Vegging Out

June 27, 2018

Vegging Out

Whether you’re looking for meat-free Monday inspiration or making a healthier change, Richard Buckley shares his hearty plant-based recipes to warm the soul this winter.


Serves 4


25g spinach
25g chives
25g parsley
2g chopped tarragon
250g freshly podded peas
50ml extra virgin olive oil
100g banana shallots, sliced
2.5g thyme leaves
350ml water
Sea salt


50g whole almonds
5ml white wine vinegar
1 clove of garlic
200ml water
2g sea salt
Soy lecithin


100g broad beans, podded
50g sugar snap peas, deveined
50g freshly podded peas
1 spring onion, finely sliced
4 parsley or micro parsley leaves, plus extra to top
8 lemon balm leaves
Extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
4 large radishes

First make the soup. Blanch the spinach, chives, parsley and tarragon together until the parsley is wilted and a vibrant green, then shock in ice-cold water.

Squeeze out the water using your hands, making a ball. Roughly chop and set aside.

Refill the saucepan and bring to the boil. Boil the peas for a few minutes until cooked with no grainy texture, then drain and shock in ice-cold water.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the shallots. Cook until soft and translucent, then add the thyme. Cook for 1 minute, leave to cool completely, then transfer to a blender. Add the chopped herbs, peas and measured water. Blend until very smooth, pass through a sieve and season with salt to taste. Place in the fridge.

Next, make the almond foam. Preheat the oven to (fan) 160°C/180°C. Put the almonds onto a small baking tray and roast for 10 minutes, until a dark colour. Transfer to a blender, add the vinegar, garlic, water and salt and blend until very smooth.

Line a sieve with a 30cm square muslin and set it over a jug.

Pour the almond mix into the sieve and collect up the corners to make a bag. Twist the bag to squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Discard the almond meal in the bag.

Measure the liquid, for every 100ml of liquid add 1.5g of soy lecithin. Using a stick blender, blend the lecithin into the mix.

Next make the garnish. Blanch the broad beans, sugar snap peas and podded peas until just soft, then shock in ice-cold water. Dry on kitchen towel then place in a bowl, reserving a few sugar snap pea pods for garnish, add the spring onion and shred the parsley and lemon balm over. Drizzle with a little olive oil. 

Place a pile of the bean and pea mix into 4 wide soup bowls. Finely slice the radish on a mandolin to give wafer thin slices and add to the pile along with a couple of just opened sugar snap pea pods.

Using a stick blender, whizz the almond foam at high speed, just skimming the surface of the liquid – keep whizzing until you have a beautiful, dense foam. Spoon the foam next to the pea salad and top with a few sprigs of herbs. Add the soup or pour the soup at the table from a jug for added effect.

Plants Taste Better by Richard Buckley, RRP $49.99, published by Quarto



Serves 4


2 large cauliflowers
20g gram flour
5g paprika
60ml extra virgin olive oil, for frying


40g small capers in salt
25g pine nuts
80ml extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, puréed
2 red chillies (not too hot), cut in half, deseeded and finely sliced
Zest of 2 lemons
40ml lemon juice
20g parsley leaves, finely chopped
20g mint leaves, finely sliced
4g sea salt

Put 4 litres of water and 60g of salt into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Separate the cauliflower into florets and peel off any woody skin on the stem. Add the florets to the boiling water and simmer gently for 4–6 minutes until cooked but still al dente (a knife will just pass through the stem). Shock in ice-cold water, then drain and pat dry. 

Preheat the oven to (fan) 160°C/180°C.

Make the dressing. Place the capers in a small bowl and cover with cold water.

Drain and re-cover with water, then leave to soak for 1 hour. Put the pine nuts on a small baking tray and bake in the oven for 5 minutes. Leave to cool slightly, then crush gently using a pestle and mortar, so they are just broken with some whole pieces. Remove the capers from the water (leaving the salt) and dry on kitchen towel.

Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan and add the capers. Fry gently until they begin to go crispy, then add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat, stir in the chillies and pine nuts and allow to cool. Add the lemon zest and juice, parsley, mint and salt to the saucepan. Mix well.

Mix the gram flour and paprika together in a small bowl. Lightly sprinkle it over the cauliflower florets, making sure there is a light coating with no lumps, then rub it on.

Turn the cauliflower over and do the same on the other side. Heat the olive oil in a large, wide-based frying pan, place the cauliflower in the pan and fry until a deep golden brown. Turn over and repeat on the other side. You may need to cook it in batches, adding more oil if necessary, keeping the cooked cauliflower warm.

Serve the cauliflower with the dressing drizzled generously over the top. 

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