Instagram’s Seven Easiest Vegan Recipes
Photograph courtesy of @loveandlemons
The simple meat- and dairy-free recipes to try if you’re doing Veganuary.
Wake up and smell the coconut bacon. The rallying call of 2018 is veganism. In the UK alone, 100,000 people have signed up to Veganuary and pledged to forgo animal products for four weeks. That’s 40,000 more than last year.
On the back of Mr Simon Amstell’s Carnage and documentaries such as Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, a generation, or at the very least their Twitter feeds, want to consume with a cleaner conscience. Sure, the diet won’t turn you into Mr Liam Hemsworth or Mr Jared Leto overnight (they’re both vegans – they also have the best personal trainers a seven-figure salary can buy), but a plant-based diet that’s rich in protein, iron and calcium can leave you feeling more alert and looking fresher of face.
Vegan dishes are far from drab, as your Instagram feed will attest. To win friends, you need to look beyond the simple salad. Instead, follow the lead of restaurants such as Gracias Madre in Los Angeles, where jackfruit carnitas tacos top the vegan Mexican menu, and The Spread Eagle, a 100 per cent vegan pub from the people behind pop-up Club Mexicana, in Homerton, east London.
But Veganism 2.0 doesn’t stop there. It has already gone to the people. Pizza Hut now boasts vegan crusts, Starbucks has added oat milk to its arsenal, and Pret A Manger has introduced vegan additions to its menu.
As we weigh up whether to stick with veganism this February, we took to social media to find seven of the most mouth-watering dishes from our favourite Instagrammers.
Mx Jack Monroe
Photograph courtesy of @mxjackmonroe
Mx Jack Monroe, 29, a food writer and political commentator from Southend, turned vegan on 1 January 2016, and hasn’t looked back (a ham pie was her final meat meal). “Veg is only boring if you’re, frankly, unimaginative,” Mx Monroe says. “Spiced, dressed and brightened with a dash of lemon, roasted, slow cooked or raw – everything has a place to shine if you really want it to.” Her vegan brunches are legendary – a rosti or hash, spicy slow-cooked beans, greens, roasted tomatoes, hash browns and “as many kinds of potato as possible”. On Sundays, she makes romantic breakfasts in bed of fluffy pancakes drenched in hot syrupy fruit, with a spiced whipped dip on the side. “Before I told my partner I loved her for the first time, I used to make her elaborate breakfasts, hoping she would kind of guess how I felt from the sauceboats of sticky cherries and intricately glazed fruits, with a tiny vase of flowers and herbs picked from the garden,” says Mx Monroe. “She worked it out pretty fast, but our weekend ritual stays the same regardless.”
1 onion400g mushroomsSplash of vegetable oil200ml coconut milk1 heaped tsp paprika or Dunn’s River All Purpose Seasoning150g fresh or frozen spinachSplash of vinegar or lemon juice
Peel and finely slice the onion and roughly chop the mushrooms, then toss into a large frying pan with a splash of oil. If you are looking for an even healthier diet, you can omit the oil and use a light spray or a splash of water and leave them to softly caramelise in their own juices. Cook on a low heat for 10 minutes.
Pour in the coconut milk, add the paprika or seasoning and bring to a simmer. If using paprika, rather than the all-purpose seasoning, add a little salt and pepper to bring out the flavour. Crank up the heat and cook for 10 minutes, stirring the mushrooms and onions so they don’t stick and burn.
Before serving, add the spinach and allow to wilt. Finish with a dash of vinegar or lemon juice. Most savoury dishes, especially those with a creamy base, need a splash of acid to lift them.
This dish also works with griddled aubergine, fat baby plum tomatoes, a few cloves of garlic, a hint of mustard and any other greens, such as kale, chard or pea shoots. Use this recipe as a base and go from there.
Ms Lauren Toyota
Photograph courtesy of @hotforfood
“Get all the misconceptions out of your head about vegan food being bland, weird, hippy-dippy, dry, grainy or boring,” says Ms Lauren Toyota, 35, who launched the blog Hot For Food. “How can people whose veins are being pumped with nutrients from the earth be dull? We have the magic of nature and the universe fuelling our every move.” Ms Toyota, who lives in Toronto, has a giant store cupboard, packed with oyster mushrooms and spaghetti and a fridge filled with tofu and vegetarian sausages. Her online recipes are so popular that she has a cookbook, Vegan Comfort Classics, out in February. Yet she has a weakness. “I’m a vegan ‘cheese’ addict,” she says. “I don’t ever think about eating dairy cheese, but I crave plant-based cheese. I think the way products are evolving in the market is fascinating. The cheese replacements have become so much better, and are only going to get more realistic.”
