These inspired recipes are so tasty and satisfying, you won’t even miss the meat
TIP: If preferred, serve the polenta hot, topped with sauce, Parmesan and spinach.
Vegetarian Polenta Stack
Prep 40 mins (plus chilling) / Cook 35 mins / Serves 4
3½ cups chicken stock
¾ cup instant polenta
½ cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/3 cup extra
2 tbsps olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tbsps tomato paste
400 g can diced tomatoes
1 cup water
400 g can lentils, drained
¼ cup chopped basil, plus extra to serve
1 eggplant, cut into 1-cm thick slices
2 zucchini, cut into 1-cm thick slices
Baby spinach leaves, to serve
1. Line a 20 x 30 cm slice pan with baking paper.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring stock to boil on high. Reduce heat to medium. Gradually whisk in polenta. Cook 5 mins, stirring constantly until thick. Stir in Parmesan and season. Pour into pan and spread evenly, smoothing surface. Chill 1 hour until set.
3. In a deep frying pan, heat oil on medium. Saute onion, carrot, celery and garlic 4 to 5 mins until onion is tender. Stir in paste, cook 1 min.
4. Add tomatoes and water, bring to boil, then simmer 10 mins until sauce thickens slightly. Stir lentils and basil through. Season.
5. Preheat oven to moderate, 180 C. Line an oven tray with baking paper.
6. Meanwhile, heat a char-grill pan on high. Spray eggplant and zucchini with oil. Grill 2 mins each side.
7. Cut polenta into 8 rectangles. Top 4 pieces polenta evenly with vegetables and ¾ of sauce, then top each with remaining polenta, sauce and extra Parmesan. Place on tray.
8. Bake 8 to 10 mins until cheese melts. Top with extra basil; serve with spinach.
TIP: Add 1 sliced green onion and 1 tsp sesame oil to egg mixture, if liked.
Omelette Banh Mi
Prep 20 mins / Cook 10 mins / Serves 4
¼ cup water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1½ tbsps fish sauce
1½ tbsps sweet chilli sauce
1½ tbsps lime juice
2 Japanese cucumbers, cut into strips
2 carrots, cut into strips
1 cup beansprouts
½ red capsicum, seeded, thinly sliced
4 long, crunchy breadrolls, split
¼ cup egg mayonnaise
¼ bunch coriander sprigs
2 green onions, thinly sliced
¼ cup roasted peanuts, chopped
1 chilli padi, sliced (optional)
1. In a large jug, lightly whisk together eggs and water. Season to taste.
2. In a non-stick frying pan, heat half oil on medium. Pour in half egg mixture, tilting pan slightly to coat base. Cook 1 to 2 mins until just set. Slide onto a plate. Repeat with remaining mixture.
3. In a large bowl, combine sauces and lime juice. Season. Toss cucumber, carrots, sprouts and capsicum through.
4. Spread rolls with mayo. Fill with omelette, salad mixture and coriander. Sprinkle with onion, nuts and chilli.
TIP: To toast naan bread, spray with oil and sprinkle with a pinch each of salt and sumac. Bake in a hot oven, 200 C, 5 to 7 mins, turning once.
Paneer Kebabs with Chickpea Salad
Prep 15 mins / Cook 10 mins / Serves 4
300 g paneer cheese (you can order from redmart.com), cut into 2.5-cm cubes
200 g button mushrooms, trimmed
1 red capsicum, seeded, cut into 2.5-cm pieces
2 tbsps Indian curry paste
2 tbsps vegetable oil Toasted naan bread (see tip), natural yoghurt, lemon wedges, to serve
400 g can chickpeas, rinsed, drained
1 cucumber, peeled into ribbons
½ red onions, thinly sliced
½ cup mint leaves, plus extra to serve
1 tbsp lemon juice
1. Thread paneer and vegetables alternately onto 8 soaked skewers. Brush with combined curry paste and oil.
2. Heat char-grill pan on medium. Cook skewers 6 to 8 mins, turning on all sides, until vegetables are tender.
3. SALAD In a bowl, combine all ingredients and season to taste.
4. Serve skewers with salad, naan, yoghurt, lemon wedges and mint.
Photos: Rob Shaw/Bauersyndication.com.au
Quinoa, Ricotta & Pumpkin Tart
Prep 30 mins (plus chilling) / Cook 1 hour / Serves 4 to 6
1½ cups plain flour
125 g chilled butter, chopped
2 tbsps iced water
1½ cups water
½ cup quinoa
500 g fresh ricotta
1 lemon, zest, 1 tbsp juice
¼ tsp nutmeg
500 g pumpkin, cut into 2-cm cubes
2 tbsps olive oil, plus 1 tbsp extra
1 cup baby rocket
2 tbsps pine nuts, toasted
1. Pulse flour and butter until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add yolk and water, pulsing it until just binds. Knead lightly on floured surface until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 30 mins.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine water and quinoa. Bring it to boil on high. Reduce heat to low. Simmer 10 to 12 mins until liquid absorbs and quinoa is just tender. Set aside, covered, 5 mins. Fluff with a fork. Allow to cool.
3. Preheat oven to moderate, 180 C. Roll pastry between 2 sheets baking paper until 3-mm thick. Ease into an 18 x 26 cm loose-based flan pan. Trim edges. Bake blind 15 mins. Remove weights, bake a further 10 mins.
4. Add ricotta, eggs, zest and nutmeg to quinoa. Season. Pour into pastry case. On a second oven tray, toss pumpkin and oil together. Season to taste. Bake tart and pumpkin 15 to 20 mins until filling sets.
5. Top tart with pumpkin, rocket and nuts. Drizzle with juice and extra oil.