January Comfort Food for Meat Free Monday!

With the first Monday of January which isn’t a bank holiday comes my first meat free Monday post of the year! I know we are all supposed to be eating salad and fruit and de-toxing like mad but it always strikes me as lunacy to do this in January! I am cold, the evenings are dark and dreary without the Christmas lights, I am engulfed in thick jumpers and woolly tights – I need comfort food, warm and filling and tasty to boot not an abstemiousness bowl of leaves!

This ticks all those boxes beautifully

Wild Mushroom Risotto with Roasted Squash

Serves 2


For the risotto you will need:

10g (½oz) dried porcini mushrooms

225g (8oz) fresh chestnut mushrooms sliced

1 medium onion peeled and finely sliced

60g (2½oz) butter

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 tsp marigold bouillon powder

4 tbsps white wine

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2tbps freshly grated vegetarian parmesan plus extra for shaving into flakes

175g (6oz) carnaroli or arborio risotto rice

For the roasted squash you will need:

1 small butternut squash de-seeded and chopped into chunks (I leave the skin on because I love the texture it adds, but if you don’t want it it is far easier to remove once it is roasted than before!)

1 teaspoon dried sage or 1tbsp chopped fresh sage

salt and freshly ground black pepper

A glug of rapeseed or sunflower oil (you can use olive oil but I find it takes over a bit here)



  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6
  • Soak the dried mushrooms in 1 pint (570ml) of boiling water for half an hour
  • Meanwhile melt the butter in a medium to large heavy based frying pan and fry the onion over a gentle heat for about 5 minutes, add the fresh mushrooms and fry gently for a further ten minutes or so until the mushrooms start to release their juices,  add the garlic, fry for one minute then remove from the pan from the heat.
  • Heat the rapeseed oil in the oven in oven proof baking dish for a minute or two and then pop in the squash, turning it in the hot oil until it is gleaming. Sprinkle on salt, black pepper and the sage and return to the oven for about half an hour until soft and well roasted.
  • Drain the porcini mushrooms through a sieve lined with muslin or kitchen paper (to catch any grit) but KEEP THE LIQUID!
  • Chop the porcini and add to the mushroom mixture in the pan
  • Pop the mushroom mixture back onto the heat
  • Add the bouillon and white wine to the mushroom liquid
  • Add the rice to the mushroom mix and fry for a couple of minutes, stirring
  • Increase the heat a little and add a ladle full of the mushroom stock to the rice mixture, stir
  • Add another ladle full of stock each time the last one has been absorbed and keep stirring so the rice can reach its full potential and make that lovely creamy risotto.
  • The rice will take about 20 minutes to cook, if you find you run out of stock just make up a little more with boiling water and bouillon and keep adding and stirring until you get a delicious creamy risotto
  • Add salt and black pepper to taste
  • Stir in the grated parmesan
  • Serve, topped with the roasted squash and some shaved parmesan

Twiddly Bits

This is delicious as it is, served with a plain rocket salad or on a bed of wilted spinach leaves. You can jazz it up a bit by stirring through some butter fried cashew nuts, use madeira or sherry instead of white wine for a deeper, sweeter taste or by topping with a handful of grilled balsamic tomatoes. I sometimes make twice the amount and then use the leftovers to make deep-fried rice balls stuffed with garlicky cream cheese.

Yum. Proper food for January!

If you haven’t been here before I am a vegetarian Mum to 4 veggie children and wife to a veggie man. I decided to run this meat free slot after requests from followers here and on Twitter and as a showcase for some of my veggie and vegan recipes. It seemed to make sense to run it on a Monday as part of the Meatless Monday campaign! You can find more of my recipes over on my other blog Fab Food!


Filed under Chris Cooks, Meat Free Monday, Vegetarian

3 responses to “January Comfort Food for Meat Free Monday!

  1. Sounds really tasty, I will have to try this out.

  2. I like this recipe a lot, it is one of my favourites. I`ve tried it yesterday and it was very good, my husband just loves it, thanks a lot for sharing.

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