My husband Tom and I ventured into veganism at the end of last summer after watching the Netflix documentaries 'What the Health' and 'Cowspiracy'. We'd only initially planned to do it for a couple of weeks, but when the fortnight was up we both decided to continue with it as we'd thoroughly enjoyed and embraced the experience of eating a plant-based diet. It seems that many people are put off going completely vegan as they are worried about what to eat in place of meat and dairy to ensure that they are getting enough nutrients. It does take a bit of research initially and some trial and error of different products, but I have found it much easier than I'd expected to switch to veganism (which is why I've continued with it). My husband and I have now got quite a list of go-to vegan meals to cook and eat at home. Like most people, we don't have time to be spending hours in the kitchen every evening, so the meals we make are quick and simple.
So, for anyone toying with the idea of veganism or looking for some plant-based meal inspiration, here are 10 of my favourite meals to make at home:
Fry up some diced vegetables such as onion, garlic, courgette, mushrooms and aubergine and then add some ready-to-eat lentils and a bolognese sauce. Combine this with a spaghetti of your choice and serve.
Stir fry some fresh vegetables such as brocolli, babycorn, mangetout, carrots and peppers and mix in either some home-made or shop-bought satay sauce (just check to ensure it's a vegan one). Then add cooked noodles and serve.
I use a recipe from Annabel Karmel's Busy Mum's Cookbook for this tasty curry dish. Saute two chopped onions, two carrots and one red pepper, then add one teaspoon of curry powder, cumin, coriander and half a teaspoon of cinnamon, two crushed garlic cloves and two cm of grated ginger. Add 200g of dried red lentils, one can of chopped tomatoes and one pint of vegetable stock and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon and season. Serve with brown rice and chutney.
A really quick and simple mid-week meal: peel and chop one or two sweet potatoes and roast in oil until they start to crisp. In the mean time oven cook some nut cutlets and serve with a side salad or some green vegetables such as asparagus.
5. Red lentil pasta with roasted vegetables in a chilli tomato sauce
Slow roast some Mediterranean vegetables such as aubergine, peppers, mushrooms, red onion, garlic and courgette. While they are roasting, finely chop some red chillis and garlic and fry in a pan. Add a tin of chopped tomatoes, some sundried tomato paste and a heap of fresh parsley. Combine this with the vegetables and serve with red lantil pasta.
Fry some vegetables such as peppers, red onion, courgette, aubergine. mushrooms and garlic. Stir in some tinned haricot beans and sweetcorn and add a Mexican spice mix and some fresh coriander. Meanwhile mash up some ripe avocado and finely chop some cherry tomatoes - stir in some fresh coriander, lime juice and salt and pepper to both. Serve with a rocket salad and/or some brown rice.
7. Roasted vegetables with quinoa and toasted pine nuts
Roast some red onion, tomatoes, courgettes, mushrooms, aubergine, peppers and garlic. In the meantime cook some quinoa on the hob and once off the heat stir in some freshly chopped parsley. Add the quinoa to a dish and place the roasted vegetables on top. Throw on some toasted pine nuts, season well, drizzle with oil and serve.
Stir fry some vegetables such as onion, garlic, babycorn, brocolli, mange tout, asparagus and peppers. Add a green Thai curry paste, a tin of coconut milk, stir in some chickpeas and fresh coriander. Serve with white or brown rice and some mango chutney.
Roast some vegetables such as peppers, courgette, garlic, aubergine, mushrooms, tomatoes and shallots. Cook some white or brown pasta and stir in some homemade or shop-bought vegan pesto. Add in some toasted pine nuts for extra protein.
Vegans don't need to miss out on Sunday roasts. Buy a good quality nut roast and prepare it according to the instructions. Roast some carrots, parsnips and potatoes wih fresh rosemary sprigs (par boil the potatoes first). Make a side of stuffing balls and serve with veggie gravy and more vegetables if desired.
I hope you've found this list useful and interesting. Hopefully it has inspired you to try vegan for at least some of your meals if not all of them!