Tag Archives: aubergine

Five Delicious Vegetarian Comfort Food Dishes

I turned vegetarian when I was 13 and there’s not a lot I miss, but on a cold winter night I do sometimes hanker after the slow cooked, deep flavoured chilli my Nan used to make. Thankfully after lots of practice I’ve finally nailed the recipe and managed to make it vegetarian too.

Most of the warming comfort food dishes from my childhood were meat based – family roast dinners, my Nan’s amazing beef chilli, corned beef hash, shepherd’s pie and bubbling stews cooked so long the meat almost melted in your mouth.

There’s something about cooking up some comfort food which makes you feel like you’re showing your family some extra love. I enjoy throwing a few things in the slow cooker and knowing that by tea time there will be a delicious meal ready for my family.

Vegetarian comfort food can feel a bit hard to come by, so I’ve created and shared some of our favourite family recipes on my blog, here are five of my favourite vegetarian comfort food recipes – 

Vegetarian Galletes

vegetarian comfort food

These are a recent addition to my comfort food repertoire. They’re really easy to make, utterly delicious and once you get the hang of it you can fill them however you want. I made a Goats Cheese, Caramelised Onion and Quince Galette and a Feta, Red Pesto & Tomato Galette. Both were absolutely bang on and real crowd pleasers.

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

vegetarian comfort food

Now autumn is here my soup making pot is starting to see some serious action. Cauliflowers are cheap and plentiful in the shops, so I recreated my favourite soup, but with a cheesy twist. Try my very delicious Norwegian inspired Cauliflower Cheese Soup.

Spanish Style Bravas Sausage Casserole

vegetarian comfort food

I’d had it in my head to make a big Spanish style bravas sausage casserole in my slow cooker for a while. This summer hadn’t been up to much and I was desperate to start rustling up comfort food dishes, and this was the first one of the season. I made my sausage casserole with Quorn sausages, but you could very easily make them with your favourite meaty sausages if you’d prefer. I made the sauce in the slow cooker and let it bubble away gently to itself for a few hours. The recipe is really simple and it’s now a firm family favourite.

Authentic Armenian style Imam Bayildi 

vegetarian comfort food

Imam Bayildi is basically stuffed, baked aubergines. They’re simple to make, you can prepare them ahead of time and then cook them when you need them and they are melt in the mouth gorgeous. I like to use good quality ingredients in this recipe as every single mouthful zings flavour. Fresh vegetables and herbs are essential, they’re packed full of flavour and these sunshiny aubergines are a little bit of summer on a cold autumn evening.

Easy Microwave Jam Sponge

vegetarian comfort food

No vegetarian comfort food round-up would be complete without a pudding. This incredibly easy to make and very quick to cook microwave jam sponge is just the ticket to warm your cockles on a cold winter evening. All you need are a few store cupboard ingredients, ten minutes of your time and you’ve got a good pud that’ll make your family smile.

Voucherbox.co.uk have a great blog post about the five healthy foods that can actually save you money, and if you want even more money off your online shop they also have plenty of Sainsbury’s vouchers which you can use.

vegetarian comfort food

Recipe: Authentic Imam Bayildi Armenian style

I am married to a tall, dark and (I think) handsome man, he gets his olive skinned good looks from his Dads side of the family and he is half Armenian, meaning the small boy is one quarter Armenian. I have no hint of interesting ancestry on my side of the family so I have wholeheartedly embraced some parts of Armenian culture. If I’m honest it’s the bits which involve food.

Armenian food is very Mediterranean, you can find very similar food in Greece, Cyprus and Turkey. They do beautiful things with vegetables, so I’m sharing my favourite vegetarian Armenian recipe Imam Bayildi, I hope you like it.

Imam Bayildi is basically stuffed, baked aubergines. They’re simple to make, you can prepare them ahead of time and then cook them when you need them and they are melt in the mouth gorgeous. I like to use good quality ingredients in this recipe as every single mouthful zings flavour. Fresh vegetables are essential and Cirio Tomato fillets are ideal, full of flavour and a little does go a long way.

