Today is World Vegan Day, and even if you’re not keen on giving up animal products completely, there’s never been a better time to consider introducing some meat-free meals to your diet. The alternatives are improving all the time in flavour and decreasing in cost.
I’m not vegan, but nor am I rigorously determined to keep eating meat or diary. I suppose that makes me a flexitarian, as it’s called – eating a little bit of everything. It’s harder than ever not be aware of the impact meat is having on the planet, though. It takes a lot of feed and water to produce a burger, say, and it’s clearly a lot more efficient to put that feed and water directly into us.
This Week’s Issue
Our Marion’s gathered together some stunning vegan recipes in this week’s “Friend” cookery (Nov 3) that are full of flavour, but also fairly simple to prepare. That’s the sort of thing that’s going to win me over to cooking vegan! Plus imagine how many of your five a day are in a vegan meal – a meal where veg isn’t just a bit on the side, but several are involved in the finished product. Suddenly you’ve jumped from a measly one or two portions per mealtime, to getting close to your daily allowance in just one sitting. That’s got to be worth thinking about.
From the dabbles in vegan food I’ve had, I know it would take a while for my tastebuds to adapt to a dedicated vegan diet. The flavour is there, but they’re very different flavours to what I’m used to. However, most of us are already eating meat-free some of the time, so the advice is often to start where there’s already an overlap and magnify that.
PlentyVegan.com suggests starting with breakfast. It’s a fairly easy meal to go vegan with. Fruit. Cereals are mostly vegan, and milk alternatives are getting more palatable – which also opens up porridge. Toast with avocado on is a winner not just for flavour, but also for your energy and nutrition.
For main meals, pasta and rice offer a great carbohydrate base to keep you fuelled, while there’s a whole world of tomato-based sauces that work on top. Vegan chilli and lentil curry are even easier to make than their meaty versions, and some companies have even been making tinned versions – keeping the cost and cooking time to a minimum. Stir-frys can also easily be vegan – check the labels on sauces, and either miss out the protein or go for tofu.
Vegan snacking is, again, something a lot of us already do. Nuts, dried fruit, rice cakes, nut butters – all good for you, all filling and all vegan.
Even if full veganism isn’t on the cards just yet, I reckon being a bit more determined to make some meals vegan is a step in the right direction. If you come across any delicious recipes that are vegan, do share them with us – and let us know if you try any from this week’s issue.
Visit the VeganKind Supermarket and have a browse at the products to see how easy it would be to switch.