Vegetarian Month: 3 delectable lunch recipes

Mexican sweetcorn soup, baked potatoes with tofu Skagen, and caesar salad with kale and chickpeas are lively modern takes on much-loved classics and perfect for lunch. And since it's October, they’re both easy and vegan!

Design Letters Food & Lunch box and Do Breathe book
With pre-prepped dishes, there's more time to enjoy your lunch. The white Snack box and pink Food & Lunch box are by Design Letters, the lavender Mono thermal bottle by HAY, the Nobel fish fork by Gense and the Do Breathe book by The Do Book Co.

OCTOBER IS VEGETARIAN MONTH, and with a little extra effort in the kitchen on the weekend you won’t have to reach for a bag of dried noodles yet again when you’re too busy to cook during the week. Meal prepping has long been widely popular, and for good reason. Preparing food and ingredients takes a bit of time, but doing it all at once and planning ahead will ultimately save you time, money and energy. These three vegan recipes are easy to prepare in advance and quick to heat up for lunch.

Sweetcorn soup gets a spicy Mexican makeover with a touch of jalapeño. The traditional pozole soup or stew is a mainstay of Mexican cuisine, made from corn kernels that have been dried and treated with lye. Some of these ingredients are hard to find in smaller shops, however. One thing that makes pozole so delicious is the topping, which can be varied according to taste – tortilla chips, thinly sliced cabbage and onion, avocado, radish, fresh coriander. These also enrich a soup made from canned sweetcorn and add texture to the pureed soup.

Fiskars All Steel tomato knife
Sweetcorn, onions, potatoes, garlic, and jalapenos make a tasty and warming soup with texture. The blue Feast plate is made by Serax, the All Steel tomato knife by Fiskars and the small Ultima Thule bowl by Iittala.
Serax Feast plate, XS, yellow
Coarsely grated smoked tofu is an excellent alternative to shrimp when preparing vegan Skagen for your baked potatoes. The yellow Feast plate is from Serax's collection and the ReNew scissors from Fiskars'.

Baked potatoes with shrimp filling are a lunch classic in Nordic canteens. A vegan version is equally delicious, with grated smoked tofu and plenty of fresh dill in the filling for the perfect flavor. Seaweed caviar made from seaweed ‘roe’ is inexpensive, and can be enjoyed without hassle any day.

Vegan Skagen with grated smoked tofu is as delicious as the classic shrimp version.

Choose whatever size of potato you like: the usual choice is one large potato, but you’ll have even more crispy roasted potato skin to enjoy with a couple of smaller potatoes. The filling is easy to prepare in advance, and will keep well in the fridge for about a week. The roasted potatoes are a cinch to heat up for lunch.

Serax Feast plate, Face 1
The secret to a great vegan caesar dressing is miso paste and soy sauce that give it nice depth and saltiness. The colourful Feast plate, designed by culinary mastermind Yotam Ottolenghi and artist Ivo Bisignano, is made by Serax.

Caesar salad hardly needs any introduction. In this version, in addition to the traditional romaine lettuce, kale is used to add flavor and crunch. For a properly filling lunch, it’s a good idea to add lightly fried chickpeas and fresh fennel. The mouthfeel really matters: don’t use too much kale, and slice the fennel very thinly so it doesn’t feel like you’re chewing for hours.

Instead of anchovies, this delicious caesar salad dressing is seasoned with miso paste and soy sauce. These two innovations provide the same saltiness and depth of flavor that is the secret of caesar dressing. The food yeast flakes are a tasty vegan alternative to the traditional parmesan.

When making the sauce, take care when adding the miso paste, as the saltiness can vary a lot depending on the brand. You can chop all the salad and mix them together in the same container ready for when you need them. The caesar dressing can also be made in advance. This way, all you’ll need to do when hunger strikes is roast the chickpeas and add them.

The vegan lunch recipes:

Serax Feast plates and ferm LIVING Oli tumbler
The Mexican sweetcorn soup is served with mouth-watering toppings. Serax's blue and yellow Feast plates and ferm LIVING's green Oli tumbler complement the vibrant colour palette.

Mexican corn soup

Ingredients for four servings:
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cheese cumin (whole or ground)
1–2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
2–3 cloves of garlic
1 or 2 jalapeños
1.5 L water
1 bay leaf
2 medium floury potatoes
2 tins (500 g) of sweetcorn
1 vegetable stock cube
1 tsp salt
1 lemon

thinly sliced raw onion and white cabbage, tortilla chips, fresh coriander, sliced avocado, thinly sliced radishes.

