Vegetarian Winter Warmers

With the nights drawing in and the temperature dropping it's the time of year when we all turn to comfort food.

After all, there's not much that's nicer than filling up with something warm and hearty on a dark winter's night.

But comfort food doesn't have to mean unhealthy food, far from it in fact. A bowl of something warm and nourishing can be a great way to boost your five-a-day and help ward off winter bugs.

Demuths Cookery School has a whole range of recipes with the feel-good factor, created by leading vegetarian chef Rachel Demuth and her team – think Olive and Sun-dried Tomato sausages, Brazilian Squash and Black Bean Stew and veggie-packed pies. There's even sweet treats like sticky toffee pudding – naughty, but ever so nice!

And if you would like to learn to cook some of these recipes from the experts then classes run year round. For more details visit

Here's a recipe for a deliciously rich Borlotti Bean and Chestnut stew, flavoured with robust herbs and red wine. It's best made the day before for the flavours to infuse the beans.

Borlotti Bean and Chestnut Stew

Serves: 4

Dietary: Vegan


2 medium leeks, cut into thin rounds

2 tbsps olive oil

2 medium carrots, cut into thick rounds

3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced

4 sage leaves

2 large sprigs of rosemary

1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped

1 tbsp plain flour

200ml red wine

300ml water

1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder

1 bay leaf

2 fresh or dried red chillies, deseeded

4 tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped

1 tbsp shoyu

400g tin borlotti beans or 200g cooked borlotti beans

250g chestnuts, ready cooked

Handful of fresh parsley, chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat the olive oil in a large lidded saucepan and sauté the leeks until softened.

Add the carrots, garlic, sage, rosemary and oregano, cook for a few minutes with the lid on.

Stir in the flour, followed by the red wine, water, vegetable bouillon powder, bay leaf, chillies, tomatoes and shoyu.

Simmer for 20 minutes, until the carrots are tender but still have a bite to them.

Add the borlotti beans and chestnuts.

Check the seasoning and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Finish with chopped parsley and a twist of freshly ground black pepper.

Serve with Celeriac and Potato Mash.

Tip: If you haven't got time to roast and peel the chestnuts then buy ready-cooked vacuum-packed chestnuts.

All recipes credited to Demuths Cookery School,

If you want to find out more about Chef Wise go to the Chef Wise web site just follow the links below.


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