Happy 2022 and Happy Veganuary!
I love Veganuary, it is a great way to start the year! I love to support new vegans, or those experimenting with a plant-based diet and I also LOVE all the new products and recipes. The plant-based boom in January spreads from Instagram to supermarkets to restaurants, and I am here for all of it! It feels more like a celebration and gains in popularity every year! I will never take for granted how much easier it is to be vegan now, and I love that we are growing number!
I wanted to help, give some guidance, and a little inspiration for anyone who is thinking about joining in or just eating more plant-based in general. Veganuary is great to take part in – but remember you can try plant based living whenever you like and for however long you like! Even choosing to incorporate a couple of vegan meals into your week makes a difference!
My Tips for Veganuary!
1. GET ORGANISED & MEAL PLAN
It is kind of an obvious starting point, but the more organised you are, the easier it’ll be to stick to eating a vegan diet. Do some recipe research or look on Instagram for some inspiration and write a shopping list before you go to the supermarket. Meal planning isn’t as daunting as it sounds, it can just take a few minutes with a cuppa and spending a little time thinking about your week and what meals may fit in well.
Having some healthy home cooked meals planned for the week and even batch cooking in advance can help you out when you’re feeling too tired or a little uninspired.
2. LOOK FOR INSPIRATION
Sign up to Veganuary for email newsletters/tips and pick some of your favourite vegan Instagram accounts or bloggers to sign up to as well to get inspiration direct to your inbox. I often get my recipe books out or browse online when I feel like I need some new ideas or I’m lacking in inspiration. There is so much out there, and it can really help motivate you and keep your choices fresh and varied. One of my favourite sources of inspiration is Deliciously Ella – Delicious Ways To Feel Better. All her books, the social media, podcast, and app. Her recipes are delicious, easy to follow, and she is constantly releasing new content. This year her app has incorporated full meal plans for the month, with everything planned for you- including the shopping list!
3. STOCK UP
Just having a good selection of cupboard staples can make the world of difference (e.g. miso, nutritional yeast, chilli sauce, mustard, olives, sun dried tomatoes). Herbs and spices will open the door to so many recipes and flavours which will make your cooking more exciting and varied. Get some grains and a good selection of beans, a few easy vegan staples like vegan pesto, coconut cream/yogurt and some tofu. Becoming familiar with these ingredients will make your cooking more confident and more enjoyable.
4. CHECK LABELS
Checking labels is not the best part of being a vegan, but before you know it you will start to instinctually know what kind of products may have a sneaky non-vegan ingredient. Once you start checking labels, you’ll be amazed at how many things aren’t vegan. Milk powder is in so much!!!!
5. EAT OUT
I don’t need much encouragement to eat out, but Veganuary is a great time to eat out and explore some vegan friendly restaurants, particularly as so many places do come out with a specific Veganuary menu. Take the opportunity to try as many new cuisines as you can- you may discover a new favourite!
6. TRY NEW VEGAN BRANDS
In the last few years, the number of vegan products available has boomed. Nearly every major supermarket in the UK has their own plant-based products, as well as showcasing many different plant-based companies and many established brands coming out with vegan alternatives – like the new plant based Babybel (which are so yummy!). Over lockdown, we started to get The Vegan Kind Lifestyle subscription box delivered each month. It has been a great way to discover new products and brands and is a great way to support some lesser-known vegan businesses- and who doesn’t love treats delivered straight to your door!
7. KEEP GOING
If you struggle, or the timing isn’t right, or you fall off the vegan wagon occasionally it doesn’t mean you have to give up. Every day you eat plant-based makes a difference, try not to put too much pressure on yourself and just enjoy discovering new foods and new recipes.
8. TAKE YOUR VITAMINS
Try to eat a varied and balanced diet with lots of different vegetables, pulses, grains, but also do think about taking a multi vitamin too! Holland and Barrett is a great ‘go to’ for vitamins, and the staff are so helpful and knowledgeable- they will certainly help point you in the right direction.
Veggie Puff Pastry Tart Recipe
This is such a great recipe- so quick and easy and the sundried tomato paste and green pesto combo is so delicious. You can use whatever veggies you like really – olives and mushrooms are also great additions. Serve with a big salad and enjoy!
Ready-Rolled Puff Pastry (I use Jus Rol)
200g Baby Courgettes, cut into thin slices
1 Yellow Pepper, cut into chunks
1 Red Onion, cut into chunks
100g Cherry Tomatoes, cut into quarters or slices
4 Garlic Cloves, sliced
1 tsp Mixed Italian Herbs
2-3 tsp of Sundried Tomato Paste
2-3 tsp of Vegan Green Pesto
Handful of Grated Vegan Cheese
Handful of Spinach
Sea Salt and Black Pepper
Using a sharp knife, cut the sheet of puff pastry in half. Place each half on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and score a border 2cm in from the edge all the way round. Prick the pastry within the margin, using a fork. Leave to rest while you prepare your veggies.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Once you have prepared your veggies, put the courgette, tomato, pepper and red onion into a large bowl. Add the garlic and herbs, season generously with salt and pepper and mix together.
Spoon 1-2 teaspoons of sundried tomato paste over the puff pastry to cover the base within the border and start arranging your veggies on top. Then add a couple of dollops of green pesto randomly over the tart. Sprinkle some spinach leaves and vegan cheese on top.
Cook on the middle shelf of the oven, bake for about 20–25 minutes until the vegetables are cooked through, cheese has melted, and puff pastry is golden.
I hope my tips help and remember you can try veganism any time- not just in January!!! If ever you need any help, advice, recipe ideas or help meal planning, just send me a message and I will be happy to help in any way I can.
Good luck & Happy Veganuary!