Now that you are halfway through Veganuary, you may be struggling a bit.
The initial New Year enthusiasm and desire to purge your body of all the chocolate and cheese you consumed over Christmas may be waning, and all you really want is a big, juicy cheeseburger and a chocolate milkshake.
But stay strong. You can do it. Yes, vegan.
If you think you’ll throw up if you see another chickpea, fear not – there are ways to make vegan cooking interesting, exciting and delicious, you just have to know how.
There’s also the dilemma of eating out with friends. Although restaurants are increasingly catering for vegans, it can be really hard when all your friends want to go out for pizza.
Fortunately we spoke to the brother duo behind vegan food delivery service allplants, JP and Alex Petrides, to find out both how to make vegan meals tasty and how to survive social situations as a vegan.
How to make vegan meals exciting
Still make your favourites
“There’s a hack to every recipe,” JP and Alex say. “We’ve always loved a rich bolognese sauce to top a bowl of spaghetti.”
So if you’re making a vegan ragu, for example, remember the flavour all comes from the rich sauce. You can still use your favourite recipe but swap out the meat for a blend of 50 per cent walnuts, 25 per cent carrot and 25 per cent courgette.
“This simple tweak will give a delicious, indulgent blend of crunch and chew, while delivering way beyond your protein needs,” the brothers say.
Experiment experiment experiment
From spices, to grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables and nuts, there are 400,000 plant species and probably about eight types of meat or fish you regularly eat, JP and Alex point out.
“Put aside your meat and two veg for endless, limitless experimentation,” they recommend, suggesting you branch out and try ingredients such as kimchi, jackfruit and bamboo.
Don’t sacrifice on cream.
Whether on pasta or potatoes, a creamy sauce is hard to beat. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make tasty alternatives on a plant-based diet.
The brothers suggest blitzing two cups of cashews, one cup of water, half the juice of a lemon, two cloves of garlic and a sprinkle of salt in a blender. “You’ll be salivating in no time,” they say.
Use nutritional yeast
“This is an all natural way of bringing nutty, cheesy savoury flavour to any sauce, soup or salad,” JP and Alex explain. “A little goes a long way, so don’t overdo it when adding your first sprinkles. It’s also loaded with vitamin B12.”