A reminder about pizza

Breakfast

Wholemeal sandwich thins with jam, banana

Eaten on the move but still very nice! These wholemeal sandwich thins were the Warburtons brand and make a nice light sandwich option for lunch or breakfast.

Lunch

Animal-free pizza, salad

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I know having two pizzas this week might look a bit like labouring the point about vegans being able to eat pizza, but it wasn’t deliberate! This one was in Pizza Express, and had pine nuts, raisins, red onion, olives and capers- a really delicious combination of ingredients. They’d evidently decided we needed an extra large pizza (it was 3pm so maybe we looked hungry), but it was very thin and surprisingly easy to get through.

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Dinner

Salad, ciabatta bread

Not much dinner needed after the pizza, but this was a nice light option that continued the vaguely Italian theme (admittedly a coincidence)! The salad was the Co-op crunchy variety and I added a few cherry tomatoes to brighten it up, along with a drizzle of olive oil. You might think that ciabatta was difficult to find in animal-free form, but it actually seems to be fairly widely available. This one was from the Co-op, but you can also find a vegan version in Sainsbury’s.

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Dessert 

Grapes, mint chocolate

This was the Plamil brand of mint chocolate, which is one of my favourites. An incredible range of Plamil chocolate (and other brands) is available from the Animal Aid Ethical Shop.

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Why being vegan doesn’t stop you eating pizza

Breakfast

Wholegrain malties, soya milk

A repeat of yesterday, I know, but this cereal does make a nice light start to the day. It’s labellled as vegan and available in Sainsbury’s.

Lunch

Salad, pitta breads, fruit, vegan chocolate

These salad pots from the Co-op only cost £1 and make quite a nice lunch if you add some olive oil and have something a bit more filling on the side (i.e. some sort of bread). The vegan chocolate was the Plamil brand which is one of my favourites and can be bought in Holland and Barrett.

Dinner 

Animal-free pizza, salad

You might think that going out for a pizza was something that vegans couldn’t really do, but you’ll be relieved to know that this definitely isn’t the case. Pizza Express have said that their pizza bases are animal-free and they always seem happy to leave the cheese off. It seems that some other pizza restaurants might be equally willing to offer animal-friendly options, and this was certainly the case at Pizza Luxe in Stratford, London. The waitress confirmed that their pizza bases were egg and dairy free and they left the cheese off.  It was a great pizza too- lovely and moist with a spicy tomato passata and lots of veg on top. In fact, a pizza restaurant in Oxford (Pizzeria Trattoria Mario), has a pizza that’s actually advertised as vegan so maybe awareness is growing. I guess the next step would be restaurants adding vegan cheese to pizza, but it’s still pretty nice just with tomato and a veg topping!

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The animal-friendly approach to pizza

Breakfast

Maple & pecan crisp cereal, soya milk, strawberries, banana

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The strawberries were left over from last night  and went really well on some cereal. I always find that bananas are great for keeping you going if you know that lunch will be a little on the late side.

Lunch

Animal-free pizza

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This was a family Sunday Lunch at Pizza Express. They’ve assured me that their pizza bases are animal-free and they’re very happy just to leave off the mozzarella. I’ve never had a dry cheeseless pizza, as they always add a goodly (but not overwhelming) amount of tomato passata, and the bases themselves are really moist.

Dessert 

Part two was at Costa Coffee, where you can get a great range of animal-free drinks (just ask for soya milk). Their vegan dessert range could probably do with a little expansion, but the fruit salads are very good and make you feel slightly healthier after a pizza!

Tea

Wholemeal pittas with peanut butter and apricot, tortilla chips, hummus

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My previous version of this unusual (but delicious) combination was peanut butter with slices of tinned peach. I had a couple of apricots that needed eating though, and they were just as nice. In fact, their slightly lower juiciness rating might make them a better choice for a sandwich that needs to be transported, as the risk of sogginess would be lower. I always find that fruit and peanut butter is a really good combination, probably because it’s basically a (slightly) healthier version of peanut butter and jam. I had a few spoonfuls of hummus that needed eating, and this seemed like a good excuse to open up a packet of tortilla chips. Many of the Doritos chips seem to contain dairy, but these ones were from Aldi and just have maize, vegetable oil and salt. They’re definitely a great addition to a vegan buffet or picnic.

