It’s National Vegetarian Week in the UK, and I’m celebrating it here on The 21st Century Housewife as well. I want to highlight the abundant variety of wonderful vegetarian recipes there are out there. It’s no longer just nut roasts and tofu; you can make some seriously delicious gourmet meals without meat.
While I am not a vegetarian, over the last few years my family’s consumption of meat has dropped by at least fifty percent, and we enjoy eating vegetarian meals several times a week.
Our main reasons for this are:
Health – Most of us in the Western world eat far more meat than we need to. More and more studies are showing links between excessive meat consumption, particularly of red meat, and chronic health problems and diseases. This is particularly true in the case of intensively reared animals.
The Environment – The world simply cannot continue to support the amount of meat we eat. In particular, the amount of water we require to support the livestock we eat is unsustainable.
Economy – Meat is becoming more and more expensive worldwide, making it harder to afford. There are other things we want to spend our money on!
If you do want to become a vegetarian, there’s lots of help and advice on how to do this on The Vegetarian Society’s website. If, like me, you just want to increase the number of healthy vegetarian meals you eat, The Vegetarian Society’s great recipes can help with that too.
Let’s get the ball rolling with a delicious Grilled Vegetable Tian. This delicious dish is perfect for a hot summer evening, accompanied by a crisp green salad and a nice cool glass of something delicious.
Grilled Vegetable Tian
- 1 large aubergine eggplant
- 3 medium courgettes zucchini
- 3 Ramiro peppers or 2 red peppers
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon vegetarian basil pesto
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- make from flavoured ciabatta or focaccia bread slices whizzed in the food processor
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
- 1/3 cup vegetarian Cheshire or cheddar cheese finely grated
- pinch of salt
- freshly ground pepper
- Top and tail the aubergine and courgette and cut into half inch slices.
- Cut the peppers into thick wedges.
- Mix the oil with the pesto and garlic.
- Heat a large griddle pan or fire up the barbecue.
- Brush the vegetables lightly with the pesto and oil mixture and grill on both sides until starting to soften.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Mix the breadcrumbs with the finely chopped herbs, a pinch of salt and some pepper to taste.
- Sprinkle a layer of half the breadcrumbs on the bottom of a quiche dish or round casserole (approximately ten inches in diameter).
- Arrange the aubergine and courgettes in overlapping circles or rows, leaving room to place the peppers in the centre.
- Layer the pepper slices in the centre.
- Add the cheese to the remaining breadcrumb mixture and scatter on top of the tian.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the vegetables have softened and the topping is crispy.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.