melissa hemsley opener

3 vegetarian recipe ideas from Melissa Hemsley

April 16, 2020

Chef, author and sustainability champion, Melissa Hemsley shares 3 easy flexitarian recipes from her newest book Eat Green to help you get through the lockdown the healthy way

melissa hemsley opener

Image: Philippa Langley

As supermarkets have only recently begun to loosen restrictions on certain grocery items, you may find that you have had to adjust and shop savvy when preparing meal ideas for your household.

These recipes by Melissa Hemsley are all ready in around 30 minutes, suitable for batch cooking and are easily adaptable, so that you are able to switch up the ingredients according to what you fancy or what needs using up at home. So whether it’s parmesan rinds, root veg tops or sad-looking celery stalks, she shows you how to turn these once-binned scraps into scrumptious snacks, small plates and suppers.

Fried chermoula cauliflower on green bean dip with slaw

Roasted cauliflower with herby chermoula dip and slaw - Credit: Melissa Hemsley

Image: Philippa Langley

These spiced cauliflower steaks on green dip will steal the show at any dinner party, but are super simple for a mid-week dinner too. If you want to get ahead, the dip and slaw can be made in advance, then dress the slaw while you’re cooking the cauliflower.

  • Serves 2
  • Prep and cook: 30 mins


  •  1 medium cauliflower, save the leaves (about 800g)
  •  2 tbsp ghee or oil
  •  Sea salt and black pepper

For the chermoula spice mix

  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • Chilli flakes or ¼ tsp cayenne, to taste

Herby bean dip

  • 240g cooked white beans or chickpeas (1 × 400g tin, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • Chilli flakes or ¼ tsp cayenne, to taste

For the slaw:

  • ¼ red cabbage (150g), finely shredded
  • 1 green apple, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 celery stick and leaves, sliced
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard


  1. Preheat the oven to fan 220°C / Gas mark 9.
  2. Slice two 2–3cm thick steaks off the cauliflower and roughly chop the remaining cauliflower florets and the leaves, keeping them separate.
  3. Mix together all the ingredients for the chermoula.
  4. Put the cauliflower florets in a roasting tray with 1 tablespoon of the ghee or oil, half of the chermoula spice mix, sea salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 15–20 minutes, adding the chopped cauliflower leaves halfway through and tossing everything together.
  5. Melt the remaining ghee or oil in a large frying pan and fry the cauliflower steaks for 2 minutes on each side, then add the remaining spice mix and carefully turn again, coating the steaks in the spice.
  6. Cook for a further 2 minutes until just tender (you could now pop in the oven to keep warm).
  7. Meanwhile, mix all the slaw ingredients together with the parsley and coriander leaves in a medium bowl and season to taste.
  8. Blitz all the dip ingredients in a food processor with the parsley and coriander stems and taste for seasoning. Add 2–4 tablespoons cold water until nice and thick. Divide the green bean dip between the plates, drizzle with olive oil and top with the hot cauliflower steak and the florets and leaves. Serve the slaw on top or on the side.

Melissa’s ‘waste not’ tip: The dip is a delicious way to use up hardier parsley and coriander stems, saving the leaves for garnishing so there’s no waste, just like the cauliflower leaves. You could also make this with broccoli steaks, aubergine wedges or squash, sliced into half moons. Fennel and carrot would also be great in the slaw.

Quinoa cakes with chimichurri yoghurt

Melissa Hemsley's quinoa cakes | Photography by: Philippa Langsley

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Image: Philippa Langley

Utterly moreish, hot or cold, these make a delicious veggie burger alternatives or bite-size canapés with the chimichurri yoghurt as a dip on the side. While they can be made from scratch, they are also a great way to use up leftover quinoa.

