A selection of some of my favourite recipes from my blog, to (hopefully) provide some inspiration for your vegan food adventure! Whether you’re signed up to veganuary or just looking to expand your plant-based repetoire, there’s something here for everyone, for any time of day.
A record number of people have signed up to veganuary this year, and more and more supermarkets and brands are participating or pledging to veganise their products. It’s really exciting to me to see how animal-free eating is gaining momentum.
Though I’ve been vegetarian since I was a child, my vegan journey started four years ago, and I can honestly say that I have eaten more exciting, satisfying and nourishing food since then than I ever did before. Even I was surprised at how quickly I shifted from someone who couldn’t imagine a pleasurable life without dairy cheese, to someone who can’t imagine ever feeling the need to eat it again. And, as someone who generally feels guilty for everything, I do feel more at ease for having taken the most significant single step a person can to reduce their impact on the planet.
Whatever your motivation, whether you have signed up for veganuary, are considering making a permanent change, are a fully fledged vegan, or just looking to incorporate a few more plant-based meals into your diet, then hopefully I can offer some ideas and inspiration below. These are a selection of my favourite recipes that I’ve posted so far, and I’ve specifically picked ones that are easy to make, but most importantly, delicious to eat.
A straight forward breakfast is pretty easy to veganize. There is now a huge range of dairy-free milks, and many people prefer it to the cow version regardless of dietary persuasion. I’m a big fan of oat milk for coffee and cereal – try Oatly whole (in the fridge section), or Oatly barista. Moma Oat also offer a decent barista oat milk. Many big brands of cereal are vegan, just look out for honey or milk powder in the ingredients.
Oat milk is also ideal for making really creamy porridge – I add a drop of maple syrup and a pinch of salt to the oats while they cook, then pile on some sliced banana with a drizzle of almond butter and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds. If you like a quick but hearty breakfast to set you up for the day then this is it.
If you’re more of a toast fan then there are ample toppings that are already vegan; nut butters, jams, marmite to name a few. There are now many vegan chocolate spread brands as well – try Mr. Organic or Biona. The main thing you’ll need to consider is the butter alternatives. There are plenty of decent and very inexpensive vegan spread options, such as Pure or Vitalite, but if you’re not such a fan of margarine-type spreads, then Naturli Vegan Block is an absolute godsend. Available from Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and some health food shops, it comes in block form and is as close to the taste and texture of butter as you’re likely to get. There’s also a spreadable version (aptly called Vegan Spreadable) that is very much the Lurpak of vegan spreadables.
However, if you are looking for something a bit more special, something for lazy and luxurious weekends, then there are plenty of options to tempt you away from bacon and eggs. Pancakes are always a good option, and incredibly easy to veganize. Try my American Buttermilk Pancake recipe (pictured above) for a super fluffy and flavoursome pancakes. If the thought of tofu scramble doesn’t appeal, reserve judgement until you’ve tried my Tofu Scramble with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Kale. It uses silken tofu which provides a wonderfully soft scramble texture, and by frying everything in the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes you get bags of flavour. And if you really want to indulge, these Cinnamon Rolls are packed with extra spices and orange zest for the ultimate breakfast treat.
For me, lunch is often a limited affair – I’m all about dinner – but I can still offer you plenty of options from quick and light to pretty quick but more substantial.
So many soups are vegan already, and the addition of coconut milk, oat milk or cashews can provide additional richness and creaminess that might otherwise come from dairy. For a sumptuous wintery option, try my Parsnip and Rosemary Soup with Toasted Hazelnuts. Best served with huge slabs of buttery sourdough (see ‘breakfast’ for advice on vegan butter options).
And if the word salad conjures images of a few leaves of lettuce and the odd tomato, then prepare to have your horizons expanded. This Vietnamese Bun Chay is a cold noodle salad, with crunchy fresh vegetables, soft aromatic herbs and a wonderfully punchy dressing of soya sauce, lime juice and agave syrup. Finished with some tofu and crushed peanuts, this is what salads should be.
Fritters work really well for a quick lunch, and these Indian-spiced sweetcorn fritters are really quick, really easy, and really delicious, especially accompanied by a cooling raita. And if you’re after something equally speedy but more substantial, I’d really recommend this Tomato and White Miso Pasta dish. You can put the sauce together in the time it takes to cook the pasta, but you’d never believe it from the depth of flavour. And of course, left-overs are always an excellent lunch option. If I’m ever making this Tamarind Pulled Jackfruit for dinner, I always make sure to do extra so I can pile it into a bun or wrap the next day. With the addition of some avocado, coriander and a squirt of chilli sauce, it’s absolutely divine.
