Vegan Nut Roast

Oh wow.

Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow.

This is a tasty one – vegan nut roast. Sunday lunch approved. Lunchbox approved. In fact, it would do for just about any eating occasion.

And as always, super simple! (I think there’s a trend starting here…)

For those tracking macros, this recipe is 348kcal/portion with % energy split: 25C/53F/22P – don’t be afraid of the fats, they’re majority healthy unsaturated fats from the nuts! This recipe is also high in protein and a source of fibre; happy days. 🙂

 

The recipe is 6 servings and I would recommend serving with a side dish of steamed veggies.

 

Ingredients:

• 1 large onion

• 1 tbsp olive oil or other vegetable oil

• 20g (a generous dollop) of Marmite stirred into 1/4 pint of hot water for stock

• 200g mixed chopped nuts

• 2 tbsp ground almonds

• 100g rolled oats

• A good shake of black pepper + herbs to taste

 

Method:

1. Peel and chop the onion and fry in the oil for around 4 minutes, until softened.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients (nuts + oats) and add the fried onion once done.

3. Stir in the stock – the mix will combine to some extent but don’t worry that it’s a little crumbly!

4. Press mix into a greaseproof paper lined loaf tin and bake at 180c for 20 to 2 minutes.

5. Once out the oven (and golden brown in colour…), leave to cool before slicing. I portion mine out by slicing into 6 and wrapping individual portions in foil to eat through the week, but you could refrigerate the whole thing in a Tupperware and slice as you go.

 

Enjoy!

Beany Vegan Lunch

This has been my favourite lunch option the past few weeks – (relatively) quick and easy to prep on a Sunday evening and will last most of the week. With a whopping 14g of fibre per serving your digestive system will thank you!

For those tracking macros, this recipe is 338kcal/portion with % energy split: 44C/35F/17P.

The recipe does me 4 servings but you may find slightly more or fewer work for you depending on your appetite!

 

Ingredients:

• 1 can of chickpeas

• 1 can of butter beans

• 300g frozen edamame beans

• Approximately 5 large carrots (more is better!)

• 3 tsp English mustard

• 1 tbsp walnut oil (or preferred oil to taste)

• A good shake of black pepper

 

Method:

1. Open can of chickpeas and butter beans and empty contents into a microwaveable bowl or container. Cover and heat as per instructions on can (I cook mine for around 2mins on ‘high’).

2. In the meantime you can begin grating, slicing or spiralizing the carrots. I chop off the ends then spiralize because i’m fancy, but really it’s up to personal preference / the utensils available to you. Once you have enough of a spiralized carrot haul, share between 4 Tupperware tubs (or however many portions you are going for).

3. Once the chickpea & butter bean mix is heated through, drain off the water and split the bean mix between the tubs.

4. Steam the edamame – I choose to do mine in the microwave for approximately 3 minutes by adding a little water to a glass jug (or other microwave-safe vessel), covering with clingfilm and heating on ‘high’. Drain and separate edamame between the Tupperware tubs.

6. In a small bowl or mug, whisk (or fork) together the mustard, oil and black pepper, and drizzle over the beany mix. You may need to add a touch of water too to get a drizzly consistency.

7. Once cooled, make sure to keep the tubs in the fridge to keep fresh as possible until consumed.

 

Enjoy!

All in moderation

“But fortunately, the entire world doesn’t need to convert to vegetarianism or veganism to reap many of the benefits while limiting the repercussions – Instead, moderation in meat-eating’s frequency and portion size is key.”

Very interesting read from the BBC- What would happen if the world suddenly went vegetarian?

In summary, flex veganism has some backing by environmental and social sciences!

Read the full article here.

Vegan ‘fakeaway’ curry

Lovers of curry, takeaways, simple recipes and veganism, this one’s for you. You’re welcome.

For those tracking macros, this recipe is 198kcal/portion with % energy split: 48C/25F/20P (rice, naan etc not included).

