Meat Free Mondays - 7 Recipes for the Week Ahead (29 May 2017)

*UPDATE* at end of post

Happy Monday everyone. How are you and how was the start of your week?

Last week we were hitting between 26 and 28 degrees Celsius here in Scotland. The sun was splitting the pavements as we like to say, but now we're back to more familiar Scottish weather for May. Yup! It's raining and a little chilly.

I'm sitting in my conservatory typing this up. We just have a wee house so our conservatory which leads out from the kitchen and overlooks the garden is our dining room. 

It's my favourite room in the house at the moment. In the winter it can be a bit chilly unless the door to the main house is open all day with the heating on, so it becomes a bit of a clothes drying area and is less used for dining. 

It's now had a spring clean and we've replaced our dining table (the old one was too big) and hung floral bunting and fairy lights around the windows. It's looking very bonnie indeed. I'm sitting in the glow of the pink fairy lights listening to the pitter patter of the rain, but enough of all that. You'll be expecting some new recipes to tempt you for the week ahead and I aim to please.


Vegan Lentil and Mushroom Burgers

These are proper vegan burger with a rich and earthy taste. Unlike the frozen versions you find in supermarkets, these have no additives or weird ingredients. They can also be shaped into falafel-sized balls and baked in the oven.

I hoped to share this vegan lentil and mushroom burger last week during National Vegetarian Week, but I shared so much and just didn't have the time. It really took over my week.

I do love a homemade veggie burger though, so I had to share it with you.

This lentil and mushroom burger comes from the new cookbook Green Kitchen at Home.

In case you haven't stumbled across it, Green Kitchen Stories is a vegetarian blog from Stockholm, where David and Luise blog share a little about their lives and healthy vegetarian recipes. This isn't their first cookbook. Check out the other titles, Green Kitchen Smoothies; The Green Kitchen;  Green Kitchen Travels and Vegetarian Everyday.


Meat Free Mondays - 22 May 2017

Happy Monday my friends.

I usually give you a wee snapshot into my week on a Monday before I share the Meat Free Mondays recipes with you, but this week I thought I'd show you where I work. Doesn't it look lovely and colourful?

I work in a children's library. I've worked here for 20 years now and I can't tell you how much fun it is spending time with all the kids from babies to teenagers. I have a blast all week helping kids find just the right book, singing songs at Bookbug (rhyme time), telling stories to toddlers and doing crafts and activities with the kids in the holidays. I also have a knitting club for kids each week and a code club, where kids can learning computer coding.

All that and I get to decorate the library and paint murals on the windows. Yes, they pay me for this! I used to work full-time, but I cut my hours when I had Cooper and then again when I got so busy with my blog, but I'm still there a few days a week having fun.

So now I've told you a bit about my week, it's time to share some recipes with you. As usual they are awesome and a big thank you goes out to all the bloggers who contribute each week. I hope you leave inspired and go veggie at least one day this week.


Vegan BBQ 'Shroom Buns

Smoky BBQ mushrooms in deli buns with lettuce leaves, red onion and chilli. The BBQ is the sauce not the cooking method.

Vegan BBQ 'Shroom Buns

Vegan BBQ 'Shroom Buns

Don't they look good?

These BBQ 'Shroom Buns are from Food Love Stories brought to you by Tesco.

You must have seen the billboards, recipes in store or videos in your Facebook stream?

I've rather enjoyed them. They're much more appealing than the run-of-the-mill supermarket campaigns and it's great they have recipe cards for their customers to try, which consider different dietary needs.

I have a Tesco in walking distance from my house, which is handy, although we've always bought our groceries there because they've always been a good supermarket for veggies to shop in.

I can get everything I need in the one shop. Now I'm cooking vegan meals and they're helping me out with that too. I'm seeing more and more vegan products in-store every week.

Tesco Food Love Stories Banner

Vegan BBQ 'Shroom Buns

Food Love Stories

There's a huge selection of dairy-free products including vegan milk, cheese, cream, yoghurt and creme fraiche and the freezer aisle is filling up with lots of savoury and sweet products, including a new chocolate ice cream from Alpro, which is blooming delicious!

