When my husband started dating a vegetarian, he bought some vegetarian cookbooks to cook for his new partner. Not that my husband does a lot of cooking mind you, but he wanted to have options of things to cook. This is one of those purchases – and Fat-Free Vegetarian lies, because it’s not all fat free, but it is low-fat where the fat is included.
Some of the recipes are incredibly uninspiring to me, some look really tasty – it’s certainly not a book that I’m going to go back to time and time again, because it’s just not tasty enough. The recipes I made were good, I changed one of them quite dramatically to make it better (adding quite a bit of fat in the process – see comments), and there might be more redeeming features in here, but I’ve got better vegetarian recipes and recipe books, so I’m not sure if I’ll return. Overall 2.5 stars out of 5.
Tofu and Wild Rice Salad
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1/4 wild rice
- 250g firm tofu, drained and cubed
- 25g preserved lemon, finely chopped
- 20g fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 tsp clear honey
- 2 tsp preserved lemon juice
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small fresh red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 tbsp harissa paste (optional)
- salt and ground black pepper.
- Cook the basmati rice and the wild rice in separate pans until tender. The basmati rice will take about 10 – 15 minutes to cook, while the wild rice will take about 45 – 50 minutes. Drain both lots of rice, rinse under cold water and drain again, then place in a large bowl together.
- Meanwhile, whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Add the tofu, stir to coat and leave to marinate while the rice cooks.
- Gently fold the tofu, dressing, preserved lemon and parsley into the rice, adjust the seasoning to taste and serve.
Notes on this recipe:
- I really didn’t like the idea of raw tofu, but I love the idea of wild rice (it’s nutty and tasty), so I fried the tofu first. After draining the tofu, press it with something heavy for about 20 minutes (usually another plate on top with something resting on the plate). Cube the tofu into bite sized pieces and toss in cornflour with 1/2 teaspoon of salt added and other seasoning to taste. Shallow fry in oil, in a saucepan, turning so it is golden on all sides. Once I added this to the dressing ingredients, the coating soaked up the dressing making the tofu really tasty.
Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce
- 675g ripe Italian plum tomatoes or sweet cheery tomatoes
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or sunflower oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 350g fresh or dried spaghetti
- a small handful of basil leaves
- salt and ground black pepper
- coarsely shaved parmesan cheese, to serve
- [this step talks about peeling the tomatoes, you don’t have to, but there are instructions here if you’re interested in doing so]
- Place the tomatoes on a chopping board and cut into quarters, then eights, then chop as finely as possible.
- Heat the oil in a large, non-stick pan, add the onion and cook over a low heat for about 5 minutes until softened and lightly coloured, stirring frequently.
- Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper to taste, bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for 30 – 40 minutes until the mixture is thick, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the instructions on the back of the packet. Shred the basil leaves finely, or tear them into small pieces.
- Remove the sauce from the heat, stir in the basil and adjust the seasoning to taste. Drain the pasta in a colander. Transfer the spaghetti to a warmed bowl, pour the sauce over and toss the mixture well. Serve immediately, with shaved parmesan handed around in a separate bowl.
Notes on this recipe:
- This recipe could have done with the basil simmering away with the tomato sauce to give some more flavour. Also, perhaps a dash of chilli to add a lovely bite.
- It was tasty, it just could have been more tasty.