Imam Bayildi Imam Bayildi – Armenian Style (serves four)

Ingredients:
2 aubergines
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced (I prefer red, but a white onion works too)
1 or 2 cloves of garlic
1 green pepper, finely diced
Half a can of Cirio tomato fillets
Big handful of chopped parsley
1 teaspoon of sugar
Salt & pepper

Method:
1. Cut the top off each aubergine, slice it in half lengthways and scoop out the flesh, leaving an aubergine boat, leave a little of the aubergine flesh around the skin so it can help retain its structural integrity while in the oven. Griddle the aubergine halves on a high heat until they have a little bit of char, then put in a baking dish so they are snuggled up close to each other, this will help them keep their shape in the oven.
2. Chop up the aubergine flesh and fry gently in the olive oil, while that is cooking (stir frequently) chop and add the onion and peppers to the pan. Cook until they are all soft and then add your crushed garlic cloves and half a tin of Cirio tomato fillets.
3. Season well and add your sugar, cook and stir regularly until most of the liquid has evaporated and all of the vegetables are cooked and soft. Stir through the chopped parsley (reserving a small amount to garnish with later).
3. Carefully spoon the tomato and vegetable mixture into the aubergine skins. Add two tablespoons of water to the baking dish to help the aubergines to cook. Bake for 30 minutes at 200c.
4. Once cooked serve with salad, rice or bulgar wheat, maybe some pitta bread.

Imam Bayildi

We love Imam Bayildi, it’s a regular meal for us, really flavoursome and healthy as well as being a traditional Armenian meal. I’m ticking all of the good wife boxes here.

I like to use Cirio tomato fillets because the quality of the tomatoes, the juice is really thick and you can tell by the colour, texture and flavour of the raw ingredient that anything you make with them will be delicious. They are especially good in my Imam Bayildi, a meal we all enjoyed as a family.

Note: I was sent some Cirio tomato products to try out in some of my recipes. All images, opinions and recipes are my own.

Family Meals: Easy-Peasy Risotto Recipe

I love risotto and I love making it. I know some people really struggle to make it, but once you’ve cracked it then it’s a really handy thing to add to your repertoire. It’s one of our “nothing in the cupboard” meals and great for using up odds and sods in your fridge.

We have two favourites in our house. Tomato risotto and aubergine risotto. We cheese them up a bit more to make it more toddler friendly as he adores cheese. I’ve been asked a few times for my risotto recipe so I’ve decided to blog it. It’s fairly standard really. Here’s my basic risotto recipe with both tomato and aubergine options. It feeds about 4 and any leftovers (pah!) can always be turned into arancini the next day.

Family Meals: Easy-Peasy Risotto Recipe

Tomato Risotto

Finely chop an onion and fry gently until soft in some olive oil. Add a crushed clove of garlic (or more if you like garlic) and cook for a minute. At this point I add the risotto rice. If I’m being sensible I weigh it (250g) but mostly just use about half a 500g packet. Stir the rice and cook it for a couple of minutes. Add a small glass of white wine if you have it open, but I tend to use a smaller amount of dry vermouth as we rarely drink wine and the vermouth works just as well.

Stir through and then start adding hot stock. I use veg stock but you can use chicken if you’re that way inclined. At this point I usually add my tomato or aubergine, but more of that later. Keep stirring and loving your risotto, adding stock a ladle at a time until the rice is cooked to how you like it. Give it a taste and check for seasoning, add salt, pepper and I like chilli flakes to your taste. Add some grated cheese (we use Pecorino and cheddar, as like I said, the boy loves it cheesy, but add as much or as little as you like), stir through and take off the heat, let it rest for a few minutes.

Tomato Risotto recipe

In a frying pan I chop fresh, good quality tomatoes in a dab of butter, usually some cherry tomatoes and some vine tomatoes. As they start to release their juice I add salt, pepper, a touch of sugar to bring out the natural sweetness and some fresh or dried herbs. I usually go for dried oregano and some mixed herbs.

Once the tomatoes are collapsed I pick out some of the skins. It’s a personal preference, I don’t mind them but some do. Then at the point where I start adding stock I chuck in the tomatoes.

You should note that as the tomatoes are very wet and juicy you really won’t need to add as much stock as you normally would. So do go easy.

You might want to add some tomato purée to the risotto if you think your tomatoes need a flavour boost, just don’t forget to cook the purée out.

If you like you can add some fresh spinach towards the end and stir through until wilted. I love spinach and it’s so good for you.

Aubergine Risotto recipe

I tend to buy a few aubergines when I see them cheap, prep them and freeze them so there’s always a speedy risotto ingredient available.

Finely dice your aubergine and fry in some olive oil until cooked through and soft. (This is the point where I freeze them, usually in 200g portions).

Add the aubergine to the risotto when you start adding the stock so some of the aubergine flavour imparts itself on the rice.

It’s a really lovely, subtle recipe. I often use mozzarella instead of cheddar because I think it works slightly better, but in terms of cheese just chuck in whatever floats your boat.

So that’s my basic risotto recipe. It’s really easy and there’s no need to be afraid of it. Give it a try. Although I’ve only blogged my two favourites once you’ve got the method then you can try it with other ingredients.

What’s your favourite risotto recipe?