  • Serves 4
  • Prep and cook: 40 mins


For the quinoa cakes:

  • 1 small onion or 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 big handful of fresh coriander, parsley or basil, leaves and stems finely chopped separately
  • 2–3 tbsp butter
  • A pinch of chilli flakes
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g flour, such as chickpea (gram)
  • 540g cooked quinoa (which is 200g uncooked quinoa, rinsed well and drained – ideally soaked first)
  • 100g feta, crumbled, or a hard cheese like Parmesan or Cheddar, grated
  • Sea salt and black pepper

For the chimmichuri yoghurt:

  • 100ml full-fat natural yoghurt
  • 1 big handful of chopped fresh coriander, leaves and stems
  • 1 big handful of chopped chives, spring onions or onion
  • 1 big handful of chopped fresh parsley, leaves and stems
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 fat garlic clove
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or thyme
  • Chilli flakes, to taste


  1. In a wide frying pan, fry the onion, garlic and herb stems over a medium heat in 1 tablespoon of the butter with a good pinch of salt (less if your leftover quinoa has already been seasoned), pepper and chilli for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a large bowl, then mix in the flour, followed by the cold quinoa and crumbled feta. Add the garlic, onion and herb mix to the bowl with the herb leaves. Mix well and shape into 12 cakes (or 24 bite-size), about 1cm thick. The easiest way to do this is to split the mix into two, and then keep dividing. If you’re finding it tricky to form them, try adding a touch more flour.
  3. If the cakes feel firm, then go ahead and start frying them. If not, pop them onto a plate and into the fridge to firm up for 15 minutes. Use this time to make the chimichurri yoghurt by combining all the ingredients with some salt and pepper and blitzing in a food processor. Or you can chop all the ingredients, then thin it out with a few tablespoons of water if you like it saucier.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in the original pan then, once hot, add however many cakes you can fit into a single layer – I could fit four in my pan. You don’t want them to be touching or they’ll steam instead of fry. Let them sizzle for about 3 minutes on each side to get nice and golden and hot throughout. Then repeat for the rest of the batch. I turn the heat up as I add the cakes, then lower to a medium heat to fry. Put your cooked cakes in a low oven to keep warm while you finish the rest.

Melissa’s ‘waste not’ tip: Herb yoghurts are a great way of using up herb stems.

Tahini choc chip cookies

Melissa Hemsley's Tahini Choc Chip Cookies - Photography: Philippa Langley

Image: Philippa Langley

Store these cakey cookies in an airtight container and they’ll last for 5 days. You could warm them briefly in the oven to give them a little crispening boost. The dough freezes well so double up and save half for a rainy day. Just defrost, then slice into portions before putting in the oven.

  • Makes 16 cookies
  • Prep and cook: 25 mins


  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g light tahini
  • 110g smooth nut butter
  • 100g good-quality dark chocolate, broken up into squares, or chips
  • 30g black and/or white sesame seeds
  • A pinch of sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to fan 170°C/gas mark 5. Line a large baking tray with reusable baking paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs then mix in the baking powder, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Add the tahini and nut butter and mix together until very well combined.
  3. Roughly chop the chocolate (if not using chips) and fold through the batter along with the sesame seeds.
  4. Measure out 16 balls of the cookie batter, roughly 1 tablespoon each, and bake for 10–15 minutes on the lined baking tray (making sure to leave a little room between each one) until the cookies are just set. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with a little sea salt and allow to cool on a wire rack before serving.

Melissa’s flexi swap: For vegans, replace the 2 eggs with 1 large mashed ripe banana. You can also swap the nut butter for the same amount of a seed butter or tahini for a nut-free alternative.

Eat Green with Melissa Hemsley

Melissa Hemsley Eat Green Thumbnail

Like the sound of these recipes? Melissa’s book Eat Green is published by Ebury Press (RRP £22) and is available to buy on Amazon for £12.82. Containing a plethora of recipes from all-day breakfasts to one pot and one tray-ers, small plates and more, her book is essential reading for ‘busy people with busy lives’.

Are you a dab hand at using up cupboard staples and fridge leftovers? Let us know! Tweet us @goodhomesmag, post a comment on our Facebook page or post your mealtime magic on Instagram using the hashtag #ThisGoodHome



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A message from the editor:

Let us help you create the home of your dreams! Get ideas & inspiration from Good Homes every month, delivered direct to your door. Visit to sign up for the weekly Good Homes newsletter.

~ Karen Walker, Editor, Good Homes