Cook like a pro: crowd-pleasing vegetarian recipes from London's hottest restaurants

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Amy Swales
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Who better to provide vegetarian recipes than the restaurants doing veggie dishes the way they should be done? asked the experts slaving over hot stoves in some of the UK's hottest restaurants for their most delicious meat-free dishes, and guess what? Not an uninspiring risotto in sight.

So get your chefs whites on and start planning the veggie dinner party of your dreams...

1. Dishoom's Paneer and Mango Salad

This dish from Dishoom, a Bombay café-style chain in London, seems to have a long ingredients list but is deceptively simple to put together.

Ingredients (serves one): 

100g mango, sliced 
80g paneer 
50g standard salad mix 
10g shallots, cooked to crispy texture
2g cracked pepper 
1g salt 
Crispy/toasted naan, cut into quarter strips

For the dressing:

13g olive oil 
13g veg oil 
10g lime juice 
6g sugar 
5g Amoy vinegar
2g mint, finely chopped
2g salt
1g ginger paste 
​1g green chilli, finely chopped 


To make the dressing, mix all ingredients together to make a homogeneous mixture.

Marinate the paneer in salt, pepper and salad oil. Put the leaves on a salad plate and arrange the mango and cheese slices on top. Drizzle 20g of the dressing on top and garnish with crispy shallots to taste and the crispy naan.

2. Ceviche's Ensalada de Alcachofa

Chef Martin Morales recommends this summery artichoke dish from his Peruvian restaurant Ceviche. Fresh artichokes are best, but you can also use ones in oil from the deli counter (though avoid the tinned hearts in brine as they won't taste as good).

Ingredients (serves four):

12 large artichokes (or 12 hearts in oil)
Lemon or lime juice
½ red onion, finely chopped
1 limo chilli, very finely chopped
A handful of lamb’s lettuce or little gem leaves
A few roughly torn coriander leaves or micro coriander

For the dressing:

Juice of 2 limes
4 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed
½ tsp mustard seeds, lightly crushed
2cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
¼ of rocoto, diced


If you are using fresh artichokes, fill a bowl with water and squeeze in a little lemon or lime juice. Cut the stalks off 5cm or so from the base, and peel off the tough green leaves until you reach the softer yellow ones. Cut the tips off these and peel the base. With a spoon, scrape out any furry choke and cut each prepared artichoke in half lengthways. Drop the hearts into the bowl of water as you go to stop them discolouring.

Place the prepared artichokes in a large saucepan of salted, boiling water and simmer for 10–15 minutes. Drain and leave to cool.

Make the dressing. Whisk the lime juice and olive oil together in a bowl and add all the other ingredients. Leave to infuse for 30 minutes, then strain. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Cut the artichoke hearts (either the freshly prepared or the hearts in oil) into quarters and put in a bowl. Pour over the dressing and mix. Leave to marinate for 5 minutes.

Soak the red onion in iced water 5 minutes and then drain and dry thoroughly with kitchen paper. Arrange the salad leaves over four plates and place the artichokes on top. Sprinkle over the red onion and chilli, drizzle over any remaining dressing and garnish with the torn coriander leaves or micro coriander.

Recipe appears in Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen by Martin Morales (RRP £25,

3. Sea Containers' Shaved Mushroom Salad

Sea Containers, the restaurant at Mondrian London, recommends this carpaccio-style dish of crimini mushrooms with a vinaigrette of brown butter and pine nuts, topped with a fine grating of Idiazabal sheep's cheese.

Ingredients (serves four as an appetiser):

28g crimini (baby portobello) mushrooms
Zest of 1 lemon/yuzu
Fleur de sel
1 tsp thyme leaves/lemon thyme (plus extra to garnish)
Espelette pepper
2g black truffle, grated on a microplane
28g brown butter vinaigrette
14g Idiazábal cheese, grated on a microplane
2g toasted pine nuts

For the brown butter vinaigrette:

170g butter
1 tsp pine nuts
1 clove garlic, grated on a microplane
2 tbsp honey
85g Moscatel vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon/yuzu
Salt and pepper to taste


To make the vinaigrette, clarify and then brown the butter, discarding the milk solids. Add the pine nuts and gently toast, infusing the butter with their flavour. Once the nuts are light golden, strain and set aside. Whisk the grated garlic in to the brown butter and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk the honey, vinegar and citrus juice. Slowly drizzle in the brown butter/garlic mixture and whisk together. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Slice the crimini mushrooms as thinly as possibly and arrange on a flat, round plate. Season with the lemon or yuzu zest and fleur de sel. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Grate truffle directly on top and then finish with the grated cheese and thyme leaves.

