Don't forget the veg in Veganuary

Vegan food needn't be complicated or reliant on expensive meat and dairy alternatives; there are so many incredible recipes that can be made with just plants in their purest form.

Veganuary is getting bigger every year, and any campaign that gets tens of thousands of people to eat more plants is a winner. It’s so big that supermarkets and food brands are focusing their advertising at this time of year on their vegan offering, as well as releasing new products especially for it and dedicating sections of their shops to plant-based food and promotions.

However, we seem to be missing the veg in so much of this. We need to put the veg back into Veganaury! Vegan food needn’t be complicated or reliant on expensive meat and dairy alternatives; the term ‘plant-based’ says it all. There are myriad incredible recipes that can be made with just plants in their purest form, using vegetables, fruit, salad, herbs, spices, pulses, legumes, grains, nuts and more.

Let’s put the plant back into plant based! 

Of course, for those completely new to meat-free eating, meat and dairy replacements can be appealing as they make it easier think of what to cook, i.e. swapping a burger for a meat free burger, but they are often heavily processed and packaging heavy, so not a great alternative to rely on daily, and don’t compare nutrition wise either.

There are also concerns around the lack of transparency, high food miles and carbon footprint of some of these processed foods. We know the world is warming and eating a diet based on less animal products is a good way to cut your impact, but only if you’re doing it the right way.

Let’s take it back to basics and emphasise the veg in Veganuary. Share your favourite wholefood, plant-based meal in the comments (include where others can find a recipe for it too, if you know of a good tried and tested one) to give other people some ideas. Who’s with us?


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  1. Ottolenghi’s Traybake Ragu from ‘Flavour’, didn’t realise it was vegan until after I’d made it and it was AMAZING. Needless to say I didn’t have exactly the right ingredients but you blitz:

    3 peeled & roughly chopped carrots (250g)
    2 peeled and roughly chopped onions (300g)
    300g oyster (I used chestnut) mushrooms
    60g dried porcini roughly blitzed
    4 crushed garlic cloves
    3-4 plum tomatoes (350g) (I used a tin of chopped tomatoes)

    When blitzed (or finely chopped) put all in a high sided baking tray 36cm x 28cm (size important as it ends up quite full). Then add:

    120ml olive oil
    70g white miso paste (I used fermented fava bean paste from Hodmedod’s)
    40g rose harissa
    4 tbsp tomato paste
    90ml soy sauce
    2 tsp cumin seeds

    Mix well. Bake in 190°C fan oven for 40 mins, stirring halfway, until brown around edges and bubbling. Reduce heat to 180°C fan and add:

    180g dried brown or green lentils (I used Hodmedod’s Coral lentils)
    100g pearl barley (not doing very well, I used buckwheat groats)
    1 litre stock
    160 g coconut cream (I used coconut milk)
    100ml red wine
    150 ml water
    1/2 tspn salt and lots of pepper

    Stir well, scraping crispy sides and bottom, cover tightly with foil and bake for another 40 mins, then remove foil and give it 5 more minutes. Set aside to rest for 5 mins to absorb before serving.

    Bloody gorgeous!


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