Media release 

It’s raining love hearts, flowers and chocolate – must be Valentine’s Day

2 February 2017



valentines meal

It’s raining love hearts, flowers and chocolate - yes February 14 is approaching so the Vegetarian Society Cookery School has picked its favourite recipes for two from the Vegetarian Society’s Happy, Healthy and Delicious cookbook. Whether you fancy sharing them with a friend or a sweetheart you can be sure you’ll have a delicious time.  

Get your pulse racing with a tomato bruschetta and butterbean salad or warm lentils with mozzarella and homemade pesto. Bring out your inner ‘Lady and the Tramp’ as you share wholewheat spaghetti with cherry tomatoes. Perhaps pretend you are splashing out on jewellery then present a luscious pearl barley risotto. Show your love by giving “cauliflowers” with a roasted cauliflower, grape and Wensleydale salad. Maybe a little chocolate will make a great gift or a sweet end to your meal with salted chocolate and prune truffles.

The Vegetarian Society is a charity that is passionate about veggie food and wants everyone to know how varied and delicious vegetarian dishes are! Enjoying and maintaining a veggie lifestyle can be easy – and a great way to do it is with these Valentine’s recipes.

Love cooking? Well get some flour on your apron at the Vegetarian Society Cookery School, which offers a fun, hands-on and informative experience in a friendly atmosphere. Get messy, get creative, and eat well for life! Visit to discover the courses. 

Tomato Bruschetta with Rocket and Butter Bean Salad

Valentines meal 

Beans and pulses are a really useful way to increase your intake of minerals such as zinc and iron, both of which have a role to play in maintaining a strong and healthy immune system.

Preparation: 10 mins

Cooking: 4 mins

For the bruschetta:

3 medium tomatoes, diced

½ small red onion, finely diced

1 clove garlic, finely chopped 

5g fresh basil leaves, torn 

Pinch of salt 

Pinch of ground black pepper 

4 medium slices ciabatta

For the salad:

1 x 210g can butter beans, drained and rinsed

10g fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped 

1 small yellow pepper, seeds removed and discarded, finely diced

100g rocket 

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp olive oil


Preheat the grill to a medium heat.In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In another bowl, add the butter beans, parsley, yellow pepper, rocket, lemon juice and 1 tsp of the olive oil. Season.

Toast the ciabatta slices until golden brown, about 2 to 4 minutes per side. Once toasted, brush each slice with the remaining olive oil.

Spoon the tomato mixture on top of the bread slices and serve with the butter bean salad.

Roasted Cauliflower, Grape and Wensleydale Salad


valentines meal
Preparation: 15 mins

Cooking: 25 mins

Cauliflower is a very rich source of vitamin C, which plays a key role in maintaining a healthy immune system. A single serving of this dish provides half of your recommended daily intake.


1 medium cauliflower, broken into small florets

2 tbsp olive oil 

Pinch of salt 

Pinch of ground black pepper 

1 tbsp red wine vinegar 

1 tsp Dijon mustard

25g sultanas 

40g vegetarian Wensleydale cheese, crumbled 

60g seedless red grapes 

2 tbsp walnuts, crushed

1 tbsp mixed seeds 

10g fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 200°C / gas mark 6.

Put the cauliflower into a bowl and toss with 1 tbsp of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread on an oven tray and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, turning once or twice, until nicely browned. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a bowl mix the remaining oil with the vinegar and mustard. Add the sultanas and leave to soak while the cauliflower is cooking.

Transfer the cauliflower to a bowl with the cheese and grapes and toss together with the sultana dressing. Sprinkle with walnuts, seeds and parsley then serve.

Wholewheat Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes 


Valentines meal

This simple recipe uses few ingredients and produces a delicious light meal option. This recipe contains olive oil, which is praised for its many health benefits - including promoting good heart health.

Preparation: 10 mins

Cooking: 15 mins


150g wholewheat spaghetti 

2 tbsp olive oil

1 small red onion, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, crushed

16 cherry tomatoes, halved

½ medium lemon, zest only

Pinch of salt 

Pinch of ground black pepper 

5g fresh parsley or coriander, finely chopped


Place spaghetti in large pan of boiling water and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or according to packet instructions, until tender.

While the spaghetti is cooking, heat the oil in a deep-sided frying pan over a medium heat.Add the onion and garlic, cooking for 3 minutes until softened.

Add the tomatoes and lemon zest, then season with salt and pepper.

Cook for about 5 minutes or until the tomatoes become really soft and the oil has begun to take on an orange colour. 

