With World Vegan Day (1 November) being held at the same time as COP26, the focus this year is on how we can help combat climate change through our dietary choices.
The Vegan Society estimates that switching to a plant-based diet can reduce your food-related carbon footprint by up to 50 per cent, but even if you are not vegan just increasing plant-based meals in your weekly menu can make a positive difference.
As with all food, it isn’t just the type of food that determines the carbon footprint, but also how it is produced. Ultra-processed foods have a higher impact due to the energy used in processing, transport and packaging, and if you trace right back to the start of your food’s journey, inputs like synthetic pesticides and fertilisers all add to the environmental impact – whether they end up in plant-based meals, or a side to a traditional Sunday meat roast.
Choosing organic seasonal veg, zero air freight and cooking with real ingredients from scratch at home are all ways to buy and eat sustainable food.
Whether you are vegan or just trying to switch to a more plant-based diet, these five fresh recipes provide easy ways to add in more green goodness to your plate:
Sweet and sour stir fry with cauli rice
For a healthy version of a classic takeaway, try a vegan ‘fakeaway’. This sweet and sour stir fry has cashew nuts to add creaminess and lentils for lots of protein in a deliciously sweet, sharp, salty sauce. Served with cauli rice, it’s full of flavour and packed with tasty veg. You can find the recipe here.
Romanesco and chickpea korma
Chickpeas are another fantastic way to create a filling dish that is cheap to make. Fresh turmeric and fragrant spices add a warming flavour to this Romanesco and chickpea korma. Romanesco is a mesmerising fractal patterned veg, like a cross between cauli and broccoli but with uniquely shaped florets and a sweet, nutty flavour. If you don’t have one, just swap in cauliflower as the taste and texture are similar. For the full recipe, click here.
Fig, walnut and spelt warm salad
Salads may not be top of your list at this time of year but this one will change your mind. A warm, hearty dish with a base of seasonal kale, sweet potato and nutty tasting spelt. Sweet roasted figs and toasted walnuts are mixed through, and everything is brought together with a simple dressing. To try the recipe, click here.
Squash, chilli and Brussels sprout spelt bowl
Organic Brussels sprouts are incredibly tasty and this autumn salad bowl will convert even the most sprout-shy eater. Used in two different ways, roasting intensifies their natural sweetness whilst using them raw adds crunch and freshness. Mellow roast garlic infused spelt is dressed with zingy citrus – this dish is a real feast for the senses. For the full recipe, click here.
Red rice and walnut aubergine rolls with basil oil
This pasta-free main will help you see and enjoy aubergine in a new, exciting way. Inspired by traditional Italian cannelloni, it uses aubergine slices wrapped around a wholesome filling made from red rice. Full of nutrients, red rice not only tastes great but contains lots of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, too. Click here for the recipe.