In January last year, I took part in Veganuary—a campaign which encourages people to eat vegan for a whole month.
Like a lot of people, I want to reduce my meat and dairy intake and eat more sustainably-sourced plant-based foods.
I also felt stuck in a bit of a food rut, and as someone who usually enjoys cooking (and, of course, eating), I wanted to see if introducing a constraint to my diet would help me find new meals and rediscover my culinary creativity.
Here’s a round up of my favourite recipes and discoveries from that experiment.
Vegan recipes round-up
- Planet friendly bolognese from Gizzi Erskine’s Slow - as the book title suggests, this takes a while to make. On the plus side, the recipe makes a large amount and it’s great for freezing and using in pasta dishes, cottage pie, and other mince-based dishes
- Jamie Oliver’s vegan shepherd’s pie - I like this because it’s not trying to taste like meat. It’s just a delicious, flavoursome and comforting vegan pie
- Madhur Jaffrey’s mushrooms with chickpeas - serve with rice, naan, or in wraps with a dollop of coconut yoghurt. I like to add spinach
- Meera Sodha’s scrambled tofu akuri - if you’re not sold on the idea of scrambled tofu (I certainly was not), this might just convert you
- Burnt aubergine chilli hands down the best vegetarian chilli I’ve ever had (and I’ve had many) - we’ve made this over and over. Don’t worry if you’re not into aubergines - they melt away and you don’t really know they’re there
- Buffalo cauliflower tacos - who doesn’t love tacos?
- Yotam Ottolenghi’s french beans and tofu with chraimeh sauce - it’s all in the sauce which I immediately wanted to eat on absolutely everything
- Dishoom’s jackfruit biryani - this is one of my favourite things to order in a Dishoom restaurant and I’m pleased to say the make-at-home version is just as good. You’ll need to swap the yoghurt, butter and cream for plant-based alternatives. The Dishoom cookbook gives suggestions
- Rukmini Iyer’s lime and coconut dal - comforting with a kick, and very delicious
Other vegan cooking ideas
As well as specific recipes, I also found a number of tricks that helped us keep going.
- Make a batch of salsa macha (a dark, sticky Mexican peanut and chilli dressing) and have it on everything
- Pickles make everything more interesting
- Nuts make most things more interesting
- A couple of squares of dark chocolate in your (plant-based milk) porridge will change your life. Salted almonds on top will change it even more
- After extensive research I can confirm that the H!p salted caramel chocolate is the best vegan chocolate around (not a spon)
- I strongly advise you not to bother even trying with vegan versions of cheese*, yorkshire puddings, cream, eggs
- *The exception to the cheese rule is smoked gouda but only when used in cooking, not eaten “straight”
- Ben and Jerry’s Non-Dairy Phish Food ice cream tastes as good as the dairy version