June 13, 2024

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Creamy Vegetarian Pasta Bake | Dietitian UK

creamy vegetarian pasta bake, cauliflower and broccoli cheese

It’s time to announce another YouTube video! This week we are looking at vegetarian meals and how to reduce meat consumption. Whilst I would be very happy going fully vegetarian, my family are very much meat-lovers, but I try to encourage them in reducing meat consumption and to eat more plant-based alternatives. Vegetarian meals are not only healthy, reducing the amount of meat in your diet is a good way to save money during the cost of living crisis. So read on and watch the video for a my tips and tricks on how to encourage your family to eat less meat. There’s also a delicious and creamy vegetarian pasta bake recipe to try.

I’ve written about going meat-free and whether we should all be going vegetarian before, so don’t forget to check those blogs out too!

Reducing Meat Consumption

Whilst meat can be part of a healthy, balanced diet, eating less can be good for your health and your bank balance. Vegetarian meals are generally cheaper as they cut out the expensive meat. There are some campaigns out there encouraging people to eat less meat, such as Meatless Monday, which can give you some inspiration for vegetarian meals too. But, if like me, your family wouldn’t like to go fully meat-free, then here are some ideas on how to reduce that meat consumption without removing it entirely.

Half and Half

When cooking with mince, why not halve the meat and add in lentils instead. With a casserole you can go half meat and half beans.or pulses. If you make a stir fry then nuts or seeds add that protein whilst cutting down on the meat. Seeds go great on the top of soups and salads as well! Use egg to make egg-fried rice, providing that balance of protein without the need for meet.

Plant-Based Alternatives

There are more and more plant-based alternatives. You can use something like Tofu or meat-free mince. Some of these alternatives might take a bit of getting used to, but my family is certainly very accepting of the meat-free mince and sausages. I also recently did a little test with the children where we cooked regular chicken nuggets alongside a meat-free version. Without telling them which was which (actually without telling them one was plant-based) we asked which one was their favourite. Perhaps surprisingly, five out of six preferred the meat-free nuggets!

Smart Shopping to Cut Costs

It also has to be said that you can cut costs by some smart shopping as well. Looking out for deals or reduced-price meats and then freezing them is a great way to save some money. So shop around and try a different supermarket from time to time. You can find some other tips and tricks for budget food shopping here.

Creamy Vegetarian Pasta Bake – Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheese

Talking about vegetarian meals and making a cauliflower and broccoli cheese pasta bake
creamy vegetarian pasta bake, cauliflower and broccoli cheese

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Broccoli and Cauliflower Pasta Cheese

Servings 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 150 ml plant mylk
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • extra water as needed
  • 200 g cheddar cheese
  • 320 g broccoli
  • 320 g cauliflower
  • 300 g pasta
  • Start to cook the cauliflower, broccoli, and pasta. I used my multi-cooker but you can cook these in separate pans if you don’t have one. Whilst this is cooking, start on your sauce.

  • Heat some oil in a pan and add the flour. Stir until it resembles breadcrumbs

  • Add in the milk a little at a time, stirring/whisking well until smooth

  • Mix in the mustard and cheese (keeping a little cheese back for topping). Allow to simmer

  • Mix the pasta and vegetables into your sauce, making sure everything is well covered.Put into an over-proof tray/dish, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top, and cook in the oven or under the grill to melt the cheese.

creamy vegetarian pasta bake, cauliflower and broccoli cheese