I’m sure that we can all attest to that potentially ominous question: What exactly do you eat? Talk about being put on the spot. Suddenly your mind goes blank and you somehow forget everything you have ever eaten. Or is that just me? My usual response is a timid, “pretty much anything? So many vegan alternatives exist!”
Sometimes that, unfortunately, does not always make the cut. People can be curious about the realities of a plant based diet and they want to hear exact details. This occasionally adds some extra pressure; I might be the only vegan this person encounters and with that I feel some responsibility. There is an onus on presenting an image of delights and plates worthy of admiration.
I love describing what I’ve made. If I’m lucky I’ve got some left over in a lunch box to take to work and the myth of vegan eating just salads is a thing of the past.
And that brings us to today’s post! Last week I was quite good with mixing things up for dinners and telling people in work I got some excellent feedback. I did a similar post a while ago on my vegan and gluten free meal plan for the week, but this post is just focusing on vegan dinners.
Image source: Free From Wix
1. Malaysian Laksa Curry Soup
I started my week off with something a bit different and it turned out to be an excellent triumph. All this took was a Laksa paste sachet poured into veggie broth, mixed with coconut milk and the rice noodles are cooked in the broth. I added some tofu fried in garlic and onion (this is definitely my happy place) and topped with chopped chives.
This never made lunch the next day: I ate two bowls that evening. It is spicy, sweet and aromatic and the perfect excuse to ‘accidently’ eat a baguette as an accompaniment.
Who doesn’t love a Buddha bowl? This kind of bowl arrangement has taken the vegan world by storm, and Pinterest and Instagram are awash with the most beautiful and calculated compositions. Culinary art at its finest. Mine may not be making any magazines or anything any time soon – but it tasted damn good.
Here we have chickpeas, roasted sweet potato (a la paprika and chilli powder), a mixture of kale and spinach, rice noodles and peanut butter tofu with rice noodles. I made the peanut butter marinade myself – peanut butter, tamari, coconut cream, cashews, garlic and onion salt with a little bit of maple syrup. Each bite prompted a declaration of love.
It is only been in the past few months that I’ve started something of an intimate relationship with risotto. I could count on one hand how many times I ate it in the past. But now I could make it every other night with different varieties. It is a labour of love yet always absolutely worth it.
This is a spicy risotto made with red wine, veggie stock, cajun and chilli powder. I also added a bit of tofu for some extra bulk. I had risotto twice over December for Christmas work party dinners and although they were nice, in comparison they were a bit bland and if you read my previous blog post, you’ll know that I love spice. Risotto, especially ones ordered in restaurants on small vegan menus, can sometimes be lacking in the cheesy flavour and creamy texture. I wonder how many chefs know about nutritional yeast? Or vegan butter?
I really could not get enough of it yet somehow managed to keep enough for lunch the next day.
4. Veggie Satay Stir Fry
Is there any better way to incorporate a myriad of veggies? This is hands down one of my favourite meals and I could eat it every night. Chopped carrots, broccoli, green beans, courgette and pak choi fried in garlic and onion before adding the satay. I would occasionally add pumpkin seeds too!
The veggies are joined by rice and buckwheat noodles, the latter of which add a subtle extra flavour that I think really compliments the satay. It is beyond simple, but beyond fantastic.
One of the important elements I want to highlight here is that these dinners are made with pretty average ingredients. Basically everything was bought in a supermarket, with the exception of nutritional yeast which I bought in a health store. Both the laksa and satay were pre-made in sachets! You do not need to trek miles to speciality stores to eat creative, delicious vegan meals.
What did you have for dinner?