***As part of my Veganuary journey in 2020 I’ve decided to share some information that I’ve discovered on veganism over the month. It’s important to note that I’m no expert – I’m still very much in the learning stage of veganism and have included sources below for any scientific claims. My main goal is to help others should they also decide to try the lifestyle out!***
During this series of Veganuary 2020 posts I hope I’ve got it across that veganism isn’t just about food but your entire lifestyle. There’s so much to think about and, whatever your reasons for going vegan, the changes you make will impact many areas of your life (for the better!).
That being said, food is a massive part of being vegan and is usually the best place to start. As your diet changes so will your health, and it’s important to make sure you’re eating nutritious and healthy meals that meet all of your calorie and nutrient requirements – something we perhaps don’t think about enough when eating an omnivorous diet. It can be easy to assume vegan food is just omni food with the meat taken out but that’s so not the case… It’s actually incredibly versatile, and since becoming vegan I’ve eaten a whole variety of wonderful dishes! Here are my favourite recipes that I’ve used so far – all perfect for beginners and providing balance and variety (some contain swaps to make them vegan, however I’ve mentioned this on each individual recipe).
Oats, for me, are an absolutely staple – I love having oats in the morning as they’re so filling and can have a variety of different toppings added to them (I’m not very good at eating the same thing for breakfast every day). They’re easy to make but can be made even easier by making them in advance as overnight oats. Here are nine great options from Life Made Sweeter – my favourite is apple and cinnamon, and sometimes I mix it up by replacing the apple with pear.
I’ve always veered towards British and European pancakes, however I had to try out the American kind after finding a super easy vegan recipe for them that doesn’t contain any random or hard to find ingredients. These ones from Veggie Desserts are gorgeous, and go beautifully with a simple topping of maple syrup.
Homemade Beans On Flatbread
Before you get scared baked beans in a can are actually vegan, however they’re probably not the healthiest thing to eat every day. This is a recipe from BBC Good Food that I use to make my own beans (minus the Worcestershire sauce) which contains extra veggies and spices for for a more fulfilling and nutritious breakfast. I serve them on a vegan flatbread however they would work well on any vegan bread product.
Other vegan breakfasts to try:
- Peanut butter or marmite on crumpets
- Plant-based smoothies
- Cereal with plant-based milk
Vegan Vegetable Couscous
My favourite vegan lunch, especially when on the go, is a recipe I made myself – Vegan Vegetable Couscous. It’s super nutritious, filled with loads of veggies and pulses, and works great both hot and cold. One thing I love about it is how easy it is to make, as I get it done within ten minutes!
Spicy Potato Soup
This recipe from Gary Rhodes wasn’t originally vegan, however when I made and reviewed it I converted it by simply using a plant-based milk instead of cow’s milk. What I love about this is that it’s so ridiculously cheap to make, which is great for those days where the budget is stretched and you’re struggling to cater for your vegan needs. Plus it’s really tasty!
Moroccan Aubergine & Chickpea Salad
Moroccan cuisine has so many lovely flavours, and I find it makes a nice change from some of the other things I usually eat. This recipe from BBC Good Food uses aubergines and chickpeas and is especially wonderful on a warm day. Just swap out the honey for maple syrup or agave nectar and you’ve got a fully vegan lunch!
Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup
Tomato soup is a classic and it’s one of my favourite soup flavours as its simplicity is what makes it taste so good. This Vegan Roasted Tomato Soup from Life As A Strawberry is possibly the easiest soup I’ve ever made, with no dairy needed to create a thick and warming lunch experience.
Roasted Carrot & Spinach Quinoa Bowl
Quinoa is something I definitely don’t eat enough of, but I guess that’s why it feels like so much of a treat when I do. The fact that the vegetables are roasted in this recipe by This Beautiful Day make it so flavoursome, and it works well all year round either hot or cold.
Other vegan lunches to try:
- Vegan sausage roll (Greggs and Aldi do great varieties)
- Vegan crackers with hummus
- Sandwiches – bread is often vegan!
Broccoli Cashew Stir Fry
This was the first vegan recipe that I tried and it was absolutely gorgeous – I’d never actually put nuts in a stir fry but it worked so well! This one by The Garden Grazer was relatively easy to make and I felt really good after eating.
Tomato & Chickpea Curry
Chickpeas work so well in curries, and this curry from BBC Good Food is my definition of perfect comfort food. It’s got a gentle flavour with the tomatoes and spices, and I love how creamy and satisfying it is.
Vegan Tofu Stir Fry
This is another one of my recipes and something I will keep making again and again. I’ve always been a big fan of stir fries but using tofu actually took it to the next level – I even preferred it to chicken! I made sure to pack this one with veggies so that it’s bursting with flavour and fulfilling as many nutrient requirements as it can.
Lentil Loaf With Balsamic Onion Gravy
If you’re like me and you have a roast every Sunday then this vegan roast alternative from Wallflower Kitchen goes perfectly with the rest of the plate. Meat is a massive part of a Sunday roast so I thought I’d feel like I was missing out, but this was really enjoyable to eat. I haven’t made the gravy however the loaf itself is great (and full of protein).
I’ve been eating ratatouille for years without considering that it’s vegan, so it’s nice to have a familiar favourite on my new vegan meal plan. This recipe from BBC Good Food is particularly good, and is easily amended to include the flavours that you crave.
Vegan Garlic Pasta
There’s nothing like a hearty pasta dish, however so many contain lashings of milk, cream, and cheese. Minimalist Baker’s Vegan Garlic Pasta recipe uses almond milk instead of dairy, creating a lusciously creamy dish that you’d never guess didn’t contain dairy.
Creamy Cashew & Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
Cashews are a popular vegan alternative to dairy products in pasta as they achieve a similar level of creaminess despite the fact there’s no cream involved. I’ve only tried one such recipe so far which is this pasta dish from Easy Cheesy Vegetarian and I’m certain I’ll be making it again! It has a lovely texture, plus the cashews add a unique flavour.
Other vegan dinners to try:
- Thai green, yellow, or red curry with tofu
- Meatless meatballs with tagliatelle
- Meatless sausage traybake with roast potatoes and vegetables
Peanut Butter Bites
Protein bites are great whether vegan or not, but when you’re focusing on a plant-based diet then they make an excellent homemade snack. I can’t believe how filling these Peanut Butter Bites from The Real Food Dieticians are – I take two with me to work and they keep me going for hours!
Peanut Butter Banana Roll-Ups
This has to be the simplest recipe ever, however Eating On A Dime’s Banana & Peanut Butter Roll Ups make for a satisfying snack that’s easy to take out and about with you. I always feel like a child when I’m eating these and they bring a smile to my face! Many supermarkets sell accidentally vegan wraps too, making them an easy one to cater for.
Broccoli Tater Tots
I only learnt what Tater Tots are recently (we call them croquettes in the UK) and I love this idea of adding vegetables to them to make them more nutritious. This recipe from So Vegan is actually more of a table snack idea, however I’ve also found them great for taking to work.
Peach Pie Oatmeal Cookies
These cookies from Amy’s Healthy Baking are one of my absolute favourites – although not initially vegan, you can substitute the egg with either flaxseed or chia seeds. They’re gooey and tasty and feel really indulgent (despite being much healthier than your average cookie) – if you’re not a fan of peach then you can also find strawberry or oatmeal and raisin on the same website.
Other vegan snacks to try:
- Veggie sticks or tortilla chips with hummus dip
- A portion of fruits or vegetables (I like snap peas or a banana)
- Mixed nuts and dried fruits
What are your favourite vegan meals to eat? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to like and pin!
You can read my other Veganuary posts here: