Cheese & Apple Scones


This recipe is extracted from Vegetarian Food for Healthy Kids by Nicola Graimes.

Savoury scones/biscuits make a good alternative to the usual sandwich and these have been pimped up with the addition of cheese, apple and linseeds/flaxseeds. Spread them with butter or, to make them more filling, split in half and fill with cream cheese and slices of cucumber. To make a sweet version, leave out the cheese and stir in 2 tablespoons sugar instead.

Makes: 8
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

200g/7oz/1½ cups self-raising wholemeal flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground linseeds/flaxseeds
50g/1¾oz/3½ tbsp chilled butter, cubed
1 apple, with skin, cored and grated
90g/3¼oz mature/sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
100ml/3½fl oz/scant ½ cup milk, plus extra for brushing


  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl, adding any bran left in the sieve/fine-mesh strainer. Stir in the linseeds/flaxseeds.
  3. Using your fingertips, lightly rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the apple and Cheddar. Gradually, stir in the milk using a fork, then bring the dough together with your hands.
  4. Press out the dough on a lightly floured work surface, about 2.5cm/1in thick. Using a 4.5cm/1¾in cutter, stamp out 8 rounds.
  5. Place them on the prepared baking sheet and brush the tops with milk. Bake for 20–25 minutes until risen and
    golden. Transfer to a wire rack and serve warm or leave to cool completely.


Nicola Graimes
Vegetarian Food for Healthy Kids
£12.99, available from Nourish Books


, ,


This recipe of pistou from the book Top 100 Low-Carb Recipes by Nicola Graimes is a new take on the traditional soupe au pistou which is a specialty from the south of France, Provence to be exact and eaten in the summer months.

Low Carb Recipe 1


1 tbsp olive oil

1 leek, sliced

1 small carrot, finely chopped

1 stick celery, finely chopped

3 green beans, thinly sliced

700ml/11⁄4 pints/3 cups vegetable stock

150ml/5fl oz/2⁄3 cup pasta

1 bay leaf

30g/1oz/1⁄2 cup whole-wheat conchigliette (small shells) pasta

30g/1oz/1⁄2 cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed

sprig of fresh rosemary

salt and freshly ground black pepper

a few shavings of Parmesan, to serve

1 tbsp pesto, to serve


  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the leek. Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add the carrot, celery and green beans and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  • Pour in the stock and pasta and add the bay leaf, stir well. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, half-covered, for 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and using a hand-blender or food processor, semi-purée the vegetables.
  • Return the bay leaf to the soup, add the pasta, cannellini beans, and rosemary and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat slightly and cook for 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender. You may need to add some extra stock or water if the soup seems too thick. Remove the bay leaf and rosemary and season to taste.
  • Divide between 2 bowls. Serve with the Parmesan shavings and a spoonful of pesto.

Top 100 Low-Carb Recipes

Nicola Graimes

Top 100 Low-Carb Recipes

£5.99, available from Nourish Books

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

, ,

Thai Green Vegetable Curry

This recipe of Thai green vegetable curry comes from the book Top 100 Low-Carb Recipes by Nicola Graimes. The Top 100 Low-Carb Recipes is the essential tool for anyone who is interested in controlling their weight by cutting down their intake of carbohydrates. The key to success is eating the right type of carb alongside good sources of protein and fat.

Low Carb Diet 2



2 tsp sunflower oil

200ml/7fl oz/1 cup reduced-fat coconut milk

150ml/5fl oz/2⁄3 cup vegetable stock (see page 23)

115g/4oz/1 cup small broccoli florets

1 corn on the cob, husk removed, sliced into 2cm/3⁄4in pieces

1 small red pepper, seeded and sliced

55g/2oz/1 cup fresh spinach leaves, shredded

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander/cilantro, to garnish

Spice Paste:

3 green chillies, seeded and chopped

1 stick lemongrass, peeled and finely chopped

1 shallot, sliced juice and zest of 1 lime

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

1cm/1⁄2in piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander/cilantro


  • Place all the ingredients for the spice paste in a food processor and blend to a coarse paste.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the spice paste for 1 minute, stirring. Add the coconut milk and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until reduced.
  • Add the broccoli, corn and red pepper and cook for 3 minutes, then add the spinach and cook for another 2 minutes until the vegetables are just tender.
  • Season to taste and sprinkle with coriander/cilantro before serving.

