Looking for quick, easy and tasty vegetarian recipes? We’ve got you covered. Below, we’ve rounded up 5 delicious meat-free recipes from vegetarian chef Peta Leith (Bake Off‘s Prue Leith’s niece!), which are perfect for a healthy and satiating lunch or dinner (plus one bonus recipe for dessert!)…

Whether you follow a full-time vegetarian diet, or you’re just looking to cut down on your meat consumption, the following vegetarian recipes are perfect for a quick, healthy and tasty meal.

Cutting down on your meat consumption is good for you and the planet, so why not try one of these out for dinner tonight?

1. Vegan-friendly butternut squash chana masala

Photo: Peta Leith

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 green finger chillies, chopped
  • 1in ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1½ tsp turmeric, ground
  • 1 tsp cumin, ground
  • 1 tsp coriander, ground
  • 1½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 x 400g chopped tomatoes,canned
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 1 x 400g chickpeas, canned and drained
  • ½ tsp amchoor
  • ¼ lemon

Method:

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan. Add the diced onion, followed by the garlic cloves, chopped chillies and ginger. Sauté over a medium heat for 4-5 mins until the onion is softening, then add the chopped squash. Continue, stirring frequently for another few mins, then add the mustard seeds, turmeric, cumin, coriander and garam masala. Sauté for a few more mins until the onions are soft and it’s really fragrant.
  2. Add the tinned tomatoes, stock and chickpeas. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 40-50 mins, stirring occasionally, until the squash is very tender and the sauce has thickened. If it looks dry at any point, add a splash more water – it should be rich and saucy.
  3. Add the amchoor, a good squeeze of lemon juice, and season with salt and black pepper.
  4. Serve immediately, over rice or with naan bread. It will keep well for a few days in the fridge.

Peta says…this vegan curry is ideal for when temperatures start to drop. Here, I’ve added butternut squash, which not only brings a lovely sweetness to counter the spice, it has a host of health benefits. Being low in calories and high in fibre, it’s great for your heart, and has high levels of vitamin A and potassium, which helps lower blood pressure.

Not only that, but the spices used in the curry help reduce inflammation and aid digestive health. In case you’re unfamiliar with it, amchoor is dried mango powder and adds fruitiness to the curry – you can find it in most Asian shops or online.

2. Vegetarian charred corn tacos recipe with creamed feta, pickled red onion, chilli, coriander & lime

Photo: Peta Leith

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • Red onion ½, thinly sliced
  • Red wine vinegar 120ml
  • Corn on the cob 6
  • Feta cheese 200g
  • Red chilli 2-3, deseeded and finely chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil 2 tbsp
  • Vegetable oil 2 tbsp
  • Garlic clove 1, finely chopped
  • Mint leaves 3 tbsp, chopped
  • Coriander leaves 3 tbsp, finely chopped
  • Lime 1, zest and juice
  • Tortilla wraps 8, small
  • Little gem lettuces 2, shredded

Method:

  1. Put the onions in a bowl and pour over boiling water. Sit for 2-3 mins, then drain. Pour over just enough red wine vinegar to cover them and set aside for a few hours. They will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.
  2. Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add your corn on the cob and boil for around 4-5 mins. Drain and leave to cool.
  3. Use a fork to mash the feta, then add 1 finely diced red chilli and 2 tbsp olive oil, and keep mashing until it forms a spreadable paste.
  4. When cool enough to handle, carefully slice the kernels off the cobs. Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan and, when it’s really hot, add the corn. Cook over a high heat, turning occasionally, until the corn starts to colour. When it’s nicely coloured, add the garlic and cook for another min, stirring frequently.
  5. Tip the corn into a mixing bowl, then add the mint, coriander, remaining chilli, lime juice and zest. Season generously with salt and black pepper.
  6. Warm the tortillas briefly in a griddle pan. Spread the feta over the base of each wrap, then add the lettuce, corn and pickled onions. Top with a few extra coriander leaves and serve immediately.

Peta says…September is the perfect time to eat corn on the cob, which is a fantastic source of dietary fibre, folic acid and vitamins A, B3 and C.

These vegetarian wraps are packed with fresh flavours to complement the corn; hot chilli, creamy feta, zingy pickled onions and lots of fresh herbs. Make the onions ahead of time if you’re able to.

