One of the main questions I get asked since going vegan (aside from where will you get your protein from and what if you get stuck on that mythical dessert island that vegans should recoil in fear at) is “What do you eat?” So I thought instead of repeating myself a millions times (read: three), I would type it all into a handy blog post.
Since going vegan, I have fallen in love with cooking all over again. Yes I still have my days where I chuck some pasta in a pan and not much else but experimenting with flavours and using different veggies has become something I find a lot of joy from. Not only this but my tastes buds have evolved massively!! I wouldn’t even go near a curry till I turned vegan and now I bloody love it.
A little disclaimer before we dive in though… despite the enjoyment I get from cooking, there is no real method to what I make. I’m more of a “let’s chuck this lot in and see what happens” kinda gal. I’m also a firm believer in – kitchen rules are made to be broken – so I tend not to follow recipes perfectly and would suggest that you too, take mine with a pinch of salt.
So with most of these recipes I tend to just throw in the vegetables that need using up. My favourites are:
Onion, garlic, red bell peppers, courgette, aubergine.
These guys will feature ALOT but if you don’t like them, don’t fret. Just add in whatever takes your fancy. Everyone has their preferred veggies so you do you boo.
Something to note: I DESPISE mushrooms, the vegetable that is probably most common in the humble vegan spag bowl but this further shows that you can mix things up and still have a delicious meal at the end of it.
Ok let’s get going …
Chop veggies, chuck in a big frying pan with some oil
Drain lentils and pour in
Add tomato passatta and tomato puree
When the juices have started to soak in add a handful of kale
Season with your preferred herbs (oregano, rosemary, mixed, salt, pepper, garlic powder – if you’re a garlic freak like me)
Let simmer until juices are soaked up to your preferred juiciness and bobs your uncle.
This dish is SO versatile, you can serve over courgettie or your fave carby pasta selection. You could use it to make a lasagne/shepherds pie (which I’ve done with sweet potato mash and it was divine), or you could add kidney beans and chilli powder and serve with rice. The world really is your (vegan alternative) oyster here.
This is an absolute staple of mine, a go to after a long day at work or on those days when you just CBA!
SO easy and can be mixed up however you please.
Here I’ve roasted some vegetables (onion, garlic, broccoli, red bell peppers, kale)
Cooked up some pasta
Then mixed it all together with some Sacla dairy free pesto and topped with fresh basil leaves.
However, I also do this a lot with just pasta, broccoli and kale – boil them all together in the same pan and coat in pesto once drained (usually a whole jar but shh don’t tell anyone). Completely depends on what I have in the cupboards and how adventurous I’m feeling.
SAUSAGE AND MASH
An absolute classic, really easily veganised.
Linda McCartney sausages ARE LIFE! So obviously they’re my go to, but you can pick any veggie sausages you want. Cook as instructed on the box (usually around 15-20 mins)
Peel potatoes and boil for about 20-30 mins
Mash with dairy free butter (I use flora) and add a little dairy free milk if needed – I’ve also done this with oatly single cream which was just as delish.
I’ve cooked up some broccoli, kale, sweetcorn and onions to go with and smothered in the free from Tesco gravy cause there’s something about that stuff that I cannot get enough of.
CAULIFLOWER CHICKPEA CURRY
Note: I have never cooked a curry in my life so this was a complete test. I found a vague recipe online and Laurafied it.
Chop up whatever veggies you want, I’ve used:
Onion, garlic, red bell peppers, courgette, cauliflower and kale.
Heat in a big frying pan with oil
Add chickpeas (once drained)
Pour in a tin of coconut milk and season with curry powder (I also added oregano and extra turmeric)
Then I screwed it all up by adding waaaay too much vegetable stock so don’t do that lol
I feel like a curry paste would have been good too but I didn’t have that so used some tomato puree.
Oh and I chucked some sundried tomatoes in for good measure – why the hell not.
Wait till juices are sucked up and serve over rice.
FALLAFEL, HUMMUS, RICE
The quickest and easiest of all the meals here!
Buy some falafel (of course you can make your own if you’re feeling particularly Nigella) these ones are from Tesco.
Stick it in the oven with some broccoli for 12 mins (season broc with a little oil and your fave herbs).
Put rice packet in microwave for 2mins (again you can cook properly but I was tired ok!) I used golden vegetable rice here
Tip hummus onto plate out of packet (yes I know, you can make this too)
So quick and so yummy!!!
( Warning: This is a whooooole lotta chickpeas so maybe a meal for when you’re on your own 😉 )
Boil your pasta, broccoli and kale in the same pan to save washing up (you can roast the veggies if you prefer)
smash up some avocado and season how you like (I used garlic powder, salt and pepper)
Mix together and top with bacon bits for a bit of crunch (yep, bacon bits are vegan)
This was a taste sensation! An experiment that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Onion, garlic and red bell peppers chopped and strewn in the pan over oil.
Add frozen green beans.
Pour in rice (this was wholegrain which meant it took an absolute AGE to cook).
Cover in vegetable stock.
Season appropriately – I used turmeric and oregano
Add a little tomato puree and some sundried tomatoes.
Wait until juices are sucked up and rice is cooked thoroughly, no need to continuously stir but make sure the rice isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan – nobody likes a crusty bottom.
THE ROAST DINNER
And I couldn’t finish without doing a little sumin sumin on that traditional English beauty that is … the roast dinner. Meat has never been my favourite part of a roast so for me, this is no biggie. AND when you load your plate up with veggies you get to be super smug and that brings me joy haha
I usually choose to substitute my meat with stuffing or on occasion, a nut roast. Just mix as the packet tells you and put in the oven for 20 mins.
I roast the other veggies on a tray with oil and season (mixed herbs, salt, pepper and garlic powder.)
Roast potatoes – boil for about 15 mins, bash about in a colander, then tip into a roasting tray (which has been oiled and in the oven for a bit). Sprinkle on some flour for that extra crisp roastie, add your preferred seasoning and put in the oven till golden (usually around 45 mins to an hour).
I boil my broccoli then make a cheese sauce: Dairy free flora melted into a pan, add flour till a paste forms, add in dairy free milk and whisk till smooth, grate in your vegan cheese of choice (I use Violife as it melts amazingly). Once you have your lump free sauce, pour over broccoli and stick in the oven for a bit.
COVER IN GRAVY CAUSE GRAVY IS THE BEST.
So there we go, 8 easy vegan meals to get you started!!
A lot of these can obviously be less “easy” if you want to make your own pesto or falafel but that’s a whole different kettle of Quorn fish.
Deffo keep an eye on my Instagram cause I tend to post foodie snaps either on the grid or in my stories and please hit me up if you try any of these!! I want to see your creations 🙂