Do as follows:
Thinly slice the onions and garlic. If desired, remove the seeds from the jalapeños to reduce the heat and slice them. Peel and dice the potatoes. Drain the sweetcorn in a colander.

Toast the oregano and cumin seeds in a small amount of olive oil until they start to sizzle and become deliciously fragrant. Add the onions, garlic, jalapeño, bay leaf and diced potato. Let the onions soften in the oil for a while, then add two-thirds of the sweetcorn, the stock cube, and the water. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes, until the potatoes are soft.

After this, remove the bay leaf. Add a handful of fresh coriander to the saucepan, and then blend the soup to a smooth puree. Add more water if necessary to make a fairly thin puree. Pour the puree back into the saucepan, bring to the boil, and add the remaining sweetcorn. To balance the sweetness of the corn, add salt and lemon juice to taste. Serve with the toppings.

ferm LIVING Os salad servers and Serax Feast plate
The baked potatoes are garnished with seaweed caviar, an affordable and tasty delicacy. The table is set with HAY's Outline tablecloth, Tom Dixon's Stem Press vase, Serax's Feast plate and ferm LIVING's Os salad servers.

Baked potatoes and vegetarian toast skagen

Ingredients for four servings:
4 large or 8 small potatoes
200 g smoked tofu
half a red onion
100 ml vegan mayonnaise
150 ml vegan crème fraîche
half a bunch of chopped dill
1 grated lemon zest and lemon juice to taste
1 tsp ground black pepper
salt to taste

vegan roe and fresh dill

Do as follows:
Wash and dry the potatoes, but do not peel them. To prevent the potatoes from cracking in the oven as they cook, prick them here and there with a fork. Preheat the over to 200 °C, put the potatoes on a tray with baking paper, and bake until soft to the touch. The cooking time of the potatoes depends on their size, between 45 and 60 minutes. Let the potatoes cool down enough to handle them.

While they’re in the oven, prepare the skagen. Grate the smoked tofu with the course side of a cheese grater into a bowl. Finely chop the red onion and add it to the bowl. Mix the crème fraîche, mayonnaise and chopped dill in a bowl. Grate the lemon zest into the mixture, and squeeze in the juice of half of the lemon. Season to taste with black pepper. Taste and add salt and more lemon juice to taste.

Cut the potatoes in half, sprinkle on a little salt, and spoon the filling onto the potato. Add the vegan roe and fresh dill to taste. Enjoy with a side salad.

Serax yellow Feast plate and Iittala Raami tumbler
Lightly-fried chickpeas are the star of the vegan caesar salad. The yellow Feast plate by Serax and the clear Raami tumbler by Iittala make a nice pair.

Caesar salad with chickpeas and kale

Ingredients for four servings:
2 heads of baby gem lettuce or romaine lettuce
half a bunch of kale
1 head of fennel
250 g cooked chickpeas
1 tsp salt
1–2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp food yeast flakes

150 ml vegan mayonnaise
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp miso paste
1 tsp soy sauce
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp food yeast flakes

Do as follows:
Mix the ingredients for the sauce and put it in the fridge to thicken. Rinse the kale and salad leaves, dry them and remove the stems from the kale. Tear or chop the kale and lettuce in a bowl. Using a knife or a mandoline, slice the fennel very thinly, leaving the stem uncut.

Drain the chickpeas and fry them in a pan with olive oil until slightly browned. Season with salt. Mix a couple of tablespoons of caesar dressing into the salad leaves. You can either mix all the ingredients in a bowl or serve the salad on a plate with the chickpeas and kale beside it. Drizzle a little more sauce over the portion and sprinkle the yeast flakes on top.

Get inspired

Oli tumbler
Normann Copenhagen
Astro tray
Feast plate
Nobel fish fork
Feast plate
Theo tea cup with coaster
Os salad servers
Outline tablecloth
Design Letters
Food & Lunch box
Tom Dixon
Press Stem vase
Feast deep plate
Suvi Kesäläinen

Design Stories contributor Suvi Kesäläinen is a photographer, who loves to create dishes that are not only delicious but also fast and easy to make. She’s passionate about the best seasonal ingredients, local food and intriguing culinary trends.

See also:

New tableware at Finnish Design Shop >

Text and photos: Suvi Kesäläinen

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