If you are looking for some vegan dinner ideas then hopefully this post will give you some inspiration. I absolutely love seeing what people eat for dinner, I’m not sure why, I guess because I’m a bit nosy and it’s not something you usually know about someone. I know some people can’t understand why people Instagram their dinner before eating it but I do understand, in fact some of my favourite accounts are people sharing what they eat. I go through phases where I struggle to think of what to cook so it helps me to think of new ideas. I also wanted to start sharing it on here so that when I’m feeling like pasta is the only food in the world I can look through things I’ve eaten before and think ‘yes that’s what I will cook tonight’.
Being vegan is something that is still pretty new to me. I stopped eating meat and dairy quite a few months ago after watching Cowspiracy and some other documentaries on Netflix but there were a couple occasions when I was tempted by pizza when eating out. The last time that happened was nearly two months ago now though and the more I go into it, the stronger I feel about my reasons for not eating animal products so I no longer find pizza tempting, not with dairy cheese on it anyway. I was also still eating eggs on the odd occasion I was out and found a dairy free cake but again this is something I’ve decided to stop. I feel like I want to commit to it now as best I can and given how veganism is becoming catered for in more and more places it’s not proving to be difficult at all.
I’ve always been someone who loves creamy things, I would always choose a creamy sauce over a tomato one and that was something I thought I would have to give up but I’ve been so pleased to realise that it’s still totally achievable to create creamy things, vegan cheese sauce is my new favourite thing to make. And I know there will be lots of you out there thinking how vile vegan cheese sauce sounds but I promise you, it’s amazing! My dad, who loves cheese, tried some last weekend and he liked it. He was so surprised that it had been made without using dairy products.
I’m going to write a post about becoming vegan and how it’s a real learning curve in regards to thinking about what you are wearing, what yarns I’m using to crochet with, whether animals were harmed in the process of creating the vegan products I like and whether beauty products have been tested on animals. I also want to start writing some posts about eating out as a vegan and places that cater for it well. It’s become a real passion of mine so it will be something I write about a lot more.
One of the things that makes life a bit more difficult to be vegan, and a lot more expensive, is that I’m the only one in my family to make this choice. Tiger doesn’t actually eat meat or much dairy as he doesn’t like it but Cherry loves it and Mr C (despite having been a strict vegetarian for nearly a decade!) likes eating meat although he’s allergic to dairy so that’s not a problem. Luckily he can still eat meat at his workshop or when we have a BBQ and I’ve still been buying dairy for the kids but it’s a bit of a pain to have so many different requirements from everyone. It is also a bit tricky to buy cow’s milk products when the main reason I’ve become vegan is because I don’t want to support the dairy industry but I think had the kids been born into a vegan household it would have been fine as they wouldn’t know any different but they weren’t and they have very limited diets as it is so I just don’t feel like I could stop buying it for them right now. I would love to hear from anyone in a similar situation though to see how do things.
Anyway, on to the dinners…
Meal 1 – Falafels. I had them in a wrap with harissa, houmous, avocado and salad. Then I made a bowl of salad to go on the side. I always toast sunflower seeds (just in a frying pan on a high heat for a few minutes with a sprinkle of salt) to go on my salad as I find it a bit dull otherwise. These are my favourite falafels, the Great Food Baked Carrot ones.
Meal 2 – Baked Potato with Homemade Baked Beans and Vegan Cheese. I used this baked bean recipe which is so quick and easy and they were delicious. I swapped the sugar for maple syrup and used butter and borlotti beans as they were all I had in the cupboard but I’ve made them a few times since as they were so yummy. I like the VioLife original vegan cheese, I haven’t tried all that many yet but I’ve been so impressed with it that I haven’t really needed to.
Meal 3 – Nut Roast Dinner. I cheated with the nut roast and bought a home-cooked one from my local health food shop but I do want to find a good recipe to make my own. I made some roast potatoes to go with it and some vegetables. The gravy on top looks a little bit odd as it’s not brown but it is SO TASTY!! The recipe is in the Oh She Glows app which I downloaded a couple of months ago and have been really impressed with. I did have to pay for it (about £4 I think) but it has loads of fab recipes so definitely worth it.
Meal 4 – Roasted Vegetable Spaghetti with ‘Cheese’ Sauce. I LOVED this, it tasted like vegetable lasagne but it was a lot quicker to make. I roasted some peppers, courgettes, mushrooms, aubergines and garlic in the oven until they were all soft and cooked then added some tomato puree, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and boiling water to make the sauce before putting back in the oven for about 15 minutes. For the ‘cheese’ sauce I basically just made it the way you would usually but I used vegan spread instead of butter, almond milk instead of cow’s milk and a mixture of nutritional yeast (amazing stuff!) and vegan cheese. I also like to add a sprinkle of nutmeg. Oh and I use brown rice flour instead of normal flour. I don’t use a recipe, I just make it up. If you melt a large dollop of spread then wait for it to melt over a low heat before whisking in the flour. Then slowly add milk and wait for it to thicken, if it gets too thick then you can just add more milk. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg (or flavouring of your choice), nutritional yeast and vegan cheese then just whisk it all up. Mix the spaghetti (I use brown rice) into the roasted vegetable sauce then top with the ‘cheese’ sauce. So yummy!!
Meal 5 – Lentil Dahl with Brown Rice. I absolutely love curry and would eat it most nights of the week if I could but Mr C doesn’t like anything with spices in so this is a bit of a compromise as it’s not too strong. I used the recipe in the Oh She Glows app but if you google ‘dahl’ then you can find a huge variety of ways to make it. It’s such a great meal as you can make a big pot which will last a few days, it uses mainly cupboard ingredients and it’s super cheap to make. I top it with loads of coriander as I LOVE it. And to make it much quicker I use these brown rice pouches, they are so super quick to heat and it’s so much easier as normal brown rice takes ages to cook and you have to get the volume of water right.
Meal 6 – Coconut Noodles. This was one of Jamie Oliver’s vegan recipes and I loved it, you can find it here. I’ve tried a few of his vegan recipes now and they’ve all been great, Mr C has liked them too.
Meal 7 – Pizza. I made this one night when there wasn’t really anything in the house. I had a gluten free base in the cupboard and some left over vegan Bolognese sauce in the fridge so I put that on top with some red pepper and grated some vegan cheese on it. Then topped it with avocado and nutritional yeast when it was cooked, it was a really random meal but tasted really good.
So that is my first week of vegan dinner ideas. Week 2 will be following shortly.