Tag Archive for: flexitarianism

Light, bright and nourishing! This wholesome recipe was taken from The Part-Time Vegetarian’s Year by Nicola Graimes, we’re sharing it as part of #VegetarianAwarenessMonth this October!

The broth is loaded with healthy and hearty ingredients such as ginger, turmeric and chilli, and plenty of seasonal veg. To give the broth extra flavour-infusing time, you could make it up to 2 days in advance, then leave to cool and store, covered, in the fridge – although this isn’t essential!

Serves 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes,
plus standing time
Cooking time: 35 minutes


875ml/30fl oz/generous 3 and 3/4 cups good-quality hot vegetable stock

7cm/3in piece of fresh root ginger, sliced into thin rounds

6 kaffir lime leaves

2 large lemongrass stalks, crushed slightly with the blade of a knife

1 and a 1⁄2 tbsp light soy sauce

2 bird’s-eye chillies, deseeded and thinly sliced

250g/9oz flat udon or soba noodles

350g/12oz asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed

sesame oil, for brushing

400g/14oz can coconut milk

1 tsp ground turmeric

4 large handfuls of baby spinach

juice of 1 large lime

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve

2 spring onions/scallions, thinly sliced diagonally

1 handful of coriander/cilantro leaves

1 tsp black sesame seeds


  1. Put the stock, ginger, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, soy sauce and half of the chilli in a large saucepan and bring almost to the boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes to infuse the stock with the flavourings. (This can be done in advance and the broth left to infuse until ready to serve. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.)
  2. Cook the noodles following the package directions, then refresh in cold water and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, brush the asparagus with sesame oil. Heat a griddle/grill pan over a high heat and chargrill the asparagus for 8–10 minutes, turning occasionally, until charred in places and tender. You may need to cook the asparagus in batches. Set aside.
  4. While the asparagus are chargrilling, strain the broth, then return it to the pan with the coconut milk and turmeric. Reheat the broth, then add the spinach and cook for 2 minutes or until tender. Add the lime juice and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. To serve, divide the noodles evenly between 4 large shallow bowls. Ladle over the coconut broth and top with the asparagus, the remaining sliced chilli, spring onions/scallions, coriander/cilantro and sesame seeds.

Part-Time Variation!

Rejuvenating chicken or beef broth: Replace the vegetable stock with chicken stock, made from the bones of a roasted chicken, or a beef bone broth.

The Part-Time Vegetarian’s Year by Nicola Graimes is available to buy NOW!

How things have moved on since my original The Part-Time Vegetarian was published five or so years ago. The culinary climate has definitely changed for the better, with more of us choosing to eat plant-based meals on a regular basis. And to prove the point, research figures show that, impressively, one in three in the UK have cut down on the amount of meat they eat, with 60 per cent of vegans and 40 per cent of vegetarians having adopted their dietary preference over the last 5 years.

While the health benefits of a plant-based diet – the reduced risk of major chronic diseases, obesity and diabetes – are well documented, it has been the growing concerns over the environmental impact of intensive animal farming that has spurred much of the move towards flexitarianism, vegetarianism and veganism over the past few years. Recent research has revealed the hefty footprint of intensively reared meat, with the conclusion that the single most effective way to reduce our environmental impact is a global shift towards a flexitarian diet that contains only small amounts of ethically reared, good-quality meat and dairy, eaten once or twice a week with a plant-based diet being predominant.

For me, one of the most exciting aspects of the shift towards flexitarianism is how inspiring and creative plant-based cooking has become. Nowadays, no chef worth their salt would forget to include a vegetarian or vegan dish on their restaurant menu. What’s more, many openly relish the exciting culinary possibilities of plant-based cooking.

As a family, we have become more mindful of what and how we eat over the years. Like many families, our eating preferences vary and I’m constantly on the look-out for meals that both meet our differing tastes and that can be adapted if need be. Whether we eat meat just once a week; just at weekends; as part of an extended family get together; for a dinner party; or not at all, I’ve found that flexitarianism is a way of eating that can be moulded to suit our individual needs.

I’m hoping that this sense of versatility, adaptability and variety shines brightly in the recipes in this book. Importantly, vegetables always take centre stage with a focus on what’s in season. Where meat (or seafood) are included they are in cost-, eco- and health-conscious small amounts and treated as a garnish, side, topping or second to the plant-based components of the meals. At the heart of this book is the growing relevance of a mindful connection with what and how we eat.

Part time veg day 4 Potato pakora burger053

Extract from The Part-Time Vegetarian by Nicola Graimes

An Indian twist on the regular veggie burger, these spiced potato patties are coated in a gram flour batter and cooked until the outside is crisp and golden. You could make the pre-battered potato patties a few hours ahead of serving, if convenient.

