Ever felt that vegan food is boring?
If you have then you’re not alone. I’ve been adhering (more or less) to a whole-food, plant-based diet for years, and I still occasionally find myself wondering if I’d be better off going back to meat.
It’s at times like these that I have to remind myself that the fault lies with me and not my diet. The truth is that vegan cuisine can be just as diverse, if not more so, than traditional, meat-inclusive cooking. It’s really just a case of mastering a few basics and then picking the right recipes.
In this short post, we’re going to look at seven versatile dishes. Once you try them, you’ll be hooked.
The Basics of Vegan Cooking
Keep in mind some of these basic principles to help add a touch of zest to your cooking. If you’re getting in from a busy day at work and can’t be bothered to cook, you can fall back on one of the options here to ensure a tasty, interesting dinner.
Vegetables can always replace meat: Because most dishes in the western diet are held together by meat, people can often find it hard to adapt to “meatless” cooking. The reality, however, is that any piece of meat can be replaced with vegetable alternative. This allows you to modify your favourite recipes without having to give them up.
Mushrooms, for instance, can take the place of beef burgers. You can use cauliflower, peppers and mushrooms as a replacement for meat in shepherd’s pie, and veggie patties can act as a substitute for any meat centrepiece.
Soups make anything possible: As long as you have a good veg broth base you can make a soup with almost anything. They also present an opportunity to get creative. You can add almost any kind of veg (they’re great for the unused leftovers at the end of the week) alongside your starchy staples like pasta, potatoes and chickpeas. They’re also great from a nutritional perspective because the liquid will hold all the nutrients that would otherwise be lost through boiling.
Use tomatoes liberally: The whole-food and plant-based nutrition advocate Dr. Neil Fuhrman can’t get enough of tomatoes. Alongside containing a host of disease-combating nutrients, they’re also incredibly versatile ingredients. You can use them to “hold together” an array of meals and they work excellently as a catch-all sauce for beans, pastas, curries and more.
Embrace “bowls”: These are quick meals that consist of veggies, a source of protein and one type of grain (that’s the absolute minimum, you can always add more of course). They’re easy to put together and you use almost any ingredients that you want.
Patties, patties, patties: Struggling to come up with the centrepiece for a meal? Make a patty! Pop any vegetables that you’ve got leftover into a blender with a “binding” food (beans and oats both work well), shape the mixture and cook them in the oven for twenty minutes or so.