The recipes of three chefs for a vegetarian Christmas

This year, your advocacy has paid off. For the first time, your family has agreed to enjoy a vegetarian meal at Christmas. However, cooking without animal products is not boring and arouses curiosity. The test with Google. In recent weeks, the recipes of vegetarian foie gras » you hate vegetarian party meal » climb to the top of search engine trends.

In order not to disappoint your guests and fight prejudice against meat-free menus, three chefs specializing in vegetable cuisine share their recipe ideas.

Creamy carrot barley, virgin citrus sauce, by Manon Fleury

Just 31 years old, Manon Fleury is one of the leading chefs of her generation. She at Mermoz and Le Perchoir in Paris, where she officiated, she managed to impose a gastronomic menu 100 % vegetables. I came to it quite naturallyshe says, thanks to my education. We ate a lot of vegetable at home. As I progressed as a chef, I naturally wanted to decentralize animal protein. There is such a diversity of grains, fruits, vegetables, seaweed… »

Even today, vegetable cuisine suffers from prejudices, even in the world of gastronomy. We see it as healthy cooking, not gourmet or festive »says the chef. Commonplaces that you explain with history bourgeois » French kitchen: Importance was given to animal protein, a sign of wealth. Vegetables and grains were associated with the cooking of the poor. »

The plant, he assures, can however be as refined as the animal. It just takes creativity. » To convince his guests of the benefits of vegetables, the chef recommends working the ceremony » : For the holidays, what people want to see is a dish they’re not used to, that’s aesthetically pleasing, and that looks like it’s spent time in the kitchen. » A vegetable millefeuille, for example, or a barley risotto. It’s a cereal we don’t cook every day, which takes time. It’s comforting and throws on the plate at the same time. »

Creamy carrot barley, virgin citrus sauce, by Manon Fleury. © Pauline Goublin

Manon Fleury’s recipe: creamy carrot barley, virgin citrus sauce (from her book Cereals)

Preparation time : 40 minutes

Grain Soaking Time: Minimum 2 hours, ideally 12 hours

Cooking time : 20 minutes

Ingredients (for six people):

– 500 grams of pearl barley

– 1 liter of water

– 1 kg of carrots

– 100 grams of hazelnuts

– 2 carrots (for the sauce)

– 1 orange

– 1 lemon

– 1/2 bunch of flat leaf parsley

– A few nasturtium flowers (optional)

– Salt and pepper

The day before : soak the barley in abundant water at room temperature for twelve hours.

Cooking barley: drain the barley and rinse it. Put it in a saucepan with cold water and simmer gently for ten minutes. Salt at the end of cooking. When the barley is cooked, cover it, away from the heat, to let it finish swelling.

Carrot puree: peel, wash and finely chop the carrots. Put them in a saucepan with water up to their height. Cover and cook over low heat for fifteen minutes. Uncover and continue cooking for five minutes. Check the cooking with the tip of a knife: if the carrots are tender you can remove them from the heat, otherwise continue cooking for a few minutes. Mix the still hot carrots with a little of their cooking water. You should get a smooth puree. If not, you can add a little more water. Adjust the seasoning and set aside.

virgin sauce: Toast the hazelnuts in a fan oven at 150°C for about eight minutes. Let them cool then chop them roughly. Rinse and peel the carrots and make a nice brunoise. Using a knife, peel the raw orange and lemon, then make supremes and cut these wedges into cubes. You can mix the two citrus fruits. Clean the parsley and slice it thinly, keeping aside a few chopped leaves for garnish. Mix the citrus fruits, carrots, hazelnuts and chopped parsley and season.

Creamy barley: In a saucepan, heat some mashed carrots over low heat. Then add a little barley and mix the two elements to obtain a creamy texture of the risotto. Adjust seasoning if needed.

Dressage: serve the barley cream piping hot in bowls or bowls. Add a little virgin sauce, a little chopped parsley and possibly a few nasturtium flower petals.


Roasted squash, tahini sauce and onion pickles, by Lucie Berthier

Trained at the Paul Bocuse Institute in Lyon, Lucie Berthier cut her teeth in the kitchen in Marseille with Gérald Passédat and Alexandre Mazzia. She has been officiating since 2019 in her own restaurant, Sépia, located in the city center of Nantes. Her menu gives pride of place to vegetable-based dishes, prepared with local and seasonal ingredients.