Recipe is 4 servings.

 

Ingredients:

• 1 tbsp olive oil

• 1 large onion

• 2 small sweet potatoes

• Curry paste of your choice (I personally like madras)

• 1 vegetable stock cube

• 300g frozen spinach

• 1 can of green lentils, drained

 

Method:

1) First, peel, half and chop the onion.

2) On the hob, heat a little olive oil in a medium/large saucepan over a low heat. Fry the chopped onion for around 4 minutes until it starts to soften.

3) While the onion is frying, dice the sweet potato into chunks around 5x5cm – this gives the curry a great, wholesome texture. There is no need to peel the potato but do make sure the skin is clean before adding to the pan.

4) Stir in a generous dollop of curry paste to the onions – I tend to use around 1/3rd of the jar but this is really down to personal taste.

5) Gently add vegetable stock (made up as per pack instructions) and stir to make sure onion is not stuck to the bottom of the pan. Plop in diced sweet potato and put the lid on the pan. Leave to simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potato has started to soften.

6) If you are cooking rice or any other accompaniment to the sauce, think about preparing that around now 🙂

7) Check the potato has started to soften by poking it with a fork – if it has, add spinach straight from frozen and give the mix a good stir. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stir in drained green lentils, then leave to simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

Serve to friends and family or allow to cool before freezing additional portions in tupperware tubs to revisit later on.

Enjoy!

My definitive list of vegan-friendly milk alternatives

….scored by the attributes most important to me: price, nutrients, taste in tea, taste in porridge. Simple.

 

Please note: I always opt for unsweetened variants where possible (excluding my weakness for chocolate variants) – always check the label for pesky added sugar!

 

1. Alpro Soya Chocolate

alpro-soya-choc

Price: £1.40 / on offer for £1

Nutrients:

– GOOD: Fortified with calcium, vitamins D, B2 & B12, high in protein, low in fat & saturates

– LESS GOOD: Added salt, added sugar (but we’ll let it off as its chocolate)

Taste in Tea: Not recommended…unless you like chocolate tea?

Taste in Porridge: 9.5 / 10 – by far the best in my opinion, (see recipe for overnight oats here) yummmm!

Overall verdict: Best for porridge (Oatly Chocolate  is also great tasting)

 

2. Oatly

oatly

Price: £1.50 / on offer for £1

Nutrients:

– GOOD: Low fat & saturates, low total sugars and no added sugar, simple ingredients

– LESS GOOD: Not fortified, added salt, not a source of protein

Taste in Tea: 7 / 10 – not bad at all!

Taste in Porridge: Undetectable due to oat on oat action.

Overall verdict: Best for tea

 

3. Almond Breeze

almond-breeze

Price: £1.50

Nutrients:

– GOOD: Fortified with calcium, vitamins D, E & B12, source of protein, low in fat & saturates, low in sugar & no added sugar

– LESS GOOD: Added salt

Taste in Tea: 6 / 10

Taste in Porridge: Very slightly nutty, otherwise undetectable

Overall verdict: Second choice for tea, arguably the best nutritionally

 

4. Coconut

cocnut

Price: £1.70

Nutrients:

– GOOD: Fortified with calcium, vitamins D & B12, low in fat & saturates, low in total sugars & no added sugar

– LESS GOOD: Added salt, not a source of protein

Taste in Tea: 4 / 10  (but 7 / 10 in coffee)

Taste in Porridge: 8 / 10 – pretty darn delicious, especially with a more subtle tasting fruit such as blueberries (my boyfriend’s favourite)

Overall verdict: A close second for porridge

 

5. Rice Dream

rice-dream

Price: £1.40

Nutrients:

– GOOD: Fortified with calcium, vitamins B & D12, low in fat & saturates, no added sugar

– LESS GOOD: Higher sugar than other varieties (7g / 100g), added salt, contains oil which is kinda gross

Taste in Tea: Not bad, but slightly oily mouthfeel – this might be psychological since reading the ingredients list but all the same…I’m not a fan

Taste in Porridge: Kinda ‘meh’ – not offensive tasting but, like its name, not exciting either

Overall verdict: Pass

 

Vegan-friendly milks use less land and water and generate less CO2 than dairy milk so a simple switch can do a lot of good.

