I’ve gotta say, I’m pretty fussy when it comes to veggie burgers. I’ve had too many disappointing restaurant experiences, and my biggest gripe is the texture. A veggie burger has got to hold itself together: it can’t be a mushy mess, and it should have a good bite to it. Flavour is also important, of course, and the look is a bonus.
Red cabbage is possibly one of the most beautiful vegetables out there – at least, I think so. And it’s really healthy, with its cruciferous powers and phytonutrients. But one small head of cabbage is actually a LOT of food, so it’s a good idea to know what you’re going to do with it. Otherwise it’ll be staring at you sadly every time you open the fridge.
I got an oyster mushroom growing kit as a gift (thanks mom!) and it was quite exciting to wake up each morning to see how much it had grown. It even attracted a little spider-friend to live in the village of gill-caps, so cute!
A Greek salad is just not the same without the feta. You could make your own from scratch (there are recipes based on tofu, or almonds) but that’s a mission. And why bother when you can buy it ready made?
This is my favourite way to have cauliflower: so full of flavour yet still light and fresh enough to include on an indulgent festive menu.
This soup is Marco’s – he made it the way he remembers his grandmother’s soup, but without peeling the potatoes (because who has time for that, and there’s so much fibre, vitamins and other good things in the peels!)
If you love a good Italian pasta, try this vegan carbonara. It’s not my recipe: it’s all Marco’s doing – he almost outcompetes my Italian friends in his love of pasta, and he knows how to cook!
Mac ‘n cheese was a big favourite of mine as a kid, when I lived in Canada: the Kraft kind, from a box. Of course my parents never bought that stuff, I’d get it as a treat once in a while when I visited my best friend next door. And a few months after I moved back to South Africa, I received a big parcel in the post with a dozen boxes of Kraft mac ‘n cheese – best surprise ever!
This is a new favourite of mine! Perfect for a weeknight dinner (because it’s quick & easy) or a dinner party (because it’s beautiful & tasty). Maybe a little tricky to find the ingredients, depending where you are, but check your local Asian grocer and other specialty shops. It’s worth it!
While I love a good store-bought vegan meat burger patty or seitan sausage, nothing beats a marinated portobello mushroom. It’s so flavourful, and full of umami: pop it on a bun for a burger, or have it alongside veggies and whole grains.
You could fool many an egg-lover with a couple blocks of tofu, a some turmeric, and kala namak (black salt from volcanic rock, with a sulphurous taste). I’ve made variations of this scramble so many times over the years, for vegans and meat-eaters alike, and it’s always a hit. Depending on the type of tofu you use and what you add to it, you can really get a very eggy scramble going: but without the cholesterol and saturated fat.
If you’re looking for a bit of wintery decadence, try this. For mushroom lovers only, though: I did not hold back on the mushrooms in this one!
I grew up eating lentils so often, they were a staple in our home. My mom’s Mauritian upbringing meant that lentils were always available to be served alongside a curry with rice, and my dad was always a big fan of a big bowl of lentil soup—and now, so am I.
This is one for the garlic lovers, for a weeknight where you need something easy and quick, but delicious and a little decadent.
When I was thoroughly into my “veganising everything” phase, one of the holy grails of vegan cuisine that I was trying to crack, was a vegan ‘omelette’. As you can imagine, there are a bunch of recipes online and I tried a few: some were cool, some not so much, but all were a bit complex with a long list of ingredients. So when I realised that the most important ingredient of a vegan omelette is chickpea flour (besan), and that there’s actually a very old Indian tradition of savoury pancakes made with besan, I was like, damn—that’s all I need.
When it comes to weeknight dinners, it doesn’t get much easier than this: just pop a sweet potato in the oven (or microwave), sauté some beans with onion and spices, and load up those spuds. You can pretty much use whatever you have on hand, but beans are great (for protein and iron), some spice for flavour, guac and vegan cheese for richness, and a sauce or condiment for freshness.
If you’re the type who loves (or used to love) meat for its rich flavour and texture, this is for you. That’s the thing: usually, when people switch over to plant-based foods, the foods they miss the most have strong flavours and textures. So the challenge is to reintroduce those elements to your plant-based cooking.
If there’s one legume I could eat every single day, it’s chickpeas. They’re incredibly versatile: sprout them to eat in a salad; grind them into a flour to make savoury pancakes, cook them to make hummus, or soak them to make falafel. Amazing little things, and true superfoods (they’re high in protein, fibre, iron and other minerals).
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