Meat Free Mondays - 7 Recipes for the Week Ahead

Happy Monday. I hope you had a great weekend and enjoyed the good weather.

I was at work on Sturday and doing housework yesterday, so I'll have to live vicariously through you. Although I did get a sneaky half hour in the sun when we had a power cut a work and the fire alarm went off and I did go out for a bar meal after work with friends and my hubby (Cooper was at his grandparents), so not a total loss.

It's Meat Free Monday and time for another seven veggie and vegan recipes to inspire you this week. Be you vegetarian, vegan or just cutting down on meat, there's something here for you.

My featured photos this week is from Baking Queen 74.


Veggie Samosas



The Taste Space


The Veg Space


Tinned Tomatoes


Family Friends Food


Allotment 2 Kitchen



Baking Queen 74

And a few bonus recipes:
Thanks to everyone who contributed this week.

If you're a blogger and post a veggie recipe this week, link to this post and add your recipe to the linky below to be featured in next week's Meat Free Mondays. I can't wait to see the veggie dishes you create. Main meals only please and one per blog.


Mushroom and Lentil Sliders (mini vegan burgers)

Vegan mushroom and lentil sliders

You must know by now how much I love mushrooms.

As a child I couldn't stand them, but I don't remember my mum sauteing them in olive oil with garlic, lots of black pepper and a splosh of love. I just remember them in salads, white and raw with that squeaky rubber texture. Think of all the years I missed out on the joy that is mushrooms.

As well as being utterly delicious, mushrooms are rich in B vitamins, riboflavin, folate, thiamine, pantothenic acid, and niacin. Mushrooms are also a good source of minerals and the only vegan natural source of vitamin D. Check out the Just Add Mushrooms Facebook page for more shroom inspiration and recipes.

Mushroom and lentil burgers

This time I decided to turn some chestnut mushrooms into mushroom and lentil sliders *.

They are super easy to make.

Homemade burgers are simple to make and much healthier. The texture is far nicer too  Do try making your own. If you have a powerful blender like mine (Optimum 9200 Next Generation) they only take a couple of minutes to whizz up, once you've sauteed the veg (you could make them in a food processor or just mash the ingredients for a chunkier style burger), so they are a great mid-week dinner.

Mushroom and lentil veggie burgers

My burgers were lightly spiced because of my little kitchen helper Cooper, who doesn't like anything too spicy, but you could give your burgers a kick. Remember that burgers should always be over spiced and seasoned as they lose a lot of their flavour when they are cooked.

I served these spiced mushroom burgers on mini rolls (from M&S) with salad leaves and hummus, but they'd also be great topped with fried onions and tomato relish. Or why not try them on wraps with salad and my kale and cashew pesto?

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Quick vegan mushroom and lentil burgers
Mushroom and Lentils Sliders
Mini spiced burgers made from mushrooms and lentils. I used ready to eat puy lentils, but canned green lentils are also good quality and would work well in this recipe.

This is a super simple and quick recipe that kids will love. Why not let them help make the burgers too? They'll love preparing the mushrooms and shaping the burgers.
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 300g chestnut mushrooms
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • a really generous grinding of salt and pepper
  • 250g ready to eat puy lentils
  • 150g porridge oats
Nutrition in each burger (12 burgers)
1. Saute the onions and garlic until the onions are soft and translucent.2. Add the mushrooms and saute until soft then season with black pepper.3. Pour the mushroom mixture into to a blender with the herbs, spices and lentils and blend until the mixture is the texture of a pâté. You can also use a food processor or mash my hand for a rougher texture.4. Scoop the pâté into a bowl and mix in the oats, then roll into small balls and press into patties in your hands. You should make between 8 and 12 balls depending on how big you want the sliders to be. You can pop them in the fridge until you are ready for them or cook them right away.5. Rub your frying pan with a little oil and fry until each side is crisp and browned on the outside.6 Serve in mini rolls with salad. Choose your favourite toppings.7. Enjoy!
Details Total time:
Yield  Makes 8-12 small burgers


Just Add Mushrooms
Medical News Today

* Slider is an American term for mini burgers or other small filled rolls

Disclosure: I was paid to develop a recipe for the Just Add Mushrooms campaign. I wasn't asked to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

Meat Free Mondays - 7 Recipes for the Week Ahead

It's Monday and time for another 7 veggie and vegan recipes to inspire you for the week ahead. Be you vegetarian, vegan or just cutting down on meat, I hope you find a new recipe or two to try.

