Disclaimer: The Pinnable image? Not vegan, but easily made vegan but switching the grilled halloumi for vegan cheese or grilled tofu.
I’m always banging on about my #cleaneats and partially Vegan lifestyle, so it’s probably time to put my money where my mouth is and tell you what I cook up on a weekly basis. To clear a few things up, I am not Vegan. I am also not Vegetarian. I just eat what I want to eat, which throughout the week consists mainly of a plant-based (therefore Vegan) diet. I believe in moderation, so if I want a dirty Byron burger — I’ll have one. Although I do watch what I eat about 80% of the time, it stands to reason that for the other 20% — I don’t.
Bizarrely, other people’s reactions when you talk about eating vegan food, or experimenting with your lifestyle are mostly negative. I have been questioned endlessly about why, what and how I cope and get endless comments about being Vegan, despite the fact that I do not identify as one. I say that it’s bizarre because I would never ask anyone why they were choosing to eat unhealthy foods, or talk shit about a pregnant women who chose to eat, gasp, unpasteurised cheese…or wine. Sidenote: I don’t particularly understand the obsession with labelling every single aspect of a human being, but such is life.
My journey to get to where I am today, food wise, started after my first long term stint abroad. After two years of travelling, I realised that I felt infinitely better and my skin had cleared up too (I’ve suffered from adult acne since the age of about 29). Once I got back, I couldn’t help but try to take what I could from my travelling lifestyle and try to convert that into some form of London friendly scenario, if you know what I mean?! So, of course, I turned to Pinterest and blogs and found some amazing resources to help me find my way in the plant world and I’ve experimented enough to have a pretty robust bunch of weekday staples.
I’ll tell you a few things about a Vegan diet, though, that you may be surprised to hear. These are the reasons I choose to eat from this diet most of the time. It’s cheaper. You don’t have to shop at Holland & Barrett or Whole Foods to get everything you need. You won’t miss cheese. Mustard and cider vinegar will become your new best friends. Tofu can be delicious.
So, here are a few of my staple recipes:
It would be ridiculous to call this a ‘recipe’, really, as it is just uncooked porridge. Put oats and whatever milk you fancy in a bowl, and leave overnight. It goes all creamy and delicious while you sleep and if you’ve been clever and added cinnamon, peanut butter or cocoa powder (or, indeed, all three) then it is literally ready to eat.
If, like me, you are rarely prepared then fear not. I add honey (or agave for the Vegan’s), some banana and desiccated coconut.
Recipe by A Beautiful Mess
I know, I know. I can literally hear you groaning but honestly — scrambled tofu is delicious. Okay, it’s not gonna cut it for the hardcore scrambled egg eaters out there, but for me — it works. It’s packed full of protein so it’s sooooo perfect for after a workout and takes mere minutes to make. The key is in the drying, and the flavouring. Let’s be real people — tofu is bland as fook, and it needs to be dried out. I cut a chunk off the block and literally squeeze the water out. I then wrap it in greaseproof paper, and smush it between two plates with some heavy books on top. The longer, the better, but I find that 30 mins will suffice.
You will need to add a fook-load of seasoning. Otherwise the tofu will taste of, well tofu — which is, as we mentioned, notoriously bland. I tend to favour turmeric, cumin, garlic and garam masala. Something about Indian spices makes the dish super yummy. Add some texture in by frying it with kale, or shredded cabbage and stick it on toast, or in a tortilla wrap. YUM.
Recipe by Oh My Veggies
Granola & Yoghurt
Granola is ridiculously pricy if you buy it from the supermarket. That’s why I make it! It is disgustingly easy, and not in the way that Mary Berry tells you that a Christmas dinner is easy to make. There are hundreds of recipes out there and honestly, Áine Carlin does a cracking one but this one is my fave, because…BANANA BREAD.
Recipe by Minimalist Baker
Chia Seed Pudding
Oh man, this naughty dish rocks my world a lot. Chia seeds are magical I tell you. TOTALLY MAGICAL! You can make it easily with a few ingredients: chia seeds, some form of milk….be it almond, soy or good old cows, and a bit of flavour (cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg). The only downside is waiting for it to set overnight….
Recipe by Oh She Glows
Lunch & Dinner
This dish is not as good as a cheese laden Macaroni Cheese, but it’s almost as good. It’s definitely just as comforting! Also, baked, crispy kale? A revelation!
Recipe by Áine Carlin – Keep it Vegan
Veggie Tortilla Wrap
This isn’t even remotely Mexican, and in no way authentic to any nationality apart from the one that praises using a tortilla wrap to house any filling. I rely on always having wholewheat wraps on hand to add scrambled tofu, or egg too, or chuck some leftovers in for a day-after lunch.
Recipe by Oh My Veggies
Okay that sounds dull, but really — soup is probably a staple in everyone’s life right? The Mighty Boosh say so anyway…… It doesn’t just have to be leftover roast chicken soup, or boring old vegetable, or lentil soup either. Chuck some cannelloni beans in and, if you eat eggs — a poached egg on top — and you’ve got yourself a gourmet offering. Puree some boiled celeriac and apple with a sprinkling of thyme, and you will no longer relegate soup to sick days.
Puy Lentil Bolognese
There are a few comfort foods that I can’t live without. Lasagne is one, and Spag Bol is another. I have only just discovered this dupe for the Italian meaty classic, and I love it. Puy lentils rock — they hold their shape and don’t go mushy like the other types do. So all you have to do is add the usual ingredients and some yummy tagliatelle and voila! Prego!
Recipe by Olive Magazine
Any Indian Curry!
Curry is the root to all happiness! Seriously, it is. India is a food mecca for vegetarian’s (as is Bali, IMO) and I think that’s just because they know how to flavour. That’s the secret, really. If your food has enough flavour, it kinda doesn’t matter if it’s a rice cake you’re eating, or a pile of tofu! Obviously, for your curry I would recommend using neither of these two things — I would chuck in stacks of root veg and some chickpeas.
Recipe by Abel & Cole
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