Cauliflower cocktail, aka veggie ‘prawn’ cocktail


vegetarian prawn cocktail

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.

cauliflower cocktail, vegan

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)

vegetarian cocktail

serves 2

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

  1. 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.
  2. Line the cocktail glasses with the baby gem lettuce leaves
  3. Toss the cauliflower and beans in the Marie Rose sauce until they are well coated
  4. Pile on top of the leaves. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper and garnish with a lemon wedge.

vegan prawn cocktail, cauliflower cocktail

Winter Salad with Horseradish Dreessing

Winter may be comfort food time of year, but there is something about these dark, dismal and wintery months that makes me crave fresh, colourful and vibrant salads – a little something to perk up the grey!

I was lucky enough to find a horseradish root in the supermarket last week – I’ve wanted to buy one for ages but rarely see them for sale without going out of my way. Wow, what a flavour burst from such a unassuming parsnip-looking vegetable (is it a vegetable?). Horseradish is clearly best friends with soups and sauces, but I was more keen to find a salad that could carry its flavour. After much thinking and searching, this is the winter salad we ended up with (inspired by this delicious sounding salad by Sprouted Kitchen and also what I had hanging around in the fridge post Christmas).

Roasting the veg is essential for the flavour – we ate ours at room temperature which was lovely, but I reckon warm roasted vegetables would work just as well, if not better. The balsamic and horseradish gives a good twang to the dressing, and don’t be tempted to miss out the pomegranate seeds as the little bursts of sweetness are essential to this dish in my opinion. Who knew Brussels sprouts would work so well in a salad?

Winter Salad with Horseradish Dressing (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)


serves 2 (multiply for more)

  • 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into even sized cubes/batons
  • 100g/approx. 10 brussels, halved
  • 10-15 small cauliflower florets
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar or honey
  • 1/2 cup cannellini beans
  • rocket, as much as desired
  • handful of sunflower seeds, toasted
  • handful of pomegranate seeds

for the dressing:

  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey/maple syrup
  • 2 tbsps grated horseradish (or prepared horseradish, to taste)
  • salt and pepper

– Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 6

– Place the sprouts, parsnips and cauliflower in a roasting dish, drizzle with the oil, balsamic, seasoning and honey/sugar and roast for about 30 minutes until golden and cooked through.


– Meanwhile, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Taste and adjust to own preference.

– When the vegetables have roasted, take out of oven and add the Cannellini beans. Toss with 1 tbsp of the dressing and let cool.

– Dress the leaves and vegetables with remaining dressing and arrange on plates.

– Scatter with the pomegranate and sunflower seeds.