Cook Book 33: great vegetarian food

I cooked from the Australian Women’s Weekly great vegetarian food cook book… and I wasn’t impressed.  It wasn’t very interesting, and apparently vegetarians don’t use salt, ever, in anything, even when you would use salt.  All the dishes, as far as I was concerned, were lacking in flavour and needed more herbs, spices, garlic, onion, chilli and/or salt to make them interesting.  They’re a good start, but I’d stop being a vegetarian if this was all that was on offer.  Overall 2 out of 5 stars.

spanish tortilla with spicy tomato sauce


  • 4 medium potatoes (800g)
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) olive oil
  • 5 eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1 medium brown onion, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 400g can tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon mexican chilli powder


  1. Boil, steam, or microwave potatoes until just tender; drain.  Slice potatoes thinly
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in 24cm non-stick frying pan.  Arrange potato in pan; pour eggs over potato.  Cook, tilting pan, over medium heat until omelette is almost set; drizzle 1 tablespoon of the oil over omelette. Place pan under heated grill until top is browned; stand 5 minutes.  Turn onto serving platter; keep warm.
  3. Heat remaining oil in pan; cook onion and garlic, stirring, until onion is soft. Add undrained crushed tomatoes and chilli powder; cook, uncovered, about 5 minutes or until sauce thickens.  Serve sauce with tortilla.

Notes on this recipe:

  • I like eggs, I like potatoes, but when I mix them together, I prefer more than just a slightly flavoured tomato sauce to bind it all together.
  • This recipe would have been amazing with some garlic or finely sliced onion in with the potatoes (perhaps sauteed beforehand and then put amongst the layers), or some dried herbs in with the egg mixture, or even some actually chilli powder in the egg mixture.
  • It looks amazing, but is so lacking in just about anything interesting.

Lentil Patties


  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1/2 trimmed stick celery, chopped finely
  • 1 small carrot, chopped finely
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups stale breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1 egg white, beaten lightly
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon monounsaturated or polyunsaturated oil

Yoghurt mint sauce

  • 1/2 cup low-fat yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice


  1. Combine lentils, celery, carrot, the water, coriander and cumin in large saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat.  Simmer, covered, about 20 minutes or until mixture thickens; cool.
  2. Stir in half of the breadcrumbs. Shape mixture into four patties; toss in flour. Drip in egg white; dip in combined remaining breadcrumbs and parsley.
  3. Heat oil in large non-stick frying pan; cook patties until well browned both sides.  Drain on absorbent paper; serve with yoghurt mint sauce and gree leaf salad, if desired.
  • Yoghurt mint sauce: Combine ingredients in small bowl; mix well

Notes on this recipe:

  • This was at least one of the diner’s favourite dishes of the night.
  • I have no idea why there is no salt in this recipe – generally you’d add salt to the coriander and cumin to bring out their flavours.
  • I doubled this recipe, and there was too much liquid so I added additional breadcrumbs to the mixture so it would hold together better.

barley and vegetable hotpot


  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium brown onions, chopped finely
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped coarsely
  • 2 trimmed sticks celergy, chopped coarsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 cobs corn
  • 2 large parsnips, chopped coarsley
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 500g pumpkin, chopped coarsley
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons miso paste


  1. Place barley in a large saucepan.  Cover with water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook, uncovered, 30 minutes or until tender. Drain; reserve.
  2. Heat oil in large saucepan; cook onion, carrot, celery and garlic over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes or until vegetables are almost tender.
  3. Remove corn kernels from cobs.  Ad corn kernels, parsnip, stock and the water to pan; cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 15 minutes or until almost tender.  Add pumpkin; cook further 5 minutes or until all vegetables are tender.
  4. Stir in barley and parsley; cook until heated through.
  5. Stir 1 teaspoon of miso into each cup of heated hotpot.

Notes on this recipe:

  • These “coarsely chopped” vegetables have to be between 1 and 1.5 cm cubes.  There is no way that the pumpkin will cook in 5 and a bit minutes otherwise.
  • Again this recipe would have benefited from flavours other than the stock, parsley and miso.  I don’t know why there wasn’t any chilli or galic added.  We added chilli sauce at the end which improved the dish.  It was also better the next day.
  • Instead of two corn cobs, I used a 400g tin of corn kernels.



  1. Regarding the lentil patties, the doubled quantity easily made 16 x 8cm patties. The recipe calls for making 4 patties, but they’d probably be as large as bread and butter plates.

  2. Regarding the lentil patties, the doubled quantity easily made 16 x 8cm patties. The recipe calls for making 4 patties, but they’d probably be as large as bread and butter plates.

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