How to liven up a hummus sandwich

Breakfast

Wholegrain malties, banana, soya milk

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Always an energising way to start the day.

Lunch

Wholemeal rolls with hummus and sundried tomatoes, apple, soya yogurt

This is a really great sandwich combination that I’ve recently discovered (although I’m sure it’s not entirely original). As you’ve probably guessed, you literally just spread the bread/rolls with vegan margarine and hummus, then add some sundried tomatoes from a jar. If, like me, you don’t have time to rinse and dry the tomatoes, it’s probably worth using a roll or some crusty bread as flimsier varieties may be subject to sogginess!

Dinner

Broccoli, pumpkin seed  and olive spaghetti, hummus and veg

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This is a super-quick dish that tastes great. Traditional tapenade seems to contain anchovies but Sainsbury’s do a version that’s marked as vegan so is evidently fish-free. It also works well spread on toast (in my opinion at least). Hummus and veg sticks are always a great combination and make a nice alternative to leaf-based side salads.

Ingredients for broccoli, pumpkin seed and olive spaghetti (serves 2):

– 1 red onion

– 1 largish broccoli

– 150g spaghetti

– Olive oil

– 2 garlic cloves (crushed)

– 1 veggie stock cube

– 1 pack of pumpkin seeds

– 2 generous tablespoons of olive tapenade

Method:

1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Meanwhile, chop the onion and broccoli (keeping them separate).

2. When the water is boiling, add the spaghetti along with a splash of olive oil. Simmer until tender (about 10 mins), stirring occasionally.

3. While the spaghetti cooks, heat a good splash of oil in a pan and add the onion and garlic. Sautee gently for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until the onion is soft but not brown. Then add the broccoli, stock cube and a generous splash of water. Cover and simmer until the broccoli is tender, stirring occasionally and adding more water if needed. This should only take about 10 minutes.

4. When the spaghetti is cooked, drain and set aside, then when the broccoli is tender, combine the two. If the broccoli has a lot of liquid left, you may need to drain some of it off.

5. Finally, stir in the pumpkin seeds and tapenade, heating the whole thing through gently and stirring constantly.

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Dessert

Fruit, biscuits

The biscuits were the accidentally vegan chocolate chip hobnobs. They confusingly seem to do both vegan and non-vegan versions of the same biscuit, so I’d suggest just checking the allergy advice section to see whether there’s any dairy (I don’t think they often have egg in).

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The animal-free answer to tuna?

Breakfast

Wheat biscuits, soya milk, blueberries

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Berries are great for an early morning sugar boost and wheat biscuits are helpful for providing long-lasting energy.

Lunch

Braised tofu, tomato and vegan mayo sandwich, biscuits, blueberries

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Braised tofu has a texture and flavour that really reminds me of tuna. You can buy it in Holland and Barrett, but it’s with the other tinned products (not in the chilled section with the rest of the tofu). Once it’s rinsed and drained, you can break off slices, place them on bread and add whatever you feel like, although I think sliced tomatoes and vegan mayo work especially well. Vegan mayo can also be purchased in H&B, and it’s almost indistinguishable from the animal-based product.

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Dinner

Couscous with sultanas and butternut squash, salad

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This recipe is still under construction but will be appearing in the future! It made a perfectly good meal, but further work is needed for optimum results. Not all recipes transition smoothly from mind to plate and this one turned out to be a little on the bland side.

Dessert

Fruit and yogurt dessert

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Alpro seem to  have brought out some new flavours of soya yogurt, including the strawberry and banana one that I had tonight. I just topped it with some raspberries, added a drizzle of golden syrup and it made a great dessert.

Why animal-free means less washing up

Breakfast

Wheat biscuits, grapes, soya milk

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A nice energising breakfast that will hopefully keep you going until lunch.

Lunch

Hummus and salad sandwich, grapes

Not the most creative sandwich ever recorded but nice all the same!

Dinner

Peanut and broccoli noodles, salad

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This is a good recipe (please click here to see) for creating a tasty, nutritious dish with a minimal amount of effort. It’s also a good washing up saver, as you can do the whole thing in a single pan. Although saving on washing up isn’t one of the most compelling reasons for going animal-free, vegan dishes rarely use more than two pans (very often just one) and you’ll never be cleaning off anything truly revolting- only plants!

 

Why afternoon tea can be animal-free

Breakfast

Maple & pecan crisp cereal, soya milk, strawberries

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This is an irresistibly sugary breakfast option which is useful if you have a cycle to work or something that requires a bit of early morning energy.

Skipping lunch is something I rarely do (I find it leaves me grinding miserably to a sugarless halt half way through the afternoon), but it was one of those times when a midday meal just wasn’t possible. When I finally arrived home at about 4pm, I decided to opt for some afternoon tea (almost as rare as skipping lunch). There were some Tesco ‘light choices’ hot cross buns in the bread bin which seemed to be animal-free and came close enough to a tea cake. Unfortunately the toasting phase wasn’t particularly successful and resulted in a charred top that had to be partially removed (you can understand why the photograph is absent!). Even so, the quasi-teacake tasted great with some vegan margarine and raspberry jam, plus some strawberries and kiwi for an urgently required sugar boost.

