We’ve all heard about plant based diets or going vegan and for many of us our minds go to eating shrivelled kale and bland tofu, well rest assured those are definitely not your only options. While a plant based diet has many health benefits, it is also great for the environment; it helps to reduce carbon emissions, minimize agricultural land use and lessen the impacts of climate change. So, let us see how we can make this traditionally unexciting cuisine into something that you look forward to trying.
The Poké bowl is traditionally a Hawaiian dish that is comprised of diced raw fish, rice, raw and pickled fruits and vegetables. We can make an amazing vegan alternative by tossing some cubed tofu in cornflour and frying it off with honey and soy sauce. The rest of your ingredients can be equal parts of sushi rice, avocado, cucumber and pickled edamame beans. Add some pickled ginger, fresh chilli, peanuts and sesame seeds on top. Drizzle lemon juice and soy sauce and you’ve got a fresh and delicious bowl ready to eat!
Vegan chilli is so easy to make and a lovely Mexican dish to add to your plant based repertoire. Add mixed three beans and corn, or any legumes you prefer, simmer with diced tomato, herbs, chilli and garlic until it is a thick tomatoey mixture. Delicious with tortilla chips and guacamole and you can always make a bowl with quinoa, salsa, guacamole and your choice of fresh vegetables.
Sushi is a favourite for many of us so the trick is to find a way to make it plant based. Though the end result is more similar to the Korean Gimbap, it’s still a delectable alternative. One can use plant based ‘chicken’ pieces, mushrooms, tofu or any other protein options that you prefer. The key is to tightly pack the sushi rice onto the piece of nori and place the finely sliced vegetables at the bottom. We love to combine cucumber, pickled ginger, carrot, avocado and a protein option. Roll it up tightly and cover it in sesame oil to bind it all together. Just cut it up and dip in soy sauce, then you have your perfect vegan sushi!
Of course we have to include a mouth watering pasta; this creamy mushroom, spinach and pine nut combination is perfect for a busy week night as it takes less than 20 minutes to prepare. Fry off pine nuts first to bring out their flavour, then add your sliced mushrooms, baby spinach, garlic, herbs, chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Once the vegetables is cooked, add your plant based milk or cream (oat or rice are preferable due to their creamier texture), allow to simmer for about 10 minutes and add some cornflour in water to thicken. Add to your pasta and dinner is served.
Veggie burritos are an easy and diverse option for lunch or a light dinner. With the right amounts of chilli and garlic, you can put any combination of vegetable and plant based protein. Slice up bell peppers and ‘chicken’ strips and fry them up in a spicy tomato salsa (with chilli, garlic, smoked paprika and herbs). Feel free to add rice and beans with coriander and lime juice. Put it all into a tortilla wrap and you’re ready to go.
If you are a curry person, this chickpea curry will change your life. Start off by frying diced onions and tomatoes, then add butter chicken curry spice and chickpeas. You can add bell pepper, butternut or spinach at this stage as well. Once it’s all fried nicely, add some tomato paste and coconut cream, add garlic and chilli to taste, mix it all together and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve with some basmati rice and optional lime juice.
Hopefully these mini recipes are enough to get you excited about plant based cooking! Which one will you try first?