by Iona Berry
Most of us grew up with meat as the hero of our meals and with vegetables taking up the mere corners of our plates. It can be hard to know where to start if you're trying to flip the script and cook plant based meals that don’t feel like just eating a plate full of sides. Building an exciting, yet satisfying meal around vegetables - whether that’s a bunch of carrots or a humble head of cauliflower - can sometimes feel like a little daunting and underwhelming task.
Our new series, Veg and Two Veg is here to tackle just that and to explore all of the ways in which every day vegetables can be the star of the table without sacrificing flavour or heartiness. Whether you’re cooking for one or cooking for a bunch, these recipes will fill your table with vibrant, deeply flavoured and satisfying dishes that you’ll be making on repeat.
This classic romesco sauce recipe is full of flavour from peppers, almonds and paprika. Traditionally served as an accompaniment to fish, this one is served alongside tenderstem broccoli which was an excellent contrast to the smoky and sweet sauce. This quick and easy vegan romesco sauce is the perfect starter or addition to a picnic and it’s vibrant red colour goes fantastically with crunchy green vegetables.
Romesco sauce is from the Catalan region of Spain and is traditionally made using nyora peppers but any bell peppers will do if you can’t get your hands on them. Flour or bread is sometimes used as a thickener but I prefer to keep mine a little saucier and I find it lasts longer if you don’t add any thickeners. I like to go the extra mile and roast the peppers and take off the skin but if you are short on time then it’s absolutely fine to use ones from a jar. It can be a bit tricky to get the skin off the peppers but if you roast them until they go completely black, I find it to be relatively quick and easy. I prefer a chunkier textured romesco but if you want it to be fully smooth then add all of the olive oil into the food processor and blend for longer.
3 red peppers (around 350g)
30g flaked almonds
1 small clove of garlic, minced
2 tbsp sun dried tomatoes
2 tsp sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
½ tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
5g parsley, chopped
1 tsp red pepper flakes
30ml extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 220˚C fan /240˚C conventional. Put the red peppers onto a baking tray and roast for 30 minutes (or until the skin goes black).
Once cooled, you can peel off the skin. If you are having trouble getting the skin off then you can put them in some cold water to soften the skin even more.
Heat a small frying pan on medium heat and dry toast the flaked almonds for a couple of minutes until they turn golden brown. Take them off the heat and let them cool.
Add the roasted peppers, toasted almonds, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, vinegar, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, parsley, red pepper flakes and blitz until they have broken down but not a smooth puree. I find it’s best to do bursts rather than continuously blend.
Stir through the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper (or some extra cayenne if you like it spicier). Top with more toasted almond and chopped parsley.
By Iona Berry
Iona is our Development Chef, aka our go-to girl for developing, testing and tasting delicious dishes for you to all enjoy at home. When she’s not in the kitchen, you’ll find her either running or cycling, or trying out food markets and new restaurants around London. Continuous market research it would seem.