Top 100 Low-Carb Recipes

Nicola Graimes

Top 100 Low-Carb Recipes

£5.99, available from Nourish Books

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

Smoked cheese potato cakes with crispy kale, and Its Part-Time Vegetarian Variation

These potato cakes from Nicola Graimes’s The Part-Time Vegetarian are a great midweek supper that can easily be prepared in advance. You can also easily adapt the recipe to your own preferences. For example, for a non-vegetarian version, try using salmon instead of cheese.

Part time veg day 7 Smoked Cheese and Potato Cakes090

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes

Potato cakes
750g/ 1 lb 10oz white potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 ½ tbsp butter
4 handfuls of cherry tomatoes
olive oil, for frying, plus extra for brushing and drizzling
4 large handfuls of curly kale, tough stalks discarded, torn into large bite-size pieces
3 smoked garlic cloves or regular garlic
100g/ 3 ½oz/ heaped 1 cup grated smoked Cheddar cheese
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and grated
4 tspb capers, rinsed, patted dry and roughly chopped
1 large handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
flour; for dusting
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Caper mayonnaise
6 tbsp mayonnaise
juice of ½ lemon
1 tbsp drained capers, rinsed, patted dry and finely chopped
1 tbsp nori flakes or 2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves

If possible, use a naturally smoked Cheddar in the potato cakes, rather than a smoke-flavoured one, which can lack the intensity of flavour and requisite dry texture. The smoked garlic embellishes the overall smokiness of the potato cakes, but you could use regular garlic instead.


  • Preheat the oven to 190C, 375F/ Gas 5. Cook the potatoes in plenty of boiling salted water for 12-15 minutes, or until tender. Drain and return the potatoes to the hot pan to dry briefly. Leave until cool enough to handle (or use rubber gloves) and coarsely grate into a large mixing bowl. Mix in the butter.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, brush the tomatoes with oil, place in a roasting pan, season with salt and pepper, and roast for 20 minutes, or until softened and starting to blacken, then leave to one side. Reduce the oven to 150C/300F/ Gas 2. Toss the kale in a little oil, season with salt and pepper, and place in a roasting pan in an even layer. Roast the kale for 10-15 minutes, turning once, until crisp. Keep an eye on it as it can easily burn.
  • Meanwhile, blanch the smoked garlic in a small pan of simmering water for 2 minutes until softened. Drain and roughly chop, then gently fold into the potatoes with the Cheddar, eggs, capers and parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cover a plate with flour and form the potato mixture into 8 thick cakes, about 8cm/ 3 ¼ in diameter. Lightly dust each potato cake in flour. Heat enough oil to generously cover the base of a large non-stick frying pan and fry the potato cakes in two batches for 3 minutes on each side until crisp and golden. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in the bottom of the oven with the tomatoes.
  • While the potato cakes are cooking, mix together all the ingredients for the caper mayonnaise. Serve the potato cakes with the roasted tomatoes and crispy kale and with the caper mayo by the side.

Part-time variation:
Salmon potato cakes

  • Cook the potatoes, tomatoes and kale as described above. Replaced the smoked cheese, smoked garlic and hard-boiled eggs with 635g/ 1lb 6oz canned salmon, drained, skin and bones removed and fish flaked. Stir the salmon into the grated potato with 4 tbsp capers and 1 large handful chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves, as instructed above. Form and cook the potato cakes as described above.


Nicola Graimes
The Part-Time Vegetarian
£20.00, available from Nourish Books




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

A Part-Time Vegetarian Choice: Pikelets with Pear and Ginger Compôte

A cross between the English crumpet and American pancake, the pikelet is thought to have originated in Wales. You need to plan ahead when making pikelets as the yeast requires time to do its thing, so these are best served for brunch (or indeed for tea). Nicola Graimes’s recipe from The Part-Time Vegetarian includes a warming pear compote flavoured with ginger and cloves, but they could also be served topped with a few rashers of crisp bacon and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Part time veg day 7 Pikelets006

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus rising

Cooking time: 16 minutes

225g/8oz/ 1 ¾ cups plain/all-purpose flour, preferably spelt
1 tsp instant dried yeast
2 tsp caster/ granulated sugar
1 large egg
270 ml/ 9 ½ fl oz/ scant 1 ¼ cups milk
½ tsp salt
sunflower oil, for frying
Greek yogurt, to serve