Then there's all the fresh produce, the free-from section, the superfoods and lots of other vegan products dotted around the store. It's making life much easier for us, they're really supporting the vegan community. A vegan diet really can be quick, affordable and tasty.

Check out my post Best 60 Vegan & Dairy Free Products (UK) to see some of my favourite vegan products from Tesco.



Chef Derek Sarno who is the co-founder of Wickedly Healthy and was formerly the Global Executive Chef for Whole Foods Market

Chef Derek Sarno

These BBQ 'Shroom Buns were created by Chef Derek Sarno who is the co-founder of Wickedly Healthy and was formerly the Global Executive Chef for Whole Foods Market. This guy knows his stuff! 

His company promotes an 80/20 diet. He says we should "Shoot for 80% healthy, 20% wicked and you’ll be 100% sexy".  I'm wholeheartedly behind him there.

Vegan BBQ 'Shroom Buns

Chef tips

Now pay close attention to the recipe, you'll never hear me utter the words "add mushrooms to the pan, cover them in baking paper and put a pot half full of water to flatten them". 

Too cheffy for this self-taught cook, but I have to say they are utterly delicious.

pin it for later

Smoky BBQ mushrooms in deli buns with lettuce leaves, red onion and chilli. The BBQ is the sauce not the cooking method. A satisfying lunch for lunchboxes or picnics. #sandwiches #mushroomsandwich #BBQsandwich #vegetariansandwich #lunchbox #BBQmushrooms



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Vegan BBQ 'Shroom Buns
Vegan BBQ 'Shroom Buns
Smoky BBQ mushrooms in deli buns with lettuce leaves, red onion and chilli. A great vegan lunch or team them with sweet potato fries and a dressed green salad for dinner.
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, stalks trimmed
  • 125g shiitake mushrooms, stalks discarded
  • 150g Portobello mushrooms, trimmed and underside removed
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 4 multiseed deli rolls, scored down the middle
  • 4 leaves Sweet Gem lettuce, shredded
  • 4 tbsp Tennessee BBQ inspired sauce, plus extra to serve
  • ½ red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and sliced
  • a small handful coriander
1. Preheat the oven to gas 5, 190°C, fan 170°C. Reserve 6 chestnut mushrooms then thinly slice the rest and all of the shiitakes. Set aside.2. Scoop out and discard the inside of the Portobellos before use, as they can be bitter. Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the reserved chestnut mushrooms and the Portobellos to the pan. Cover with baking paper and put a saucepan half filled with water on top to flatten. Cook for 5 minutes each side, until juicy. Once cooked, thickly slice the Portobellos and transfer all the cooked mushrooms to a bowl. Toss in 2 tbsp BBQ sauce.3. In the same pan, add another ½ tbsp oil and the sliced shiitake and chestnut mushrooms. Leave for 1-2 minutes, then stir and cook for a further 2-3 minutes each side, until crispy. Add to the bowl with the other mushrooms; toss. Tip onto a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove; set aside. 4. Fry the remaining oil, spices and rosemary for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms to the oil, tossing to coat. Season.5. Microwave the rolls for 15 seconds to soften, if you like, then fill with the lettuce and mushrooms. Finish with the remaining BBQ sauce, red onion, chilli and coriander. Serve with extra BBQ sauce.
Total time:
Calories per serving: 373 calories
Yield: Serves 4



Have a look in-store for Food Love Stories recipe cards and follow the conversation online with #everylittlehelps

Disclosure: I recreated this recipe for Tesco to support their Food Love Stories. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.


Roast Vegetable, Veggie Sausage & Halloumi Wraps - National Vegetarian Week

Hands up who loves halloumi?

It's rather moreish, isn't it? I love it in a salad, on a toastie, on top of a burger or in a wrap. Today I bring you a wrap that would be fabulous for lunch or add a salad and it would make a substantial dinner. A roast vegetable, veggie sausage and halloumi wrap to be precise.

That smokiness from the roast vegetables, some garlicky green pesto, peppery salad leaves, some cooked veggie sausages and freshly cooked halloumi, all crisp and golden on the outside and chewy in the middle. Yum!


