The best fast vegetarian recipes

Puglian bean purée with padrón peppers

Serves 4-6

Preparation 15 min

Cooking 50 min

200g dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight in lots of cold water
1 head of garlic
1 red chilli
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp shredded fresh sage leaves
1 tbsp fennel seeds, ground
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
200g Padrón peppers

1. Drain the soaked beans, then place them in a pan and cover with fresh cold water. Add the whole head of garlic, sliced in half across the centre, and the chilli. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30-40 min, until the beans are tender. Season and remove from the heat.

2. Drain the beans well and place them in a food processor. Squeeze out the soft garlic from each clove and add to the beans.

3. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan and add the sage, fennel seeds, chilli flakes and crushed garlic. Cook for 2 min over a medium heat, without letting the garlic brown, then add all the pan contents to the beans in the processor. Blitz until smooth. It may be necessary to add a little more olive oil in order to get a creamy consistency. Season.

4. Heat another 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and add the Padrón peppers. Sprinkle with salt, keep on stirring, and remove from the heat when the peppers are slightly browned. This should take 5 min.

5. Serve the bean purée with the Padrón peppers and some crusty bread.

Aubergines with a miso glaze

Serves 4

Preparation 10 min

Cooking 20 min

2 large aubergines (or 4 small ones)
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp miso paste
2 tbsp mirin (or sweet rice wine)
1 tbsp saké (or dry sherry)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds
A bunch of spring onions, finely sliced

1. Heat the oven to 180C/gas 4 and line a baking tray with baking parchment.

2. Cut the aubergines into discs about 3cm thick and score the cut surface in a criss-cross fashion with a knife. Brush both sides of the slices with oil and place on the prepared baking tray. Bake in the oven for 15 min, until the aubergines are tender.

3. Put the miso paste, mirin, saké, sugar and sesame oil into a bowl and mix together

4. Spread some of the miso mixture over each slice of aubergine and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Flash under a hot grill until bubbling on top.

5. Transfer the aubergines to a serving dish and sprinkle with the spring onions.


Courgette and tomato gratin

Serves 4

Preparation 15 min

Cooking 35 min

400g ripe beef tomatoes
400g courgettes
5 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp vegetarian Parmesan-style cheese
1 tbsp polenta
2 tbsp chopped mixed fresh herbs (basil, chives, oregano, parsley)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Core the tomatoes and slice them thinly.

2. Top and tail the courgettes and slice them thinly lengthways. Put them into a bowl and toss with 3 tbsp of the olive oil. Heat a grill or griddle pan until hot, and grill the courgette slices on both sides until tender.

3. Put the garlic, Parmesan, polenta and herbs into a bowl and mix together.

4. Oil an ovenproof dish and start layering the veg, starting with a layer of courgettes, then a layer of tomatoes and a sprinkling of the cheesy herb mix. Season each layer and drizzle with the remaining olive oil.

5. Finish with a layer of the cheesy herb mix and bake in the oven for about 30 min, until golden on top.