3 delicious vegan recipes to try

Dish of yellow coloured risotto rice topped with a fried onion fritter

Risotto with coconut milk, saffron lemon spinach and red onion fritters - Credit: timmacpherson.com

Are you doing Veganaury? Not sure what to make for supper tonight? Lesley Waters shares three easy flavour-packed recipes to get you into the plant-based vibe of January

Risotto with coconut milk and saffron, lemon spinach and red onion fritters 

A lush, golden risotto served with red onion fritters and fresh lemon spinach with hit of mango chutney. Soak the sliced onion for the fritters  in cold water whilst you make the risotto.  

Serves 4  

1 tbsp rapeseed oil 

1 bunch spring onions, finely chopped 

400g risotto rice 

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1 tsp saffron infused in 2 tablespoons boiling water 

1.2 litres hot vegetable stock 

400mls full fat coconut milk 

1 kaffir lime leaf 

350g baby spinach, shredded 

1 bunch coriander roughly chopped  

1 tbsp rapeseed oil 

juice 1 small lemon  

freshly ground black pepper 

Method: In a large pan, heat the oil. Add the spring onion and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the saffron, kaffir lime leaf, coconut milk and one ladleful of stock. Bring to the boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. As the liquid becomes absorbed, gradually add more stock, a ladle at a time, allowing each to be absorbed before adding the next, and stirring frequently until the rice is cooked. This takes around 20 minutes. 

To serve, toss the fresh spinach and coriander leaves in the rapeseed oil with the lemon and season. Spoon the risotto into bowls place on the onion fritters (see below) and top with the lemon, spinach and coriander salad and mango chutney on the side. 

Red Onion Fritters  

Serves 4  (makes 8)

3 red onions, peeled and sliced finely  

110g gram (chickpea) flour  

1 level tsp baking powder 

1 tsp chilli flakes  

1tsp turmeric 

1 clove garlic crushed 

rapeseed oil for frying  

jar of mango chutney    

Method: Soak the sliced onions in cold water for 30 minutes. To make the base sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl, then add the chilli flakes, turmeric, and a good sprinkling of salt. Mix in about 100ml of cold water to make a thick batter – add a splash more if it feels too stiff. Drain the onion really well and mix it into the batter. Heat about 5cm of oil in a wok or large deep-frying pan. Spoon heaped tablespoons of the fritter mixture into the pan, frying three or four fritters at a time and cook for a few minutes each side until they are evenly browned and crisp about 3-4 mins each side. Drain on kitchen paper, sprinkle with a little salt and keep warm while you cook the rest. Serve with the risotto, the lemon, spinach and coriander salad with mango chutney to dip into.  

Tray of chilli with black beans and tomatoes and a bowl of skinny over baked chips and green guacamole

Hot black bean sweet and chunky chilli with skinny chips and guacamole - Credit: timmacpherson.com

Hot black bean sweet and chunky chilli with skinny chips

A chilli with attitude. This black bean chilli is roasted in the oven and has a real kick! Serve with lashings of plant-based thick Greek Style yoghurt. 

Serves 4 

For the chilli 

3 x medium red onions, chopped chunky 

2 x red peppers, halved deseeded and diced chunky 

2 x garlic cloves, unpeeled 

4 tbsp olive oil 

400g can black beans, rinsed and drained  

10 sunblush tomatoes, chopped (try Dorset brand Olives et al) 

450g tomatoes, chopped chunky 

2 tbsp caster sugar 

2 tsp dried chilli flakes 

1 tsp Dorset Sea Salt  

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar 

2 tbsp coriander leaves 

For the skinny chips  

500g large potatoes, washed and cut into thin chips (skin left on) 

2 tbsp local rapeseed oil

Method: Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas mark 7. Place the onions, pepper and garlic on a large roasting tray, drizzle with half the oil and roast for approx 20 minutes until soft and lightly browned. In a large bowl, toss the cooked black beans, sunblush tomatoes and the remaining oil together, season with black pepper and set to one side. 

For the skinny chips, in a bowl toss the chips with the oil, spread the chips out on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Season well place in the oven and cook for approx 35 minutes or until golden and crisp. 

Remove the vegetables from oven. Add chopped tomatoes and sprinkle over the sugar, chilli, salt, pepper and 1tbsp balsamic vinegar. Roast for a further 15/20 minutes or until the tomatoes look lightly charred. Scatter over the bean mixture and coriander remaining balsamic and return to the oven for 10 minutes. 

To serve, spoon the chilli into a warm serving bowl and scatter over extra coriander and take to the table with a basket lined with greaseproof paper filled with skinny chips, chunky guacamole and plant-based Greek yoghurt to cool the heat! 

Chunky Guacamole  

2, ripe avocados, halved, stoned, peeled and cut into small chunks 

1 lime, juice only 

1 garlic clove, crushed 

2 shallots, finely chopped 

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 

2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh coriander  

Method: Place the chopped avocado in a bowl and squeeze over the lime juice. Gently mix in all the other ingredients and season to taste. Set to one side. 

Click here for Lesley's recipe for posh fruit and nut chocolates

Slice of toasted sour dough topped with a creamy mushroom mixture and salad leaves

Mushroom stroganoff with walnuts and rocket salad - Credit: timmacpherson.com

Mushroom stroganoff with walnuts and rocket  

Chestnut mushrooms are the brown form of the common mushroom, they always taste and look more interesting. The large field mushrooms have a lovely woodland flavour, which works wonderfully well with the dry sherry. This is really posh mushrooms on toast. 

Serves 4 

2 tbsp olive oil 

1 large garlic clove, crushed 

550g chestnut mushrooms, wiped and thickly sliced 

350g flat field mushrooms, wiped, peeled and thickly sliced 

1 level tbsp plain flour 

150m dry sherry 

200ml vegan vegetable stock 

300ml plant-based cream 

1 bunch fresh thyme, roughly chopped 

For the salad topping  

1 small bunch rocket, washed 

1 bunch watercress washed and picked over 

75g walnut halves, toasted, crumbled 

1 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar (I use Liberty Farm Balsamic) 

drizzle extra virgin olive oil 

4 thick slices sourdough, toasted 

Method: In a large frying pan or sauté pan, heat the oil and fry the garlic over a medium heat for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and fry over a high heat for 4-5 minutes or until lightly golden. Sprinkle over the flour and cook for one minute. Add the sherry, vegetable stock, and the thyme. Season well and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add the cream to the mushroom broth and simmer for a further 3 minutes, adding extra vegetable stock if the stroganoff looks too thick. (It should be the consistency of thick gravy) 

Toss the rocket leaves, watercress and walnuts with the remaining oil and balsamic. To serve, place the toasted sour dough onto four warmed, soup plates, ladle over the stroganoff and top with the rocket and walnut salad. 

Woman in orange jumper chopping up nuts on a chopping board in a kitchen

Lesley Waters cooking in her kitchen in Shaftesbury - Credit: timmacpherson.com

Book an online cookery course with Lesley at whitepepper.online or book for her to come and teach in your home at lesleywaters.com  where you can also buy her cookery book Deliciously Dairy Free.