It’s January, the time of the year when we want to get healthier and (maybe) try something new, in the hope that we’ll make better choices in the year ahead. Gyms get busy and vegan aisles are stocked up. Each year with growing demand, being vegan is becoming more and more easy. New products are launched in the market; from Beyond Burger through vegan sausage rolls launched by Greggs food chain, to a ground breaking vegan scrambled eggs (my personal favourite) to be launched soon. Read about it here: https://www.plantbasednews.org/post/just-vegan-egg-set-to-launch-in-europe
Vegan meals are very easy to make and don’t require much prep. Here are my top 5 favourite vegan meals that will make you happy this Veganuary.
1. Buddha Bowl
This is my personal go-to meal. It is nothing more than a colourful collection of nourishing vegetables, beans, grains and protein sources in one bowl. According to the author of ‘Buddha’s Diet’, Buddha woke up in the morning and travelled with a bowl through villages and local people would place food in his bowl as a donation. So Buddha Bowl is a collection of whatever you have available in your fridge.
There are no rules for preparing a Buddha Bowl so you can be creative. I like to mix up something crunchy with a slice of protein. Toss up a bunch of kale, tofu and tinned chickpeas with salt and pepper, lemon and tahini and roast in the oven until crispy. At the same time boil broccoli or Brussels sprouts or any other veg that you like and add it to your bowl. You can also add any grains or rice of your choice if that’s what you fancy.
I recommend topping it with a good sauce like sriracha. Yum!
2. Protein Pancake with BBQ Jackfruit
Jackfruit is frequently used in curries in Asia or ‘pulled pork’ kinda meals in the West. Jackfruit absorbs flavour very well and resembles strands of meat. Unless you are lucky enough to be at a street market in Asia where you’ll find fresh produce, Jackfruit is sold tinned so most of the prep has been done for you.
I use chickpea flour for my vegan pancakes because it has fewer calories and carbs than either whole-wheat or all-purpose white flour, yet it’s a better source of protein. Chickpea flour has double the amount of protein than whole-wheat flour and six times more than all-purpose flour.
- Rinse jackfruit chunks under water
- Place jackfruit in a medium size pan
- Add 2-3 tbsp of BBQ sauce, salt and pepper & mix well
- Add a tin of kidney beans
- Stew for 30 min until soft
- Mash jackfruit or pull it apart with a fork
- Mix together 1 cup of chickpea flour (Besan) with 1 cup of water
- Add 1/2 tsp of turmeric, salt, pepper & mix it in to create a smooth pancake mix
- Heat a little bit of oil in a non stick frying pan. I like to use spray one
- Scoop 1/4 of the mixture or less and pour it onto the frying pan
- Fry each pancake for 1-2 min on each side.
To assemble place one vegan pancake on a plate, add a scoop of your jackfruit mixture and top with avocado, bell peppers and some chilli sauce. Enjoy!
3. Zucchini Lasagna with Pesto Sauce
1 large zucchini
1 tin of red kidney beans
Hemp or olive oil
Soya mince (dry or frozen) or tinned green lentils
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 jar of passata
2 cloves of garlic
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt to taste
A bunch of basil
1 cup of cashews soaked in water for 30min
2 cups of spinach
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
Juice from half a lemon
1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
- Cut zucchini and aubergine into thin strips and put aside
- Add soya mince and fry for 10 min
- Add the remaining sauce ingredients and cook for 15 min then set aside
- Make vegan pesto by putting all ingredients into a blender and blend for 2 min until it looks like a smooth sauce. You may have to add more water.
- Assemble your lasagne in an oven proof dish (20 cm by 15 cm) by putting strips of zucchini on the bottom to cover the whole surface.
- Add a layer of the sauce, then spinach on top and a few dollops of the pesto
- Add another layer of aubergine and zucchini strips
- Add another layer of the sauce, spinach and then pesto
- Repeat twice finishing with green pesto on top
- Cook in 190 C oven for 30 min
4. Avocado and Hummus Jacket Potato
This is one of the simplest meals you can make. Plus you can be creative with your favourite toppings.
- 1 sweet potato, washed
- Coconut oil
- 1 avocado
- 1 tbsp hummus
- Heat the oven to 220 C
- Pierce your potato with a fork
- Place it in the microwave for 6 minutes
- Take it out when softened and rub in a little coconut oil
- Bake in a hot oven for 20 min until crispy
- When baked cut it in half and top with a generous dollop of hummus, sliced avocado and chilli
- I highly recommend adding pickles!
5. Overnight Chia Pudding
Successful Veganuary requires a recipe which can be prepped quickly. I find that overnight oats or chia pudding fits the bill quite nicely. It’s a good option for someone who is busy and can’t cook a meal in the morning as well as someone who wants to have a healthy breakfast rather than a sugary cereal in the morning. Not to mention chia seeds are very low in carbs, full of omega 3 and 6, which makes it a guilt free breakfast.
In order to take advantage of the Omega 3 and 6 from these seeds, make sure you break them down in your mouth, so chew well.
Chia breakfast is very easy to make and utterly delicious.
- 50g chia seeds
- 200 ml dairy free milk
- 100g dairy free yoghurt
- a dollop of nut butter
- Spirulina (optional)
- Place chia seeds in a jar or a bowl
- Add dairy-free milk & 1/2 tbsp of spirulina. Mix it for 2 minutes. It’s important that you continue mixing as the seeds expand, otherwise you will find that they will clump together
- Add some dairy free yoghurt and mix it in. It will help the seeds to be suspended in the liquid and not clump up.
- Top it with your favourite nut butter or something sweet, if that’s what you like.
- Leave it in the fridge overnight.
- It’s ready to be eaten in the morning