Weekly Meal Plan #11: A Week Of Meat Free Mondays
After putting a shout out for theme requests on Instagram, the overwhelming response was that you all wanted to see more vegetarian dishes as part of my Weekly Meal Plans. We tackled the topic of vegetarian weeknight dishes that would even win over dedicated meat eaters way back in February, so today I thought I’d focus more on the sorts of veggie dishes I make for myself when no one else is home – I cook meat almost every day because I’m cooking for people who won’t eat a meal without meat in; left to my own devices, I’m about 95% vegetarian at home! All of us are eating less and less meat, to the point where I think we’ve even moved past just having a Meat Free Monday: let us try for a Meat Free Monday almost every day!
Monday: Tomato & Coconut Cassoulet
On Wednesday when I was buying berries at the market on the North End Road (hello £6 of supermarket blueberries for £1!) I spied that the early tomatoes (the ones that have been grown in polytunnels to get ahead of the season) are starting to appear in big, £3.50 crates. Tomatoes are one of my favourite things to cook with during the warmer months, and something that will really kick off your week right (as well as packing in the best of the spring leeks) is this Tomato & Coconut Cassoulet, adapted from Anna Jones’ original opus on delicious, vegetarian eating A Modern Way To Eat. Also: I ate a massive, meaty cassoulet in Sarlat and even for me it was a bit much – this version is much more manageable!
In case my massive love letter to spring veggies with pasta and a nice spinach pesto on Monday was not enough, here is another bowlful where you can pack in all of your favourite new season vegetables. Look around the markets for the freshest and best value produce (supermarkets are particularly bad for putting premiums on things like asparagus) and if you want to splurge on anything, do it on the chickpeas. One of my most recent loves is the discovery that certain gourmet food items to add onto my Ocado deliveries (while I usually prefer shopping for my own ingredients, Ocado is my go-to for buying cans and bottles of things in bulk that I usually can’t manage to carry by myself!) so for this recipe you could treat yourself to some creamy, jarred chickpeas from Brindisia (their jars are 3 for £9 at the moment!)
Wednesday: Greek Salad Lentil Bowl
This dish is pretty simple, just a classic Greek salad folded into a pouch of lentils, but I promice you it makes for a pretty satisfying, warm level meal, perhaps with a crisp glass of white wine? I only have two ingredient shopping tips for this; first, my go-to feta brand Odysea have launched feta portion packs of 50g in Waitrose. Feta is one of the few ingredients I throw away a fair bit (I hate food waste!) simply because usually too much came in a pack. It has a really long use by date, so pick up a net next time you’re in store to add a little saltiness to all manner of dishes! My next tip is to buy more than out pouch of lentils; once you’ve made one salad, you’ll be craving others! Lentil pouches are great vehicles for using up odds and ends from the fridge.
Thursday: Wholemeal Spaghetti with Lemon & Avocado
Another recipe adapted from the brilliant A Modern Way To Eat (really one to by if you’re looking to incorporate more meat free options into your weeknights, The Savvy Cook and Love Real Food are another two books you should add to your shopping list) this recipe incorporates avocado into pasta without having to make it into a smooth or mushy sauce. Bright and zingy, this is a bit of a showstopper of a pasta dish, but still simple enough for everyday. Make it on Thursday, then keep it for next time you have meat free friends for dinner.
While I work on food every single day and seem to go food shopping an inordinate amount, I know most of you have to leave your food shop to a Saturday morning (be sure to get up early to beat the crowds!) so Friday night is about clearing the fridge to make way for the next weeks product. I came up with these Indian Spiced Leftover Summer Vegetable Fritters on a Thursday night I was a UCLA student; Friday’s were my day off so that is when I did most of my food shopping. Any sunshine veggies, from courgette to onion, from peppers to some of the lighter cabbages we get during the spring months are happy in these crisp fritters, best served as a stack with a side salad and a good dollop of natural yogurt.
I know lots of people will be getting together to watch the Royal Wedding this weekend, so here are a few ideas for what to make while you watch (sorry I don’t have a recipe for a Lemon & Elderflower Layer Cake, but Cygnet Kitchen has a beautiful recipe for a Elderflower, Lemon and Marscapone Cake, embellished with fresh freesias which was posted in 2015 because it is delicious, and not because it is on trend!): Easy Almond and Apricot Sausage Rolls, Classic Quiche Lorraine, Freshly Popped Parsley Butter Popcorn, Heart Shaped Strawberry & Champagne Jellies, Easy Ice Cream Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches (made with Eton Mess Ice Cream!), Mini Limoncello Glazed Vanilla Baked Doughnuts, Lavender Vodka Lemonade, The Classic French 75 and Elderflower Mules.