Veganuary: What can I eat?

Transitioning from a meat-eating diet to vegan plant-based one can be seen as a daunting task for anyone. However, what many don’t know is that it opens up a whole new world of food, transforming the way you approach cooking completely. Veganuary celebrates the many wonderful benefits of turning vegan as well as highlighting the shocking and detrimental effects that arise from the cruel practices within the animal farming industry. From understanding where your food comes from to comprehending the concept of ‘mock meats’ (you’d be pleased to know that there is a substitute for the once-beloved Greggs sausage roll, thank you Linda McCartney), this article is an attempt to provide basic and budget-friendly recipes for the vegan-curious.

Vegan ‘Breakfast’ Scramble:

This is the perfect vegan brunch you will be grateful you knew about the morning after a booze-fueled night. The main heartiness of this dish comes from the tofu scramble which is incredibly simple and customisable to make. Fry some diced red onion and minced garlic in a pan, then add chopped vegetables such as mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, pepper and kale. Cook until soft. Finally, crumble in some firm tofu (firm is essential, try brands Cauldron or Tofoo) so it replicates the appearance of scrambled egg. Season with turmeric for colour, cayenne pepper for a kick and salt and pepper to taste. Serve on some whole-wheat toast sided with avocado and vegan sausages.

Lentil Spaghetti Bolognese:

Lentils are an excellent source of protein, iron and fibre, and won’t leave you missing the traditional minced-beef in this dish. An easy and warming dish that works out very cheap, particularly if you make this in bulk and freeze portions. Dice and fry your onions, celery, carrot and minced garlic in a pan, add two cans of chopped tomatoes, and dry red lentils that have been previously rinsed, with a squeeze of tomato puree. Add some water to cover the lentils so they can cook, then some dried basil, oregano, parsley and a bit of sugar (to reduce the acidic taste from the tomato sauce). Mix and simmer until the lentils are soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with pasta and Tesco’s Everyday Value Garlic Bread which is suitable for vegans (*cheering all around*).

Berry and Banana Porridge:

Many people turn in dismissal at the thought of porridge for breakfast as not much seems appealing about a bowl of plain oats. Some even question about how it can be vegan without milk. Fortunately, there is an incredibly wide variety of plant-based milk available in every supermarket, which are suitable for vegans such as soy, almond, coconut and cashew, and all come with their unique flavour. Simply put some oats and the desired plant-based milk in a bowl, microwave for roughly two minutes and top with frozen or fresh mixed berries, chopped banana, peanut butter, a dash of cinnamon and a drizzle of maple syrup (a good alternative to honey). Tasty, warm and keeps you feeling full for hours.

As with all recipes, you can add or substitute ingredients to your liking. Additionally, for those who worry about eating out with your mates as a vegan, here are some great places in Portsmouth that offer a variety of vegan dishes:

  • Zizzi
  • Wagamama
  • Nandos (just ask for no mayo)
  • The Southsea Village
  • Wild Thyme Wholefoods
  • Pie & Vinyl
  • Smile Cafe
  • Waterstones Cafe
  • Southsea Coffee
  • Wetherspoons (bearer of an award-winning vegan curry)

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