Lets face it, not everyone eats meat. Planning for a variety of guests can become quite complicated, especially when traditional Christmas dinners usually involve meat. Here are two quick and easy main course ideas to include your vegetarian guests.
Whole Roasted Cauliflower
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ a bunch of fresh thyme , (15g)
- olive oil
- 1 lemon
- 1 large cauliflower , with outer leaves (1kg)
- 4 tablespoons dry sherry
- 1 x 400 g tin of quality plum tomatoes
- 40 g flaked almonds
- ½ a bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley , (15g)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 180 C or 350 F.
- Peel the garlic, then add to a pestle and mortar with the paprika and half the thyme leaves. Bash well to a rough paste, then muddle in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season.
- Zest the lemon into a separate bowl and set aside.
- Trim the outer cauliflower leaves. Trim away and discard the stalk so the cauliflower can sit flat, then cut a cross into the base.
- Rub the paprika paste all over the cauliflower, then place in a medium casserole pan. Drizzle over the sherry and squeeze the lemon juice on top.
- Cover and pop in the hot oven for around 1 hour 20 minutes, or until tender, removing the lid for the final 20 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven, then pour in the tomatoes, tearing or slicing them up into chunks. Sprinkle over the lemon zest and pick over the remaining thyme leaves.
- Return the pan to the oven for a further 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is golden.
- Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a dry frying pan over a medium-low heat until golden, then leave to cool.
- Once ready, take the pan out of the oven. Scrunch over the toasted almonds, then pick, roughly chop and scatter the parsley leaves on top.
- Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, then carve up and serve with pilaf rice and steamed greens, or as part of a bigger spread.
Broccoli Cheddar Brown Rice Casserole
- 3 cups broccoli florets
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots (optional)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk (whole is best, but reduced fat will do)
- 1 1/4 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup brown rice, cooked according to package instructions (when cooked, it should be between 3 and 4 cups)
- 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Bring an inch of water to a boil in a medium saucepan fitted with a steamer basket. Place the broccoli and carrots in the basket, cover, and steam for 3-5 minutes, or until tender. Transfer the veggies to a large bowl, then drain and dry the saucepan.
- Return the saucepan to medium-low heat. Once the saucepan is warm, add the butter and let it melt, then stir in the onions and garlic. Cook for about 7 minutes, or until the onions are softened and translucent. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook 2-3 minutes more, stirring constantly, until flour is golden brown. Slowly pour the milk into the saucepan, whisking to incorporate it into the flour as you pour. Take your time with this step! Once all the milk is in the saucepan, bring the mixture to a simmer, continuing to whisk constantly. Continue to cook, whisking often, until the sauce is thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon (about 5 minutes more). Remove from heat and whisk in 1 cup of the cheddar cheese, the Parmesan cheese, mustard powder, and paprika. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the cooked rice to the bowl with the broccoli and carrots and pour the cheese sauce on top. Stir to incorporate; taste and add additional salt and pepper, if needed. Grease a square baking dish with butter or spray it with an oil mister (or cooking spray, if you don’t have an oil mister); transfer the rice mixture to the baking dish and top with the remaining 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese and the Panko. Spray the top of the casserole with additional oil and bake for 25 minutes, then broil for about 3 minutes more, until the Panko is lightly browned. Remove from oven and let the casserole sit for about 5 minutes before serving.