I have been a vegetarian for several yearsshe says. At the time, the offer was not what it is today. When I opened Sepia, it was obvious to offer vegetarian and vegan options. It is a prejudice, a commitment. » There is no reason, according to the chef, to exclude vegetable cuisine from holiday meals. It can be just as festive. Pumpkin, for example, is a product I adore. Each variety has a different taste, material and texture. We can transform it in a thousand ways and elevate it. »

Roasted squash, tahini sauce and onion pickles, by Lucie Berthier. © Lucia Berthier

Lucie Berthier’s recipe: roasted squash, tahini and onion pickles

Preparation and cooking time: 50 minutes

Ingredients (for four people):

– Half a pumpkin (Provençal moss, Baby Boo…) per person, to be adapted according to its size

– 400 g of fresh butter

– 1 sprig of thyme

– 2 cloves of garlic

– 1 whole nutmeg (to be grated)

– 200 g of Greek yogurt

– 50 g of tahini (sesame puree)

– 10 g of candied lemon paste

– 1 red onion

– 100ml of water

– 150 g of vinegar

– from 150 to 200 g of sugar

– Fresh herbs (tarragon, coriander, parsley…)

– Salt and pepper

Roasted squash: Cut the butter into cubes and arrange them liberally in an ovenproof dish. Add the thyme, crushed garlic and grated nutmeg. Cut the washed pumpkin into thin crescents. Arrange them on the plate. Salt and pepper. Cook the confit pumpkin croissants in butter for thirty-five minutes in your oven heated to 170°C. Drain them, drain them and keep them warm in the oven at 30°C until serving.

The sauce : mix the Greek yoghurt, tahini and candied lemon paste in a bowl. If the sauce is not elastic enough, add a little hot water to your preparation.

Onion pickles: Cut the red onion into thin slices. In a saucepan, bring 100 ml of water to the boil with the sugar and vinegar. Pour the mixture over the onions, then leave to cool.

Training: arrange the pumpkin croissants on plates. Gently add the onion pickles and salsa. Sprinkle everything with fresh herbs.


Vegetable scallops, by Claire Vallée

It was after a trip to Thailand that chef Claire Vallée became a vegetarian. No longer able to cook meat or fish, she opened her own vegan restaurant in 2016, in Arès, in the Arcachon basin. And baptize him WE HAVE to Non-animal origin. An oyster port, a large hunting community… The place didn’t lend itself much to that », recalls the former graduate student in archeology. However, from the beginning, support came: crowdfunding helped him finance the work. When I received my room keys, eighty volunteers came to help me. They formed a real community. And the local restaurateurs came to bring us food, » remember.

In 2021 it won a Michelin star. An excellent first for a vegan restaurant. Unfortunately, the health crisis and staff shortage put an end to this great adventure in October 2021. Since then, Claire Vallée has published a book, in which she reveals many tips for cooking without animal products. To help gourmands avoid meat during the end-of-year celebrations, Claire Vallée cooks the trompe-l’œil. She makes vegetable caviar with Japanese pearls (tapioca), vegetable foie gras of shiitake mushrooms and chestnuts, or reproduces salmon with strips of carrots. For sauces she uses champagne, truffles or saffron. The most important thing is to highlight local and seasonal products »concludes.

Claire Vallée’s recipe: vegetable scallops (taken from her book Non-animal origin)

Preparation time : 1 hour

Cooking time : 2 hours

Ingredients (for four people):

– 6 large eryngii mushrooms

– 50 g of dried kombu seaweed

– 1 tablespoon of shiitake miso paste

– 3 cl of mirin

– 70cl of water

– neutral oil

Cut the caps off the eryngii mushrooms and keep only the white stem. Cut the slices 2 cm thick and put them in a deep dish. In a saucepan, pour the water, the mirin, the kombu seaweed and the miso paste. Bring to a boil and leave to infuse, covered, for one hour. Strain the preparation and pour over the mushroom sections. Leave to marinate for several hours. Remove them from the liquid, fry them over medium heat in a little neutral oil. Once well colored, keep them warm.

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