Roots, salads, dressings, seeds and nuts…how the kitchen is being challenged and embracing the world of vegan food.
By Dan Clarke
Vegan and vegetarian wedding food has traditionally always been overlooked but that is no longer the case and here at Roots we recognise that plant-based dishes can be exciting and adventurous as well as delicious. As a chef, I can admit that creating vegan menus was at first a challenge but the team at Roots have really embraced the food trend and are constantly pushing themselves to be more creative.
One of my remits as the Executive Chef is to inspire and motivate the team to be creative. In times gone by if you mention vegetarian food to a chef they tend to curse and throw pans and strops! Those times are long gone, vegetarian and vegan diets have become trends that are not only here to stay but are increasingly growing on a global scale. So, we’ve embraced this new food phenomenon and are always looking to offer and create dishes that are exciting, full of flavour and textures!
Over the last six months we have created some innovative vegan dishes that we are very proud of, we’ve adapted canapes and now use vegan mayonnaise for all of our dressings and salads. We also work extremely hard on making most dishes gluten free, apart from a few desserts that need gluten…but our Double Chocolate Brownie is gluten free.
One of our finest creations has been the Vegan Roots Egg, this is our version of the classic scotch egg which is made with sausage meat, egg and bread crumbed. We wanted to create something that looked similar and could be served with the same garnish as the classic. We quickly came up with using baby red beetroot as the “egg” and surrounding it with a chickpea, coriander, red pepper and spring onion falafel style mix. We season the beetroot with our homemade Rosemary Oil, a little balsamic and finally some salt and pepper. The chickpea mix has a wonderful undernote of coriander, which we grow here in our own garden, and a zing of fresh lime. We mould the mix around the beet, chill and then what we call “panee” which means to coat with gluten free flour and soya milk, instead of egg. We then coat in gluten free breadcrumbs, chill and cook on the day. This is served with Watercress Mayo (vegan mayo made with chickpea juice), beet salad and purees with balsamic gel.
This is just one example of the team at Roots shaking up the vegan offering. We look to adapt other dishes where possible so that guests can all enjoy the same menu. Luckily the range of ingredients now available to create lovely plant-based dishes is growing daily.
There are some great recipe websites and media channels to look at for inspiration. One of the sites I follow is the Minimalist Baker, which is also a great favourite of our Director, Mariella.