The most important meal of the day, to my mind at least, and certainly the one I spend the most time thinking about. There are so many vegan dinner options, and with the range of vegan meat and dairy substitutes on supermarket shelves it’s really easy to recreate you favourite non-vegan dishes. But in the same way that you might not want to restrict your diet to burgers, sausages and pizza as a meat eater, there is still plenty of benefit to cooking meals from scratch. Especially when there are so many incredible vegan meals that you can make, with limited time and effort, that are not only nourishing but mouth-wateringly delicious.
If you want to try something a bit different, that ticks all the boxes in terms of flavour, texture, aroma and aesthetics then these Vegan Bao with Smoked Tofu and Kimchi Mayo are an surefire winner. These are a little more involved than some of my recipes but it is well worth the effort; I have made these so many times and am yet to tire of them. The smoked tofu is soaked in marinade and then fried, and gives a lovely meaty flavour and texture, nestled in a pillow-soft bao and slathered in a spicy, salty and sour kimchi mayo. There’s a quick Asian slaw that provides some zing and crunch, and I particularly like adding a couple of slices of creamy avocado. A sprinkle of salted peanuts for good measure and you essentially have my ideal meal.
If you’re after slightly more weeknight-friendly fare, then these Lifesaver Lentils are ideal. You can eat them piled on pasta as a bolognese, but they are also a delicious filling for a shepherds pie or even lasagne. I tend to make it in a big batch so I can put portions in the freezer for when there’s no time, no energy or no ideas. Hence the ‘lifesaver’ part. Another pasta classic is macaroni cheese, and I have spent years perfecting my Ultimate Vegan Macaroni Cheese recipe. It is comfort on a plate and perfect for these cold and miserable months.
Stir fries are great for a quick and easy dinner, and you can’t get much more quick and easy than these Simple Singapore Noodles. A bit of chopping and you can pull it together in 15 minutes, and you still get all the benefit from vibrant vegetables, nourishing noodles and some creamy toasted cashews for a bit of protein. My Vegan Pad Thai, a very inauthentic take on the classic, has a few more steps, but is totally worth it.
The bold flavours of Mexican food are fantastic for vegan cooking, and another meal that is an absolute staple in our house are these Tofu Tacos. Made using crunchy taco shells, the tofu mince is bursting with flavour from chillies, sun-dried tomatoes and aromatic spices, and is beautifully offset by a fresh, zingy and smoky charred sweetcorn salsa. You could even serve them with a side of these Drunken Refried Beans for the ultimate Taco Tuesday.
What could be better, after a deliciously satisfying vegan meal, than a little something sweet. Or a big something sweet. Baking is often the thing that people think is going to be really difficult as a vegan, but apart from a few ingredient swaps and occasionally some changes in method, vegan baking can be just as easy and certainly just as delicious as non-vegan.
If you’re after a bit of a showstopper then look no further than this White Chocolate and Blueberry Baked Cheesecake. It’s super creamy, deliciously sweet and tangy, and is probably the recipe I am most proud of on my blog. Once of my blog subscribers has been making it on average about once a month since I posted it, and that’s definitely not too much. If it’s in the fridge, I will probably have some with breakfast, lunch and dinner. It does not stay in the fridge for long. Or for equal levels of indulgence, my Peanut Butter Banoffee Pie is that perfect balance of sweet and salty which makes for a dangerously moreish treat.
For something a bit more casual, you can’t go wrong with cookies. These Tahini and Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies are deeply moreish, and my most recent recipe for Double Chocolate Buckwheat Brownie Cookies are is really straight forward but mega tasty.
A recipe which I’m now pretty much required to make for any family members birthday is for these Vegan Millionaire’s Shortbread. The caramel is a cheat version so is really straight forward, and whenever I’ve shared them outside of my family, people are amazed that they are vegan.
But really, I think what’s required at this time of year are big, comforting puddings, and you cannot get more comforting that this Saucy Chocolate Pudding. It’s not a looker, but don’t judge a book by it’s cover – it’s an all-in-one pud so the chocolate batter is cooked in a rich chocolate sauce, so you get pockets of sauce throughout the sponge (and a slightly volcanic-looking landscape as a topping). Serve drenched in vegan cream and you have happiness in a bowl. Alternatively, my Sticky Ginger and Apple cake is all of the best bits of winter in a pudding. It’s packed with apples and spices, and is served with a brandy caramel sauce that I could eat by itself with a spoon. And have.
I hope this post has given you a small insight into the possibilities for vegan cooking, and some ideas to keep you going until the end of January. Veganuary is a great initiative, and whether or not you consider continuing with a plant-based diet in Feb, I hope you come across some vegan recipes that you love and can incorporate into your future food repatoire.
You can find even more ideas on the rest of my blog, and if you haven’t already, please subscribe to be kept in the loop when I post new recipes. If you try out any of my recipes, then I’d love to hear how you get on! There’s a comments section below each recipe, and you can rate a recipe using the stars at the top of each post. You can also follow me on social media or tag me if you post pics of your creations! You can find me on Twitter and Instagram @greedybearbakes.