-based cookbook, so here it is, guys. I hope you’ll love this selection of recipes as much as I enjoyed creating them.
Jamie Oliver Veg recipes
Leek, broccoli & spinach, toasted almond topping. Swap spinach for any kind of exciting fresh or frozen greens, discarding any tough stalks. I also sometimes add breadcrumbs to the top for bonus crunch. Tasty!
Fragrant spices, saffron & coconut sauce, and toasted almonds. This tomato curry goes up a level when tomatoes are at their most delicious, so make it in the summer with beautifully ripe tomatoes for the very best results.
Summer veg, oregano, basil, balsamic & mozzarella. There’s loads of fun to be had here, using lots of different veggies, including aubergines, baby carrots, crushed new potatoes, asparagus and peas. Let your hair down and have a veg party!
Comforting black rice, zingy crunchy salsa, chilli-rippled yoghurt. Using veg raw to make a salsa as well as cooking it in the stew is incredibly resourceful and delicious.
Layers of pasta, rich tomato & Chianti ragù, creamy mushroom sauce. A handful of baby spinach scattered between the layers is always a nice addition.
Sweet & spicy sun-dried tomato, basil & Parmesan sauce. I find I get better results from the grain packets that have been jazzed up a little bit, rather than the plain naked ones.
Coriander yoghurt, mango chutney, crunchy poppadom sprinkle. You can have a lot of fun with this recipe by mixing up not only the veg you choose but also the curry paste.
Sweet tomato & pepper sauce, Cheddar, rosemary & crispy stodgy bread. This is a great opportunity to try different beans, or even chickpeas.
Sweet tomato, grilled aubergines, creamy porcini & feta sauce. Sometimes I swap the feta for grated halloumi. Ribbons of courgette grilled with the aubergine are very nice, too.
Saffron, preserved lemons, apricots, fluffy couscous & toasted almonds. In the summer I grow most of these vegetables, and I’m always eager to pick, wash and race to cook this dish – the flavour is just extraordinary with tender, delicate veg.
Crunchy cornichons, fragrant capers, creamy whisky sauce & parsley. Look out for seasonal wild mushrooms in supermarkets and local farmers’ markets – they’re absolutely extraordinary and will add so much bonus flavour to this dish.
Toasted pine nuts, garlic, rosemary, sticky balsamic & honey. This salad also makes a surprisingly amazing pizza topping with bombs of mozzarella. Enjoy!
Basil & almond pesto, broken potatoes, delicate green veg. I’ve used fresh basil and almonds here, but pretty much any soft herb and unsalted shelled nut combo will deliver very tasty results – whatever you fancy!
Chilli fried eggs, apple & watercress salad, French dressing. If this is what summer looks like, imagine how gorgeous winter could also be – think chestnuts, squash, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms. Wow!
Buy Jamie’s new book with 20 per cent off
Veg by Jamie Oliver will be published by Penguin Random House on 22 August, price £26. To pre-order a copy for £20.80 until 25 August call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on orders over £15.