My featured photo this week is a rather beautiful shot of radishes by my good friend Ren over at Her thinly shaved radishes were the star ingredient in the most tantalising Polish Beetroot, Radish and Apple Salad.

Do visit some of the bloggers who contributed their dishes this week for the recipes and just to say hi. You'll find the're a friendly old bunch.


Family Friends Food


Eating, Enhanced


The Tofu Diaries


Lemon and Lime Thyme


Cook Style


The Veg Space


Ren Behan

And now for a few bonus recipes:

Thanks to everyone who contributed this week.


Strawberry Summer Sip Cocktail

The most deliciously fruity cocktail made with fresh strawberries and Summer Cup which is similar to Pimms.

close up of Strawberry Summer Sip Cocktail in a glass with lots of ice 

Strawberry Summer Sip Cocktail

What to do with all the strawberries? That was my question.

Well apart from consuming my body weight in them, they're going into strawberry smoothies and of course cocktails like this Strawberry Summer Sip Cocktail.

I'd love to tell you I made a jug of this and Graham and I got jolly on it together, but no, I made a single cocktail for myself to sip. 

I know right! So restrained. 

Well it was a weeknight and Graham was driving the next morning, so he decided to stick to soft drinks.

My excuse? Well I was just testing it out!

close up of fresh strawberries

A simple cocktail

This is such a simple cocktail.

You start with ice, add a few ingredients and give it a stir, before sitting down to enjoy it, pretending you're lounging beside a pool somewhere hot, sipping your cocktail and reading your kindle in blissful peace.

Now we just need some sunshine and heat and everything would be perfect, I could even skip the pool part.


Summer sip is a spirit very much like Pimms. 

Pimms is an integral part of a British summer, enjoyed at picnics, BBQs and back gardens across the nation when the sun comes out.

It's a gin based liqueur or fruit cup which is mixed in a large jug with lots of lemonade, slices of cucumber, strawberries, slices of orange, mint and lots of ice.

Yes it's like an alcoholic fruit cocktail in a glass and you can tell yourself you are working towards your 5-a-day fruit and vegetables while you are sipping it.

Start pouring, Summer Sip or Pimms, your choice.

pin it for later

A sweet cocktail with the taste of Summer. Just enough for one, although feel free to multiply the quantities and make a jugful. Made with Pimms or summer cup, a gin liqueur. #cocktails #pimms #strawberrycocktail #strawberrypimms #summercocktails #summerdrinks #summerrecipes #strawberries

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Strawberry Summer Sip Cocktail
A sweet cocktail with the taste of Summer. Just enough for one, although feel free to multiply the quantities and make a jugful.
  • 2 tbsp Sipsmith Summer Cup (or Pimms)
  • 1 tbsp strawberry syrup
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (optional)
  • ¾ glass white wine
  • 2-3 strawberries
  • a handful of ice cubes
1. Fill the glass with ice cubes.2. Pour in the Summer Cup, strawberry syrup and maple syrup.3. Add the strawberries.4. Top up with wine and stir.5. Enjoy!
Total time:
Yield: Makes 1 cocktail

Summer Strawberry Recipes

Disclosure: Amazon kindly sent me some Sipsmith Summer Cup to try.  I was not required to right a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

Top 10 Picnic Tips and Recipes - National Picnic Week

It's National Picnic Week

The weather's been a bit changeable, but we've had some absolutely glorious days. To celebrate National Picnic Week Higgidy asked me to share my favourite picnic spot with them and you can find it along with other secret picnic spots around the country, tips and recipes in the Little Higgidy Picnic Guide. It's free so pop over there and download it.

I've put together my 10 top tips and top 10 favourite recipes to inspire your next picnic.

Top 10 Picnic Tips

  1. my picnic baskets
    Freeze bottles of water a few hours before the picnic and pop them your basket beside the food. They'll keep the food cool and you'll have nice cold drinks to enjoy.
  2. Make one or two stand out dishes, such as a really special salad, a pie or a quiche. The rest of the picnic should be simple finger food such as vegetable crudités, hummus, breadsticks, cheese and fruit.
  3. Brownies, muffins and cookies are great for a picnic dessert.
  4. Take a tablecloth instead of a rug to set the food out and sit on. It takes up less room, it's lighter and it's easier to wash.
  5. Make sure you have plenty of cutlery and napkins.
  6. Remember a bottle opener, this is the most commonly forgotten picnic item.
  7. Take baby wipes, they're great for wiping hands and moping up spills
  8. Remember to take bin bags for your rubbish.
  9. Take something to do after the picnic, a ball. a frisbee, cards or books.
  10. Remember to take layers and waterproofs. The weather is so changeable here in the UK.