Pear and ginger compot:
3 just-ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut into bite-size cubes
finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
1 cm/ ½in piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
6 cloves
40g/ 1 ½oz/ 1/3 cup sultanas/ golden raisins
1-2 tbsp clear honey


  • To make the pikelets, mix together the flour, yeast and sugar in a large mixing bowl until combined, then make a well in the middle.
  • Whisk the egg into the milk. Pour the mixture into the well and gradually draw in the flour, whisking to make a smooth batter. Cover the bowl with cling film/ plastic wrap and leave for 2 hours in a warm place until bubbly and risen. Stir in the salt just before cooking, otherwise it will inhibit the yeast.
  • Meanwhile, to make the compote, put the pears, orange juice, ginger and cloves in a saucepan over a high heat and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and stir in the orange zest and sultanas/ golden raisins. Cover the pan and simmer for 5-8 minutes, or until the pears are just tender but not falling apart. Stir in enough honey to sweeten.
  • Heat a little oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and wipe it over the base using a crumpled up sheet of paper towel. Place a small ladleful (about 3 tablespoons) of the batter into the pan, then repeat to cook 4 pikelets at a time. Cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until risen and golden. Keep warm wrapped in a cloth or low oven while you make the remaining pikelets.
  • Serve the pikelets with pear and ginger compote and with yogurt on the side.


Nicola Graimes
The Part-Time Vegetarian
£20.00, available from Nourish Books




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


Recipe of the Week – Okonomiyaki

HH Part time Veg Day 5 Osomiyaki5866

Extract from The Part-Time Vegetarian by Nicola Graimes

Sometimes referred to as ‘Japanese pizza’, the name okonomiyaki actually means ‘grilled/broiled as you like it’, which goes to explain the many regional styles as well as personal variations there are of this dish. Just to confuse matters, okonomiyaki  is probably more accurately described as a cross between a thick omelette and a pancake. This interpretation is based on the Osaka-style,  where all the ingredients are mixed together before cooking. Try the veggie version, or add meat or fish for non-veggie guests or family.

Serves:  2–4

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 12 minutes

150g/5½oz white cabbage, finely shredded
6 spring onions/scallions, thinly sliced
50g/1¾oz kohlrabi or turnip, peeled and coarsely grated
110g/3¾oz/scant 1 cup plain/
all-purpose flour
½ tsp sea salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1½ tbsp sunflower oil

mayonnaise in a squeezy bottle, for drizzling
1 handful of radishes, sliced
1 handful of wild garlic leaves (and flowers) or chives, chopped
1 tbsp pink pickled ginger
1 tsp nori flakes


  • Put the cabbage, spring onions/scallions and kohlrabi
    in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour and salt and stir well until thoroughly combined.
  • Mix the eggs with 100ml/3½fl oz/scant ½ cup water. Pour it into the bowl containing the dry ingredients and stir gently but thoroughly until combined. Try to keep the stirring brief as you don’t want to activate the gluten in the flour as this will produce a heavy pancake.
  • Heat half the oil in a medium non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and tilt the pan so it coats the base. Tip the contents of the bowl into the pan and flatten with a spatula into a thick, round pancake shape, as even as you can get it. Turn the heat down slightly as you don’t want the base to burn and cook for 5–6 minutes until light golden.
  • Turn the pancake over (the easiest way to do this is to place a large plate on top of the pan and carefully turn it over to release the pancake). At this point, add the remaining oil to the pan before sliding the okonomiyaki back into the pan. Press down with a spatula and cook for another 5–6 minutes until light golden.
  • Slide the okonomiyaki onto a chopping board. Drizzle the mayonnaise in lines over the top and pile the radishes, wild garlic, pickled ginger and nori in the middle. Serve cut into wedges.

Part-Time Variations:

There are so many variations on toppings and fillings, so feel free to pick your own or try these suggestions:

Bonito okonomiyaki
Bonito flakes (paper-thin slices of dried fish similar to tuna) are typical. Sprinkle 2 tbsp bonito flakes over the top instead of the radishes.

Bacon okonomiyaki
Put 200/7oz diced bacon in the dry frying pan and place over a medium-low heat. When the fat starts to run, turn the heat to medium and fry the lardons for 5 minutes until golden and crisp. Stir half into the batter mixture and scatter the remainder over the top. There is no need to clean the pan before adding the okonomiyaki mixture, although you may like to reduce the amount of oil to 1 tablespoon.

