Animal Aid

VEGETARIAN CUISINE - So easy and so gorgeous!

Feeling adventurous?

Avoiding animal products means opening up your kitchen to a more exciting eating experience, experimenting with world cuisines that aren't centred on meat.

Try houmous, a chick-pea and sesame paste on sale in all supermarkets and most corner shops. Try it in a Lebanese mezze (a hot or cold hors d'oeuvres); with Greek salad in pitta; as a dip with crudités; with dill on new potatoes; or with black pepper in a jacket potato. Or simply enjoy it on toast. Kids love it!

Check out the speciality grocers and ethnic food shops in your area. For example, Chinese stores sell tofu (made from soya bean curds) at bargain prices, along with vegetables and spices to amaze and delight. Variety is the key. A varied diet ensures you get the full range of nutrients you need AND it makes food more fun.

World cuisine

Wow your friends with sublime cookery that looks and tastes exotic. It's delicious, nutritious and so much easier than you'd imagine (but those friends will think you've slaved for hours!).


This is a Middle Eastern dish with a heavenly aroma.

  • 1 onion
  • 200g tin tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp currants
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1 pinch cloves
  • fresh parsley
  • 30g pine nuts
  • 4 smallish aubergines
  • ½ clove garlic
  • 1 bayleaf
  • squeeze lemon juice
  • raw cane sugar
  • olive oil
  • 70ml water
  • black pepper
      1. Chop the onion and saute till soft in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the tin of tomatoes to the onion, chopping the tomatoes roughly. Stir in currants, a pinch of cinnamon, a pinch of cloves and lots of freshly ground black pepper.
      2. Cook for 20-30 minutes till thickened then add 2 tablespoons (or more!) fresh chopped parsley and all the pine nuts. Take the aubergines - rinse and cut slits in them. Stuff the cooked mixture into the slits in the aubergines and place them in a shallow oven dish. Mix 70ml water with 70ml olive oil, the garlic (peeled and crushed), bayleaf, lemon juice and a pinch of sugar.
      3. Pour this mixture over the aubergines, cover with foil and bake at Gas Mark 4 for 30 minutes. Serve chilled, garnished with lots more parsley.


      • 1 small onion
      • 5 cloves garlic
      • 3 tbsp olive oil
      • ½ lb button mushrooms
      • 1 tsp ground coriander
      • 200g tin butter beans
      • 2 tbsp water
      • fresh parsley
      • black pepper
      1. Saute the onion with garlic (peeled and crushed) in 1 tbsp olive oil. Add button mushrooms, sliced. Allow to soften. Add 2 more tbsp olive oil, ground coriander, freshly ground black pepper, butter beans (drained) and water. Cook very slowly to allow flavours to mingle, adding more water if necessary.
      2. Should smell fantastic and be ready to eat in about 20 minutes - but it's even better if you serve it chilled, lavishly garnished with sprigs of parsley. Expect your guests to beg for a return visit.


      • 6 large field mushrooms
      • 1tbsp olive oil
      • 1 small onion
      • 25g fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs
      • dried marjoram
      • 30g pine nuts
      • 85g tin sweetcorn
      • black pepper
      • pinch of salt
      • fresh parsley
      1. Wipe the mushrooms clean then remove and finely chop the stems. Saute half the finely chopped onion in the olive oil. Add the mushroom stems. Once tender, remove from heat.
      2. Thoroughly mix in the breadcrumbs, a teaspoon of marjoram, pine nuts (or sunflower seeds), sweetcorn, plenty of freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of salt. Place the mushroom caps in a shallow oven dish and pile the filling into them. Dot them with a little oil. Bake at Gas Mark 5 for 20 minutes and garnish with fresh parsley. Serve hot.


      There's nothing like roasted chestnuts as a simple winter warmer. But you can use the canned sort, with mushrooms, in a variety of ways...

      • as a centrepiece for a traditional English roast dinner - cook them in pastry or a white sauce and serve with parsnips, potatoes, onions, etc.
      • with an Italian-style roast (aubergine, peppers, courgettes, tomatoes drizzled with olive oil).
      • cooked with oil & herbs - simple and delicious - and served in vol-au-vent cases (buy these frozen).

      Another winning way with mushrooms is to cook them in garlic and then stir in soya cream. Serve on toast or in vol-au-vents.

      Toast is also great when spread thinly with Marmite and sandwiched with Brazil nuts or walnuts. Fast, filling and gorgeous!


      Cook a packet of tricolore pasta then rinse in cold water.

      Place in a serving bowl with a drained can of sweetcorn (the kind with peppers adds colour - or garnish with parsley at the end) and stir in 2 heaped tablespoons of vegan pesto (available in health food shops).

      Chill, sit back and wait for the compliments.


      Simplest of all - baked bananas with brown sugar and vanilla ice cream. Or dress up a fresh ruby red grapefruit with brown sugar and rum - or even Malibu; then grill. This is equally good as a starter.


      Use any dairy-free ice cream e.g. Swedish Glace or Tofutti for this dessert.

      You'll need tall sundae glasses or banana split style dishes. (Optional - pour Amaretto liqueur into the base of the glass.)

      • Add a scoop or two of ice cream, with banana either chopped or split and served lengthways.
      • Pour a little soya cream on.
      • Add any other fruits - the more exotic the better - chocolate drops (the cooking sort are usually non-dairy), Whizzers (an animal and additive-free version of Smarties), crystallised ginger, even a couple of luxury animal-free chocolates e.g. Booja Booja truffles.
      • Just imagine you're decorating the Christmas tree. Your guests will be in ecstasy.

      Cooking for teenagers

      Worried about your kids? No worries with these calcium and iron packed treats.


      • 1 pack tofu
      • turmeric<
      • herbs and spices
      • veggie sausages
      • cheatin' bacon
      • large field mushrooms
      • baked beans
      • fried potato
      • grilled tomato

      Tofu is very easy to cook with. Drain the liquid from the pack and scramble the tofu with a little turmeric (to add a yellow colour) and herbs, spices or seasoning. Serve as part of a traditional cooked breakfast - using any of the suggestions listed above.

      Fruit paradise: There's a whole range of exotic fruits such as kiwi, lychee, mango and papaya now readily available in supermarkets. Even pineapple can be bought ready prepared in plastic tubs. Delicious before, or instead of, your fry-up.

      Packed lunch: Choose their favourite bread for a sandwich. Mash or slice avocado onto it, add layer of thinly sliced cucumber, halved cherry tomatoes, watercress and top with a pile of alfalfa sprouts. Alfalfa is highly nutritious, with a delicious nutty flavour. Check your local health food store if you can't find it in the supermarket. Pack some strawberries for dessert.


      • 1 pack tofu
      • carrots
      • mushrooms
      • broccoli
      • red pepper
      • baby corn cobs
      • mange tout
      • bean sprouts
      • water chestnuts
      • chinese 5 spice
      • sesame seeds
      • black pepper
      • root ginger
      • soy sauce
      • sesame oil

      Drain and chop tofu (one pack would serve a family of four) into small squares and place to one side.

      Chop the following vegetables into small pieces so they'll cook quickly - carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, red pepper.
      Heat a very small amount of sesame oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add the vegetables, stirring them in and keeping them on the move. Then add baby corn cobs, mange tout, bean sprouts and water chestnuts (you can buy these canned), adding the tofu last. Now add (to taste) Chinese 5 spice, pepper, sesame seeds and grated fresh root ginger.

      Remove from heat and stir in a little soy sauce. Serve with rice.


Send this page to a friend

Read about how we treat your data: privacy policy.

© Copyright Animal Aid 2014