Cook with us

We scientist at Lancaster Environment Centre work with a wide variety of plants. In our glasshouses you can from world most important crops like wheat and rice, to other vegetables like cowpea (black-eye beans), tomato, rocket, lettuce and broccoli.   We have prepared some tasty recipes with some of the plants we work

Cowpea salad

By Roxana Khoshravesh

This is a healthy and colourful salad perfect for spring and summer. You can use canned cowpeas to save time and different herbs for new flavours.

Vegetarian & vegan.


  • Cowpeas (1/2 cup)
  • Lettuce (1/2 cup) – chopped
  • Tomato (1 small)
  • Pepper of you choice (half -we used sweet red pepper)
  • Red onion (1 small)
  • Lemon juice (optional)
  • Salt 
  • Ground black pepper
  • Herb of your choice (we used mint!)
  • Olive oil

Soak the beans in cold water for 4-6 hours. This reduces the cooking time and energy consumption. Rinse the cowpeas, put them in a pot, add water (twice the volume of the cowpeas), bring to the boil and cook on low heat for at least 1 hour (or until the cowpeas are soft). When soft let them cool down. Alternatively you can buy them pre-cooked, in water, in ~400g cans and all you need to do is drain and rinse. 

Wash the lettuce, tomato, and pepper and chop them. Peel and chop the onion. In a bowl mix the chopped vegetables and the cowpeas. For the dressing add a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper and herbs to you taste. Finish it with olive oil and maybe some lemon juice, then toss, serve, and enjoy!! 

Cowpea green rice

By Roxana Khoshravesh

This delicious recipe is rich in proteins from cowpea and carbohydrates from rice. A nutritious and flavourful one pot meal for all year long!

Vegetarian and vegan.


  • Cowpeas (1/2 cup)
  • Rice brown or white (1/2 cup)
  • Red onion (1 medium) – chopped
  • Herbs of your choice – chopped (I use dill and parsley that I grow in my kitchen window, and dried mint)
  • Salt 
  • Ground black pepper
  • Turmeric (1tsp)
  • Olive oil

Heat olive oil in a pot to medium heat and fry the onion for a few minutes. Add the spices, mix and cook 1 minute. Add the herbs and mix. Add the cowpeas and fry for a few minutes medium heat. Add 2 cups of water, bring to boil and cook on low heat for at least 1 hour (or until the cowpeas are soft). Add the rice (there should be water in the pot to cook the rice!!) and cook for another 20 minutes or until there is no more water in the pot. 

Serve with some side greens like rocket and tomato and enjoy!

Wild rocket, avocado and walnut salad

By Catherine Walsh

Wild rocket (Diplotaxis tenuifolia) is a rich source of Vitamins A, C, K and folate.  Mineral content is also high in these plants,  with potassium, calcium and  magnesium being the most abundant. Most importantly, wild rocket has shown cancer prevention capabilities, when eaten regularly in sufficient amounts. This is owing to the glucosinolate breakdown products which are also responsible for the familiar, peppery taste. Additionally, wild rocket is an excellent provider of antioxidants and fibre to improve health and well being.


  • 100g Wild rocket
  • Red onion (half) – sliced
  • Avocadoes (2) – sliced
  • Walnuts – toasted


  • Olive oil (3tbsp)
  • Lemon juice (2 tbsp)
  • Wholegrain mustard (1 tsp)


Layer the wild rocket, red onion and avocadoes in a bowl. Combine dressing ingredients and drizzle over. Top with toasted walnuts. Serve and enjoy!!