Smoked salmon okonomiyaki
Stir 100g/3½oz smoked salmon pieces into the batter mixture and top with Japanese pickles.


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.


Meet Nicola Graimes

Nicola Graimes is an award-winning cookery writer and former editor of Vegetarian Living magazine. She has writtenNicola G. more than 20 books, including The Top 100 Recipes for a Healthy Lunchbox, The Big Book of Wok, The Big Book of Low-Carb Recipes, The New Vegetarian Kitchen (that was chosen as one of OFM‘s Top 50 Cookbooks of the Year) and Veggienomics for Nourish.

Can you describe your book? What should the reader expect from it?
The idea behind my latest book was born out of the growing number of people who like to eat a flexitarian diet, so one that is predominantly vegetarian but occasionally features meat and fish – so it’s the perfect book for those who are looking for simple and nourishing vegetarian meals and who also want recipes that can be adapted, on occasion, to include fish and meat.
In the book, there are lots of recipes for different eating occasions from breakfasts and brunches; light meals; quick and easy weekday meals; to weekend cooking and food for sharing, covering dishes for entertaining, celebrations and special occasions.
Yet, what sets this book apart is that many of the vegetarian recipes feature a variation that shows the reader how to adapt the original into one that contains meat or fish. So, in effect, you get two recipes for the price of one!

What inspired you to start writing The Part-Time Vegetarian?
I’ve noticed a real shift in interest in vegetarian food in recent years and not only from those who are committed to a fully meat-free diet. The standard of creativity in vegetarian cooking and the choice of ingredients now available is really inspiring.
The book is also a bit of a coming out for me… having been vegetarian for nearly thirty years and written many vegetarian cookbooks, more recently I’ve started to include some meat and fish in my diet. Although my diet is still mainly veggie, I’ve really got into developing dishes that can be adapted to suit different diets and preferences.
Coincidentally, I’ve discovered that I’m not alone and a flexi diet is, in fact, one of the fastest growing food trends. And, as the name suggests, the beauty of this way of eating is its flexibility – so it can easily be adapted to suit your lifestyle and what’s happening on a weekly basis

What was the first flexi dish that you mastered?
I suppose it’s a way of cooking I’ve been doing for years without fully recognizing or acknowledging it. For many years, there was a real divide in our house: my daughter and I were vegetarian and my son and husband meat-eaters. This could have made mealtimes tricky so I got used to adapting dishes to suit different tastes and keep everyone happy!
Everyday favourites such as pasta, pizza, soups, stews and pies are the most obvious dishes that can be readily adapted. In the book, the non-veggie twist may be as simple as adding a sprinkling of bacon or topping a lentil dish with a grilled fillet of fish, but I also wanted the non-veggie dishes to stand out on their own and not be second-rate to the meat-free ones, so there may be a slight change in spicing or other ingredients to ensure they work as best they can and taste great.

‪‪What are the biggest challenges in your job?
Well it’s such a great job, so I have no complaints… I’m not sure that this is the biggest challenge but keeping recipes simple and accessible is always a priority – as a food writer it’s easy to get carried away when developing new recipes by making dishes over-complicated or using too many different ingredients. I often have to remind myself to keep things real and don’t go overboard on the number of ingredients. I hope I’ve achieved this with The Part-time Vegetarian, especially with the special features that give pocket-sized ideas to spice things up in the kitchen – with the occasional more complex recipe, like the celebratory hand-raised mushroom pie for when time is not quite as pressing.

‪‪Can you tell us 3 kitchen hacks for a flexi diet?

  • For those occasions when you’re cooking for both veggies and non-veggies I like to make what I call ‘assembly’ meals. These are when you have a core part, say a noodle and vegetable Asian broth, but then on the table have different bowls of accompaniments that everyone can help themselves to depending on preference, so perhaps you could have some chilli-garlic prawns, cubes of marinated and fried tofu, stir-fried strips of beef or salted black beans.
  • Now we’re moving towards the cooler months, vegetable-based soups, stews and curries are perfect for making in bulk in advance and storing in portions in the freezer. Simply defrost and reheat for a quick warming weekday meal or in true flexi style, add your choice of meat or fish.
  • I always find it easier at the start of the week to mentally plan out what we’ll be eating as a family throughout the week to come, so there’s a balance and variety of ingredients and meals. If you want to include more vegetarian meals in your diet it makes it so much easier to be prepared and plan in advance. Incidentally, there is a section on ‘Planning Ahead’ with menu ideas in the book.