3. Bean and roasted vegetables with a pesto sauce

Photo: Peta Leith

Serves 4 or 6-8 as a side

Ingredients:

For the vegetables:

  • Red and/or yellow peppers 2, deseeded and cut into large chunks
  • Red onions 2, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • Garlic cloves 3, finely chopped
  • Vegetable oil 3 tbsp
  • Courgette 1, small and thickly sliced
  • Baby plum tomatoes 300g, on the vine
  • Balsamic vinegar 1 tsp

For the pesto:

  • Basil leaves 30g
  • Garlic clove 1
  • Pine nuts25g
  • Parmesan 30g
  • Olive oil 40g
  • Rapeseed oil 40g
  • Lemon juice a squeeze
  • Borlotti beans 480g, cooked, tinned is fine

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/gas 6. In a roasting tin, toss the peppers, onions, garlic and vegetable oil together, season with salt and black pepper, and roast for 20 mins.
  2. Remove from the oven, add the courgettes and stir to coat them in the oil. Put the tomatoes in another roasting tin, still on the vines, with a drizzle of olive oil. Increase the oven to 200°C/gas 7, then return both tins to the oven for 15 mins. Remove from the oven and set aside. Once cooled a little, stir the balsamic vinegar into the mixed vegetables.
  3. To make the pesto, blitz everything together using a blender until smooth. Season with salt, black pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
  4. Whether you cooked the beans in advance or got them out of a tin, add them to a pan of boiling water, return to the boil, then drain to warm them through.
  5. Toss the beans with three quarters of the pesto, seasoning with salt and black pepper to taste. Pile onto a serving dish and top with the roasted vegetables. Loosen the remaining pesto with olive oil until it reaches a pouring consistency, then spoon over the dish. Serve warm.

Peta says…using pulses in vegetarian recipes is a brilliant way to include more protein and fibre in your diet, while also counting as one of your five a day. They’re also low in fat and good for the environment, so there’s no reason not to eat more of them! This can be eaten as a side dish or as a substantial vegetarian main course that’s full of flavour. I’ve used borlotti beans, but butterbeans, cannellini, haricot or puy lentils would be just as delicious.

4. Vegetarian spring salad recipe with egg asparagus and new potato

Photo: Peta Leith

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • Eggs 4, large and free range
  • New potatoes 300g, halved
  • Asparagus 160g, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces (in May, look for British asparagus!)
  • Petit pois 80g, frozen
  • Gem heart lettuce 2, outer leaves removed
  • Belgian endive 1, red or green, with outer leaves removed
  • Baby salad leaves handful

For the dressing:

  • Dijon mustard 1½tsp
  • Red wine vinegar 1½tbsp
  • Extra virgin olive oil 45ml
  • Vegetable oil 45ml
  • Parsley1½tbsp, flat leaf, finely chopped
  • Mint leaves 1½ tbsp, chopped

Method:

  1. Bring a pan of water to the boil, then lower the eggs into the water. Return to the boil and simmer for 6 mins. Drain and plunge the eggs into cold water.
  2. Boil the potatoes for approximately 20 mins until just tender. Drain and set aside to cool.
  3. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Add the asparagus, return to the boil, then add the frozen peas. Return to the boil once more, then drain immediately and plunge the vegetables into iced water.
  4. Peel the eggs, slice in half and season each half with a little salt and black pepper.
  5. Combine all the vinaigrette ingredients in a jam jar with a lid, and shake vigorously. Taste to ensure it is well-seasoned.
  6. Mix together the potatoes, peas and asparagus in a bowl with the lettuce, endive and salad leaves. Give the dressing a shake again, then spoon it over the salad and serve immediately.

Peta says…Asparagus is a great source of folic acid, potassium, thiamin and vitamins A, C and B6. Combined with the eggs and peas, which are great sources of protein, this salad makes a delicious vegetarian meal in itself.

5. Wholegrain almond cake with whipped yoghurt

Photo: Peta Leith

Ingredients:

  • Butter 240g, unsalted and at room temp
  • Sugar 160g, granulated
  • Eggs 4 large and separated
  • Almond essence ¼ tsp
  • Wholewheat flour 100g
  • Ground almonds 120g
  • Baking powder 2 tsp
  • Milk 60ml
  • Salt pinch
  • Greek yoghurt 400g, 0% fat
  • Double cream 300g
  • Honey 2-3 tbsp or to taste
  • Orange 1, zested
  • Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries to serve

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/gas 6. Grease and line two 20cm round sandwich tins with baking parchment.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then add the egg yolks and almond essence. Beat in the flour, ground almonds and baking powder, then stir in the milk.
  3. In a very clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with the salt until soft peaks form. Fold the whites into the batter. Turn the batter into the prepared baking tins and bake for 25-30 mins until golden and a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. Remove from the oven, then turn them out of the tins onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  4. Whisk together the yoghurt, cream and honey on high speed until it reaches a thick, spreadable consistency. Add the orange zest and more honey if desired.
  5. Once the cake is cooled, sandwich the two halves together using a third of the yoghurt mixture and sliced strawberries. Pile the remaining yoghurt mixture and berries on top and serve immediately. Store leftovers in the fridge, but bring to room temperature before serving.

Peta says…this cake is relatively low in sugar and swaps refined flour for ground almonds and whole wheatflour. The whipped yoghurt to accompany it is sweetened with a little honey and is infinitely better for you than buttercream. This cake looks and tastes deliciously sinful, but it’s actually full of fibre from the almonds and wholegrain, gut-friendly bacteria from the yoghurt, and packed with antioxidants and vitamins from the berries.

The Vegetarian Kitchen by Prue Leith and Peta Leith (£25) is out now!

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