What’s been the biggest change since turning vegan? “Greater clarity,” she says. “You’re eating clean, so your mind and body are clean.”
Smashed potatoes with roasted garlic cashew butter
6-7 cups white or red baby potatoes1 tbsp olive oil, plus 2 tsp1 tsp fresh thyme, plus extra sprigs for garnishtsp sea salttsp ground pepper
For the roasted garlic cashew butter
1 garlic bulb1 tsp olive oilPinch of sea salt, plus 1 tspcup of raw whole cashews, soaked for 20 minutes in hot watercup of water1 tbsp coconut oil
First, make the garlic cashew butter. Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F). Trim the top of the bulb to expose the cloves. Drizzle with the olive oil and sea salt. Bake for 30-35 minutes until roasted, golden brown and soft on the inside.
Rinse and drain the soaked cashews. Put in a blender with the peeled roasted cloves of garlic, water, coconut oil and sea salt. Blend until very smooth and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight to firm up.
Toss the potatoes with 1 tbsp olive oil, the fresh thyme, sea salt and ground pepper. Bake in an oven preheated to 230°C (450°F) for 20 minutes. Smash the potatoes, add a spoonful of the garlic cashew butter and serve.
Ms Jasmine Briones and Mr Chris Petrellese
Photograph courtesy of @sweetsimplevegan
Ms Jasmine Briones, 24, turned to veganism when she was recovering from an eating disorder. “After learning about the nutritional benefits of a plant-based diet, I knew that it was what I needed in order to regain my mental and physical health,” she says. “It was no longer about me. It was about the animals and the environment. That shifted my perspective and my focus on the larger issue.” Her partner, Mr Chris Petrellese, 28, was turned on to animal rights and social issues by a friend five years ago. Since then he has lost 1.4 stone, boasts more energy than before, and says chronic migraines no longer trouble him. On Sundays, Ms Briones makes “banana pancakes in bed” for Mr Petrellese, and he makes her heart-shaped sandwiches. The Los Angeles couple’s favourite ingredient is aquafaba, the viscous water in which legume seeds such as chickpeas have been cooked. It can be used as an egg white substitute in everything from meringues to chocolate mousse and whisky sours. For a quick fix, they like a smoothie loaded with coconut water, ginger, turmeric, greens and whatever fruit is to hand.
Lentil and vegetable stuffed mushrooms
Serves up to 24 as a starter
3 tbsp flaxseed meal (ground flaxseed)24 baby Portobello mushrooms1 small onion, finely diced2 carrots, finely diced1 celery stalk, finely diced3 cloves garlic, finely minced1 tsp Italian seasoning1 cup cooked lentils1 tbsp nutritional yeastSalt and pepper, to tastePlain breadcrumbsChopped parsley and vegan parmesan, to serve
Mix the flaxseed meal with 6 tbsp water in a small bowl and set aside to thicken for about 15 minutes. Clean the mushroom caps with a damp paper towel. Carefully break off the stems and set aside in a bowl. Using a spoon, hollow out the centre of each mushroom so it has a clean and smooth surface, making room for the filling. Reserve what you scoop out.
Heat 3-4 tbsp water in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic, and cook for 6-8 minutes or until the onions are translucent and the vegetables are fragrant. Add the mushroom stems and the reserved mushroom pieces, and cook for a couple of minutes or until tender. Add more water as needed to prevent burning.
Add the Italian seasoning, nutritional yeast and lentils and cook until the lentils have just warmed through. Remove from the heat, mix in the flax meal and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a baking tray with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Place the mushrooms caps stem side up on the baking sheet and scoop 1-2 tbsp of mixture into each mushroom cap to form a mound. Depending on the size of mushroom, you may need a little more or less to fill it.
Sprinkle each mushroom cap with breadcrumbs and bake for 25 minutes, or until browned. If necessary, pop them under the grill until the tops are lightly toasted.
Remove the mushrooms from the oven and sprinkle each with chopped parsley and vegan parmesan.