Three-Tin Tomato, Turmeric & Coconut Dahl - National Vegetarian Week

Three-Tin Tomato, Turmeric & Coconut Dahl - National Vegetarian Week

We love dahl in this house, although I usually spell it dal. It can also be spelled daal or dhal and it's really hard to find a definitive answer, but as this isn't my recipe, I shall stick to calling this tomato, turmeric and coconut dahl.

My favourite dal or dahl, is made with spinach and coconut and I love it so much I never try making variations of it, but this one looked so good. I was won over.

This recipe comes from The FODMAP Friendly Kitchen by Emma Hatcher.  


Quick Blender Broccoli and Stilton Soup - National Vegetarian Week

Cheese doesn't make an appearance in my soup very often. Most soups I make are vegan anyway, which suits everyone and means less cooking for me. This broccoli and Stilton soup is an exception.

I had a craving!!!

It was all Helen's fault. 

I work with Helen and she caught me at a hungry moment. She started telling me that she was going to make broccoli and Stilton soup that night. I could think of nothing else for days.

As I would be the only one eating it and I'd have to make another soup for the boys, it had to be quick and easy for me to make. So I thought why not just make it in the blender? Minimal chopping, no cooking, an easy clean up and it would be ready in a flash.

Because I wasn't cooking the soup, I decided to use spring onions instead of regular white onions and I added some watercress for a bit of extra flavour. It tasted great. A fabulous vegetarian soup for National Vegetarian Week.

Do you ever make blender soups? 

Sometimes a long slow cook is the best for flavour, but if you want a really fresh flavour or a quick soup then blender soups rock. They are also lower in fat as you use no oil in the cooking. Of course I am adding some back in with the cheese, but it's still pretty low.


This soup serves 4-6 and has 97 calories per portion, which makes it perfect for the 5:2 diet or if you are just watching your weight. Although there is cheese in the soup, it is cooked without oil, so that balances out the calories. If you divide the soup into 4 portions it comes in at 148 calories which is still great.

This soup is high in Vitamin C and contains, Vitamin A, Calcium and Iron.

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Quick Blender Broccoli and Stilton Soup
Quick Blender Broccoli and Stilton Soup
A quick blender broccoli soup rich with the flavour of blue Stilton cheese that's made in minutes. This soup is low calorie, so perfect if you are trying to lose weight or if you are following the 5:2 diet.
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 4 spring onions, halved
  • 30 g watercress
  • 100 g blue Stilton cheese, plus extra for crumbling over the soup when you serve it.
  • 500 ml vegetable stock
  • a good grinding black pepper
1. Pop all the ingredients into your blender, if you don't have a power blender like mine, cut your vegetables smaller.2. Whizz the soup until smooth.3. If you can heat your soup in your blender and serve, if not, pour into a pot to heat. 4. Taste for seasoning, then serve with wheaten biscuits or crusty bread.5. Enjoy!
Total prep time:
Nutrition facts per 6 servings:
97 calories
5.6 grams fat

Yield: Serves 4-6

Need another soup recipe? 

National Vegetarian Week

To support National Vegetarian Week I'm sharing recipes, cookbooks and giveaways with my readers every day this week. 

    • I also shared a guide to vegan products on Sunday for those following or wanting to try a vegan diet. Best 60 Vegan & Dairy Free Products (UK)

    • You can follow the conversation this week on social media with: #NationalVegetarianWeek


    Meat Free Mondays - National Vegetarian Week 2017

    It's National Vegetarian Week and I'll be bringing you veggie news every day this week. Recipes, giveaways and cookbook reviews. Today I'll start with Meat Free Mondays.

    For those of you unfamiliar with Meat Free Mondays, it's a social movement, where people promote a vegetarian diet and encouraging everyone to try and eat vegetarian at least once a week. Every Monday throughout the year I bring you seven new featured recipes for the week ahead and let you decided how many days you want to go veggie. There's always plenty of inspiration.

    So without further ado and in line with veggie week, let's get stuck in!


    Best 60 Vegan & Dairy Free Products (UK)

    When Graham first decided to become vegan we really struggled with it. A lot of the veggie dishes I cooked were vegan anyway, but there wasn't really any good alternatives for the things that make vegan living easier and no quick bites to grab on the go.