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.

Recipe of the Week – Potato Pakora Burgers

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


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

Top Tips to Go Flexi

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.


Black Rice, Peanut, Tofu and Mango Salad Makes a Perfect Dish to Share

If you are planning a picnic with your family or friends and looking for the perfect dish, this delicious and refreshing salad makes the perfect dish to share.

Black rice, peanut, tofu and mango salad

Serves 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

HH Part time Veg Day 5 Black Rice Tofu Mango Salad087

Ingredients: 175g/6oz/heaped ¾ cup black rice, rinsed; 55g/2oz/heaped ¹⁄³ cup unsalted peanuts; coconut oil, or cold-pressed rapeseed/ canola oil, for frying; 400g/14oz block of tofu, drained well on paper towels and cubed; 1 small red onion, diced; 3 spring onions/scallions, thinly sliced diagonally; 1 large red chilli, deseeded and thinly

sliced; 85g/3oz/scant 1 cup mangetout/snow peas, thinly sliced diagonally; ½ cucumber, quartered, deseeded
and diced; 1 large handful of chopped coriander/ cilantro leaves; 1 handful of chopped mint leaves; 1 large ripe mango, peeled, pitted and flesh cubed

The contrast of black rice, orange mango, green herbs and red chilli makes a visually stunning dish, but the variation in textures – crisp, crunchy and soft – as well as flavours – hot, sweet and sour – also add to the overall appeal of this Asian salad. If you can’t find black rice, you could use brown basmati, Camargue red rice or perhaps bulgur wheat instead – ideally you want a grain that holds its shaped when cooked.


  • Put the rice in a saucepan and cover generously with cold water. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to low, cover and simmer for 25–30 minutes until tender. Drain and tip the rice into a large serving bowl.
  • Meanwhile, toast the peanuts in a large dry frying pan for 5 minutes, tossing the pan occasionally until they start to colour and smell toasted. Tip onto a plate and leave to cool, then chop roughly.
  • Heat enough oil to generously cover the base of a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the tofu in three batches for 5 minutes, turning once, until golden and crisp, adding more oil when needed. Drain on paper towels.
  • Add the red onion, spring onions/scallions, half the chilli, the mangetout/snow peas, cucumber, half the herbs and three-quarters of the mango to the cooked rice. Pour the dressing over, then turn gently until everything is combined.
  • Spoon the dressed black rice salad onto four serving plates and top with the crisp tofu, the remaining mango, herbs and finally the peanuts.

Part-Time Variation
For an alternative to the tofu, mix together 2 tsp Thai seven-spice with 2 tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed/canola oil or melted coconut oil in a large shallow dish, then season with salt and pepper. Slice 400g/14oz skinless, boneless chicken breasts into strips and add to the dish. Turn the chicken in the marinade and leave to marinate for 30 minutes, if time allows.
Heat a large wok over a medium-high heat and tip in the chicken and its marinade. Stir-fry for 5–7 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and golden. Serve the chicken in place of the tofu.


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.


So What is a ‘Part-Time Vegetarian’, I Hear You Ask?

feat image

by Nicola Graimes

For me, there has been an exciting shift in enthusiasm for meat-free cooking over the last few years. There’s now a significant number of us who choose to eat a predominantly plant-based diet, so the recipes in my new book have been created to satisfy this growing trend for part-time vegetarianism. Yet, unlike other books on the market it shows how some of the recipes can be adapted to include meat and fish, if you like.

So the Part-time Vegetarian is a book for those who love vegetarian food, but who may not wish to commit to a fully meat-free diet and are looking for adaptable recipes. It’s also a way I like to eat – so my meals are principally plant-based, but I occasionally include meat and fish in my diet, although the ratio on my plate is always biased towards plant-based ingredients.

The beauty of part-time vegetarianism, or flexitarianism as it is often called, is that there are no hard and fast rules. It’s a way of eating that suits everyone and can be as flexible and variable as you like. It also can vary from day-to-day, week-to-week depending on personal choice and circumstances. Ideally, the only criteria is that plant-based foods form the foundation of whatever meal you’re eating.