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Dessert

Watermelon,  dark chocolate

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Watermelon makes such a refreshing end to any meal, and it goes really well with bittersweet dark chocolate. You may have thought that going vegan would mean giving up Lindt chocolate, but they actually do a really good animal-free dark variety, which you can  buy in Tesco (and probably lots of other places too).

Habits in the making

Breakfast

Maple and pecan crisp cereal, soya milk, grapes

This cereal has become a bit of a weekend habit as its sweet nutty flavour is pretty irresistible. I try to eat  healthier cereals the rest of the time!

Late Lunch

Vegan pizza with red onion, pine nuts, capers, oilves and sultanas, rocket salad

Dessert: Fruit salad and soya latte

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This is the second habit that seems to be creeping in, as I’ve found that Pizza Express is surprisingly vegan-friendly and makes a great location for a lunch out with family or friends. They’ve assured me that their pizza bases are vegan, and they’re quite happy to serve pizzas without cheese and salads without dressing. You might think that pizza without cheese would be dry, but I’ve always found that the pizza bases are naturally moist and there’s a good (but not overwhelming) amount of tomato passata.

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Unfortuately Costa Coffee are yet to provide a vegan cake/dessert, but they do nice soya coffees and a good fruit salad. A fruit-based dessert was probably the most sensible option  anyway after the liberally iced (and very delicious) vegan cupcake that I had yesterday.

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Late evening snack to follow….

Eating plants at a restaurant is easier than you think

Breakfast

Maple & pecan crisp cereal, soya milk

A healthier cereal has been purchased for tomorrow morning!

Lunch

Animal free pizza, salad. Dessert: fruit

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Today I ended up at Pizza Express for the second Sunday lunch in a row, but they do a very good vegan pizza so it certainly wasn’t a hardship. Their pizza bases don’t contain any dairy so you just have to ask for the cheese to be left off along with any other animal ingredients. You might think that a cheeseless pizza was rather dry but this really isn’t the case as there’s a good spread of tomato passata and the dough itself is nice and moist. Today’s choice had red onion, sultanas, olives, capers and pine nuts which was a great combination. In fact, it sounds like an inspiring idea for a pasta sauce- watch this space…

I think one of the things that puts people off making the animal free leap is the idea that meals out will become embarrassingly impossible. This really isn’t the case though, as menus often have naturally vegan options and if not then it’s easy to create your own by asking for an animal ingredient to be left out. I’ve found that restaurant staff are generally very happy to help so you’re not left feeling awkward. It’s also worth remembering that many people are allergic to dairy so this increases the pressure on restaurants to be friendly to plant eaters!

Tea

Wholemeal roll with jam, salted almonds, dried fruit, apple, dark chocolate

Despite the great Sunday lunch, I did find a bit of a gap for some tea later on. Dried fruit and nuts make a great accompaniment to a sandwich if you’re feeling virtuous and going for a crisp-free day. This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned salted almonds and they’re certainly not cheap  but they really are worth it. They’re next to the salted peanuts in Tesco. Soft rolls are great with strawberry jam, although they do need quite a bit to make it a worthwhile experience!

Vegans go out for pizza too!

Breakfast

Muesli, soya milk, grapes

Lunch

Vegan pizza. Dessert: Fruit salad

Today’s Sunday lunch was pizza, but not homemade or at a vegan restaurant; at Pizza Express. It turns out that their pizza bases don’t contain any dairy, and they were very happy just to leave off the cheese. You might think a cheeseless pizza was a little dull, but that certainly wasn’t the case today. It was brimming with Mediterranean veg (artichokes, olives etc.) and they’d added a nice pizza oil so it certainly wasn’t dry.  It just shows that vegans can have a great meal in an omnivorous venue; they’re not restricted to vegan restaurants (fabulous though they are) or salads with the cheese removed!

Tea

Baked beans on toast, mini pretzels, grapes. Dessert: vegan creme caramel

I decided to balance out a Mediterranean lunch with a traditional English favourite! Beans on toast is one of those accidentally animal-free foods. It’s just a case of using a soya spread on the toast and vegan cheese as a topping if needed.

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The vegan creme caramel is quite a discovery. They sell it in the Tesco free-from section and it really doesn’t taste any different from the dairy version.