We are very excited to see how people get on in the #nomeatmay challenge and we are going to help as much as we can. Paul has ordered some equipment so I can post some video cooking demonstrations and I am going to focus my recipes over the next month on easy, healthy alternatives to a meat product or dish rather than getting carried away with exotic dishes (although I will still post the odd exotic recipe). You will also see on our blogs the health benefits of some of the ingredients in our recipes.
I remembered my first few weeks of my transition to a plant-based diet and how difficult it was. My first thought was to go out and buy vegan sausages, burgers, mince, tofu etc. and just make everything as I usually would but with the processed alternatives.
After my first week I was ready for giving in. Most vegan sausages taste like perfume to me and they stick to your teeth. The burgers are like rubber and I have yet to find a vegan mince that is tasty or has a pleasant texture.
There were a couple of brands that I found to like – the Beyond Burger is my favourite but is quite pricey so I can’t always afford these and I found the Sainsbury’s Shroomdogs tasty, but then discovered they contain ‘palm oil’ – so they shouldn’t really be classed as ‘vegan’.
I did not know what to do with tofu so I just chopped it into a soup. If you have never had tofu before, eating it like this for the first time isn’t very pleasant.
I used to love cooking and being creative with recipes, so my passion for this flared up again and I started to create food that was more tasty than I have ever had before. I actually love tofu now, but it is because I have found many ways to cook and flavour it, and I do enjoy it just chopped into a dish sometimes when it is a dish that compliments the tofu.
If you aren’t keen on the texture of tofu but are determined to like it as we were, I have posted a recipe below for quick crispy tofu which can then be used to add to any dish – you can add to soup, curry, stir-fries or even just add some chillies, onion and soy sauce and you have salt & pepper tofu!
The best thing to do when you switch to a plant-based diet is cook and create your own alternatives. You are no longer eating meat so don’t try to find processed food that taste just like meat as you will only end up disappointed and not truly appreciate all the wonderful foods you can enjoy on a plant-based diet.
You don’t have to be a top chef, as long as you have the right ingredients in and a few good pans, you can make amazing dishes. You can create textures that are similar to meat if you wish, and make the flavours so good that you actually prefer them to the real thing. As well as our recipes, there are also some good cook books out there – some of our favourites when we started were Dirty Vegan and Bosh.
Our next blog will be for an easy burger recipe which you can enjoy on your BBQs in this sunshine or oven baked or fried. It takes 5 minutes to blitz the ingredients together. They look as good as a ‘meat’ burger, but the flavours from the paprika, liquid smoke, garlic, cumin and onion powder make them even tastier.
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- 1 block firm tofu (we use Tofoo)
- 4/5 tbsp cornflour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp paprika (optional)
- oil for frying
- Remove your tofu from the pack, place on a sheet of kitchen roll on a plate and place another piece of kitchen roll on top. Place another plate on top and weigh down (I use a large cook book) for 10 minutes. This squeezes all the moisture out of the tofu.
- Whilst this is being pressed, in a bowl stir together your cornflour, salt and paprika (if using).
- Chop your tofu into 1 inch chunks and coat each piece in the flour mixture all over.
- Heat some oil in a frying pan, I usually shallow fry so the oil is around 5mm deep in the pan.
- Add your tofu but don't let the pan get too crowded otherwise they will stick together.
- Allow the tofu to fry for around 3 minutes, then turn each piece and repeat until you have a nice crispy coating on each side.
- Enjoy with your favourite noodle dish or curry or stirred into a salt and pepper mix with onions and chillies.