Garlic: The Heart of Flavour for Vegan and Vegetarian Dishes 8th Feb, 2019

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Whether you're embracing a new vegan diet, having Meat-free Mondays, cutting back on salt, or simply upping your vegetable intake with more vegetarian cooking, garlic is key to ensuring your food still packs a punch on the flavour front. Naturally, here at The Garlic Farm we are firm believers that any dish is enhanced with a generous addition of garlic. But when you are using less ingredients than usual to cook with, or following recipes that don't rely on meat, fish and cheese to provide flavour, garlic becomes even more essential.

Depending on how you use it, garlic can add a subtle sweetness or a tangy kick to a dish. Its intensity relies on the way you prepare and cook the cloves: whole roasted heads of garlic make an impressive centrepiece to any vegetarian or vegan supper; while finely crushed garlic, briefly fried in melted butter, is a mouth-watering garnish to cooked mushrooms, cauliflower steaks, steamed corn-on-the-cob, shredded cabbage, spaghetti (perhaps with the addition of dried chill flakes and black pepper) or jacket potatoes.

Chopped or sliced, raw or roasted, garlic is not only versatile but incredibly nutritious. Along with antioxidants and prebiotics, garlic provides essential trace minerals and vitamins B6 and C. It is renowned for its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, and is believed to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. So along with boosting your meal with its unique flavour, garlic will also give your immune system a powerful boost, making an already healthy vegetarian dish even more virtuous.

Some of our favourite ways to eat garlic with veggies include:

Fat slices of aubergine, sautéed in olive oil with crushed garlic

Butternut squash, cubed and roasted with several cloves of garlic inserted amongst the squash. Cook at 180/200C for around 40 minutes, turning half-way through.

Roasted cauliflower florets with garlic - try our recipe here (leaving out the anchovies if you prefer).

Mashed potato is sublime with chopped garlic and olive oil whisked into the cooked potatoes.

This garlic and saffron soup uses 25 cloves, along with ginger and harissa, to create a spicy pick-me-up that's perfect for when you need central heating in a bowl!

Black garlic sage butter: try chopping several black garlic cloves into a pan with some torn sage leaves and around 50g butter. Heat until the butter melts and the sage leaves start to crisp up; then serve poured over gnocchi, steamed cauliflower, or roasted potatoes.

Smoked Garlic is a delicious foil to Cauliflower Cheese or Potato Dauphinois: simply crush or finely chop several smoked garlic cloves, and add them to the cream or white sauce used in your favourite recipe. Or follow our own recipe here.

And of course, what would homemade pesto, humous or garlic bread be without its star ingredient?! Any one of these garlicky combinations is a crowd-pleasing taste sensation.

When you need a sweet treat, but still want to feel good about your food choices, try our recipe for Black Garlic brownies, with dark chocolate and half a bulb of antioxidant-rich black garlic.