You don’t have to be a vegan to drool over the healthy (but hearty) recipes in Lee Watson’s new cookbook, Peace & Parsnips: Adventurous Vegan Cooking for Everyone ($25; amazon.com). With simple meals that use common ingredients—in other words, no need to seek out difficult-to-find vegan substitutes—Watson offers approachable, appetizing recipes that both vegans and carnivores will enjoy. Here, three of our favorites.
Beet & Cumin Fritters with Horseradish & Dill Yogurt
Yield: about 8-10 fritters
For the fritters:
1 large potato, scrubbed and cut into cubes
4 1/2 oz. firm tofu, pressed and well mashed
1/3 cup buckwheat or whole wheat flour
A handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
10 1/2 oz. beets, scrubbed and coarsely grated
A handful of edamame, green peas, or fava beans
1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted and roughly ground
Vegetable oil, for frying
A big handful of watercress or spinach leaves and two thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
1. Put the potato into a small pot, cover with water, add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cook for 25 minutes, until soft. Drain in a colander, mash well and leave to cool.
2. Make the horseradish and dill yogurt (see recipe below). This can be done well in advance.
3. Once the potato has cooled to handling temperature, mix with the mashed tofu, flour, mint leaves, lemon, salt and pepper. Now gently mix in the grated beet and peas, until well combined—using your hands is best. We’d like these fritters to be chunky and packed full of texture.
4. In a large heavy-bottomed frying pan, dry toast your cumin seeds on medium-low heat for a minute. They should pop and give off a lovely aroma. Put them into a mortar and mash them up a little, then stir them into the fritter mix.
5. In the same pan, warm 1/2 Tbsp. oil on medium heat, ensuring that the bottom of the pan is evenly covered with a film of oil. Spoon in 2 heaped Tbsp. of fritter mixture per go, pressing it down a little with the back of the spoon until it’s roughly 1cm thick. Cook for 3-4 minutes on one side and slightly less on the other. Repeat until you have a few fritters cooking at the same time, and continue to cook in batches. Drain on paper towels and keep them warm in a low-temperature oven.
6. Serve warm and crispy on a bed of vibrant green watercress or spinach leaves, garnished with the scallions and with the horseradish and dill yogurt on the side.
For the sauce:
1 1/3 cups thick unsweetened soy yogurt
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. finely grated horseradish or 1 1/2 Tbsp. horseradish purée
A handful of fresh dill, finely chopped
A pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Stir all the ingredients except the oil together in a small bowl. Season and drizzle with olive oil.
Pappardelle with Artichoke & Almond Sauce, Purple Kale & White Asparagus
14 oz. purple kale, stalks removed, thickly chopped
8-10 white asparagus spears
2 tsp. olive oil
1/3 cup nice white wine (vegan)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
14 oz. pappardelle (or similar egg-free pasta)
For the sauce:
5 Tbsp. olive oil
A handful of almonds, soaked for 2 hours, skins removed if you have time
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
4 big handfuls of watercress leaves
14 oz. artichoke hearts
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
For the topping:
A small handful of toasted almonds, finely chopped
A big handful of fresh parsley, chopped
A handful of watercress
1. To make the sauce, heat 1 Tbsp. of oil in a frying pan and add the almonds. Sauté for 1 minute, then add the garlic and continue cooking for 2 minutes more. Add the watercress leaves, cover the pan, remove from the heat and allow to cool.
2. Place the contents of the frying pan in a food processor with the artichokes, lemon juice and 4 Tbsp. olive oil, and blend to a smooth purée. The sauce should be thick and shiny. Add water to thin it out if necessary.
3. Heat 2 tsp. of olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed frying pan on medium and add the asparagus. Panfry for 6-8 minutes, until nicely caramelized. Add a glug of white wine, and when the liquid has evaporated, season and cover. Leave to sit.
4. Bring a big pan of salted water to a boil and cook your pasta for roughly 8 minutes, until al dente. Add the kale halfway through the cooking time. Drain well, keeping aside a little of the pasta water. Add the drained pasta and kale to the artichoke sauce and toss together, adding some of the pasta water if it is looking a bit dry.
5. Spoon into warm shallow bowls and top with criss-crosses of asparagus and a sprinkling of toasted almonds and parsley. Garnish with the watercress and season with sea salt and black pepper.
Raw Spiced Apple & Date Pie
Yield: 8-10 large slices
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups macadamia nuts or cashews
1 1/2 cups pecans or walnuts
1/3 cup dates
A large pinch of sea salt
For the filling:
5 oz. dried apples, roughly chopped
2 cups apple juice
13 oz. apples (about 3 or 4)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
8 big fat dates (Medjool are best), soaked until soft
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
A large pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
A small pinch of sea salt
For the topping:
Scant 1 cup (90g) pecans or walnuts, finely chopped
4 big fat dates, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
A large pinch of ground cinnamon
1. Soak the dried apples in the apple juice for an hour.
2. To make the crust, pulse all the ingredients in a blender until a rough crumble is formed. You will need to scrape down the sides with a spatula at least a couple of times. The crust is ready when it is sticky between your fingers. Gently press the crust down with your fingers into a shallow pie dish roughly 9 inches (23cm) in diameter, ideally with a loose bottom or springform action. Press down around the edge with a spoon to make it look neat and tidy, then pop into the fridge for 1 hour to firm up.
3. To make the filling, drain the dried apples, which should now be soft and plump. Core and chop the fresh apples, leaving the peel on, and toss them in the lemon juice to stop them from browning. Put half the fresh apples into a blender with the dates, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, maple syrup and salt, and pulse until well combined. Pour in a little of the apple juice from the dried apples if the filling is too thick. Add the rest of the fresh apples and dried apples, then spoon onto the pie crust and smooth out.
4. To make the topping, mix together the pecans, dates and vanilla in a bowl and spread over the top of the pie to form a crust. Sprinkle with the cinnamon.
5. Cover and place in the fridge for an hour to chill. Carefully slice and serve at room temperature.