    10 years on and Graham tried again, this time it was a lot easier. I was more aware of vegan options when I was cooking and there were more and more products available. He's now been vegan for 5 years and we mostly eat vegan now, although Cooper and I are still vegetarian. Graham of course always eats vegan and maybe one day Cooper and I will complete the move across too.

    Today I'd like to share with you our favourite vegan products. Dairy alternatives, dairy free ingredients as well as treats such as crisps, sweets and chocolate. 

    Just remember that a vegan diet should start with fresh fruit and vegetables, grains, seeds and pulses. These are the building blocks of a healthy diet. Other items should be a smaller part of your diet. Check out my recipe index for lots of easy and healthy vegan recipes.

    I mostly shop at Tesco as it's close to me and I can find everything I need, but most supermarkets have a good range of vegan products or are starting to improve.


    Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

    Peanut butter and chocolate chip banana bread - vegan recipe from

    I've made another vegan banana bread. I don't know what it is, but there always seems to be leftover and rapidly browning bananas in my house. I add bananas to smoothies and I take them to work to snack on, yet there are always leftover bananas. Never mind, that means Graham gets some scrummy banana bread quite regularly.

    Chocolate Chips

    I added chocolate chips as usual. Let's face it everything is improved with a spot of chocolate. I also added peanut butter this time and a swirl of caramel on top.

    The caramel is completely optional. I know caramel isn't usually vegan, but this one is coconut based. Isn't everything these days? I got it in M&S. It's rather pricey, but it's actually lasted a while. I've added it to a few things and there's still plenty left.

    An easy recipe for dairy-free moist banana bread studded with dark chocolate with a subtle flavour of peanut butter. Fabulous slightly warm and even more glorious toasted and spread with vegan butter.

    Peanut butter and chocolate chip banana bread - vegan recipe from

    You can perk up banana bread in all sorts of ways, once you have the basic recipe.

    5 Top Banana Bread Hacks

    1. Slice a banana lengthwise and add the slices to the top of the loaf before popping it in the oven.
    2. Add spices. Freshly ground cinnamon or nutmeg work really well.
    3. Add blueberries, they will pop inside for a juicy splash of colour that will taste great.
    4. Add sliced bananas to the mixture.
    5. Top with seeds or nuts before baking.

    Leave it to cool!

    Of course once your banana bread is out of the oven, you have to let it cool a bit before slicing. I know it's a complete pain isn't it? Wait you must, as horrendous as that is, but you can slice it while it's still a little warm. Let's face it you're not going to wait until it's completely cool. That smell is wafting around the house and it look so good.

    Once sliced it needs a good layer of dairy free butter and then you need absolute peace to enjoy it and another slice or two. So make sure you warn everyone to go do something else until you call them.

    Then share it! If you have to.

    Peanut butter and chocolate chip banana bread - vegan recipe from

    What to make with leftover banana bread

    If you have any banana bread left over. Ha ha ha! No really, if you do, you can butter some slices and pop them in a ovenproof dish, then top with Alpro dairy free custard and bake. Serve it with more hot custard (or dairy free ice cream). Mmmmmmm! Toe-curlingly good.

    print recipe
    An easy recipe for chocolate chip banana bread. It's crusty on the outside, moist and soft within and studded with a generous portion of chocolate chips. It's dairy free, egg free and vegan.
    Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
    An easy recipe for moist banana bread studded with dark chocolate with a subtle flavour of peanut butter. Fabulous slightly warm and even more glorious toasted and spread with dairy free butter.
    • 3 medium to large ripe bananas
    • 120g caster sugar
    • 5 tbsp peanut butter
    • 200ml Alpro soy cream (or nut milk) just enough to loosen up the mixture, if it's too stiff after the flour is added, you can add a little more
    • 450g plain flour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • a pinch of salt
    • 100g dark chocolate chips
    • a swirl of dairy free caramel (optional)
    1. Preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan/350f/gas mark 4.2. Line a 2 lb loaf tin. I like the cake liners rather than faffing about with greaseproof paper.3. Mash the bananas in a bowl, then mix in the peanut butter, sugar and nut milk or cream.4. In another bowl add the flour, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips and mix.5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix. Don't over mix, just enough until it's mixed, then pour in the loaf tin, add a swirl of caramel to the top and bake in the oven for 1 hour.6. Do a skewer test before the hour is up, if it comes out clean it's ready. Keep an eye on it.7. Leave to cool in the tin for a little while, then move to a rack to continue cooling.8. Enjoy!
    Total time:
    Yield: Makes 1 loaf

