Opposite to the common opinion that vegans live a life full of abstinence and follow a boring diet, I discovered way more interesting foods since I have become a vegan. I knew some of them before but not how versatile they actually were. Exactly this versatile use of fresh ingredients has enriched my life and keeps inspiring my cooking on a daily basis.
This fruit is full of healthy nutrients and high in healthy fats. This works especially well because most vitamins need to be consumed with fat so the body is able to absorb them. Eating avocado comes with a long list of health benefits such as prevention of cancer, stroke and heart attacks.
The fruit can be used in various ways. You can mash it into a guacamole, spread it on a crumpet, put in your smoothie or make a lovely creamy pesto sauce of it for your pasta. We always have avocados at home and I eat at least one or two per week.
Buying avocado at a supermarket is always a gamble because the time span between tasteless and mouldy is extremely short. Ask yourself when you want to eat your avocado before going to the grocery store. Ideally, you buy your avocado one or two days in advance. At the store take the avocado and gently press with your whole hand. If it is completely hard the avocado needs two or three days to get perfectly ripe if it feels squishy leave it. The ideal avocado is firm but not hard. It takes a few attempts to become an avocado expert but once you get it, you will be rewarded with the perfect avocado experience.
Also known as garbanzo beans, chickpeas are another set part of my diet. They are rich in fibre, protein and iron which makes them the perfect ingredient for a vegan meal. You can add them to a curry or process them into falafel or hummus. Chickpeas can be bought canned or dried, it depends on how much time you have. If you use them from a can, just wash them with warm water before use. This way, you will less likely feel bloated after consuming them. You can even use the water from the can as an egg white replacement in baking. There is as well the option of buying them dry which is normally cheaper. You need to soak them in water for a day, wash them and cook for an hour to 90 minutes (check the instruction on the packaging).
One of my favourite spices! Ginger is super healthy with its anti-inflammatory nature. I normally buy the root and use a little piece of it in curries or add it to a decanter of water. In winter I drink it as a tea with lemon, in summer as a refreshing cold drink. Further, I add it to my smoothies to spice it up. My favourite of all is pickled ginger which is normally used with sushi.
Whatever you can do with a classic potato, you can do it with a sweet potato. Roast it, make fries, mash it, add it to a stew or bake a cake with it. It is a highly versatile root vegetable which contains plenty of vitamins, iron and potassium. Sweet potatoes are high in fibre and beta-carotene an anti-oxidant which helps to prevent cancer and heart disease. It is also less starchy than the white potato and is therefore called a slow-carb which fills you up for longer.
TINNED CHOPPED TOMATOES
This does not sound as healthy as the other foods listed so far but cans of chopped tomatoes save me during winter when there are no fresh tomatoes available. I love my pasta and prefer to make the sauces myself. Tomato sauce is one of the easiest and quickest to make. Chop an onion and some garlic, put it into a frying pan, add all the vegetables you like, fry it for a while and then add a can of chopped tomatoes. At this point, you can also add dried or fresh herbs and let it cook for 10 minutes. And here you go! You have a deliciously customised tomato sauce for your pasta. Another advantage is that it is way healthier and cheaper than the processed tomato sauce you buy at the supermarket.
Also, I love to put a can of chopped tomato to my lentil curry instead of coconut milk. This way, it contains less fat and has a fresher taste.
Tofu has always been my favourite meat replacement. A few months ago I fell in love with baked tofu. Cut your tofu into small pieces. Marinate it with your favourite spices and herbs and put it for 20 minutes at 200°C in the oven. You will end up with the perfect topping for salads or stews.
There are also plenty of other ways to use tofu than as a meat replacement. For example, you can make a delicious chocolate mousse of it or use it for a sweet or savoury quiche. In these cases, I prefer to work with silky tofu which is less pressed and therefore contains more water than other tofu.
I noticed that I have mentioned a lot of meals I normally cook. Since I prepare my meals without using recipes it always takes me a while to write them down end evaluate them. This is the reason why there are no exact recipes in this blog post. You can either google them or wait for the following recipe blog posts that I am working on. I will try to put a collection of recipes together that contains all the aforesaid foods from this blog post.
If you have recipes yourself that you would like to share, feel free to comment or leave a link.