Lately I’ve been trying to cut back on the amount of meat I eat. I’ve always toyed with the idea of going fully vegeterian because I love vegetables in all their glorious forms but, to be honest, my heart’s not in it. Human’s didn’t evolve as herbivores, we evolved as omnivores, and unless there’s a real necessity (such as an allergy) I don’t really believe in totally cutting out food groups, I think balance is the key. I do however recognise that the amount of meat consumed by the human race and the methods of production are causing a massive problem on this planet as well as to our bodies. It’s only really in recent decades, due to modern developments in both farming and technology, that we’ve begun to eat meat on such a large scale. Convenience has led to us considering eating meat at every meal time ‘the norm’ and as it’s become cheaper and more readily available so the demand has increased and so the farming/manufacturing has gone completely off the scale. That is something that doesn’t sit comfortably with me and whilst I absolutely don’t think us all converting to a plant based raw diet is the way forward, I do think that a change of attitude and everyone eating less meat is.
As a lover of vegetarian food, I have been really surprised at how much of a conscious effort I’ve had to put in to making sure most of my meals are vegetarian. If I don’t think about it it’s so easy just to pick up a packet of ham to use for packed lunches or opt for the chicken sandwich when grabbing lunch on the go, and this is purely because most options are meat based. When you’re eating out at non-vegetarian places there’s often only one or two veggie options on the menu and that’s pretty shocking. This has however led to me getting a little more creative with meals and breaking the barriers of the traditional meat, carbs and vegetables on the side meal formula that has become so ingrained.
I’m a really big fan of mixing up my grains and recently puy lentils have been my favourite. They’ve got a really deep earthy flavour that I love for winter salads. I’ve also tried to incorporate lots of different textures into my vegetarian cooking as I find it really helps to keep things varied. Crunchy cauliflower seasoned with some of my favourite spices really takes the main role in this dish, with chunks of halloumi offering up a great flavour hit that will make you forget about meat all together.
2 cups cooked puy lentils
1 cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper
Halloumi, cut into cubes
1/2 tin butter beans, drained
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, halved and finely sliced
1 tsp butter
- Preheat oven to 180ºC.
- Coat the cauliflower in the olive oil, turmeric, paprika, salt and pepper.
- Roast in the oven for around 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile in a large pan melt the butter and add the spinach and gently stir until mostly wilted. Remove from the pan and spread between two plates.
- Add a splash of olive oil to the pan and add the halloumi and butter beans. Fry until golden.
- Scatter the tomatoes over the spinach and lentils and add half an avocado to each plate.
- When the cauliflower, halloumi and beans are all cooked spread evenly over both plates to top off the dish.