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3 meat-free meals for winter weather

Pumpkin and fennel baked risotto

Credit: Image courtesy of Taste.com.au, photography by Steve Brown

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The weather has gotten cold, and I can see from all the cooking shows and magazines that everyone is wanting to eat big, hearty meals to warm themselves up. I love a good roast or stew, but it does make it difficult to know what to eat on the days where I’m choosing to eat vegetarian.

But I’ve come up with a few favourites I think you’ll like too. If you’ve got some more suggestions, or a favourite meat-free meal that warms you up in winter, let me know in the comments.

1. Tomato, spinach and lentil dhal: this doesn’t look fancy, but the spices heat you up and the lentils keep you full. There are so many vegetable curries with beans or pulses for protein, it’s easy to find one as hot or mild as you like - check out Caitlin's post from May for more ideas. Serve with some naan bread instead of rice if you like. Sprinkle on chopped fresh herbs like parsley or coriander for a bit of brightness, or even a few wedges of chopped tomato. As a bonus, they freeze well for lunches too.

2. Pumpkin and fennel baked risotto: I love this one with pumpkin and fennel, but you can add any winter vegetables you like. Baking the risotto instead of making it on the stovetop is great for busy people - you can just set and forget until a timer goes off instead of having to stand and stir it for a constant twenty minutes. It’s filling and a good way to try out new vegetables if you’re feeling adventurous, and this recipe makes a large amount so you can freeze half for a lazy night later on too.

3. My very favourite G Magazine Roasted Winter Veg Salad: this recipe was in the second issue of G Magazine, and it’s become a family favourite at my house. Beetroot, sweet potato, and capsicum make it colourful, and the roasting brings out all the deep flavours. Meanwhile, the salad leaves bring in a nice change in texture by adding a bit of crunch. I’ve found that you can garnish it with nuts or cheese as well if you like, and chopped parsley on top is another good addition. I like a nice vinegrette with it, but a honey-mustard dressing is very nice too.

Of course, don’t forget the lazy options: grilled cheese on toast dipped in tomato soup, or boiled eggs with toast soldiers for a little bit of a comfort meal. What are your favourites?