National Vegetarian Week 2021 - a chat with Bettina Campolucci Bordi
National Vegetarian Week 2021 – a chat with Bettina Campolucci Bordi
We caught up with vegan chef and author, Bettina Campolucci Bordi, to talk all things National Vegetarian Week. Read Bettina’s tips on plant-based food and give her delicious Breakfast Burrito recipe a try!
What are your favourite vegetarian ingredients?
Seasonal veggies and fruits! They make me very excited. I really look forward to every season and each ingredient being eaten at the peak of its season. The taste is sensational and it is so exciting to work with lovely produce. Everything else is an added bonus when it comes to spices etc.
This year we have the Veggie 123 challenge for National Vegetarian Week – what advice would you give to anyone thinking of going veggie for the week?
The best advice I would give is to subscribe to a weekly veg box. It is a great way to support local seasonal produce and also cook with ingredients you normally wouldn’t or have been cautious of approaching. Preparation and planning is key! Plan your meals, bookmark recipes and get excited.
Eating more veggie meals is a great way to do your bit for the planet and feel great. What do you think is the best thing about eating more veggie food?
It’s great for your health, your gut and the planet. Make sure you source well, eating seasonal and local as much as possible. Variety is important to so why not try something new?
Which veggie fake-away would you like to master?
I think nowadays they are all pretty easy to master and make delicious at home.
Have you ever tweaked a recipe to make it veggie?
Yes, I do this all the time! I have veggie-fied or veganised a lot of my childhood favourites such as Swedish meatballs, custard, cakes and much more.
Which is your favourite recipe and why?
Anything with toast! It is the best vessel. Peanut butter and jam is a much-loved classic of mine. My father is Norwegian so as a family we always have cloudberry or lingonberry jam in the cupboard. It’s less conventional with peanut butter but tastes amazing. I like Manílife and Pip & Nut’s butters.
In the summer, when tomatoes are at their best, I love topping sourdough with pumpkin seed pesto and thick slices of tomato, then I drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle on some sea salt flakes. The more pared-down version, Pan con tomato, is also a firm favourite as I lived in Spain for 12 years.
Anything goes really, as long as the produce is great, it will taste amazing.
Why do you think veggie and vegan food is increasing in popularity?
Because people are becoming more conscious of what they are eating and how they are sourcing it. We are also realising that if we don’t change our ways there won’t be a planet to live on for much longer with recent change in weather and environmental statistics.
What was the first veggie meal you cooked and how did it go?
I first started cooking veggie as a career when I started out in the wellness industry nine years ago in Spain. I cooked with ingredients that I sourced at the market, so it was a win-win.
How often do you cook from scratch and do ever just fancy a microwave meal?
I never have microwave meals. I cook from scratch nearly every day but definitely use convenience foods like pre-cooked beans, tomato sauce and even houmous. I am not superhuman and I am a mum after all!
What do you think is the most versatile ingredient?
That’s a hard question but it would probably be olive oil and salt. They tend to be associated with savoury recipes but recently I made a chocolate olive oil babka, which was amazing.
If you weren’t in the food sector, what else would you have liked to have done?
I wanted to study diplomacy before I studied Hotel Management but I’m so glad I’m in food and I wouldn’t have it any other way
What would you say to someone on their first steps of their veggie journey?
Be kind to yourself, start small, and make sure you have some great basic ingredients. Then plan well and get inspired by sourcing lots of great recipes beforehand.
Which of your veggie recipes would you say is sure to please even your meat-eating friends?
Swedish non-meatballs is a classic, followed by tacos and curries.