Stuffed flatbreads and butterbean dip: Harriet Mansell’s vegetarian summer spread – recipes

These three dishes work nicely together as a summer dinner. The stuffed flatbread is divine, while the smoky butter bean dish just happens to be fully plant-based and derives its incredible flavour and creaminess from the smoked tofu ; that’s a rather good protein hit, too. The accompanying salad, meanwhile, is a fresh yet hearty counterpoint to the indulgence of the other two dishes, with cucumber, celery and herbs and a nutty crunch from toasted seeds. In other words, perfect summer entertaining.

Sweet potato and tarragon flatbread with garlic and seaweed butter

Prep 15 min
Prove 15 min+
Cook 1 hr 15 min
Serves 2-4

110g plain flour
Sea salt and black pepper
30ml vegetable oil
, plus extra for greasing
60ml warm milk
1 large sweet potato
, or 2 small ones
10 sprigs fresh tarragon, leaves picked and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
95g salted butter
2 tbsp mixed dried seaweed flakes
, crumbled
75g mature cheddar, grated
75g gruyere, grated

Combine the flour and a heaped teaspoon of salt in a bowl. Stir in the vegetable oil and warm milk, then mix and knead until it comes together into a smooth dough. Cover and leave to prove for 15-20 minutes.

Bake the sweet potato in a 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4 oven for 45 minutes to an hour, until completely soft inside, then halve it and scoop out the soft flesh. Leave the oven on for the bread. Mix this in a bowl with the chopped tarragon, salt, pepper and a 20g knob of butter, then pass through a ricer (or mash it), until smooth, and leave to cool slightly.

Roll the dough into a roughly 30cm disc, scatter two-thirds of all the cheese over the top, then top that with the sweet potato mash. Scatter over the remaining cheese, then pull the dough up and over the filling, pinching it together at the edges to enclose the filling, and shape back into a rough round.

Put a little vegetable oil in a nonstick frying pan on a medium heat, then cook the flatbread for five minutes until golden and slightly browned underneath, then flip and repeat on the other side. Once it’s nice and golden, put it in the hot oven for five minutes to finish cooking.

While the bread is in the oven, mash the remaining 75g butter with the garlic and crumbled seaweed. Spread the flavoured butter all over one side of the hot flatbread, then serve.

Smoky roast tomato, garlic and aubergine butter bean stew

Prep 15 min
Soak 15 min
Cook 30 min
Serves 2-4

85g unsalted cashew nuts
½ aubergine
(about 200g)
3-4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Flaky sea salt and black pepper
3 garlic cloves
, 2 peeled and crushed, 1 peeled
300g cherry vine tomatoes
115g smoked tofu (or about half a standard pack)
1 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste

A pinch of cayenne pepper
Juice of ½ lemon and the finely grated
zest of ¼ lemon
1 banana shallot, peeled and finely sliced
400g tin butter beans
, drained
3 sprigs fresh basil
, picked, to finish
3 sprigs fresh oregano, picked, to finish

Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4. Put the cashews in a bowl, cover with just-boiled water and leave to soak for 15 minutes.

Cut the aubergine into 1cm cubes, put on an oven tray and toss in a little olive oil with half a teaspoon of salt and the two crushed garlic cloves. Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring once halfway, until caramelised and golden, then remove and set aside. Meanwhile, put the tomatoes on a second baking tray, drizzle with a little oil,toss to coat, then roast alongside the aubergine for the last 10 minutes of its cooking time, until lightly blistered.

Drain the cashews and put them in a blender with the roast tomatoes, a teaspoon of salt, the smoked tofu, tomato paste, cayenne, the peeled garlic clove, the lemon juice and zest, and black pepper to taste. Blend smooth, then add more salt and/or lemon juice to taste.

Put a nonstick frying pan on a medium heat, add a tablespoon of oil, then sweat the shallots, stirring, for three to four minutes, until translucent and softened. Add the butter beans and roast aubergine, cook, stirring, for a minute or so, then add enough of the tomato and tofu sauce to bind the mix should you end up with surplus sauce, it will keep for three days in the fridge and doubles up as a nice dip. Heat through, loosen with a little water, if need be, and check the seasoning one last time.

Spoon into a bowl, tear the herb leaves over the top, drizzle with some extra-virgin olive oil and serve.

Watercress salad with french beans, celery and a cucumber and herb dressing

Prep 10 min
Cook 15 min
Serves 2-4

Salt and black pepper
200g french beans
, trimmed
100g mixed seeds
watercress (ie, 1 standard supermarket bag)
1 stick celery
, sliced wafer-thin at an angle, ideally on a mandoline

For the dressing
100g tahini
½ cucumber, unpeeled
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
1½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
3 sprigs fresh basil, leaves picked
6 sprigs fresh mint, leaves picked

Put all the dressing ingredients bar the herbs in a blender or food processor, add 50ml water, then blitz smooth and season to taste. Cover and refrigerate until needed – the dressing may thicken up a bit in the fridge, in which case loosen it with a little extra water.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, then blanch the beans for two or three minutes, until just tender but still with some bite. Drain and refresh in cold water to stop them cooking further.

Put the seeds on a baking tray and toast in a 170C (150C fan)/325F/gas 3 oven for about six minutes, until just browned and aromatic. Meanwhile, wash and dry the watercress.

To serve the salad, put a bed of watercress on a large platter, scatter the blanched beans and the celery over the top, and cover with more watercress. Drizzle generously with the dressing, scatter on the seeds and ripped herb leaves, and serve.

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The Guardian

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