The idea of going vegan can seem pretty daunting, especially if you don’t really cook.
It’s a lot easier now than when I went vegan, but it still requires a shift in thinking. Back in the 1990’s when I made the change from vegetarian to vegan, there was soy milk, tofu and tinned stuff like nut meat and sausages which was mostly pretty unpalatable, and so you just learned to do without. Eating out was difficult but doable. Pizza without cheese raised a few eyebrows at times, but I discovered it was actually tastier since you were getting the full flavour of the pizza sauce and toppings.
The alternatives available now are quite amazing, and sometimes a little disturbing. Personally I’m not into the alternatives that actually try to emulate the taste and texture of the animal product. I prefer to use things that can take on the role of that ingredient, without tasting like it. So I’m happy to use things like vegie patties, sausages, seitan, which might have a similar shape, but don’t actually taste like the ‘real thing’. But I know they’re hugely popular among the vegan community, and are especially helpful for people transitioning or struggling, so if that’s your thing, go for it! After all, no animals were harmed, and that’s the important thing!
To start on your way, you want some simple but nutritious recipes. One of the easiest things to make is a split red lentil dhal. Delicious, nutritious and versatile. Pair it with some brown or basmati rice, a vegetable curry or roast vegetables and some salad. You can even just add some vegetables of your choice to the dhal while it’s cooking – tomato (fresh or tinned), potato, sweet potato, pumpkin, spinach, green beans, capsicum, cauliflower etc. and then top with some mushroom and onion fried separately.
Super simple split red lentil dhal
2 cups split red lentils
4 cups water or vegetable stock
½ tsp each of chilli powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric, garam masala, black mustard seeds
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 onion, diced
handful fresh coriander
Heat the oil in a pot and cook the onion and garlic for a few minutes over a medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and cook for a few minutes more. Add the rest of the spices and stir through, cooking for a minute or so until fragrant. Add the lentils and water or stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes until cooked and the water is absorbed. Stir through some fresh chopped coriander. Enjoy!
P.S. So the night I started writing this, we had an intense but brief storm which took out our phone and internet. Looks like we might be without for up to another 2 weeks. I’ll try to post from work (which is where I am posting this one), but only if time allows – things are usually pretty crazy!