Top 10 Picnic Recipes


Take some tasty chutney to serve with these rather fabulous scotch eggs. 

If you don't have time to make chutney take your favourite shop-bought chutney.

Serve with vegetable crudités, breadsticks or oatcakes. 

Again if you're pushed for time you could take good quality shop bought hummus or dips 
with you, but make sure you have a cold pack or frozen water bottles to keep them cool.

I love stuffed picnic loafs. They are such showstoppers at a picnic, but simple to make. Add all your favourite fillings, put the lid back on, wrap, add a weight and chill in the fridge overnight, then cut at the picnic (make sure you take a bread knife with you).

The puffs are a modern and easy alternative to sausage rolls and the wrap, well that's one of my favourites. The surprise ingredient is marmalade!

Three of my favourie salads. The first includes the crunch of cucumber, which works really well in this pasta salad, of course you can leave out the goats cheese for a vegan salad. 

The bulgur salad is a classic and travels well. The last salad is wonderful, but I'd take the beetroot in a separate container and add it when you put out the salad, or you will end up with a very pink salad. 

These salads will also require a cool pack or frozen water bottles.

Chocolate always goes down well at a picnic and these brownies are particularly good. 
Wrap the brownies individually in greaseproof paper and pop them in a tupperware box for less mess.

The blueberry loaf cake is one of my real standby cakes. Bake it with blueberries or raspberries. It's moist and has a wonderful vanilla flavour, but the best thing is it slices really well.

I hope I've inspired you to head out with a picnic soon.  We all spend too much time caught up in our busy lifestyles, but it's so important to have some fun and make some memories. We'll never look back and feel joy at how much time we spent working or cleaning and I'm one of the biggest culprits. so I'm going to make the effort too this Summer.

Disclosure: Higgidy paid me to write my article for their ebook. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opnions expressed are my own.

Meat Free Mondays - 7 Recipes for the Week Ahead

Rice Noodle Stir-Fry with Peri-Peri Coconut Cream Sauce

Doesn't that look tempting? I thought it might invite you in.

It's time for another roundup of veggie recipes for the week ahead. Seven recipes to help you plan your week, be you vegetarian or just trying to eat more meat free meals.

Happy Meat Free Monday!


Be Healthy Now


Turmeric Butter Beans with Dill, Garlic and Eggs

Turmeric Butter Beans with Dill, Garlic and Eggs
Allotment 2 Kitchen 


Vegan Potato Salad dressed with Avocado
Lisa's Kitchen

Walnut Miso Soba Noodles with Asparagus
 Walnut Miso Soba Noodles with Asparagus   
The Taste Space


Rice Noodle Stir-Fry with Peri-Peri Coconut Cream Sauce
Rice Noodle Stir-Fry with Peri-Peri Coconut Cream Sauce 
Maple Spice


Meat Free Mondays

Veggie Sausage, Lentil and Red Pepper Bake
Tinned Tomatoes


Dal with Curry Leaves, Mustard, Chilli & Tomato
Eat Like A Girl

And a few bonus recipes:

Thanks to everyone who contributed this week.

If you're a blogger and post a veggie recipe this week, link to this post and add your recipe to the linky below to be featured in next week's Meat Free Mondays.  I can't wait to see what veggie dishes you create. Main meals only please.

Veggie Sausage, Lentil and Red Pepper Bake

Now you know I like simple recipes. The ones that take minimum effort but are packed with flavour. The type that you can just walk away from and miracles happen. This veggie sausage, lentil and red pepper bake is one of those.

Veggie sausages, mushrooms, red onions and red peppers roasting away happily in the oven, then you add green and puy lentils, thyme, red wine and gravy. Leave it to bake until the flavours are intense, then serve it up with fluffy mashed potato and sweet little peas.

What do you have?

One contented family with smiles on their faces.

Well, that's the theory. In reality I had a little boy making eugh noises. Sigh

It was seriously delicious, but he didn't like everything mixed together and really wasn't impressed with the lentils. In the end he ate the mash and peas, then one sausage after a bit of persuasion. I dream of returning to those halcyon days when he ate everything and enjoyed it. I'm deluded aren't I? It's just not going to happen.