Once cooked, remove from the heat.

When the spaghetti is cooked, drain and add it to the tomatoes, along with the chopped herbs.

Stir to combine, then serve.


Warm Lentils with Mozzarella and Homemade Pesto
Valentines meal
Lentils are a good source of zinc which helps to maintain a strong immune system.

Preparation: 15 mins

Cooking: 25 mins


For the pesto:

100g spinach, chopped 

20g cashew nuts 

2 tbsp lemon juice

30g fresh basil leaves, chopped 

For the lentils:

160g Puy lentils, rinsed

2 tsp olive oil 

1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced

2 sticks celery, finely diced

1 small onion, finely diced

1 small bulb fennel, finely sliced

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 sprigs fresh thyme, stalks removed and discarded

Pinch of salt 

Pinch of ground black pepper

80g vegetarian mozzarella, torn

Make the pesto by placing all of the pesto ingredients in a food processor (or blender) and blend for 1 minute. Check the consistency. The pesto should be of drizzling consistency. If it is too thick, add a little water and blend again until desired consistency is achieved. Set the pesto aside.

Bring a pan of water to the boil, and carefully add the lentils. Reduce the heat and cook for 15 minutes or until the lentils are tender, but still with a bite.

While the lentils are cooking, heat the olive oil over a medium heat in a large non-stick, deep-sided frying pan.

Add the carrot, celery, onion, fennel, garlic and thyme leaves, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

When the lentils have finished cooking, drain them and add to the pan with the vegetables. Add a splash of water, stir for a few minutes, then remove from the heat.

Divide the lentils into two bowls, topping with mozzarella and a drizzle of pesto to serve.



Pearl Barley Risotto with Feta Cheese 

Valentines meal

Pearl barley is a nice alternative to the traditional rice used to make risotto. Tomatoes (especially when cooked or processed) are rich in the antioxidant lycopene, which is often associated with men’s health.


Preparation: 10 mins

Cooking: 50 mins


For the risotto:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 stick celery, finely sliced

1 small onion, finely sliced

2 cloves garlic, finely sliced

½ tsp smoked paprika

1 bay leaf 

350ml low sodium vegetable stock 

150ml passata 

1 x 227g can chopped tomatoes

100g pearl barley, rinsed 

½ medium lemon, zest only

For the topping:

1 tbsp caraway seeds

100g vegetarian feta cheese, cut into small cubes 

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tbsp olive oil


Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a thick-bottomed saucepan then add the celery, onion and garlic and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes.

Add the paprika, bay leaf, stock, passata and tomatoes to the pan. Stir to combine.

Add the pearl barley and simmer gently for 45 minutes until the barley is tender and the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring now and then to stop the risottosticking. Add a little extra water to the pan during cooking if the risotto starts to become too dry.

While the risotto is cooking, prepare the topping by toasting the caraway seeds in a small, dry pan over a low heat. Once toasted, remove the pan from the heat and leave the seeds to cool before lightly crushing. 

In a small bowl combine the caraway seeds, feta cheese, oregano and olive oil. 

When the risotto is cooked, stir in the lemon zest. Divide the risotto between two bowls, add the feta cheese topping and serve.

Salted Chocolate and Prune Truffles 

Valentines meal

Raw cacao and cocoa powder are very rich sources of minerals, which makes these tasty treats not only delicious but also good for you.

Preparation: 20 mins

100g prunes, pitted 

50g ground almonds

1½ tbsp raw cacao or cocoa powder (plus a little more for dusting)

Pinch of salt

2 whole almonds

Put the prunes in a bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to soak for 20 minutes until soft.Drain the prunes and place them in a food processor along with the ground almonds, cacao powder and a pinch of salt.Blend the mixture until it resembles a soft dough then transfer it from the processor onto a plate.

Divide the mixture into four. Carefully cut each whole almond into two and encase each half almond with the mixture and roll into balls.

Dust with a little cacao powder and serve.


Recipes are from the Happy, Healthy and Delicious cookbook published by the Vegetarian Society and available at 


Notes for editors

• For recipe photography please contact Su on 0161 925 2012 or

• Outside office hours the media office can be contacted on 07973 108 165/7. Alternatively visit the website for lots more information at

.• A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or crustacea, or slaughter by-products.


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Parkdale, Dunham Road, Altrincham WA14 4QG
Registered Charity No. 259358 (England and Wales),
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The Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom Limited, Parkdale, Dunham Road, Altrincham WA14 4QG
Registered Charity No. 259358, Registered Company No. 959115 (England and Wales)

Fundraising Regulations