Ms Jeanine Donoforio
Photograph courtesy of @loveandlemons
Ms Jeanine Donoforio, 34, posts both vegetarian and vegan recipes on her blog, Love And Lemons. “If I’m the one doing the cooking, I just don’t tell anyone that what I’m making is vegan”, she says. “Usually they never know until I tell them at the end.” Ms Donoforio cooks and photographs food with her husband, Mr Jack Mathews, at their home in Chicago. How does she respond to critics who say veganism is boring? “I’d say anyone who drinks mushroom lattes, makes cheese out of nuts and whips meringue out of bean brine is anything but boring,” she says. Cashews are her miracle ingredient. “There are so many creamy sauces, soups and dressings that can be made with cashews instead of dairy products.” When she’s not blogging, or working on her cookbooks, she’s “washing loads and loads of dishes every day”.
Vegan “cheesy” broccoli soup
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling1 small onion, diced½ cup chopped celery⅓ cup chopped carrots1 small potato, diced3 garlic cloves, minced5 cups chopped broccoli florets and stems, separated(reserve 1 cup of florets for garnish)tsp salt, plus a pinchfreshly ground black pepper4 cups vegetable stock½ cup cashews1½ tsp apple cider vinegar3 cups cubed bread, for croutons¼ cup fresh dill1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and line two small baking sheets with baking parchment. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 6 minutes until softened. Add the celery, carrots, potato, garlic, broccoli stems, and ¼ tsp each of salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are well-browned and tender, 10 to 12 more minutes. Let cool slightly.
In a blender, combine 2 cups vegetable stock with the cashews, apple cider vinegar, ¼ tsp salt and the cooled vegetables from the pot. Blend until creamy and well puréed.
Add the broccoli florets to the blender (minus the cup of florets for garnish). Pulse until the broccoli is incorporated but still chunky. Pour the mixture back into the soup pot along with the remaining 2 cups of vegetable stock. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the broccoli is soft and cooked through.
Meanwhile, place the reserved broccoli florets and the bread cubes on the baking sheets. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and roast for 10 to 15 minutes until the bread is crispy and the broccoli is tender and browned around the edges.
Stir the fresh dill and lemon juice into the soup and season to taste with more salt and pepper. Serve with the roasted broccoli and croutons on top.
Ms Sofie van den Brande
Photograph courtesy of @sofievandenbrande
“I never really liked the taste of meat,” says Ms Sofie van den Brande, 28. “I’d been a vegetarian since I was six, but became vegan two years ago, and it was like looking at the world with new eyes. I’m fitter, healthier and in general feel much better. I didn’t want to support all the animal abuse, wanted to do something for my own health and also for the environment.” An investment banker in Brussels by day who also owns a vegan patisserie business, Ms van den Brande says she has a soft spot for anyone who wants to discover and try vegan food. For intimate meals she loves to cook a saucy vegan spaghetti bolognese or pizza. However, her true loves are nicecream, kombucha and plant-based yogurt. “Sorry I can’t choose between those three,” she says.
Stuffed sweet potatoes with chickpeas
Serves 2-44 medium-large sweet potatoes, washed and scrubbed1 tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained1 tsp extra-virgin olive oiltsp salttsp cumintsp chili powderSesame seeds, to serve
For the green dressing
1 ripe avocado, mashed2 tbsp lemon juice2 tsp maple syruptsp salttsp black pepper
For the salad
Mixed greensDates, chopped1 pear, chopped
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Line a large baking tray with parchment. Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and place them on the baking sheet. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until they are soft enough to be easily pierced with a small paring knife. Remove from the oven and set aside, covering to keep warm.
Meanwhile, spread the chickpeas out on a paper towel. Then use a second piece of paper towel to pat the tops dry. Transfer to a baking tray. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the salt, cumin and chili powder. Transfer the baking sheet to the pre-heated oven and roast the chickpeas for 20 minutes, stirring them once halfway through. Remove from the oven and set aside.
To make the dressing, put all of the ingredients plus 2 tbsp water in a blender. Mix until well combined and smooth.
To serve, slice the sweet potatoes open, being careful not to cut them completely in half (you want the bottom to remain intact), and gently prise them apart. Drizzle a spoonful of the green dressing inside each potato. Then stuff with the chickpeas. Finish with some sesame seeds. Serve immediately with the salad.
Ms Elisa Rossi
Photograph courtesy of @happyskinkitchen
Mr Russell Brand, Ms Miley Cyrus and Mr Lewis Hamilton are Ms Elina Rossi’s vegan role models, but she’s an inspiration to many in her own right. The 32-year-old London-based blogger switched to a plant-based diet to improve her skin. “I got rid of hormonal acne and I feel incredible,” she says. “Now, I’m definitely the healthiest that I have ever been. Psychologically, I’m happy and at peace with myself, knowing that my diet and lifestyle are kinder to the environment and the animals.” Her go-to meal is “pasta with everything”, but her speciality is creamy butternut squash risotto, stuffed Portobello mushrooms, roasted potatoes and and a nut cheese board. And to finish? “Obviously a super chocolatey pudding.”
