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.
I tried out a variation on vegan banana bread that is gluten-free and sugar-free, using quinoa flour as a one-to-one substitute for wheat flour. And it’s wonderful! I used the quinoa flour from Woolworths, but you can also just buy quinoa and process it into a flour using a food processor or Nutribullet. This flour is a fantastic option for gluten-free baking, since it’s much more nutrient-dense than other gluten-free flour blends that use potato starch and other low-protein flours.
There are many ways to make banana bread, but here’s a super simple one. Feel free to use this as a base, and add some fancy stuff like chopped walnuts, choc chips, or a long slice of banana on top to please the eye.
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.
I love a fudgy brownie. It’s brownie, not chocolate cake. I even like it slightly undercooked to up the fudge-factor. The great thing about a vegan recipe is that there’s zero risk of food poisoning from uncooked eggs!
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).
I had a couple of butternut squash that I’d bought pre-lockdown and almost forgot about them: a couple of months later and they were still sitting there, waiting to be turned into something tasty. I can’t believe how long those things last! Talk about pandemic survival foods, squash is where it’s at.
I’m so into soups right now. Butternut soup, mixed veg soup, lentil soup, tomato soup… They’re easy, pretty quick, and they warm your soul.
When it comes to crackers and other carriers for avo or hummus, there are options in the supermarkets, but they’re often either not vegan-friendly, or very processed, or very expensive. So in that context, these seed crackers are a blessing: they’re really (really!) easy to make, very nutritious (high protein, good fats—but go easy on them), and easily adaptable to use different seeds and spices.
Smoothies have become a regular feature in my daily meals when the weather’s warmer, I like making one in the late morning (I’m a coffee-no-breakfast kind of person). I always keep frozen banana chunks in my freezer, and often other fruit, too. When pineapples are in season, I’ll buy a couple, chop one up and freeze it for smoothies. The rest are all easily available pantry items that keep for months.
I had some beautifully ripe avocados on hand, some Swiss chard sitting in the fridge from a week ago (but still fresh because I had the foresight to de-stem, clean and pack them into airtight bags!) and some limes. Obviously, the answer was creamy avocado spinach pasta!
Yoghurt wasn’t something I missed that much when I stopped eating dairy: I had enjoyed it, but it definitely wasn’t a daily feature. As a result, I never made much of an effort to recreate the yoghurt experience—that is until recently, when I found vegan yoghurt in the supermarket and realised I could make my own using the store-bought one as a starter. Before then, to make strictly-vegan yoghurt, I’d have had to find a probiotic supplement—and honestly, since I don’t use probiotics, they’re expensive, and I don’t desperately need yoghurt in my life, I couldn’t be bothered.
I’ve been getting into a rhythm of making my own homemade soy yoghurt every other week or so, which my flatmate and I have been absolutely loving. And then the other day I remembered that as a child, I used to help my mom bake muffins with buttermilk or yoghurt (dairy of course, since I barely knew what vegan meant then). So, since I had a full two litres of soy yoghurt on hand, I figured I’d try my hand at some blueberry yoghurt muffins. These are a bit indulgent, with both sugar and oil, so maybe keep these as a weekend treat! I made a batch and froze most of them to limit the temptation!