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RECIPES: Here’s what to cook this National Vegetarian Week

Mushroom and lemon risotto. Picture: Supplied

Mushroom and lemon risotto. Picture: Supplied

Published May 4, 2022


National Vegetarian Week! Running from the 16th to the 22nd of May, this event aims to educate people about the benefits of a meat-free diet.

During National Vegetarian Week, people are encouraged to try going meat-free for a week, with vibrant and exciting vegetarian recipes being promoted and shared.

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Going meat-free can be difficult for anyone new to vegetarianism, but this week is the perfect opportunity to indulge in different meal options that are rich in new flavours, vegetables, and colours.

In celebration, the South African Mushroom Farmers' Association has shared below vegetarian recipes that you can try at home.

Not only are they spectacular in the flavour category, but they are also low in fat, high in fibre and antioxidants, and packed with vitamins and minerals.

Buttons and beans on toast. Picture: Supplied

Buttons and beans on toast

Serves: 4


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Breadcrumb topping

2 tbsp butter

50g cup breadcrumbs

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Zest of 1 lemon

2 tbsp Italian parsley, roughly chopped

1 large white onion, diced

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2 cloves garlic, minced

2 x 400g tins butter beans, drained and rinsed

± 6 sprigs of fresh thyme

250ml chicken or vegetable stock

Juice of ½ lemon

2 tbsp fresh dill sprigs

2 tbsp butter

250g white button mushrooms, sliced

4 thick-cut slices of sourdough bread

Olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste


For the breadcrumb topping: Melt butter in a frying pan. When sizzling, add the breadcrumbs.

Cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown.

Remove from the heat and place in a small bowl with the lemon zest and parsley.

Season to taste and mix well. Set aside.

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan.

Add the onion and cook until tender.

Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.

Add the drained beans, fresh thyme, and stock.

Bring to a simmer.

Simmer until the beans are very tender and the liquid has reduced.

Crush a few beans as you stir to add more body to the sauce.

Switch the heat off and add the lemon juice and dill. Stir.

Heat the butter with a little drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan.

Add the sliced mushrooms and cook on high heat until just golden brown and still juicy and tender. Season well with salt and pepper.

Brush the slices of sourdough with olive oil and season with salt.

Pan fry until golden brown and crisp on both sides.

Stir the mushrooms into the beans just before plating up.

Serve generous spoonfuls of mushrooms and beans over the sourdough.

Finish with a sprinkle of the crispy, crunchy, lemony breadcrumb topping and fresh dill sprigs.

Mushroom and lemon risotto

Serves: 6-8


Risotto base

2 litres mushroom stock

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp butter

1 onion finely diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp chilli flakes

2 cups arborio rice

250ml dry white wine or a splash of brandy

Salt and pepper, to taste

To finish off the risotto

Zest of 1 lemon

50g butter, cut into cubes

60g parmesan, finely grated


2 tbsp olive oil

500g mixed cultivated mushrooms, sliced

5 sprigs thyme

2 garlic cloves, finely grated

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper, to taste

To serve: Parmesan shavings, micro herbs, and lemon zest


Keep mushroom stock warm in a pot on the stove.

For the risotto base: Heat olive oil and butter in a large pot. Add onion and a pinch of salt and cook until the onion is very soft. Add the garlic and chilli flakes and cook until fragrant.

Add rice and stir well. Toast the rice until the grains are translucent around the edges and begin to brown. Add wine and stir until wine is completely absorbed.

Reduce heat to medium-low, and ladle in hot mushroom stock, stirring constantly and allowing liquid to absorb fully before adding more. Keep adding stock until the rice is creamy but remains al dente. Adjust seasoning.

Switch off the heat. Stir through the lemon zest. Add the final butter and parmesan.

Stir quickly and then place the lid on the pot and leave until serving.

For the mushrooms: Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.

Cook, tossing occasionally, until golden browned and tender.

Add thyme, garlic, and butter and cook until garlic softens and butter is golden brown.

Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Toss to coat and discard the thyme sprigs.

Divide risotto among bowls.

Top each with a few spoonfuls of the mushroom mixture.

Serve with micro herbs, an extra grating of lemon zest, and parmesan.

Lentil and mushroom stew on butter bean mash

Serves: 6


1 ½ cup brown lentils

5 cups mushroom stock

1 bunch of fresh thyme sprigs

1 onion, diced

500g portabella mushrooms, sliced

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

2 tbsp tomato paste

½ tsp dried chilli flakes

1 x 400g tin diced tomatoes

Olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Butter bean mash

2 x 400g tins of butter beans, rinsed & drained

1 small clove of garlic, grated finely

2 tbsp lemon juice

4 tbsp or 60ml olive oil

Salt & pepper, to taste

Chopped parsley or micro herbs, for serving


To make the mash, add all the ingredients to a food processor.

Blitz until completely smooth, adding a little water if you want to thin it out.

To warm up - transfer to a saucepan over low heat and stir until warmed through.

Taste to adjust seasoning.

For the lentil stew: Rinse lentils well. Place in a large pot or Dutch oven and add the mushroom stock and thyme.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook with lid ajar for about 25 minutes until tender. If you need to give them a little liquid top-up, add some boiling water from the kettle.

Discard the thyme sprigs.

Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large sauté pan.

Add onion and mushrooms. Season lightly and cook until the onion softens and mushrooms are golden. Add garlic, tomato paste, and chilli flakes. Cook until the tomato paste turns a deep dark red colour and smells sweet.

Pour in the tinned tomato and deglaze the bottom of the pan.

Add the cooked lentils and all their liquid. Mix everything well together.

Taste to adjust seasoning

Serve stew on warmed butter bean mash and sprinkle with micro herbs.

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