EVERY now and again I try to eat a little less meat and opt for some of my favourite veggie treats instead. This is often the case during the summer months when there’s an abundance of vibrant, fresh produce to choose from on the market.

There is no denying that I’m a die-hard carnivore but I still think it’s important to mix it up a little and vary your diet to include a reasonable amount of plant-based meals from time to time.

For the non-vegetarians among us, it’s often thought that creating a meat-free, satisfying meal requires a lot of imagination – but it really doesn’t.

Select some of your favourite seasonal vegetables and simply get creative with your herbs, spices and seasoning; there are so many delicious recipes and combinations to discover.

Curries, risotto, soups, pizza and pasta dishes are some of the easiest to create so get cooking!

One of my favourite dishes is this wonderful summer vegetable tart, full of Mediterranean colour and flavours. It’s a real rustic dish and perfect for lunch or a quick and tasty mid-week supper.

I normally use ready-made puff pastry but feel free to make your own if you wish (personally I think life’s too short and very few people will be able to tell the difference).

You can use a variety of different vegetables in this dish but I think the purple, red and green veg really turns it into a Mediterranean feast for both the palate and the eye.

You could also substitute the mozzarella for goats cheese if you prefer.


Ingredients (serves 3-4)

1 packet of ready rolled puff pastry, chilled

1 punnet of cherry tomatoes

1 courgette

1 bunch of spring onions

1 red onion

1 ball of mozzarella

1 red pepper

1 small bunch of basil

Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 180c

Un-roll the pastry onto a lined baking sheet. Gently score around the pastry, leaving about a half inch from the edge, to create a border. Prick the surface inside the border lightly with a fork and bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, de-seed the pepper and cut into quarters, slice the courgette into discs, divide the red onion into eighths and slice the spring onions lengthways.

In a hot pan or griddle, grill the peppers skin-side down in a little olive oil for a few minutes, then add the onions and courgettes, tossing them all together and cook until they begin to colour slightly and soften.

Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and marinate in a bowl with the olive oil and basil. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove the pastry from the oven and arrange the vegetables and tomatoes on top. Tear the mozzarella and scatter over the ingredients and return to the oven for a further five minutes until the cheese has melted and started to turn golden. Serve hot with a crisp green salad.