4. Talli Joe's Messy Thokku

London restaurant Talli Joe specialises in Indian ‘half’ plates designed for sharing. Executive chef Sameer Taneja (formerly of Michelin-starred Benares) recommends this pickled egg dish, perfect for snacking on with glass in hand. The eggs should be pickled at least a week in advance.

Ingredients (serves four):

4 hard-boiled free range eggs
1 litre water
250ml vinegar
2 dried red chillies
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
8 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf

For the thokku masala:

20ml neutral oil
10g mustard seeds
5g fennel seeds
1g cracked black peppercorns
8 curry leaves
3g urad lentils (husked black lentils)
50g shallots, sliced
15g ginger, chopped
10g garlic, chopped
30g plum tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp coriander, chopped
½ tsp chili powder
1tsp coriander powder
¼ tsp fresh green chilli, chopped


To make the pickling liquor, boil all the ingredients, except the eggs, together. Pour the pickling syrup on top of the eggs and let pickle for at least a week.

To make the masala, fry the mustard seeds in the oil, then add the fennel seeds and curry leaves. Add the shallots and cook until translucent, followed by the ginger, garlic and green chili. Add the powdered spices and tomatoes and cook until soft.

To assemble, fold the chopped pickled egg into the thokku masala. Finish with garam masala and chopped coriander. Garnish with a slice of cooked puff pastry roti. 

5. Berber & Q's Cauliflower Shwarma

London grill house Berber & Q takes inspiration from the East for this dish, using the veg of the moment, cauliflower. It can be cooked either in the oven or on a barbecue for an extra edge of smokiness.

Ingredients (serves two to four):

1 whole cauliflower

80g raw tahini
½ tbsp Maldon Salt

40g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 lemon, juiced
1 garlic clove, minced
1½ tbsp coriander, finely chopped

For the shawarma spice mix:

1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp sumac
1½ tsp ground cumin
Pinch of pimento (allspice)
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of ground cardamom

1 tbsp pomegranate molasses (thinned down with water)
2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
1½ tbsp pine nuts, toasted
1 tsp dried rose petals
1½ tbsp parsley, finely chopped
Green chillies, finely chopped


Preheat the oven to 250°C.

Trim the outer cauliflower leaves, but don’t be afraid to leave some on – they have great taste and add to the aesthetic of the dish when burnt and crisped on the barbecue or in the oven. Place the cauliflower in enough salted water to cover and bring to the boil on a high heat. Once boiling, turn down to medium so it has a gentle roll and continue to cook for approximately 8–10 minutes (this par-cooks the cauliflower before it'll be finished in the oven – remove from the water when it slightly resists piercing firmly with a knife).

Whilst the cauliflower is in the water, prepare the tahini. Whisk the tahini in a large bowl and gradually add ice-cold water. At first it forms a lumpy paste, but keep adding and whisking until it gradually turns smooth and silky. Tweak the amount of water to personal consistency preference.

Make shawarma-spiced butter by combining the butter, minced garlic, lemon juice and shawarma spice mix in a blender. Fold in the chopped coriander. Brush the cauliflower liberally all over with the butter, including inner sections where possible. Retain some of the butter.

If using an oven, place the cauliflower in the oven for 6–8 minutes. If barbecuing, bank the coal to one side for direct grilling and leave an area for indirect cooking. When the barbecue is searing hot, grill the cauliflower on direct heat until the outer edges blacken. Turn the cauliflower throughout for colour all over. Slight burning not only lends flavor, but is a key aspect of the presentation. Throughout cooking, continue to brush with leftover butter.

Once the cauliflower is cooked through, transfer to a plate. Spoon over the tahini sauce and pomegranate molasses, and finish the dish by sprinkling the rose petals, pine nuts, seeds and chopped parsley over the top. An optional drizzle of olive oil adds a nice glossy finish.

6. The Providores and Tapa Room's Spiced Quail Eggs and Shitake Salad

“This is a really pretty, elegant salad full of popping tastes and contrasting textures,” says Peter Gordon, the chef behind The Providores and Tapa Room in London. “Quail eggs are tricky things to peel – use your fingernails and a small sharp knife – but well worth the effort. If you can’t get them, then use hen’s eggs and serve one per person.”

Ingredients (serves four as starter):

1 tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp nigella seeds
¼ tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp fennel seeds
½ teaspoon of flaky salt 
12 quail eggs
1 tbsp white vinegar
300g fresh shiitake mushrooms, stalks discarded
800g asparagus
1 handful salad leaves (I used pea-shoots)
1 tbsp lemon juice
100g almonds, toasted and roughly chopped

For the miso dressing:

1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp miso paste (I used shiromiso/white)
2 tsp ginger, finely chopped or grated


Lightly toast the coriander, nigella, cumin and fennel seeds in a dry frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat until they become aromatic. Leave to cool. Add the salt and grind the spices in a spice grinder or using a mortar and pestle. Place the quail eggs in a pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Pour in enough water to cover by 3cm, add the vinegar, bring to the boil and cook for 3 minutes. Drain into a sieve or colander, then place in a bowl of iced water and leave for 5 minutes. Peel the eggs and roll them in the spices.

