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10 ingredients to boost your vegetarian cooking

10 ingredients to boost your vegetarian cooking

Incorporate these 10 versatile ingredients into your weekly shop to take your vegetarian cooking to new heights and boost your plant-based nutrition.

Vegetarianism is a way of life for many, but it makes sense for all of us to eat less meat – both for the sake of our health and the environment. These ingredients will help make it easier and more enticing for you to cook the veggie way – any day of the week.

1. Quinoa

Quinoa contains all the essential amino acids, and provides protein and carbs in good quantities. Buy dried to cook from scratch or in ready to heat pouches for when time is short. Use instead of rice or pasta, or add to soups and salads. Read: 10 ways with quinoa

2. Frozen soy/edamame beans

Vibrant, green and crunchy – add to grain or bean salads for extra colour and protein. Or whiz thawed beans with a little tahini and lime juice for a tasty dip or sandwich spread.

3. Canned beans

It pays to keep a few cans of beans to hand – they’re so diverse. Go for those canned in water without added salt. As well as using them to make go-to bean salads and chilli, you can whiz them into burgers, dips and hummus.

4. Frozen peas

There are very few dishes peas can’t improve – they’re so versatile! And with around 5g protein in 100g, they can make a big difference to your protein (as well as your five-a-day) intake.

5. Eggs

The ultimate protein-rich fast food that’s also packed with nutrients such as zinc and vitamin B. Boil, scramble, whisk into omelettes or use to make fritters with leftover veg.

6. Meat-free mince

The texture and flavour make this ideal for replacing meat in classic mince dishes such as lasagne, chilli, bolognese and cottage pie.

7. Lentils

Mix canned brown lentils with lemon zest, garlic, chilli and olive oil for a quick salad, or throw them into soups and stews. Dried lentils cook quickly and, unlike most pulses, don’t require soaking beforehand.

8. Prepared veg

Heat to pack instructions, then stir into cooked rice, top with crumbled reduced-fat feta and toasted seeds and serve with a herby salad for a Med-style supper.

9. Tempeh

This fermented soya bean cake is loaded with protein and minerals. Bake with a spicy marinade before tossing into salads or stuffing into pittas.

10. Veggie sausages

You can’t beat veggie bangers and mash for comfort food. But cram in more of your five-a-day with a rich onion gravy, and swap spuds for a butter bean and cauliflower mash. Just watch your salt intake.

First published: October 2020
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