1 tbsp ground flaxseeds3 tbsp olive oil1 small onion, finely sliced2 cloves garlic, crushed200g of tempeh1 cup crumbled unsalted cashews2 tbsp nutritional yeast, plus extra to serve1 tsp miso paste (brown or white)cup ground almonds, plus extra for dusting(you can also use bread crumbs for the coating)1 tsp salttsp pepperCooked pasta, to serve
For the tomato sauce
1 tbsp olive oil1 small onion, white or red, finely diced2 cloves garlic, crushed1 tin chopped tomatoes or passata1 tbsp tomato puréeGenerous handful of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped, plus extra for serving1 tsp salt
In a small bowl, mix the flaxseed with 3 tbsp water and let it sit for 10 minutes until it becomes gloopy.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan and add the sliced onion. Cook for 5-7 minutes over a gentle heat until the onion has softened and become slightly translucent. Add the crushed garlic and cook for another minute continuously stirring to avoid burning. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
Put the tempeh, cooked onion and garlic, cashews, flax meal, nutritional yeast, miso paste, ground almonds, salt and pepper in a food processor and blitz until you have a sticky paste. Scoop out the mixture and roll into small balls. Dust them in the ground almonds or breadcrumbs.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large frying pan and, once it’s hot, pop in the meatballs and cook them on each side for about 3 minutes until crispy.
To make the tomato sauce, heat the oil in a pan and add the diced onion. Cook for 5-7 minutes over a gentle heat until the onion has softened and is slightly translucent. Add the crushed garlic and cook for another minute, stirring. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper.
Cover, turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and cook for about 20 minutes. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Just before serving, add the basil leaves and give it a stir. Place the meatballs in the pan with the tomato sauce and give it a quick toss. Serve with vegan pasta, extra basil leaves and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast (optional).
Mr Gaz Oakley
Photograph courtesy of @avantgardvegan
Mr Gaz Oakley, 25, decided to become a vegan three years ago after watching activist Mr Gary Yourofsky’s address to Georgia Tech, a US university, on YouTube. “It was so powerful, I literally ditched animal products from my diet overnight,” he says. “It made me realise that we don’t need to eat animals to survive and that I can thrive, be more compassionate and live a healthier lifestyle by going vegan.” Mr Oakley, who is based in Cardiff, says he feels more “energised and alive”, and having a clean conscience when he eats is a bonus. When he’s starving, he whips up a quick stir-fry of rice noodles, vegetables, tofu and satay sauce, while “vegan junk food”, such as his macaro-no-cheese or Kentucky fried chick’n burger (made with tofu, soy milk and wheat gluten), are perfect Friday-night food. Handily, these recipes are in his new cookbook, Vegan 100, which is published on 25 January. “You can even make vegan steaks using wheat,” says Mr Oakley. “You can’t go wrong with a grilled steak and peppercorn sauce, especially when it’s vegan.”
Sweet and spicy broth
2 tbsp sesame oil2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped2 garlic cloves, crushed1 medium red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped180g firm tofu, cut into 1cm cubes70g shiitake mushrooms, sliced1 litre hot vegetable stock3 tbsp light soy sauce1 tbsp miso paste1 tbsp rice wine vinegar3 tbsp maple syrup70g fresh or canned bean sprouts35g fresh samphire100g pak choi leaves4 spring onions, thinly sliced diagonally, to serve1 tbsp black and white sesame seeds, to serve
Preheat a large wok or saucepan over a high heat. Add the sesame oil and wait for the wok to get super-hot. When the oil is almost smoking, throw in the ginger, garlic and chilli. Sauté for 1 minute before adding the tofu and mushrooms. Toss and stir the mixture while cooking for a further 2 minutes, then leave to cook for about 30 seconds more. Turn the heat down low and add the vegetable stock, soy sauce, miso, vinegar and maple syrup. Let the soup simmer away for 5 minutes, then add the bean sprouts and samphire. Cook for 2 more minutes.
Add the pak choi, let it wilt, then remove the wok from the heat. Serve the soup straightaway, topped with the spring onions and a sprinkle of mixed sesame seeds.