“Homemade Rice Milk Vegan Yogurt” Guest Post by Janet Clayton

Hello everybody! Today I have another brilliant guest post for you to enjoy, this one by a talented writer called Janet Clayton. In this post, she’ll talk about making your own vegan yoghurt, as well as sharing her recipe for rice milk … Continue reading

Roasted red pepper, rosemary and sunflower seed pâté: Guest Post by Love Your Gut

Hey guys! Good news, the kitchen looks like it’s going to be ready to cook with any day now, and I have a really nice recipe lined up for when it is, so that’s exciting. Until then, the lovely people … Continue reading

Graduation and Other Updates (including a guest post)!

Oh God! It’s been so long, I’m so sorry for leaving you this way for ages and ages, but I’ve had a very busy few weeks and in all honesty, I haven’t been feeling brilliant. I’ve just left university, graduated … Continue reading

Guest Blog Post by Sarah Grey!

Hi guys, it’s advent! The WordPress website is snowing again!

In order to celebrate, here’s a guest blog post by the lovely Sarah Grey :)

Hope you enjoy it x

P.S. If you fancy writing for me, email emilycooksvegan@hotmail.co.uk with some ideas – any recipes you fancy or tips for cooking vegan on a budget, basically anything food-related that does not promote faddy diets or cutting down your food intake. Feel free to include photos if you want :)

Easy Vegan Weeknight Recipe Ideas

By Sarah Grey

     While I look forward to ending work each day and heading home to the comfort of my sofa and TV, I often dread the thought of dinnertime. I always intend to make something simple, nutritious, and tasty, but I struggle to think of something cheap, especially when all I want to do is enjoy my night off.

As you can imagine, thinking like this is particularly exhausting so I strived to come up with a solution, my answer? Meal planning. Some weeks I’m no so great at it, but other weeks, I am queen of the kitchen! I also always ensure that I have leftover so I can have it for lunch the next day, or even dinner if I know I won’t have time to put something together. Below I have a couple of tried and true recipes thanks to Trupp Cooking School, that I often go to for a simple answer to my dinnertime dilemma.

First up, obviously, pasta. Pasta is ALWAYS the safe dinner option because it’s quick, tasty and easy to add some healthier elements. If you are gluten intolerant, you can always choose the gluten free alternative, or if you want to go even healthier, you can always make zucchini “spaghetti” by using a julienne peeler on your zucchini.

Contrary to popular belief, you actually don’t always need a sauce on pasta. You can use pesto, or my favourite, olive oil. Adding a little garlic oil to plain pasta with some veggies is the perfect mid week meal. My favourite combination is pasta with spinach, broccoli, mushrooms and toasted pine nuts with a drizzle of olive oil, it really is perfect and delicious.

I know that some people are weary of eating too much pasta if you already have a diet that is high starchy foods (bread, flour, potatoes, etc), if that is the case, try the zucchini method or simply reduce the amount of pasta you use and add more veggies.

This second meal idea will guarantee you leftovers! It takes a little more preparation that pasta but it is well worth it, especially since it makes so much. Tofu and vegetable pie. You can search for a vegan pie crust but if that fails, here is a simple vegan crust recipe that tastes so similar to the original, if you serve it up to friends, they won’t even know the difference! For the gravy, use this recipe that will give you pie a super rich flavour.

For the filling you want to use; tofu, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, potato, peas, and season with sage and thyme. I never measure my ingredients when I make pie but I would say that I use one of each vegetable, 200g of tofu and the rest is to your taste. The trick is to cut all the vegetables and tofu to the same size and soften them all by boiling first. The tofu is also great if you fry it up first before adding to mix. Once everything is ready to go, you simply mix it up with your gravy and place it in your pie crust and cover. Read to eat after 30 mins in a 200 degree oven!

Guest Post – London McGuire, “Going Meatless”

Hey everyone again!

I’ve been travelling for the last month, and have had an absolutely amazing time! I’ll do a whole separate post about it with pictures and everything, but for now, here’s a guest post that a talented blogger sent me, hope you enjoy :)

By London McGuire.

