A week of Vegan eats with Veganuary
There are a lot of food trends which I can wholeheartedly throw myself into. Pulled pork, micro brewery craft beers and the duffin. All great trends and foods which I can, and very much did get on board with. There were some great food trends in 2015 and you can see some of them here.
There are lots of predictions for food trends in 2016 and many that I am looking forward to such as the explosion of the ‘snack’ market with more delivered snack services maturing, the spice of the year which will be tumeric and increased convenience. But one trend which which has been bubbling under the radar for the past few years will hit the mainstream in 2016, this is the plant based diet.
I’m sharing these great vegan recipes across this week as we come to the end of Veganuary 2016, a month long pledge month which encourages all of us to give up meat and dairy products during January.
What is a plant based diet?
The general idea is very similar to that of being a vegan but is based solely on diet rather than an all encompassing philosophy. A whole food plant based diet is based on whole, unrefined plants. The staples are fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains and legumes. Plant based diets seek to minimise or exclude entirely meat, dairy, fish and all other animal based products. Plant based diets also minimise or exclude highly refined products such as bleached flour, refined sugars and oils.
It might sound like you would be eating a diet solely consisting of vegetables and not much else but that’s not the case. By using traditional grains such as whole wheat flour or great alternatives like spelt, soy, almond, quinoa or barley flour, you can avoid using everyday white flour and still enjoy great cakes, pizza and pasta’s.
Plant based diets build meals around starches instead of the way most of us do so with meat. Were talking lots of great comfort foods like sweet potatoes. You can still enjoy most cuisines, though looking at what you can and can’t have on a whole foods plant based diet it wouldn’t be easy to adapt everything.
Why are plant based diets coming to the mainstream?
This change is coming about as we are all, gradually, making different choices about what food we buy and eat. The market for non-dairy alternatives is going through the roof with around ⅓ of consumers saying they are open to trying alternatives to dairy products. Mintel’s Global Food and Drink Trends 2016 states that:
“Veggie burgers and non-dairy milks have escaped the realm of substitutes primarily for people with dietary concerns and followers of vegetarian diets. Instead, the growing ranks of novel protein sources and potential replacements appeal to the everyday consumer, foreshadowing a profoundly changed marketplace in which what was formerly ‘alternative’ could take over the mainstream”.
I can’t say that I will ever be swapping my steak salmon or lamb for quorn, veggie burgers and vegan alternatives on a permanent, daily basis but getting some more vegetables and natural foods into my diet can’t be a bad thing.
With that in mind I have sneakily added in several vegan dishes to our line up over the past week and a bit. What struck me most with recipes like the lentil shepherd’s pie or the sweet potato risotto with pumpkin seeds and walnuts was that I really didn’t miss the meat or dairy products in them.
I think you could serve these dishes to any old fashioned carnivores like me out there and we won’t complain about having been given a veggie alternative. These recipes will make four or more servings each so there’s usually going to be enough for you lunch the next day as well.
One week vegan meal plan
These are the meals that we made over the course of the week and a bit. I do admit that we had a couple of meaty meals between these dishes as it went over eight or nine days, but you could easily make this a vegan weekly meal plan.
Monday: Veggie Shepherd’s Pie with sweet potato mash
Tuesday: Sweet potato risotto with pumpkin seeds and chopped walnuts
Wednesday: Baked sweet potatoes with black bean chilli & lime
Thursday: Superfood pesto with kale, sage and walnuts
Friday: Tagliatelle with vegetable ribbons
I’ll be sharing the recipes for these dishes over the next week so check back each day for a tasty and healthy new vegan recipe to get you in shape for 2016.