Meals you’ll go nuts for

Meat-free dishes that tick the quick and tasty boxes as well as being suitably frugal and healthy for January


If I were the betting type, I’d say the odds would be pretty short on at least two things right now. Firstly, chances are that after the meat-fest of the past few weeks, most people are all turkey-and-hammed-out. And secondly, the desire to be virtuous, which almost inevitably accompanies New Year, will mean that at least some of you have made a promise to yourself to eat less meat and more vegetables in 2014.

Regular readers will know that I’m a champion of vegetables. I sometimes like to think of myself as standing on the culinary sidelines, cheering them on like a crazed soccer mum on a rainy night – and occasionally dragging others in to cheer them on.

Though things have improved hugely, vegetables still get a bit shortchanged in Ireland, often playing second fiddle to meat or fish. And much as I love meat, pound for pound, vegetables contain far more nutrients and, when treated properly, taste great too. I like to celebrate them as the star of the meal, rather than the under-study.

Nut loaf is something that does just that, but with the added meatiness of nuts. Most people will associate nut loaf with Christmas – the option usually adopted for visiting vegetarians – but the recipe I’ve included this week is so good you’ll not only want to save it for next Christmas, but also enjoy it during the year.

This recipe is the result of much experimenting over the past few months, and it’s now on the menu in one of our cafes. And proving popular too. It’s full of flavour, gluten-free, and so moist it doesn’t even need gravy.

The stuffed peppers are another substantial vegetarian main course. I think the key to vegetable cooking is texture as well as flavour, and this dish has it all, thanks to the chestnuts, so if you’ve some left over after Christmas, use them up in this recipe and you’ll like it so much you’ll want to cook it again and again. You can make it vegan if you omit the egg and cheese and it will still be very tasty.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Screen Name Selection


Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.