Reducing the meat content, or even dropping it from your diet altogether, is not everyone’s ‘cup of tea’.
However, Veganuary – the January challenge for people seeking to move to a plant-based diet – saw about half a million people worldwide signing up this year.
And across Northern Ireland people have been embracing the vegan lifestyle, either as a life choice or just occasionally as a way to reduce their meat intake.
Discover Northern Ireland has teamed up with some of the best local chefs to bring you a range of exciting vegan recipes to help add some colour and excitement to your winter meals at home.
With these top tips incorporating Northern Ireland’s outstanding produce, you will be ready to cook up a storm.
James Street, Belfast
n Ingredients: 40g chickpeas, 40g edamame beans, 40g kidney beans, 50g peas, 40g butter beans, 40g broad beans. For the dressing: three shallots – finely chopped, 100ml good grade olive oil, 50ml forum white wine vinegar, two cloves of garlic – finely chopped or grated, one teaspoon Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to season.
n Instructions: Place all ingredients in bowl and mix through gently, do not mix vigorously as they will emulsify. The dressing should be glossy and should be added when serving. Season to taste when serving. Always keep refrigerated once cooked.
• Note: If using tinned beans, drain, thoroughly rinse. For hard beans, soak overnight and cook until tender. One rule: do not use salted water as this will lengthen cooking time.
La Mon Hotel & Country Club, Castlereagh
n Ingredients: 500g fresh beetroot, one onion – finely chopped, olive oil, chopped garlic clove, 250g arborio rice, 150ml white wine (optional), 700-850ml vegetable stock.
• Instructions: Boil beetroot in a pot for one hour (be careful not to pierce the skin as this can cause beetroot to bleed). Refresh under cold water, drain, peel and cut to preferred size. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and the chopped onion to a pot. Once onion is soft, add unwashed rice. When rice is coated in the oil, pour over a ladle of hot stock and stir until the stock is absorbed. Repeat until all stock is absorbed (approx. 20 minutes), add beetroot and season to your taste. Optional additions include truffle oil, chives, wild mushrooms.
Roast Carrots, Hummus, Sundried Tomato & Chermoula
n Ingredients: 10 sundried tomatoes, one cup of chickpeas – drained, olive oil, four large carrots – cut in half down the middle. For the Hummus: 200g cooked chickpeas (water reserved), two tablespoons tahini paste, juice of half a lemon, two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
• Instructions for Hummus: Place the chickpeas, tahini paste, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper in a blender. Pulse until mixture begins to form a paste, at this stage add a little of the chickpea water at a time until a thick smooth hummus is achieved.
• For the Chermoula: Half onion – diced, half teaspoon cumin, half teaspoon turmeric, two cloves of garlic, pinch of chilli flakes, 60g coriander, 60g flatleaf parsley, one tablespoon white wine vinegar, 75mls olive oil, salt to season.
n Instructions: Place all the dry ingredients into a blender and pulse, once mixture begins to break down add the white wine vinegar followed by the oil. Once all the oil has been added allow to pulse until a pesto-like dressing is achieved. Season to taste and set aside.
• To finish the dish: Cook the carrots in a medium hot pan with a generous amount of olive oil, colour well until caramelised and begins to soften. Place in a medium hot oven and continue to cook until soft. Spread a generous amount of the hummus over the centre of a warmed plate. Warm the chickpeas, sundried tomatoes and a couple of tablespoons of the chermoula in the carrots pan until just warm. Place the carrots on top of the hummus before spooning over the tomatoes, chickpeas and chermoula.
Killeavy Castle Estate, Killeavy
Spiced Cabbage Terrine
• Ingredients: One head of savoy cabbage, three medium carrots, 1.25kg rooster potatoes, one teaspoon ras el hanout, one teaspoon ground cumin, 25g toasted pumpkin seeds, 25g toasted sunflower seeds, olive oil (150ml), and salt and pepper.
n Instructions: First grab the savoy cabbage and push a sharp knife through the centre of it leaving it whole and place it in a pot of boiling salted water for eight to 12 mins or until it has a small bite to it. Remove and cool down in cold water. Break off the large outer leaves and remove the centre stalk that runs up the middle of the leaf. When you get to the heart of the cabbage, cut it in half and julienne, leave to one side.
• Line a 2lb bread tin with cling film then layer the cabbage leaves along it, covering the bottom and sides and leaving enough to cover the top, then season. Grate the potato (do not put in water) and the carrot. Sweat off in the olive oil in a pot with the spices for 15 minutes on a medium heat with a lid, stirring occasionally, when it has a little bite left remove from the heat and add the seeds and julienne cabbage, check seasoning, allow to cool.
• Place the mix in the bread tin and fold the cabbage leaves over and press to seal the terrine. Remove from the tin and slice into one-inch slices, placing each slice on a piece of greaseproof paper. Place the terrine in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for eight minutes.
• Ingredients for the Romesco sauce: Three red peppers (roasted and skin off), five ripe tomatoes (seeds removed), 50g tomato puree, 80g roasted flaked almonds, 35g chives, 25g chervil, 35g apple cider vinegar, 380g olive oil, salt and pepper.
n Instructions: Place all in a blender and warm up as needed.
• Ingredients Tapioca crisp: 100g tapioca pearls, 600g cold water
n Instructions: On a low heat, cook out the tapioca pearls for five to seven minutes or until the mixture is sticky. Spread the mixture out on parchment paper and cook it in the oven at 70 degrees for four to five hours or until the mixture becomes dry and crispy (allow to cool completely), break into shards and deep fry at 220 degrees for five to 10 seconds. The crisp will increase by four to five times its size, dust with a vegetable powder of your choice.
• For assembly: Place your warm Romesco sauce in the bottom of a bowl. Place your terrine on top, garnish with fresh seasonal herbs and place your tapioca crisp on top.
Bullitt Hotel, Belfast
Wild mushroom, pearl barley broth
with salsa verde & vegan crème fraiche
• Ingredients for the broth: One onion – diced, two carrots – diced, one celery stalk – diced, one garlic clove – finely diced, one sprig of thyme (leaves picked), one bay leaf, 75g pearl barley, 50g dried wild mushrooms, one tablespoon of miso paste, and salt and pepper.
n Instructions: Slowly sweat the first five ingredients in olive oil until soft. Add the mushrooms, bay leaf, half teaspoon of salt and one litre of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes then add the pearl barley and simmer for a further 30 minutes until barley is cooked. Stir in the miso paste and a few good grindings of black pepper. Check for seasoning.
• Ingredients for the Salsa Verde: Cup full of at least two chopped fresh herbs (parsley, tarragon, chives, chervil, basil), two tablespoons capers – roughly chopped, two tablespoons green olives – roughly chopped, one garlic clove – finely chopped, one teaspoon Dijon mustard, one tablespoon wine vinegar, three tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
n Instructions: Mix everything together in a bowl or blitz in a food processor. Check seasoning.
• Ingredients for Vegan Crème Fraiche: One block silken tofu, two tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes, two tablespoons lemon juice, oat/almond/soy milk.
n Instructions: Blitz the first three ingredients together in a food processor then add your choice of milk until the consistency of crème fraiche. Serve the broth in a deep bowl with a dollop each of the crème fraiche and salsa verde.
n For more information about great places to eat when government guidance permits travel again, visit www.discovernorthernireland.com
Northern Ireland’s giant welcome will be here for you when the time is right.
n For the latest government guidelines on COVID restrictions, visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/coronavirus-covid-19
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