Vegan-Friendly Seeded Protein Slice

Hallelujah!

Super simple, quick, easy, tasty, inexpensive protein-packed vegan treat anyone!?

I thought as much.

For those tracking macros, this recipe is 99kcal/portion with % energy split: 46C/15F/36P.

Recipe is 8 servings.

 

Ingredients:

• 1 cup of oats

• 3 scoops (~75g) vegan protein powder

• Hazelnut/other dairy free milk (also works with chocolate soya (mmmm) but this will increase the sugar content slightly)

• Sprinkle of mixed seeds (optional)

 

Method:

1) In a large bowl, mix together oats and protein powder

2) Gradually stir in milk until a batter is formed (I think I used about 100ml but can’t be sure so go easy)

3) Press batter into a grease proof paper lined cake or loaf tin

4) Sprinkle with a handful of seeds (optional) and press them in slightly so they stick

5) Bake at 180c for ~15 minutes

 

Enjoy!

vsps-final
Enjoy!

Possibly, probably the most delicious overnight oats ever

This recipe works as a breakfast or a dessert and is utterly delicious. A great example of only a simple switch needed to make a tasty vegan-friendly treat!

For those tracking macros, this recipe is 357kcal with % energy split: 77C/14F/8P.

 

Ingredients:

• 1/2 cup of porridge oats (~40g)

• 1 cup of chocolate oat or soya milk (or any other non-dairy milk of your choice but chocolate gives sweetness without having to add additional sugar)

• A generous dollop of Alpro coconut yogurt (or again, other non-dairy yogurt of your choice would work just fine)

• A handful of frozen red berries (only realised as I was eating it this mix has red grapes in!!!)

 

Method:

1. Place oats in a bowl

2. Pour in milk and dollop on the yogurt, give it a mix with a spoon

3. Add berries in a pretty layout (…or just throw on top of mix like I did)

4. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight

5. My recommendation is to take out of the fridge and leave to warm up slightly before eating as the berries are likely to still be very, very cold and could hurt sensitive teeth.

 

Enjoy!

6 things I learnt from Veganuary

My flex vegan diet approach was first inspired by veganuary – “Veganuary’s vision is a world where veganism is a mainstream lifestyle choice, with positive action at all levels of society and government to promote the benefits of plant-based eating.

I felt really motivated to give it a go when I began reading up about it, and in an overfed, post-Christmas slump decided to sign up.

So here are some of the things I learnt…

1. ‘Accidentally vegan’ foods are abundant!

The main thing I learnt is that following a vegan diet day-to-day was not a challenge for me; I switched to plant-based milk (oat, soya, rice…whatever was on offer that week in Sainsbury’s!) which sure, tastes very subtly different in a cuppa (FYI – I find Oatly the least offensive milk alternative in a cup of tea), but actually enhances the taste of other foods such as porridge (recipe for the most delicious overnight oats ever here mmmmmmm). I was pleased to find that a lot of the food I eat as part of a healthy, balanced diet is ‘accidentally vegan‘ anyway, so no big changes required there.

 

2. You will get used to cheese withdrawal surprisingly quickly

What I did have to change was grating reduced fat cheddar cheese over EVERYTHING but I soon got used to this, and now enjoy cheese so much more on the occasions I do eat it. Plus Sainsbury’s have an oddly delicious vegan alternative to salad cheese which kind of works (I would not recommend the ‘cheddar style’ one though – it is devil’s spawn and I had to throw the pack away, and I HATE wasting food!!!).