Going Meatless Is Easy with Stress-free Cooking Tips

If you are new to a vegan or vegetarian diet, going meatless may be a daunting task.

Former meat eaters are more likely to be comfortable trying new vegan or vegetarian foods that taste like their old favorites. Unfortunately, inexperienced chefs may find it difficult to get those meat-like flavors and textures into plant-based dishes.  But don’t give up yet! There are plenty of easy cooking tips that can turn traditionally meat-filled dishes into meatless masterpieces.

It’s all about the three main steps: substitution, adaptation and preparation.

1. What main ingredient will you substitute to replace meat?

2. How will you adapt the recipe to make up for a lack of meat flavor?

3. What is the best way to prepare this food to make meatless = deliciousness?

 

1. Substitution

Since you’re more likely to enjoy the dishes you already know and love, it’s likely you’ll be substituting veggie ingredients in a meat-filled recipe. This is such an easy change to make, because there are tons of vegan-friendly proteins to choose from! Try substituting with chewy foods like seared tofu, nuts, and mushrooms. These ingredients are more filling, satisfying and hearty because they take more time to chew, mimicking the way you chew meat. Giant Portobello mushrooms can make a perfect burger substitute.

Another great substitution is quinoa. While not chewy, quinoa is still very filling and has great health benefits – high protein value and lots of essential amino acids that are important for human growth. Plus, quinoa is packed with vitamins B, C and E. In fact, The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) declared 2013 the International year of quinoa! For double the protein, combine black beans and quinoa in a delicious salad.

One last tip: a super easy way to remove meat from a recipe is by substituting the broth. In many soup or casserole recipes you may already love, it’s likely that the only meat-related ingredient is chicken or beef broth. This can easily be substituted for vegetable or mushroom broth – either buy it premade or make your own.

2. Adaptation

When you substitute the meat in a dish with a vegan or vegetarian friendly alternative, you have to remember to make certain adaptations to your recipe. Taking out the meat takes out more than just the main ingredient – it takes out certain flavors that are important to the dish. Thankfully, there are plenty of meat-free ways to pack awesome tastes into your vegan meals! Adapt for flavor loss by adding additional spices, herbs, finishing oils and aromatics. Cooking Channel star Mario Battali includes herbs like basil, parsley and thyme in his recipe for meatless meatballs in order to adapt his traditional dish for vegetarians.

You may not have realized, but herbs and spices actually add minerals, vitamins and antioxidants to your dishes in addition to flavor! Clearly, they’re always a good idea to include. Try unusual and pungent seasonings like cardamom, cloves or paprika to bring in major flavors with just a small sprinkle. Incorporate your spices into a puree with beans to couple them with protein, or infuse them into water while you cook grains (like quinoa) to infuse the flavors.

 

3. Preparation

Preparation can be even more important than your ingredients when it comes to ensuring tastiness in your meat-turned-meatless dishes. There are certain food prep techniques that bring out the maximum flavor and succulence in vegetables. Preparing your veggies these ways will make them so delicious you won’t even care that your meal doesn’t include meat.

One preparation technique is to roast your vegetables in the oven. Roasting foods removes the amount of water they contain, which leads to intensified flavors and chewier textures – essentials for a successful meat-free dish. Pre-roast your tomatoes for marinara sauce to make the sauce’s flavor deeper and more savory. Or roast any vegetable you choose for a great side dish.

Another method is grilling. Don’t make the mistake of thinking barbecues are only for burgers and hot dogs! Both gas and charcoal grills bring out individual flavors that enhance veggies natural essence. Vegetables with low water content, like corn on the cob, zucchini and artichokes, do very well on the grill. An additional bonus is that grilling vegetables is healthier than frying or pan-searing them, because there’s no need to use any kind of oil. Just place vegetables directly on the grill. You can also use aluminum foil to make a grilling pouch – this technique can be used to cook veggies over a campfire for a very exciting meal!

Good Luck!

Try any of the easy tips mentioned above while being sure to follow the three main steps: substitution, adaptation and preparation. These guidelines will create meatless dishes sure to delight you and your dinner guests. You’ll find that cooking with veggies will be just as easy – and tasty – as cooking with meat in no time.