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Four easy vegan meals: Eating my way through January from pasta to scrambles

Veganuary means that there's going to be a lot of people experimenting with vegan food that may not have tried plant-based food before. When I went vegan all those years ago, I didn't really know what vegan food consisted of, or where to begin. I didn't realise that I already knew loads of vegan meals, or meals that were easy to veganise; I just assumed I wouldn't know how to cook without animal ingredients. I thought I'd have to relearn how to cook from scratch.

You can guess how this turned out. What seemed to be a daunting process was actually fine: I found I could straight swap some non-vegan products for vegan ones, and other ingredients I could learn to replace -- the eggs I used to use in baking were changed for silken tofu, flaxseed or non-dairy yoghurt.

So, in honour of all those new vegans out there this month, here are some of the simple meals I've been making this month, just to give you an idea of what I've been eating, and how making vegan food really doesn't have to be tricky (unless you want it to be!)

This was one of my favourite meals, because it was made of leftovers and vegetables. There's some swede, carrot, parsnips, baked in a few spoons of Oatly oat fraiche and a tin of fava beans in tahini sauce. It was baked in oven for a while, until it was crisp on top. If I was feeling fancy, I would have had a sharp green salad and some warm bread to go with it, but I wasn't fancy. I just scarfed it all on my own, with great joy.

This is another dinner that's dedicated to winter's root vegetables. The rest of the carrots, parsnips, and swede in the fridge were roasted and turned into a bit of soup with some white beans. It's not going to win me any cooking prizes but when it's cold and you don't have the energy to cook a proper meal, soup is always your friend.

 I found a longely roll in the freezer as an accompaniment, and gave the soup a little lift from smoked garlic oil (a Christmas present!) and some sriracha. Because everything is better with sriracha, especially a little bowl of soup on a cold evening.

Nothing says quite like winter eating more than root veggies, with perhaps the exception of brussels sprouts. I know there's probably more sprout haters out in the world than sprout lovers, but anyone who is made without the ability to love brussel sprouts is missing out. They're one of my favourite vegetables - honestly! I usually pan fry them quickly with a bit of pepper and soy suce, or roast them slowly with a bit of oil and salt. Either way, they're at their best when they catch a bit, turning charcoaled at the edges.

Here's the honourable sprout with a bowl of pasta. I can't remember the name of the company who made it, but it was one of the first times I've seen vegan tortelloni and so I had to try it. These were filled with butternet squash and delicious (I reckon the sprouts made it so, of course!)

As a side note, there seems to be a boom in vegan ravioli - I've seen it in Tesco, Sainsburys, and Waitrose. I look forward to eating my way through all of them.

And onto one of my more colourful meals - there's no filter on this bad boy, that's just how my lovely lunch looked. I think there's a Japanese principle that says you should have five colours in every meal, and I think I've managed it here: purple cabbage, red ajvar, yellow tumericy tofu, orange carrot and green kale. It was as tasty as it was bright.

For anyone trying Veganuary, I'd like to recommend finding your favourite tofu scramble. There's as many scramble recipes out there as there are happy vegans. My favourite is in Sally Baker's Veggiestan, but in order to find your own, you need to make them loads. Yoo'll not be disappointed. They're simple, they're endlessly variable, and they're delicious.

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  1. Nice round up of some easy vegan meals. I started cooking some vegan meals years ago when I first had a vegan friend at uni. It is much easier these days with all the supermarket food (we have a boom in vegan pasta too in Melbourne) but often simple food like your soup is still the best!


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