Written by Ami Tadaa

Food

Veganuary: delicious food that nothing has had to die for

If meat and dairy free pledges appear on your to do list for 2015, lifelong vegan Ami Tadaa is here for a whole week to plant some ideas for what a vegan diet can bring to your plate, as well as your general well being and conscience.

Edible Rainbow

A melting pot of tasty wellbeing awaits at the end of a Veganuary rainbow

So, here we are on the first Monday of January 2015 when a boatload of month-long pledges to live life differently get underway proper.

Well, New Year’s Day doesn’t count does it? Then the weekend was upon us. Plus there was all that stuff still in the fridge, and ‘waste’ couldn’t be further from being my middle name.

An alcohol free, or ‘dry’ January has become a tradition for many people who want to start the year with a clean slate and cleaner liver, and the past couple of years have seen more and more people embracing a whirl with a plant-based diet during the wonderfully named, Veganuary.

Launched in 2013, Veganuary asks participants to give a month-long pledge to cast aside any penchants for meat and dairy products and go vegan for January.

This might seem like a crazy and even scary idea for many of you but I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be so daunting.

I like to think Veganuary offers an opportunity to experience how easy and delicious a vegan diet can be, as well as being a healthy, low-cholesterol one for anyone looking to spend some time being good to themselves food wise after the traditional stuffing of faces in the name of Christmas and seasonal goodwill to tastebuds.

As a lifelong vegan and founder of soon-to-launch artisanal vegan cheese company Tyne Cheese (yes, ‘vegan’ and ‘cheese’ can be used accurately together in a sentence), I thought it might be useful if I created and shared a seven-day vegan meal plan for anyone looking to give Veganuary a go.

So, there’ll be breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes coming your way over the next week, including delicious smoothies and soups, lasagnes, Indian feasts, salads, juices and loads more besides.

Let’s get cracking with Day One then, shall we?

BREAKFAST: Banana, pineapple and orange smoothie

What you’ll need

3 ripe Bananas (peeled)
½ a Pineapple (peeled)
3 oranges (peeled and with pips removed)
1 cup of water
A blender/smoothie maker

Method

1. Cut up the bananas and pineapple into chunks and put it in the blender with the de-pipped oranges.
2. Add the water.
3. Blend it until smooth – add some ice if it’s not cool enough for you.
4. Serve it up in a glass which says ‘treat’ and enjoy.

Vegan1breakfast

LUNCH: Spiced lentil soup

What you’ll need

1 cup of red lentils
1 onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 inch of fresh ginger
3 fresh large tomatoes
1 tsp of ground coriander
1 tsp of ground cumin
1 tsp of ground turmeric
1 tsp of garam masala powder
1 table spoon of olive oil
4 cups of water
Salt and pepper to taste

Vegan1lunch

Method

1. Peel and dice the onion, garlic and ginger.
2. Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onion in a non-stick frying pan for 3-4 minutes (until golden brown).
3. Add the garlic and ginger to the onion and fry for an additional 1 minute.
4. Finely chop the fresh tomatoes and add to the pan and simmer for 2 minutes.
5. Add the coriander, cumin, garam masala and turmeric to the pan and mix well.
6. Add the red lentils and water, bring to the boil and leave to simmer for 30-40mins until the lentils are soft.
7. Pour into a bowl which says ‘no you can’t have any; this is mine’ and enjoy.

DINNER: Lasagne with leeks and red cabbage

What you’ll need

For the Lasagne:

Lasagne sheets

For the tomato sauce and mince:
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 and a 1/2cup of vegan mince meat (thank you Linda McCartney)
8 tomatoes
3 cups of water
1 tbsp of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

For the cheese sauce:

1 ½ cups of cashews
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
¾ cups of water
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
¼ cup of nutritional yeast

For the leeks
2 leeks
1 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

For the red cabbage
¼ of medium red cabbage
1 tablespoon of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
¼-½ tablespoon of soya sauce

Vegan1dinner

Method

1. Peel and dice the onion and garlic.
2. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and sauté the diced onion for 3-4 minutes (until golden brown).
3. Add the garlic and fry for an additional 1 minute.
4. Finely chop the fresh tomatoes and add to the pan and simmer for 2 minutes.
5. Add two cups of water and let simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Add the vegan mince meat to the frying pan and simmer for 15 mins (add the remaining cup of water after 7 mins) until cooked. Put aside for later.
7. The Cheese Sauce: Place the cashews, the onion, garlic, nutritional yeast and lemon juice into a blender. Blend until smooth and pour the mixture into a non-stick frying pan and heat for 10 minutes until thick. Stir every 30 seconds or so.
8.Take an oven proof dish and layer the tomato mince sauce and the lasagne sheets starting with a layer of tomato mince sauce. Repeat until you have 3 layers of pasta. Cover the final pasta layer with the cheese sauce you prepared earlier, making sure you can’t see any pasta poking through.
9. Put in the oven at 180°C (160°C with a fan) or Gas Mark 4, for 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and bubbling.

The leeks

1. Wash and finely chop the leeks
2. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan, add the chopped leeks and cover with a lid. Turn the heat down to a simmer for 10 minutes

The red cabbage

1. Wash and finely chop the red cabbage
2. Heat the olive oil in a non stick pan and add the chopped red cabbage. Cover with a lid, turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Add a dash of soya sauce to the red cabbage as desired

See you on Tuesday for another day of Veganuary loveliness.

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Written by Ami Tadaa

Lifelong vegan Ami Tadaa was raised from birth around the world on pure plant. She has somehow reached 24 and landed in Newcastle, with an uncanny resemblance to a human being, but an obsession with cashew cheese. She recently launched @TyneChease and vegan Sara Pascoe thinks she's a 'genius goddess'.