Home Cooking Going Green!

Going Green!

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Everything you could possibly want to know about cooking nutritious, satisfying vegetarian meals. Probably.

Vegetarian cuisine refers to food that complies with vegetarian standards by not including meat and animal tissue products. For Lacto-Ovo vegetarianism, eggs and dairy products such as milk and cheese are permitted. For Lacto vegetarianism, dairy products such as milk and cheese are permitted. The strictest forms of vegetarianism are veganism and fruitarianism, which exclude all animal products, including dairy products as well as honey and even some refined sugars which are sometimes filtered and whitened with bone char.

Vegetarian foods can be classified into several different types:

  • Traditional foods that have always been vegetarian
  • Soy products including tofu and tempeh which are common protein sources
  • Textured vegetable protein, made from defatted soy flour, often included in chilli and burger recipes in place of ground meat
  • Meat analogues which mimic the taste, texture, and appearance of meat and are often used in recipes that traditionally contained meat. Vegans may also use analogues for eggs and dairy products.

That’s the science bit over with – now let’s talk about how fabulous vegetarian food can be! 

We’ve found an amazingly talented chef, Ricardo. Ricardo is a master of all things vegetarian and apart from making me feel exceedingly hungry, explained some of the many benefits of becoming a vegetarian. 

You will tend to experiment with flavours, to mix and explore tastes. This kind of cookery encourages you to venture away from your comfort zone.  In order to satisfy all your nutritional requirements, you will become interested in the quality of your food and the sustainability aspect too. I have become a firm supporter of seasonal cooking with local produce. This is not only much more cost-effective but also considerably healthier. Local produce purchased from independent suppliers is generally organically grown with the minimum of any kind of chemical enhancement. My knowledge of nutrition has increased dramatically over the years I have been a vegetarian and am perfectly confident that my diet contains an abundance of all nutrients necessary to maintain a balanced and complete diet.”

Here at Portugal Insider, we are delighted to be able to offer you the opportunity to explore vegetarian cookery for yourself.  Ricardo has joined the Insider team and agreed to host a vegetarian cookery course day. This will include demonstrations, advice, questions and answers and of course the opportunity to sample the end product.

The session begins at 10am with lunch served at 1pm. 

Wine, coffee and lunch included

€45 per head

Follow link to booking form

Ricardo has very kindly provided us with a simple recipe to whet your appetite and demonstrate how simple it is to re-think your diet.

Mushroom Wellington with Rosemary and Pecans – a simple, tasty vegan main dish, that can be made ahead

2 sheets vegan puff pastry

2 tablespoons olive oil or butter

900g or mushrooms, sliced, stems OK (except Shiitake stems)

1 large onion, diced

6 fat garlic cloves, rough chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon kosher salt

100ml red wine

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

300g chopped, toasted pecans/walnuts/hazelnuts

½ teaspoon black pepper

OPTIONS -if you want to add cheese, add 250g grated pecorino, Gruyère, or cheese of your choice


Make sure your puff pastry is thawed before you start.

Preheat oven to 200 C

Make the filling: Heat oil in an extra-large skillet, over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onions, garlic, salt and rosemary and sauté, stirring often, until mushrooms release all their liquid. Turn heat down to medium, and continue sautéing until all the liquid has evaporated, be patient, this will take a little time! Once the mushrooms are relatively dry in the pan, add the wine and balsamic vinegar, sauté on medium heat until all the liquid has cooked off. This is important- you absolutely do not want a watery filling. Add the toasted chopped nuts and pepper.  At this point, you could fold in some cheese if you like.

Let the filling cool 15-20 minutes.

Fill Pastry: When the filling is at room temp, unroll the puff pastry onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place half the filling in a mound along the centre and, working quickly, roll the pastry up, and over, seam side down. Fill and roll the second sheet. Brush with the egg or egg-less wash. Score the pastry

Bake: Place baking tray on the middle shelf in the oven for 35 minutes, checking at 20 mins, and rotating pan for even browning if necessary. Let the pastry bake until it is a really deep golden colour – to ensure it’s done and flaky all the way through. You may need to add 5 more minutes depending on your oven.  Allow to stand for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving. Garnish with rosemary sprigs.

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