Actually though, there’s no need for vegans to make do with substandard afternoon teas and even a cream tea is completely possible. Believe it or not, you can actually buy vegan clotted cream: http://www.klottedkream.co.uk/. It looks delicious and the company supports a different animal charity every month. Most supermarket scones seem to contain milk and/or egg, but you can buy an animal-free version at: http://bluelotuscakes.co.uk/vegan-egg-free-dairy-free-scones-p-665.html and they look really good. The strawberry jam should be easy to source in animal-free form (I’m yet to find one that isn’t vegan).

Dinner

Vegan sausages, roasted carrots, salad

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I don’t know whether anyone has noticed, but there’s been a definite absence of oven-cooked food over the past few weeks. This wasn’t due to a sudden burst of healthiness, but rather a lack of working oven at the flat I’ve moved into. It was apparently working the day before I moved in (and it’s new), but it cut out within a few minutes of me switching it on and hasn’t been in action since. It’s been good to show that you don’t even need an oven to make vegan meals, but I’m quite glad to have oven access during my week of animal-sitting at my parents’ house. I thought I’d celebrate by having a zero effort dinner that cooked itself, in the oven. I roasted pack of small carrots until they were soft (about 40 mins on gas 7/220 with bit of olive oil drizzled over and mixed in), and this left me plenty for future usage. The veggie sausages were the Vegetarians Choice brand, which you can buy in the frozen section of Holland and Barrett and are really light and lovely. Some veggie sausages include dairy and egg ingredients, but these are marked as vegan.

Dessert

Strawberry and chocolate pot

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This is a seriously easy dessert that looks great too (so ideal for guests). Please click here for the recipe.

How to liven up a leafy salad

Breakfast

Wheat biscuits, greengages, soya milk

I clearly need to buy some more breakfast cereals and will be doing so soon! The chopped greengages tasted great, but looked decidedly un-photogenic so don’t appear for that reason.

Lunch

‘Cream cheese’, spinach and cucumber sandwich, apple, flapjack

This was another sandwich using the Tofutti vegan cream cheese (garlic and herb flavour), plus some spinach and cucumber. I used one of the Warburtons sandwich thins again, which are really good for lunch. The flapjacks were one of the Blackfriars range, which includes many animal-free options.

Dinner

Mushroom and Spinach Pasta, salad

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This is always a great dinner if you want something quick and easy but tasty and nutritious at the same time. You can see the full recipe here. I just had a leafy salad on the side with some salted cashews and olive oil to make it more exciting (and less healthy). Other good ingredients for livening up salads include sunflower and pumpkin seeds (especially drizzled with soy sauce and roasted briefly in the oven), sultanas and figs.

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Dessert

Blueberries

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There isn’t always that much room for dessert after a pasta dish, but Sainsbury’s seem to have started doing a Basics range of blueberries which are just as good as the more expensive ones.

The ultimate vegan sandwich?

Breakfast

Muesli, soya milk

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Always an energising way to start the day!

Lunch

Hummus, lettuce and tomato baguette, crisps, strawberries, cocoa and orange Nakd bar

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This lovely lunch was prepared by my Mum during a visit home and I think it may have included the ultimate animal-free sandwich! This was a par bake baguette spread with vegan margarine and hummus, then stuffed with lettuce and cherry tomatoes. The combination of flavours was really lovely, especially with the nice crusty bread. Animal-free par bake baguettes seem fairly easy to find in the supermarket (this one was from Tesco), and have the advantage that you can make them as soft or crusty as you like. Spreading them with vegan margarine and jam makes a great (if not overly healthy) breakfast.

Dinner

Gnocchi with sweet Tomato and Ginger sauce, salad

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Another lovely meal prepared by my Mum. This is a really good dish if you’re in a hurry, and the gnocchi is a nice variation on pasta. Nuts always make a great topping for leafy salad and these were salted peanuts.

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Dessert

Fruit salad, flapjack

This was a creative version of the traditional fruit salad as it used mashed banana with the strawberries and pineapple. It’s amazing how different banana is if you mash it rather than chop it, although both variations work well. The flapjack was one of the Blackfriars range, many of which are animal-free. Chopping them into bitesize pieces creates a really nice accompaniment to a fruit salad.

 

How to personalise your potato

Breakfast

Wheat biscuits with blackberries, soya milk

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I find that berries and cereal make a great morning combination. The berries give you a good dose of natural sugar and the cereal should hopefully keep you going until lunch (although I rarely get there without a snack!).

Lunch

Pitta bread, crisps, blueberries

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I still hadn’t got round to buying any sandwich fillings, so just had a toasted pitta spread with vegan margarine and stuffed with some chopped red cabbage. I wasn’t all that hopeful about the results but it was actually very nice, especially as the pitta bread was tomato and basil flavour (the Aegean tomato and basil ones from Sainsbury’s).

Dinner

Jacket potato, salad

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These were prepared by my Mum during a visit home and were really lovely- both soft and crispy at the same time. I never get bored of jacket potatoes and there’s no shortage of animal-free toppings and fillings. They’re nice just with soya margarine, but vegan cheese is always great to sprinkle on top. An alternative approach is to spread them with hummus, which works really well too. Baked beans are a good option if you feel like something more traditional, and the possibilities are endless really- there’s always plenty of room for creativity!

Dessert

Just a few squares of dark chocolate (Green and Blacks), as jacket potatoes are always pretty filling.

Snacks

Apple, blueberries

I always find blueberries a good snack to have on your desk while you’re working, although it’s quite easy to get through an entire punnet without realising!