A committed animal-rights activist, Linda McCartney was a true vegetarian pioneer with a passion for wholesome cooking. To this day, her legacy lives on through Linda McCartney’s Foods, a range of chilled and frozen vegetarian and vegan products. Not to forget, of course, the fantastic Meat Free Monday campaign driven by Paul, Stella and Mary McCartney!
A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to Linda McCartney’s Veggie Table. The evening was hosted by Jay McGuiness who enlisted the help of Linda McCartney’s resident chef Glen Roberts. I have to admit that I was not very familiar with the Linda McCartney range and I was very curious to try it out.
Before getting settled into the kitchen, we were welcomed with drinks and canapés including some delicious Vegetarian Scampi Bites and Vegetarian Mini Pork & Apple Sausage Rolls. They made perfect finger food while we waited for our cooking demonstration.
The theme for the evening was to try out innovative ideas with the Linda McCartney’s range in order to create some unusual recipe twists. Jay McGuiness and Glen Roberts set out to demonstrate how to make the following three recipes:
WARM CATALAN SALAD WITH VEGETARIAN CHORIZO
This is a tasty salad that uses Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Chorizo & Red Pepper Sausages mixed in with some roasted potatoes and bulked up with lentils and beans. This dish makes a complete meal, ideal for a summer BBQ or Picnic.
- 6 Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Chorizo & Red Pepper Sausages
- 500g cooked new potatoes
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- A pinch of turmeric
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 2 sticks celery sliced diagonally 2cm pieces
- 1 red onion, thickly sliced
- 1 bulb fennel, sliced finely
- ¼ tsp. fennel seeds
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
- 1 Lemon
- 1.5 tbsp. Sherry or 1tbsp. Sherry Vinegar
- A pinch dried red chilli
- A pinch of Cumin seed
- 2 sprigs chopped fresh Thyme
- 50g tomato puree
- 280g tinned Cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- 100g cooked green lentils
- 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 punnet mixed cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 large handful of Kale
- A good pinch flat leaf parsley
- Black pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
- Cut the cooked new potatoes in half and roll in a drizzle of vegetable oil, turmeric, ½ tsp. paprika and salt. Place on a baking tray, lay the chorizo sausages on top and cook in oven for 20mins.
- Warm 1tbsp vegetable oil in a frying pan or wok; add the celery, onion, fennel and fennel seed and colour gently for five minutes. When soft add the garlic, a squeeze of lemon juice, then the sherry and cook for a few minutes.
- Next add the dried red chilli, cumin seeds, thyme and tomato puree, followed by the beans, lentils, chopped tomatoes and cherry tomatoes cook for a few minutes adding a little water if the pan looks dry.
- Add the kale to the pan and stir in, simmer until wilted. Add parsley, a generous squeeze of lemon juice and season to taste.
- Cut sausages and arrange on the plate with all of the other salad ingredients.
- Top Tip: If you don’t want the onions to brown too much add a splash of water. Remember not to cook using olive oil as this dulls the flavour. Cook using vegetable oil instead.
VEGETARIAN PULLED PORK FAJITA WITH SMASHED AVOCADO
Why not turn Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Pulled Pork Burgers into some tasty fajitas for a change? Perfect for a quick weekend lunch.
- 2 Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Pulled Pork Burgers
- A pinch of cumin seeds
- 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 Red onion, sliced
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 Yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into strips
- 1 Red pepper, deseeded and cut into strips
- 1 ripe avocado
- A pinch of Salt
- 2 large tortilla wraps
- ½ tin of refried beans
- A few sprigs of fresh coriander
- Preheat oven to 180°C and cook the burgers in oven for 20 minutes.
- Toast your cumin seeds in a pan for 30 seconds, then add the oil and sliced onion, when they start to colour add half the lime juice.
- Next add the peppers and cook just to soften, season and set aside.
- Carefully wipe the pan clean ready to use again.
- Peel the avocado, add remaining lime juice and pinch of salt then mash together.
- Spread some refried beans across the middle of the wrap and place in a dry pan for a bout 30 seconds.
- Next slice the burger into strips and panfry, until lightly coloured
- Add the sliced burger, pepper and onion mix, avocado and coriander leaves to the wrap and roll. Add a squeeze of lime if desired.
Top Tip: Wrap the burgers in foil before placing in the oven and open up for the last five minutes of cooking for and extra juicy burger, just like Mary does at home.
VEGETARIAN DUCK, GINGER AND MANGO RICE
Ideal for a dinner party with friends.
- 150g Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Shredded Duck
- 140g sliced red cabbage
- 2 carrots, cut into ribbons with a peeler
- 2 pak choi, roughly chopped
- 500g cooked brown sushi rice (or any left over rice)
- 1 tbsp. black sesame seed
- 1 ripe mango peeled, stoned and diced
- 100g edamame beans
- A good handful of fresh Coriander, chopped
- 20g ginger, peeled and grated
- 30g sesame oil
- 60g soy sauce
- 22g dark muscavado sugar
- 20g tamarind paste
- Or alternatively use: 4 tbsp. hoisin, mixed with 1tbsp sesame oil.
- 80g caster sugar
- 15g salt
- 125ml rice wine vinegar
- Make the pickling liquor, by adding ¼ litre of boiling water to the pickling liquor ingredients and set aside to cool.
- Shred the red cabbage and cover with the cooled pickling liquor repeat for the carrots. Set aside to pickle for 60 minutes.
- Combine the sesame dressing ingredients together until you have a smooth sauce.
- Pan fry the chopped pak choi in a little sesame oil for 2 minutes and set aside.
- Pan fry the rice for 5 – 6 minutes until warmed through, adding a little water if needed to stop the rice from sticking. Add the black sesame seeds and stir through.
- In a separate pan, fry the duck with 50ml of water for 7 – 8 minutes, when crispy add a third of the sauce and some chopped coriander.
I am often disappointed by vegetarian “lookalike” food as often I find taste and texture are just not right. Here I am really impressed by the taste and versatility of Linda McCartney’s vegetarian and vegan ranges which include everything from vegetarian sausages, scampi bites, burgers, pies, meatballs to vegetarian chicken paella and vegetarian beef burrito mix. Enough to satisfy vegetarians, vegans and flexitarians alike.
The evening I spent at Linda’s Veggie Table gave me some really interesting twists on how to use ordinary food like sausages or burgers in more elaborated dishes. I really enjoyed everything that was cooked that evening and am definitely going to make these again, especially the duck which was ever so tasty.
Make sure you try some of the recipe ideas from Linda McCartney’s website.