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

480g/1lb 1oz white potatoes, peeledand quartered
1 tsp turmeric
6 spring onions/scallions, finely chopped
1 long red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 tsp nigella seeds
1 tsp sea salt
2.5cm/1in piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
1 tbsp butter sunflower oil, for frying freshly ground black pepper

For chickpea batter:
80g/2.oz/. cup gram/chickpea/
besan flour
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp milk

To serve:
4 small naan breads
4 tbsp tamarind and date chutney
4 tomatoes, sliced
1 small red onion, sliced
1 recipe quantity Mint Raita, adding 2.5cm/1in piece of cucumber, diced


  • Put the potatoes in a large pan, pour in enough water to cover and bring to the boil. Add salt and stir in 1 teaspoon of the turmeric and cook for 12–15 minutes until tender.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, mix together the ingredients for the batter with the remaining turmeric. Whisk in 5–6 tablespoons water to make a smooth, pancake-batter consistency. Leave to rest until needed.
  • Drain and return the potatoes to the still-hot pan to dry, then when cool enough to handle, coarsely grate them into a mixing bowl. Stir in the spring onions/scallions, chilli, nigella seeds, salt, ginger and butter, allowing the latter to melt in the heat of the potatoes. Season with pepper and stir until combined, then, using your hands, form the mixture into 4 large patties.
  • Heat enough oil in a pan to deep-fry the pakora burgers. The oil is hot enough when a cube of bread turns golden in 30 seconds. Dip each patty into the batter mixture until thickly coated, then fry two at a time for 1.–2 minutes, or until golden all over. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in a low oven while you cook the remaining pakora burgers. Wrap the naan in foil and warm them in the oven at the same time.
  • To serve, top each naan with a spoonful of the chutney. Place a few slices of tomato on top before adding the pakora burger, red onion and a spoonful of the mint raita.


Nicola Graimes
The Part-Time Vegetarian
Available from September 2015
Pre-order the book on Amazon


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by Nicola Graimes

HH Part Time Veg day 2 Steamed sesame tofu in ginger 214

Steamed Sesame Tofu in Ginger

It has been named as one of the top food trends of the moment… it is called ‘flexitarianism’ – vegetarians who occasionally eat meat or fish and meat-eaters who regularly include plant-based meals into their diet.

I have picked up on this burgeoning trend with my new book Part-time Vegetarian, due to be published in late September. The cookbook includes over 100 vegetarian recipes, many of which can be adapted to include meat, seafood or poultry, if so liked.

If you’re keen to reduce the amount of meat you eat or you are looking for delicious adaptable meals, the Part-time Vegetarian shows how easy and tasty it can be.

Here are some simple tips to get you started:

  • A good starting point is to change the ratio of animal protein to veggies on your plate. This means having a smaller piece of meat or fish on your plate than perhaps you would normally have and upping the quantity of vegetables and look to include vegetarian protein foods, such as nuts, cheese, pulses, eggs or tofu.
  • If you’re new to vegetarian cooking or find it all a bit daunting, it’s time to think out of the box. Don’t feel restricted by meals that are made up of meat, potatoes and vegetables – there is a wealth of exciting vegetarian meals out there waiting to be tried. Check out new recipes to make it less daunting.
  • Risotto, paella, pies, tarts, winter and summer salads, soups, stews and bakes don’t have to include meat or fish. Try to include a meat-free main meal at least three times a week – but the choice is yours.
  • It’s a good idea to plan ahead what you’re going to eat over the forthcoming week. In that way, you can ensure you are eating a good balance of varied meals and it makes food shopping that much easier. There are some meal plan ideas at the back of my book to help.
  • Stock up on store cupboard essentials so that you always have a good store of veggie ingredients to hand such a tinned beans, lentils, tinned toms, nuts, seeds, grains, noodles and pasta.
  • Try to be aware of seasonality and local fresh fruit and veg suppliers. Markets, pick-your-own and veg box schemes can all be good value and will open your eyes to new varieties of fresh stuff perhaps not tried before.
  • Eat up your veg – make a conscious effort to try a previously untried type of veg each week – Asian grocers are great places for finding new varieties.
  • The beauty of a flexitarian, or part-time vegetarian diet, is there are no hard and fast rules so it can be as flexible or varied as you like. That means you don’t have to feel pressure to stick to any dietary guidelines, which allows you to take things at your own pace.
  • Flexitarianism is a lifestyle choice, rather than a ‘diet’ so have fun – no guilt allowed!


Nicola Graimes
The Part-Time Vegetarian
Available from September 2015
Pre-order the book on Amazon



Sign up for our newsletter to get our new articles straight to your inbox every month.