Plant-Based Recipes That Taste Good

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I HAVE NEVER BEEN SHY about my love of produce.

I have been singing the praises of cauliflower, tomatoes, and eggplant for more than a decade, since long before the groundswell of plant-based everything. I have done this in cooking demos, on book tours, and in the pages of books and magazines. It’s become my mission to understand what makes vegetables distinct and transform them, through cooking, into flavor bombs.

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Men’s Health

Still, in the spirit of openness, I must confess to a nagging doubt that creeps in now and then. How many more ways are there to fry an eggplant, slice a tomato, or roast a head of cauliflower?

The answer, I am delighted to report, is many.

This discovery comes in three forms. I call them the Three P’s.

The first P is process—what happens to vegetables when you cook them. You’ll see what I mean when you make the Potato and Gochujang Braised Eggs in this article.

When the humble potato, shredded and mixed with a few unexpected ingredients, emerges from a stint in the oven, the root vegetable has been transformed into a crispy-soft vessel of deliciousness intensified by the gooey yolks of the eggs.

The second P is pairing. What you match a vegetable with can draw out its distinctive qualities.

Every time you cook, you pair ingredients (obviously). What I have done, though, is learn four basic pairings—sweetness, fat, acidity, and spicy heat. Introducing one or more of these key pairings to a dish can show the vegetables (or fruit) in a new light.

My proof: the Tomato Salad with Lime and Cardamom Yogurt recipe that follows. Sweet tomatoes match with creamy yogurt and goat cheese, a tang of lime juice, and lip-tingling jalapeño.

The third P deals with produce itself. Taste what I mean in my Ultimate Roasting-Pan Ragù, in which mushrooms carry the weight of a complex dish on their own little shoulders. Mushrooms are bursting with umami and perfectly capable of providing ample flavor and serious texture.

Great cooking—plant based or otherwise—is never the result of one element in isolation. If you’ve ever had an incredible meal at a restaurant, it was because that dish had all Three P’s. And now that you know them, too, you don’t need a restaurant. You have your kitchen.

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Breakfast: Potato and Gochujang Braised Eggs

Eggs nestled in crispy-bottom hash browns and adorned with a bright sauce—all in one pan. If you’re not a fan of kohlrabi, a crisp turniplike vegetable, feel free to use potato only, though we like the complexity that kohlrabi brings with it.

potato and gochujang braised eggs

Jonathan Lovekin

What You’ll Need:
2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled, cut into matchsticks
1 small kohlrabi, peeled, cut into matchsticks
1 Tbsp gochujang paste, plus 1 tsp
2 tsp miso paste
2 small garlic cloves, crushed
5 Tbsp olive oil
8 eggs
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 tsp finely chopped chives
2 tsp white or black sesame seeds, toasted
1 lime, cut into wedges

How to Make It:

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease an oven-safe pan and heat in the oven, about 5 minutes.

Ottolenghi Flavor: A Cookbook

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2. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, kohlrabi, 1 Tbsp gochujang, miso, garlic, 3 Tbsp olive oil, and 1/4 tsp salt. Carefully remove the pan from the oven, add the potato mixture, and spread evenly. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking.

3. With the back of a spoon, make 8 wells in the mixture. Crack an egg into each well, cover the pan with a lid, and return it to the oven until the whites are set yet the yolks are still runny, 8 to 10 minutes.

4. In a small bowl, mix the lime juice, remaining gochujang, remaining oil, chives, and sesame seeds. Carefully remove the pan from the oven, season the eggs with salt, and drizzle with sauce. Serve with lime wedges. Feeds 4

Lunch: Tomato Salad with Lime and Cardamom Yogurt

This recipe takes the timeless combination of tomatoes and shallots, mixes it with a creamy-spicy dressing, and adds pops of unexpected flavor with cardamom. You’ll want a good crusty bread to soak up the tomato juices.

men's health yotam ottolenghi recipes

Jonathan Lovekin

What You’ll Need:
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 3/4 oz soft goat cheese
1/2 small garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp lime zest
4 1/2 tsp lime juice
15 cardamom pods, pods discarded and seeds finely crushed
1 large jalapeño, finely chopped (seeded for less heat)
18 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large shallot, finely sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup mint leaves, torn

How to Make It:

1. In a large bowl, combinethe yogurt, goat cheese, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Add half the lime zest, half the crushed cardamom, and half the jalapeño. Stir well.

2. In a separate bowl, mix the tomatoes, shallot, lime juice, half the olive oil, and 1/2 tsp salt with the remaining lime zest, cardamom, and jalapeño. Add the yogurt mixture and mint. Gently mix. Transfer to a platter, drizzle with the remaining oil, and serve. Feeds 4

Dinner: The Ultimate Roasting-Pan Ragu

In our quest to create the best meatless ragu, we made enough versions to sink a large ship. (Ixta nearly lost her will to live, but that has happened once or twice before.) There’s no denying that the list of ingredients is long, but these are all here to give the ragu its fantastic umami. The method, however, could not be simpler.

the ultimate roasting pan ragÙ

Jonathan Lovekin

What You’ll Need:
2 carrots, peeled, chopped into large chunks
1 onion, peeled, chopped into large chunks
8 1/2 oz oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 3/4 oz dried porcini mushrooms, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 plum tomatoes, chopped into large chunks
6 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp miso paste
2 Tbsp harissa
3 Tbsp tomato paste
5 Tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
3/4 cup dried brown or green lentils
6 Tbsp barley
3 1/4 cups vegetables stock
7 Tbsp coconut cream (not coconut milk)
1/3 cup red wine

How to Make It:

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Using a foodprocessor and working in batches, pulse the carrots, onion, oyster mushrooms, porcini mushrooms, garlic, and tomatoes until very finely chopped.

2. In a 9-by-13-inch walled nonstick roasting pan, combine the chopped vegetables, olive oil, miso, harissa, tomato paste, soy sauce, and cumin seeds. Mix well. Bake until browned around the edges, about 40 minutes, stirring halfway through.

3. Lower the oven temp to 375°F. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and add the lentils, barley, stock, coconut cream, wine, . cup water, . tsp salt, and a generous grind of pepper. Stir well, scraping the crispy sides and bottom with a spatula. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for another 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a final 5 minutes. Set aside to rest for 15 minutes, so the sauce is absorbed slightly, before serving. Feeds 6 to 8

This article originally appeared in the November 2020 issue of Men’s Health.


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