To make the dressing, mix the soy, mirin, miso paste and ginger until the miso has dissolved, then stir in 2 tablespoons of warm water.

Bring 200ml of water to the boil in a medium pan. Slice half the shiitake mushrooms and dice the other half. Add to the boiling water, give a good stir for 20 seconds, then drain into a colander. Leave for 30 seconds, then tip into a bowl and mix in the miso dressing. Cover with cling film (plastic wrap) and leave to marinate, stirring again after 10 minutes. Snap the ends from the asparagus and peel the lower 3cm. Blanch in salted boiling water, or steam, for 10 minutes, then refresh in iced water. Drain.

To serve, toss the asparagus and salad leaves with the lemon juice and lay them on your plates. Spoon on the mushrooms and marinating juices, then tuck in the quail eggs and scatter with the almonds.

Recipe appears in Savour: Salads for All Seasons by Peter Gordon (published by Jacqui Small, RRP £25,

7. Sexy Fish's Charred Tomatoes with Tofu Mayonnaise

Tim Hughes, chef director at London spot Sexy Fish, recommends his charred and mixed tomato salad, saying “I love this because it’s bursting with flavour, it has a mishmash of textures and is just spicy enough to be interesting but not overwhelming.”

Ingredients (serves four):

500g mixed ripe tomatoes (yellow, red, black and cherry)
½ small bunch basil, with the leaves removed from the stalk
1 punnet of purple shiso leaves (can be swapped for 30g rocket)
Maldon salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
1 small cucumber
50ml rice vinegar
2 heaped tsp caster sugar
1 lime, zested

For the tofu mayonnaise:

400g tofu
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lime juice (approximately juice of 1 lime)
Maldon salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

For the jalapeño dressing:

80ml jalapeño juice only (from a jar)
150ml rice vinegar
100ml extra virgin olive oil


To make the jalapeño dressing, mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl. To make the tofu mayonnaise, put all the ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth, adding water if needed. This will make more than needed for the dish, but can be used for other dishes (NB this mayonnaise is suitable for vegans).

Peel the cucumber and discard the skin. Slice long and even ribbons of cucumber using a mandolin or a potato peeler. Discard the seeds from the centre. Put the rice vinegar, sugar and a pinch of salt into a saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves. Let it cool, add the lime zest and cucumber ribbons. Transfer into a small bowl. Core the tomatoes and cut into bite-sized pieces. Either place under a very hot grill for a minute or use a blowtorch to char lightly.

Toss the tomatoes and cucumber in the jalapeño dressing. To serve, spread the tofu mayonnaise on a serving dish. Put the tomatoes and cucumber on top of the mayonnaise, and finish with torn basil leaves, shiso cress (or rocket) and freshly ground black pepper.

8. Barnyard's Runner Bean and Nectarine Salad

This dish comes from chef Ollie Dabbous' Barnyard restaurant in London's Fitzrovia and requires ripe nectarines, making it an ideal summer option. The nectarines take an hour to cook, so give yourself time to prep.

Ingredients (serves four):

200g almonds, skin on
1 tbsp vegetable oil

½ garlic clove, minced
100g extra virgin rapeseed oil

5 runner beans per person

3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Chardonnay vinegar
2 nectarines

Lemon zest
Lemon dressing
Basil leaves
Mint leaves


Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Place the almonds in a bowl and dress with the vegetable oil and a pinch of salt. Place on a baking tray and toast for 10 minutes until light golden. Leave to cool. Roughly chop half.

Make a praline by blending the remaining 100g of almonds with the extra virgin olive oil, garlic and a pinch of salt, on a low speed, to a coarse puree.

Blanch the runner beans in boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Refresh in ice water and place on absorbent paper. Top and tail, then peel away the fibrous string that runs along both sides. Roll in olive oil and char on a hot barbecue or grill pan on both sides. Remove and keep in a single layer so they don't keep cooking in their own steam. Cut into lengths of about 8cm (roughly 3 per bean). Season with Maldon salt.

Cut the nectarines into eighths. Heat the olive oil, sugar and vinegar to melt and combine, and pour half onto a tray. Cover with the nectarines, skin side down, allowing air to circulate between them (do not pack them too tight). Spoon over the remaining mix, and place in a low oven, 120°C for 20 mins. Turn onto their side, lower the heat to 120°C and cook for another 20 mins. Turn onto the other side and cook for another 20 mins.

