Tomorrow marks the start of National Vegetarian Week, and this year the theme is “sharing”.
If you normally eat meat, why not use the opportunity to try going a week without it? If you make the effort to look up and cook some decent vegetarian meals during the coming days you may be pleasantly surprised by the rich variety of flavours and textures which vegetarian cuisine can offer.
Ethical considerations aside, there are many health benefits of a vegetarian diet. Compared to meat eaters, vegetarians tend to have lower body mass index, lower levels of cholesterol, less incidence of heart disease, depression, dementia, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and renal disease.
So, why not do yourself some good by taking a week off from meat eating, promise yourself to make the effort to cook some appetising vegetarian dishes and see how good you feel by the end of it?
I’d originally planned a broad bean recipe for this week but my superaquadulce broad beans are not quite ready to be harvested. So I’m using butter beans instead, along with some of the wonderful herbs currently bursting into life on my allotment plot, the Circus Garden.
I’ve also opted to use canned organic butter beans to speed up the cooking process, meaning this delightful and tasty dip for sharing was made in less than ten minutes, although purists (as I usually am) could use dried butter beans, soaking them overnight and cooking them until tender.
butter bean and Spring herb dip
2 x 400 g cans of organic butter beans, drained
1 clove garlic, crushed or finely chopped
juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp sea salt
50 ml extra virgin olive oil
1. Place the butter beans in a food processor, along with the garlic, lemon juice, sea salt, olive oil and chopped fresh herbs (but keep a few of the herbs back for garnish). Process until you have a smooth puree.
3. Pour the dip into a bowl. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle on the reserved chopped herbs. Serve this dip with seasonal crudites or pita bread crisps.