So, my 30-day vegan pledge is almost over and it’s time to let you in on exactly what it is I was eating this past month. I won’t lie and say that it was perfect because the whole thing didn’t quite go 100% according to plan but that’s okay, because nothing in life is ever perfect. Don’t worry I’ll be getting into that in my post at the end of the 30 days. That being said I had the most fun in the kitchen this month than I have had in a long time and that’s because I discovered that I could cook so many different kinds of things, and none of them had meat or dairy products! I made some amazing smoothies (if I may say so myself) which I’ll be telling you all about next week.
I found some amazing lunch and dinner recipes which I got to make for and enjoy with my friends. They all take such little preparation and are so easy and chilled to make. One friend of mine even commented that he thinks I like the ‘vegan thing’ just so I can make tasty and good looking food and I won’t lie but that is essentially the gist of it! ‘Do more of what makes you happy’ right? And making tasty and good looking food seems to be what makes me happy. Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll write a cook book. For now, I’ll have to admit that I’ve taken most of my recipes from a few different blogs and instagramers. If you’re looking for a good vegan cook book, I would recommend the ‘Vegan Made Simple’ cookbook by Tess Begg, an Australian vegan influencer who I think is so lovely and her recipes are amazing! For an amazing vegan recipe blog I would recommend www.simpleveganblog.com, run by this plant loving vegan couple who share the most amazing recipes.
I’ve tried a few things this month but I’ve put my three favourites below because they’re the ones I can’t wait to make many times over! You can barely tell that they don’t have any meat or cream or dairy milk in them and they’re just as tasty and heartwarming. Because this isn’t a food blog per se I thought instead of doing individual recipes, every month I’d instead share with you my top favourites that I tried from that month. Be sure to let me know if you try any of them out, leave a message in the comments, comment on my instagram, or send me a DM, I always love to hear from you guys. So, here goes:
- Vegan eggplant curry
This curry reminded me so much of home the first time I made it when I was in Holland with my sister. It made me feel like I was sitting at the table with my family, my parents discussing the day that they’d had and my sister and I sharing sneaky looks across the dining table. I loved it so much that I had to make it for my girlfriends as soon as I got back on campus. The spicey kick really hits the spot but of course you have full control over how hot you want it to be. The first time I made it I did the lentils on the side as opposed to in with the veggies as the recipe instructed but the second time I did put the lentils in and it was just as good. It’s easy to just put the lentils in with the veggies though.
- 1 large eggplant
- 1/2 large red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup button mushrooms, chopped
- 3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 3 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more or less based on how spicy you want it)
- 1 can (15-ounces) light coconut milk
- 2 2/3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup lentils
- 2 cups chopped kale leaves
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt to taste
- quinoa or brown rice
- Preheat the oven to 180
- cut the eggplant into large pieces, and bake for about 15 mins while you prep the other ingredients
- heat a large pot over medium heat with olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and carrots and saute until the onions start to turn brown and translucent.
- Remove the eggplant from the oven
- Add the chopped eggplant, mushroom, tomatoes, turmeric, ginger and red pepper flakes to the pot and saute until the mushrooms get nice and soft
- Add the lentils, coconut milk and vegetable broth and stir. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce heat, cover with a laid and simmer for about 10 mins
- Add the kale, stir and cook, uncovered for an additional 5 minutes. Taste and add salt if you think it needs it
- Serve with quinoa or brown rice!
- Avocado and Beans Rice bowl
This one was super easy and although it looks very simple, the key is to use the grainiest and most fibrous rice (or quinoa) because that pairs so well with the chickpea and avocado guacamole to get the most out of the taste and the best nutritional value. You can put any veggie you want with this really but the staple bits for me are the baked beans and the avocado mix. The avocado mix (recipe below) can also be used in a sandwich because chickpeas are an amazing tuna substitute.
Ingredients for the avocado and chickpea mix:
- 1 tin of chickpeas (mashed until soft, but I like to leave a bit of texture)
- 1 ripe avocado (mashed)
- Juice of 1/4 lemon
- salt and pepper
- a pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
- 1 stick of celery or 1/2 a red onion (finely chopped)
- 1 tin corn
- 1 handful coriander or parsley
- Mix it all together!
- Eggplant and Tofu Pasta
Now this one I have to proudly say was my own creation. I had bought some tofu and was feeling experimental enough to cook it since I’d read so much that you could make it taste like chicken or fish or basically whatever you wanted it to taste like. I was also craving a bowl full of different coloured veggies so that’s what I made.
- 1 eggplant
- 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 cup mushroom of your choice (I used button mushrooms)
- 1 carrot
- 1 1/2 cups frozen broccoli
- Half an onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons mixed herbs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 block of tofu
- salt and pepper
- pasta of choice (eggless pasta to make sure it’s vegan)
- Chop the eggplant into small cubes and cook in the oven for 15 mins
- Defrost the broccoli by warming it in a bowl in the microwave with some olive oil or some butter
- Heat a large pot over medium heat with the olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and saute until they’re soft but be sure not to burn the garlic
- Add the tomatoes and mixed herbs and saute until the tomatoes have softened
- Add the carrots and mushrooms
- Add the eggplant
- Add salt and pepper
- Turn off the heat and add the broccoli
- To cook the tofu: cut the tofu into slices and place between two kitchen towels to drain. Put a plate over the towels and weigh it down. Once most of the liquid has drained, fry it in a pan in some olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Crisp both sides of the tofu for a crunchy outside and I promise it tastes just like fish! (I also tried marinating the tofu in some soy sauce, honey and some salt and pepper another time and it was amazing!) Don’t be worried about undercooking it because most tofu can be eaten raw.
- Mix the pasta (I like to add some olive oil and garlic to it before) in with the veggie mix, and cut your tofu up on top of the veggies.
- Enjoy your veggie filled bowl of goodness!
Stay tuned for my update on the 30-day pledge at the end of the month. Subscribe by putting your email into that little box on the right so you don’t miss it! And don’t forget to sit back, grab some Oreos, and I can’t wait to see what life has to offer us next.