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Veggie Sausage, Lentil and Red Pepper Bake
A simple bake. Veggie sausage, mushrooms, lentils, red onions and peppers baked in gravy with red wine and thyme. Serve with mash and peas for the ultimate in comfort food.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 veggie sausages (more depending on how many people you are serving)
  • 6 chestnut mushrooms, halved
  • 3 red onions, quartered
  • 1 red peppers, cut into chunks (add two if you are serving six people)
  • 390g tin green lentils, rinsed
  • 250g ready to eat puy lentils
  • 2 onion gravy stock pots made with 400ml hot water
  • 150ml red wine
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • a good grinding of black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 240c/220c fan/425f/gas mark 9. 2. Toss the sausages, red onions, red pepper and mushrooms in the olive oil. Pour into a roasting pan and spread out into a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes.3. While this is roasting, make up the gravy.4. Take the pan out of the oven, pour in the lentils, gravy and wine. Pull the leaves of the thyme by running your fingers along the stem and sprinkle over the dish, then season with black pepper.5. Fold in the liquid and lentils, then roast for a further 15 to 20 minutes until the sausages are brown and the flavours have intensified. The gravy will have thickened.6. Serve with mashed potato and peas.7. Enjoy!
Total time:
Yield: Serves 4-6

If you enjoyed this bake you may like my Roast Vegetable, Veggie Sausage and Chickpea Bake. Very different flavour wise, but the same style easy bake. Both bakes are suitable for vegans.

Homemade Chocolate Nut Butter (move over Nutella)

I've been meaning to make some homemade chocolate nut butter in my power blender for a while. We all love Nutella, but it's not suitable for vegans so Graham's been missing out.

My first batch was a complete disaster! I blended if for too long and it ended up cooking it. Oh it was nasty!

I also nearly killed my blender. I didn't realise I should hold it in place. I wasn't paying attention and I may have knocked the jug as there was a terrifying grinding noise. My first batch was not a great experience at all. Still my blender is easy to clean, so I cleaned it up and got ready to try again. I was determined to get it right.

I was more careful with the second batch. I blended it on slow, held on to the blender and used the tamper to help it along. Thank goodness it worked  this time and turned out rather darn well.

I really don't know what I did before I had my blender. I think it's the only gadget apart from my toaster that has stayed out on my counter top and is used every day.

I use an Optimum 9200 Next Generation (which is the fastest and most powerful blender available commercially and £80 off at the moment). I joked in my latest giveaway away that it could blend a house, but actually it could, brick by brick. In a video on the website they blend stones to powder in seconds.

It's so versatile too, I use it for daily smoothies, pesto, hummus, soup, pasta sauce, pizza sauce, nut butter, shakes, cocktails, falafel, burgers, chocolate mousse and lemon or lime curd.

Now to the ingredients. I had a big bag of roasted blanched hazelnuts from Gresado with no skins, but I notice they aren't doing these at the moment. You can buy fresh hazelnuts, roast them and rub of the skin (you don't want the skin in your chocolate spread), but it's much easier and quicker if you can buy them already roasted and skinned.

I also used coconut oil and maple syrup from Holland and Barrett's new Free From range.

I'm rather impressed with their new Free From website, it has a really extensive range and covers everything you can think of. It makes life much easier, you just choose what you want to avoid (as many things as you want to avoid) and then have a good browse. It's been great for easily finding vegan products for my recipes, much, much quicker and I love their money off deals.

Anyway, back to the chocolate nut butter. You'll be wanting the recipe now.

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Homemade Chocolate Nut Butter
A homemade Nutella style chocolate nut butter made in a power blender.
  • 300g roasted blanched hazelnuts (or fresh hazelnuts roasted and skins removed)
  • 200g dark chocolate (melted)
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tsp flax seeds (linseeds)
  • a good pinch of salt
1. Make this in a power blender. Do be careful if you have a less powerful blender as you may burn out the motor.2. Blend the nuts and seeds on slow for up to 5 minutes to make a nut butter. Hold down the jug firmly while it blends and use the tamper to help it along.3. Stop half way through, take of the base and give it a mix.4. Add the other ingredients and blend briefly. Keep an eye on it, you don't want the chocolate to scorch. I like to have a bit of texture in the mixture, so didn't blend it for too long.4. Spoon at the ready! 5. Enjoy!
Total time:
Yield: Makes 2 small jars of chocolate nut butter


I'm working with Holland and Barrett at the moment to promote their Free From range. I've always used their products, but now the website is much easier to use for those with intolerances or dietary requirements. 

I've been promoting the Optimum range since I got my blender just over a year ago and now work for the company. Any opinions expressed are my own. I hope you enjoy the recipe.
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