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Xmas Noms

Vegan Roast

Roast Seitan – marinated in Vegetarian Stir-fry Sauce and ‘Chick’n’ broth, glazed with same + sugar and maple.

Vegan Christmas Dinner

Brussels sprouts with walnuts (roasted); Roasted potato and kumera (under foil); Edamame , lentil and kale salad; Croatian Style Cabbage (aka Baba made them this way so I’m calling it Croatian); cherries – ‘coz; Sage and onion stuffing balls, vVgan gravy, Xmas Daiquiri (made with white rum, home-made spiced sugar syrup, maraska and cherries) , peas, passion fruit bellini.

Close-up of the cabbage and roast veggies

Close-up of the cabbage and roast veggies – the cabbage is made by frying sliced onion and crushed garlic in olive oil until golden, raise the heat then add sliced cabbage. Brown cabbage. Add paprika, Vegeta stock and salt and pepper. Cook for a further 5 mins. Eat.

Vegan Christmas Lunch Plate

Plate full of too much of the above. It was amazing!

 

 

 

 

Veggies and Grains Ideas

I so often see the ‘how to eat vegan on a budget’ or ‘how to cook vegan healthy and quickly’ or ‘quick easy vegan dinners, help!’ threads and questions on all the vegan sites and forums I read that I’ve decided to write out my answer here to save time and save it for posterity if required.

Secret 1 – Veggies

The answer to vegan cooking is pretty simple – vegetables and flavourings. Lots of vegetables. Veggies can taste great you just need to learn to cook them as the main event.

The flavourings is always the thing that seems to trip people up. In meaty cooking the meat is often used as the main flavour and overpowers the other tastes. In vegan cooking you need to learn what vegetables taste like on their own and what other flavours and tastes you like with them. Once you start to know these things and have them in your pantry, fridge or freezer then you will never have to take more than 10 minutes to cook a healthy and enjoyable meal. It is also usually very cheap!

The basic concept is fresh or frozen vegetables, sautéed or steamed, with some kind of flavourings, sauce or spices. There are, of course, hundreds of thousands of variations on that principle and the trick is to find an handful that you like and enjoy.

Secret 2 – Grains

Meat is also full of protein (although so is all food – but that is a discussion for another day) and fats. This makes it filling. Cheese and eggs fill a similar space in a lot of vegetarian food. So, you need to balance for that too. Grains and starches can fill this void.

You can add rice or another grain or starch if you want something quick and filling. If you have a rice cooker this is easier but you can also learn to use the stove top or microwave absorption method or do things like quinoa and couscous that can just be soaked in hot water while you cook the veg.

Secret 3 – Beans & Legumes

You don’t have to add beans and legumes but they can help.Tinned cooked kidney beans, borlotti beans, chickpeas, or lentils can be added to your veggies as they cook to round out a meal. Or you can buy dried and soak and cook them yourself for some really cheap protein and fibre boost. Again learn what they taste like and how you like them flavoured.

Tinned baked beans can be cheap easy lunch (but check the ingredient lists to avoid cheese, fish based flavourings and insect based food colourings) – I add lost of pepper, a splash of nutritional yeast and a teaspoon of tahini to mine.

Ideas & Examples

Veggies

  • Fresh carrots and broccoli steamed or microwaved. Flavour with lemon juice, a splash of soy sauce and a few drops of sesame oil after cooking.
  • Frozen winter vegetable mix, steam or microwave. Thai curry paste and a small tin of coconut cream (about a half cup).
  • Fresh asparagus, grilled, salt and peppered.
  • Fry diced onion with mustard seeds (and optional fennel seeds) in a small amount of margarine or olive oil until starting to brown. Add frozen peas and/or green beans. Cook until hot.
  • Stir-fry a stir-fry blend (either pre-mixed frozen or fresh capsicum, green or string beans, broccoli, and onions, add mushrooms if you like them) cooked with lots of crushed garlic, some soy sauce, a dash of ground star anise or Chinese five spice mix.
  • Mirepoix (equal parts celery, carrot and onion and optional leek) sautéed in a dash of oil and lots of garlic paste (or fresh crushed cloves) and ginger paste (or fresh grated ginger) and salt and pepper. Optional: deglaze with white wine or lemon juice and water.

Grains

  • Brown rice – cook in rice cooker (normally 1 rice to 2.5 liquid) with either water or stock.
  • Quinoa – add boiling hot water (normally 1 grain to 2 water) and cover for 10 to 20 minutes. Can also add spices or dried veggies (stock powders, garlic or onion flakes, capsicum flakes or tomato powders, , ground paprika and/or turmeric. Greek, Italian or Moroccan seasoning mixes etc).
  • Couscous – follow packet directions. Normally top with boiling water and soak until reconstituted – around 5 to 10 minutes for most varieties.
  • Polenta – follow packet directions or cook on stove-top (start with 1 polenta to 2 liquid and add more as needed may need up to 1 to 4). Normally only a few minutes/almost instant but depends on how finely ground it is.
  • Millet – can be soaked but may need to be stove cooked. Normally 1 millet to 2 of water or stock.