The 120 vegetarian recipes in the book are also for those who have a vegetarian in the family and want fresh ideas, but are maybe also looking for recipes that can be easily adapted to suit all dietary preferences at home without having to cook two meals. Likewise, there are recipes for special occasions or dinner-parties when there’s a vegetarian guest and the host is looking for a meal that will satisfy all tastes. So most importantly, the book appreciates and celebrates the diversity of a flexitarian way of eating.

This recipe for Vietnamese Crispy Tofu and Cashew Salad makes a great weekday summer meal but if you choose it can be adapted to include chicken and peanuts instead.

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 7 minutes
Ingredients: 125g/4½oz rice vermicelli noodles; 1 recipe quantity Vietnamese Ginger; Chilli Dressing; 2 carrots, halved crossways and thinly sliced into strips; 1 small cucumber, quartered lengthways, deseeded, and thinly
sliced into strips; 2 handfuls of shredded red cabbage; 1 red pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced; 3 spring onions/scallions, thinly sliced; 2 handfuls of chopped mint leaves; 2 handfuls of torn basil leaves 250g/9oz crisp fried tofu pieces, halved if large; 1 Little Gem/Bibb lettuce, leaves separated; 70g/2½oz/heaped ½ cup salted
roasted cashew nuts.

HH Part time Veg Day 5 Vietnamese Tofu and cashew 019

Vietnamese Crispy Tofu and Cashew Salad

Sweet, sour, hot, spicy and salty, this vibrant salad includes all five elements that are fundamental to Vietnamese cooking. Vital, too, is the contrast in textures, from the crunch of the cashews to the crisp vegetables and soft, yielding rice noodles. Find crisp fried tofu in Asian grocers or cook
your own following the instructions below. Alternatively, try the soy-glazed chicken option,
opposite, if you are serving to non-vegetarians.

  • Put the noodles in a large mixing bowl, cover with justboiled
    water from a kettle and stir, then cover with a plate
    and leave to stand for 3 minutes, or until tender. Drain and
    refresh under cold running water, drain again and put in a
    large serving bowl. Spoon the dressing over and toss until
    thoroughly combined.
  • Add the carrots, cucumber, cabbage, pepper, spring
    onions/scallions and half the herbs to the bowl containing
    the noodles and toss until combined.
  • Heat a large dry, non-stick frying pan over a medium
    heat and cook the tofu for 2–4 minutes, turning regularly,
    until warmed through and crisped up. (If you can’t find
    crisp fried tofu, fry 250g/9oz cubed tofu in 3 tablespoons
    sunflower oil, turning occasionally, until golden and crisp.
    Drain on paper towels.)
  • Arrange the lettuce leaves on a large serving plate
    and top with the noodle salad, remaining herbs, cashews
    and crisp tofu before serving.



Nicola Graimes
The Part-Time Vegetarian
Available from September 2015





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

A Delicious Afternoon Treat to Taste Beetroot’s Earthy and Rich Flavour

(Extract from Nicola Graimes’s book Veggienomics)

Out of the many vegetables to choose from it may seem strange to pick beetroot, but its earthy, sweet flavour and vibrant magenta colour means it lends itself to so many savoury – and even sweet – dishes. Beetroot is a close relative of chard and spinach, so be sure not to waste the leaves, as they can be prepared and cooked in the same way. Nicola Graimes invites you to try beetroot in the traditional cup-shaped cakes.

Beetroot and Goats’ Cheese MuffinsBeetroot Muffins

Makes: 12 | Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 25 minutes

Ingredients: sunflower oil, for greasing; 280g/10oz/21⁄4 cups plain flour;  1⁄2 tsp sea salt
; 2 tsp baking powder; 
1⁄2 tsp bicarbonate of soda; 
2 large eggs, lightly beaten;  300ml/101⁄2fl oz/scant 11⁄4 cups natural yogurt;  85g/3oz butter, melted
; 115g/4oz goats’ cheese, crumbled
; 225g/8oz cooked beetroot, coarsely grated;  2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5. Lightly grease a 12-hole deep muffin tin with oil (or you could make 6 large muffins using large paper muffin cases).
  2. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl.
  3. Mix together the eggs and yogurt and beat in the melted butter. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then gently fold in the goats’ cheese and beetroot until just combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin tin, sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and bake for 20–25 minutes, or until risen and golden.

To experiment with more cooking techniques and ingredients, take a look at  Veggienomics: Thrifty Vegetarian Cooking by Nicola Graimes.


Nicola Graimes
Veggienomics: Thrifty Vegetarian Cooking