Meat-Free Monday


With Meat-free Monday becoming a popular phenomenon, Munisha Lall offers some simple recipes to inspire students

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By Munisha Lall

Image: SoniaT 360
Image: SoniaT 360
There is a long-standing tradition which decrees that students must live off an unappetising cocktail of baked beans, pot noodles and questionable ready meals. Now, after one mince pie too many, along with much Christmas merriment, I'm beginning to feel the pinch (around the waist and on the bank balance) this January. So along with the surplus of New Year's Resolutions already floating and faltering, a meat-free Monday could be the answer to your financial and health-related woes. Meat-free Mondays is a concept that was founded in the USA and gained international momentum from Paul and Linda McCartney's prolific backing of a reduced meat diet, in an attempt to address "not only pollution, but better health, the ethical treatment of animals, global hunger and community and political activism." In this vein, what better way to kick-start the new year than adopting a new approach to posh nosh. These dishes are colourful and versatile, can be made to last several days, and should hopefully debunk the myth that students can't finely dine a la vegetarian.   Mediterranean Tart
Image: Tracy Benjamin
Image: Tracy Benjamin
  • Jus Rol puff pastry sheet 320g
  • 4 plum tomatoes, sliced
  • Italian mozzarella 150g, diced
  • Baby leaf spinach 60g, stems removed and chopped
  • Green pesto 190g
  • 1 free range egg, beaten
  • Oregano to taste
  • Virgin olive oil for the oven tray
  1. Preheat oven to 200degc, and evenly grease a small oven tray with virgin olive oil. Remove the Jus Rol puff pastry sheet from the greaseproof paper and place on the oven tray. Place in the oven for ten minutes.
  2. Whilst the pastry semi-bakes, thinly slice the plum tomatoes, dice the mozzarella. and chop the spinach.
  3. Remove tray from the oven and spread green pesto evenly on the pastry. Scatter the spinach, and then place the tomatoes in three rows running down the pastry. Evenly distribute the mozzarella before brushing one beaten egg on the tart and seasoning with oregano.
  4. Place in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the pastry has become a gorgeous brown light brown colour at the edges. Serves three.
  Hearty Tofu Gnocchi
Image: Laissez Fare
Image: Laissez Fare
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Virgin olive oil
  • Fresh gnocchi 500g
  • Cauldron Marinated Tofu Pieces 160g
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 handfuls of spinach, stems removed
  • Tub of tomato & basil sauce 350g
  • 5 tablespoons of grated cheddar cheese
  1. Add water, the gnocchi, a dash of virgin olive oil and seasoning to taste to a saucepan, and heat for 5 minutes. After which, add the spinach and continue to heat for another minute.
  2. In a pan, fry the garlic and tofu until golden brown. Squeeze lemon juice on the fried tofu.
  3. Drain the gnocchi and spinach. Mix with the tofu and tomato & basil sauce.
  4. Grease a 13x9 inch casserole dish, and lay all the mixture inside. Layer the cheddar cheese on top generously and bake for about 20 minutes. Serves two.
  Vegalicious Stir Fry
Image: Paul Kelly
Image: Paul Kelly
  • Free range fresh egg noodles 400g
  • Beansprouts 400g
  • Shiitake mushroom 100g, sliced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • Handful of white and green cabbage, sliced
  • Black bean stir fry sauce 200g
  • 2 free range eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons of coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon of chilli flakes
  • Soy sauce to taste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Handful of roasted pine nuts
  • Virgin olive oil
  • Instructions
  1. In a large wok, add a dash of virgin olive oil and fry the noodles and beansprouts for 2-3 minutes, before adding the sliced shiitake mushroom, white and green cabbage, carrot and two beaten eggs. Stir thoroughly at a high heat for 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add the pine nuts, bay leaves, coriander powder, chilli powder and soy sauce whilst continuing to mix for 1 minute.
  3. Take off the heat, fish out the bay leaves, and stir in the black bean sauce. Serves four.
  Fragrant Halloumi Bread Rolls Ingredients
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cm fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 4 cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Natural yogurt 250g
  • 4 Portobello mushrooms
  • Halloumi 250g, sliced
  • 4 bread rolls
  1. Mix the garlic, ginger, spices, lemon juice and yogurt in a large bowl until smooth, then add the mushrooms to the bowl. Coat well in the mixture then leave to marinate for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the oven to 200degc. Place the mushrooms on a lined baking tray and place a slice of halloumi on top of each, then cook in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve in lightly toasted bread rolls. Serves four.