To assemble, dress the beans generously with lemon dressing and lemon zest. Place a spoon of the almond praline on the plate, then scatter the dressed beans over it. Scatter over the nectarine pieces, 4 per person, then the basil, mint, and a few almonds.

9. Gunpowder's Broccoli Sigree

Home-style Indian kitchen Gunpowder in London has supplied this sharing dish of spiced broccoli. The team also have a handy tip to speed things up if you're pushed for time – cut the broccoli into smaller pieces. Simple.


100g Greek yoghurt
20g wholegrain mustard
¼ tbsp chilli powder
½ tbsp (each) tumeric and chaat masala
2 whole broccoli
¼ tbsp (each) coriander powder. kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
15ml mustard oil
1 tsp cumin powder
Makhani sauce (creamy tomato sauce)
Beetroot, grated (optional)


Add all the ingredients mentioned above (except the broccoli) in a bowl and mix to make the marinade. Cut the broccoli in half and blanch for three minutes in boiling water. Apply the marinade to each piece and put to one side for 30 minutes.

Take a skewer and grill the broccoli heads over coal/barbecue for an extra smoky taste.

Serve in a round deep bowl with makhani sauce as a base. Sprinkle grated beetroot on top if desired.


10. Grain Store's Chilli con Veggies

Bruno Loubet, chef patron of sustainable and eminently veggie-friendly restaurant Grain Store in King’s Cross, created this meat-free chilli recipe. The ingredients list may seem long, but the method is pretty straightforward.

Ingredients (serves eight):

2 tsp (each) cumin seeds, coriander seeds
1 large onion, sliced
1 bulb fennel, sliced
2 red peppers, seeds removed and sliced
100g tinned piquillo pepper, sliced
250g button/chestnut mushrooms, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
2 sticks celery, sliced
6 cloves garlic, sliced
100ml olive oil
5 sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp (each) fresh oregano, sweet smoked paprika
2 tsp chipotle paste
6 tbsp HP Sauce
4 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1kg diced tinned tomatoes
800g tinned red kidney beans
1 tsp sugar
1 lemon
Salt & pepper to taste
Handful chopped fresh coriander


In a dry frying pan, heat up the cumin seeds for a couple of minutes to release their oils. Remove and repeat with the coriander seeds. Grind them into a fine powder with a pestle and mortar or a spice/coffee grinder.

Place all the sliced vegetables and garlic in a food processor, a few at a time and whizz until finely chopped.

Heat olive oil in a large pot and then cook the chopped vegetables until they start to soften. Add the thyme, bay leaves, oregano, paprika, chipotle, cumin, coriander and mix well. Leave to stew for 3 to 4 minutes then add the HP sauce, Worcestershire sauce, diced tomatoes, red kidney beans, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil then lower the heat to a simmer and leave to cook with a lid on for 1 ½ hours, stirring the pot from time to time. Check seasoning and adjust according to taste.

Just before you serve, stir in the lemon juice and fresh coriander. Serve with brown rice and if you like, some sour cream.

11. Le Champignon Sauvage's Cauliflower Mac

A filling, warming dish from Le Champignon Sauvage in the Cotswolds. OK, sue us: it's not quite London, but it is two Michelin-starred delicious. Chef-owner David Everitt-Matthias says, “Cauliflower and macaroni are perfect partners. This recipe couldn't be simpler – all you need is a simple green salad to go with it.”

Ingredients (serves four to six):

400g cauliflower florets
225g macaroni
200g mature cheddar, grated
75g mature cheddar, diced into ½ cm chunks
75g fresh Parmesan, grated
500g milk
40g unsalted butter
40g plain flour
1 medium onion, finely chopped
5g English mustard


Preheat the oven to 180°C. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the cauliflower and cook for 3–4 minutes, remove from the pan, drain well and dry out in the oven for 3 minutes. Add the pasta to the water and cook for 5 minutes. Drain well and put on one side with the cauliflower.

Melt the butter in a medium pan, add the onions and cook (without colour) until transparent and soft. Beat in the flour until smooth. Gradually add the milk in three stages, beating well after each stage until smooth. Return to the heat and bring to a simmer, stirring, until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Stir in the grated cheddar and mustard. Add the macaroni and cauliflower. Season and add the diced cheddar. Pour into a 2-litre ovenproof dish, level off.

Sprinkle the Parmesan over the top and bake for 30–35 minutes, until the top is golden and crusty and the filling is bubbling. Allow to cool a little before serving.


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Amy Swales

Amy Swales is a freelance writer who likes to eat, drink and talk about her dog. She will continue to plunder her own life and the lives of her loved ones for material in the name of comedy, catharsis and getting pictures of her dog on the internet.