There’s something about the festive season, that despite a ridiculous over abundance of food, there is compulsion to have a starter as well. It seems totally silly when there isn’t a need or want for any more food, maybe it’s the desire to provide and be the best possible festive host – besides, whilst there may be no need, a starter is a rather pleasing addition to any fancy meal.
As an avid masterchef fan, I often get snippets of inspiration from the show, recipes that I’d like to make in a ‘friendly’ way or simply turn veggie. The other week the skills test featured a prawn cocktail – you don’t really get a more classic starter than that! It immediately made me want to make a veggie version as I really enjoyed the classic when I was a fish eating child. The idea of crisp little gem lettuce, a tangy, creamy Marie Rose sauce and some prawn replacement really appealed to me. I thought long and hard about how to replace the prawns – it needed something with a similar-ish texture but I’m not a fan of fake fish or meat – I just don’t get it! I’m a vegetarian so I want to eat vegetables not various starches and proteins processed into meat or fish form…. I know many veggies beg to differ, but that’s me, im not touching anything that pretends to be meat!
Avocado would have been an obvious choice but I didn’t have any in, and they don’t seem to be at their best right now. Tofu may have worked but I thought it was probably a little too insipid. In the end I opted for this knock-out combo of cannellini beans and tiny raw cauliflower florets – bingo, a perfect veggie prawn cocktail alternative. So good that I fancy having another one already!
Veggie ‘Prawn’ Cocktail
(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)
2 tbsp egg-free mayonnaise, Veganaise or Plamil is very good
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
Large squeeze of lemon juice
2 -4 splashes veggie Worcestershire sauce
2-4 drops of Tabasco sauce
Salt and pepper
Little gem leave to fill the glasses, bowls
3 large cauliflower florets, cur into small pieces
1/3 cup cannellini beans, drainesprinkle of cayenne pepper
- Whisk together the mayonnaise, tomato sauce, lemon juice, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauces. Season with plenty of black pepper. Taste and add more of what you fancy to make it perfect for you. Set aside.
- Line the cocktail glasses with the baby gem lettuce leaves
- Toss the cauliflower and beans in the Marie Rose sauce until they are well coated
- Pile on top of the leaves. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper and garnish with a lemon wedge.