While I’m not even close to being vegetarian I know that I feel and look better (more energy, clearer skin) when my diet is heavy on vegetables. I like the thinking behind the Meat Free Monday campaign, committing to go meat-free at least once a week (not necessarily on a Monday, although I personally like to get the week off to a healthy start).
These days I would say I’m meat-free for around two thirds of the average week and I’m always looking for new veggie recipes to try (hence the cookbook addiction, that I’ve mentioned before!). When the people from organic box scheme Riverford got in touch to ask whether team RMS would like to try one of their recipe boxes, it was a no-brainer to pick the vegetarian recipe box – everything you need to cook three veg-packed recipes for two. There’s also two recipes boxes for meat eaters, a quick recipe box (three speedy seasonal recipes) and the original recipe box (three classic recipes).
And so, last Thursday morning a very lovely man arrived bearing vegetables, and all the other ingredients I needed to make the three dishes of the week: spinach & wild garlic frittata with alfalfa & pumpkin seed salad; mushroom & aubergine curry with citrus yoghurt & naan bread and broccoli wheatberry fricassée with roasted cherry tomatoes & mash. After working out where he could leave future boxes if I happened to be out, he left me to it.
Of course the second he’d gone I ripped open the box. Everything was neatly organised into compartments, a mixture of vegetables, dry ingredients (flour, herbs etc) and, wrapped in a cool bag, ingredients that needed to be chilled (milk, cheese etc). There was a key explaining what was where for the purpose of identifying any unusual ingredients and everything was measured out into the exact amounts needed. I put everything away and marveled at my (for once) full fridge. There was also a Welcome/A-Z Of Veg Booklet and a March – April recipe booklet featuring recipes starring four in-season vegetables (purple sprouting broccoli, spring greens, leeks and asparagus).
The next morning I got out everything I needed to make the frittata. With all the ingredients measured out already it felt a bit like being on a cookery show. I resisted the urge to pretend talk to camera as I cooked, and got started. The recipe was insanely easy to follow, explaining exactly how to prep ingredients where necessary, for example in the case of the wild garlic it advised putting the leaves on top of each other, rolling them into a cigar shape and then finely shredding them. As the card had predicted 35 minutes later I had a perfectly cooked frittata with salad for two. It tasted as good as it looked (see above!).
The other two recipes were just as easy and every bit as delicious (although they took a little bit longer, around 50 minutes respectively). The only thing that caught me out was that the wheatberries, a key ingredient of the broccoli wheatberry fricassée, needed to be soaked overnight which I only realised about six hours before the dish was due to be on the table. I soaked them for as long as I had and the dish tasted great, although tbh never having eaten wheatberries before, I’m not sure exactly how they were supposed to turn out.
The ever-so-slight stress of the wheatberry incident aside I loved my veggie recipe box and will definitely order another one. It was great to be able to try three new dishes (from both a cooking and eating perspective) and some new to-me ingredients, with the convenience of having everything arrive in the exact measurements required. The best thing, however, was the quality of the ingredients. Everything was like the very best version of itself, the tomatoes couldn’t have been more tomatoey, the lemons more lemony. I suppose it might not suit if you’re very fussy (although you can make substitutions) but I liked trying something new and that someone else had done all the thinking (and shopping) for me. If you’re tempted (and I thoroughly recommend you give it a try), The Riverford vegetarian recipe box costs £33 for three meals for two although depending on your appetite, it might go further. The aubergine and mushroom curry was plenty for two with enough leftovers for me to have it for lunch the next day. Read more about the recipe boxes here.
Anyone else do the Meat Free Monday thing? Have you tried a recipe box scheme? What did you think? Anyone else veggie one day a week, or more? What are your favourite spring veggie recipes right now? Do share below!