 

3. The stigma is real, but…

The food itself is not the difficult part, what is challenging is every second person asking ‘So are you vegan now?‘ as if the ‘v’ word is a dirty one. Admittedly, as an individual I am conflict-averse and avoid a debate if I can help it, so tend to shrug off the question with ‘…giving it a go‘ or a similar response. What I did find is that the vegan community is full of inspiring people a lot more loud and proud about their lifestyle choice than I am; and anytime I felt challenged this is where I looked to for support. Instagram is full of inspiration at every corner!

 

4. Increased fibre intake is amazing…

Basing meals around vegetables and wholegrains means that not only does 30g of fibre a day (as recommended by the UK government) seem achievable…but I exceed it by lunchtime most days! Fibre is vital to keeping your digestive system healthy, and the majority of people in the UK eat only 18g a day.

 

5. …but I do find sufficient protein intake a struggle

As a runner, based on my height, weight and  the fact I run upwards of 20 miles a week I should be consuming around 75g of protein a day (there are lots of ways to calculate what your personal intake should be but I used this online calculator). I find I often fall short of this number so looking at my diet and working out the best balance of nutrients for me is something I am working on. I am hoping once I have this cracked I will share more and more recipe suggestions for vegan-friendly protein packed foods like this one.

 

6. You will lose nothing but giving veganism a try!

At best you’ll love it like I do. At worst you won’t. But it’s pretty much guaranteed you’ll get something out of it…even if it’s simply that it is possible to have a tasty meal without need for animal derived ingredients – who knew!

What is a ‘flex vegan’?

Veganism is great.

There is a multitude of compelling reasons to go vegan – animal rights, environment, health…just to name a few.

However, for many, the concept of going full-vegan seems ‘extreme’ or unachievable. Many give up on the idea before even trying it.

I have considered myself a ‘flexitarian’ for almost 3 years now – my preference is for vegetarian foods but when cooked for by others, eating out or just when I generally have an appetite for it I will allow myself to eat meat. This, for some people, may seem outrageous…”Isn’t this a blog about veganism?! She’s talking about eating MEAT!?” but that is exactly the issue…my belief is that there is a need for a happy inbetween; a diet that reduces the negative impact that the meat and dairy industry has on the world (read more about that here) but is not so restrictive that it deters omnivores, flexitarians, vegetarians from giving it a try.

*ENTER FLEX VEGAN*

I want to start by saying this is very much my own personal approach to my diet and lifestyle choices; developed by me for me only. As an associate nutritionist I have learnt throughout my 4 year degree and beyond a lot about what works for me and makes me feel my best self. My aim of sharing this approach is to inspire others to work out for themselves what works for them – this is so important as we are all built differently and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to diet!

So what is my personal approach?

Following on from my trial period of veganuary (which you can read about here), I felt so good that I decided to maintain my new approach to day-to-day eating indefinitely.

On weekdays I am mainly just cooking for myself so 90% of the time the meals I make are vegan. When I am visiting friends, boyfriend or family and they are cooking for me I will gladly eat the food they have to offer. I am in no way adverse to sharing my preference for meat-free alternatives, but as an individual feel comfortable eating animal and animal-derived products on some occasions.

How is this different to being an omnivore?

Well, it is and it isn’t. Yes, a happy side affect is that I feel fabulous following this approach to diet and lifestyle – I have plenty of energy, my skin  is clearer, I’m super regular (possibly TMI, sorry) – however in the past I have found the same through eating a ‘clean’ diet which did include animal products. Chicken, fish, eggs, yogurt etc are good for the body and I wouldn’t suggest that they are not – these are foods I enjoy eating and only restrict my consumption of for the negative impacts the meat industry has on the environment and wellbeing of the animals involved. It is taking responsibility for my contribution to this that is my main motivator for the flex vegan approach (and I have recently found that others take a similar approach).

Anything else is a happy coincidence.