    Vegan Oreo Chocolate Tiffin

    If you are looking for another tasty vegan treat, you have to try my Vegan Oreo Chocolate Tiffin. Oh my it is good! You could also follow my Pinterest board for vegan and dairy-free treats called Vegan Indulgence. It has over a thousand temptations.


    Meat Free Mondays - 7 Recipes for the Week Ahead (8 May 2017)

    Happy Monday!

    How are you?

    Have you had a good week? Does it feel like the weeks go by quicker and quicker or is that just me?

    My week went by in a flash. I was pretty tired after our weekend in London and then I was plunged straight back into the working week. At the weekend I caught up on housework, did a spot of baking and got out for a nice long dog walk on Sunday.

    Here are the mutts in question, oh and the child. It was great to get some fresh air and to feel the sun on my face again.

    Now it's Monday and I've had a long day at work. I'm struggling to stay awake to share this week's Meat Free Monday recipes with you, but I wouldn't let you down. I hope these recipes inspire you to eat vegetarian for some or all of this week.


    Rich Tomato & Roast Vegetable Pasta Bake

    Rich Tomato & Roast Vegetable Pasta Bake

    I've made this tomato and roast vegetable pasta bake a few times recently. I had no idea if it would work. I roasted the vegetables in a roasting pan, then added the tomatoes, tomato puree, stock and seasoning, then I mixed in the uncooked pasta and popped it in the oven?

    The first time, I had major doubts while it was cooking. I was thinking "Oh shoot maybe I should have cooked the pasta first!". There are lots of one-pot pasta dishes online, but they are made in a pot. Would it really work in the oven?

    A rich pasta bake that is so easy to make. The whole dish is made in a roasting pan.Only 336 calories per portion for the most delicious pasta bake that everyone will love. Suitable for vegans and great for the 5:2 diet.

    It worked!

    Soft, but firm pasta in a rich sauce with so much flavour and a great boost to our vegetable intake for the day.

    Graham and I loved it. Cooper said he loved it, but examining his bowl, there was a suspicious amount of veg left. Still he'll have eaten some of the vegetables and spinach never seems to worry him in a pasta dish, so it's still a win.


    Soup or Salad Season? No Croutons Required

    Soup or salad season? That's my question!

    Just when the sunshine comes out and we bask in it's glow and think this is it, the weather changes and the temperature drops. I've never known a year like this. 

    Scotland is notorious for changeable weather, but is ridiculous. It's been going on since March. 

    Sunshine out, coats off, temperature drops, coats and gloves back on, sunshine back, no coats today, hey this is lasting a few days, spring is here, then you wake up in late April to snow. We don't know what we're getting from day to day. I start craving fresh salads, then the temperature drops again and I'm back to soups.

    In the May editions of No Croutons Required I would normally expect to see a lot of salads, but the roundup is really reflecting the changeable weather.


    Meat Free Mondays - 7 Recipes for the Week Ahead (1 May 2017)

    Happy Meat Free Monday!

    How are you?

    I had a fine long weekend in London. Well, it started out that way. I was heading down for a conference and set off a day early with Graham and Cooper so we could spend time together before the conference then they'd have boy time while I worked.

    The first day we spent at the Science Museum having fun in the Wonder Lab which I completely recommend. Lots of hands-on science experiments that will keep you amused for hours. We then headed out to meet friends at The Diner where I had a rather fabulous veggie hot dog.

    The second day I attended my conference, but by evening Graham was ill and had to go to A&E. Not quite how we expected to spend our weekend. It wasn't as bad as we feared and he was able to take it easy on Sunday and had today off for the public holiday. All being well, he'll be fine in a few days.

    I'm home again and making my list for the week and deciding what we shall eat this week. Of course we eat meat-free every day, but not everyone does. I hope by sharing new inspiring veggie dishes every week that I will encourage more people to do so.

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