It’s a long time since I’ve written a blog post about food. Four years, to be precise {I checked}. Without going off on too much of a tangent, I often struggle to figure out whether I’m ‘allowed’ to post things like this anymore. Sharing the kind of content I enjoy writing doesn’t always feel strategic enough. I worry I should be blogging more for business than pleasure. Will potential clients land here and wonder what the vegan recipes below have to do with my copywriting business? Maybe, but creativity and self-care are central to my brand. They’re themes I want to weave throughout everything I post. For me, cooking embodies both these things.

Now we’ve cleared that up, let me explain the thinking behind this post. When I transitioned to a vegan diet a few years ago, I was fixated on finding the best non-dairy alternatives and meat substitutes. Which milk should I use in my tea? {Oatly Barista} What do I use instead of butter? {Vitalite}. Who does the best veggie burger? {Linda McCartney} These questions felt important at the beginning, but I soon realised I needed to go further than simply restocking my fridge.

I needed to build a whole new repertoire of easy go-to recipes. Things I can cook without having to expend too much headspace, time or energy. Mid-week meals I can serve my family on regular rotation. If you follow me on Instagram Stories, these are the dishes you’ve watched me prepare over and over again.

How to Adapt Non-Vegan Recipes

The longer I’m vegan, the easier it is to adapt non-vegan recipes, switch out ingredients and make successful substitutions. It takes time to test recipes and try new things, but once you’ve found reliable basic ingredients and your favourite store cupboard staples, you’ll be tweaking recipes with your eyes closed.

Sometimes you need to make a simple switch to a non-dairy alternative or a meat substitute. Occasionally, it’s about recreating or replacing a flavour that usually comes from meat or fish. This can take a little more practice, but it’s really satisfying when you manage to pull it off. 9 Seasonings for Adding Savoury Flavour to Vegan Recipes is a useful cheat sheet for beginners.

Some Notes on Tofu

As a family, we love tofu and eat it a lot. There are many different types to choose from and it can be a bit overwhelming at first. This article from Kitchn is a good beginners guide. I cook with firm and extra-firm regular tofu the most and I tend to use the same two brands – Tofoo and Cauldron. They’re both relatively easy to get hold of at our local supermarket or via Ocado.

If you’re new to tofu, the Tofoo brand is a good place to start as it doesn’t require any pressing. Simply remove the packaging, pat dry with kitchen roll or a clean tea towel, and you’re good to go.

Having said that, pressing tofu is very easy and you don’t need a fancy kitchen gadget to do it. Line a plate with some kitchen roll or a clean tea towel. Lay your tofu between this and another plate weighed down with a heavy object. Leave for 10-30min, carefully remove the tofu and pat dry with some fresh kitchen roll or a clean tea towel.

Most of the time, I cut our tofu into bite-sized cubes, toss them in some seasoned flour and either fry or oven bake until crispy. I can then add the cooked tofu to sauces, curries, stir-fries, noodle dishes and more. For some recipes, I slice the tofu and fry it just as it is.

I’d really recommend trying different brands, recipes and cooking methods until you find your own favourites. For a quick, flavoursome tofu fix, I love Taifun’s Smoked Tofu with Almonds & Sesame Seeds. It’s delicious with dal, especially if it’s been sliced thinly and fried until crispy.

The Meals I Cook the Most

  • One-Pot Pasta – This is one of my favourite meals of all time. It takes 15 minutes to make, you only need one pot, and the end result is delicious. Violife Prosociano works well instead of parmesan. If you enjoy this dish, try one-pan pea, lemon and asparagus pasta when the ingredients are in season.
  • Lentil Ragu – This recipe makes a huge amount of ragu. I can usually turn it into at least two lasagnes {using Sacla’s vegan white sauce} and still have some leftover to serve with spaghetti. It freezes really well too.
  • Tofu in Black Bean Sauce – Instead of the seitan listed in this recipe, I use the cubed, cooked tofu described above.
  • Chilli Tofu – I make this a little more child-friendly by reducing the amount of chilli. The other ingredients contribute plenty of flavour, so the dish does not suffer for it.
  • Chana Masala – This chickpea curry is such a staple in our house. I like to serve it with shop-bought veggie samosas and rice.
  • Sausage Casserole – To make this dish vegan, I omit the pork sausages and bacon {obviously} and start at step 3. Make sure you use vegetable stock and a vegan alternative to Worcestershire Sauce {I like Henderson’s Relish or Liquid Smoke}. I’ve used a variety of veggie sausages over the years and they all work well in this dish. Some will benefit from being fried before they’re added to the casserole.
  • One-Pot Tomato, Lemongrass and Coconut Noodles – This is such a quick, simple dish to prepare, but it’s packed full of flavour.  My kids love it. If, like me, you can never get hold of fresh lemongrass, the paste that comes in a tube or jar will suffice.
  • Katsu Curry with Panko Aubergines – I’m the only person in our house who eats aubergine, so I tend to serve the sauce from this recipe with some kind of crispy escalope. The ones from Vivera and Vegan Quorn are the best I’ve tried.
  • Bean Goulash – A big pot of beans is my go-to when invoices are overdue and there’s too much month left at the end of the money! This is a cheap, easy recipe with masses of flavour.
  • Simple One-Pot Puttanesca – Another delicious self-saucing pasta dish. Switch out the parmesan for vegan cheese and don’t worry about the chives if you don’t have any – I never do.
  • Simple Southwest Tofu Scramble – My kids love brinner {breakfast for dinner} but this is obviously an excellent brunch option too.
  • I hope this list of links is helpful and you feel inspired to try some new vegan recipes. Maybe you’ll even end up adding them to your regular rotation.

Love Audrey xxx

P.S. Of course, you dont need to be vegan to cook or eat any of these dishes. It’s worth noting I’m the only vegan in our household and these recipes are enjoyed by us all.

P.P.S. How to Cook from Scratch When You’re Tired and Busy

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