Are you trying vegan January? We want to help you discover the awesomeness of cooking with plants! Here you'll find some easy, fun and tasty Veganuary recipes and our personal tips to help you have a successful plant powered month.
First of all, well done on the choice to try a completely vegan diet this January! You're not alone. Hundreds of thousands around the world are joining you in Veganuary this month.
There are many possible reasons why people want to give going vegan a try. They might be environmental, ethical or medical reasons, a health or fitness related lifestyle-choice. Maybe you just like a good challenge or want to experience new things.
Whatever your reason to try Veganuary, for many people it is a life-changing experience - discovering a new style of cooking and a whole world of flavours.
A personal challenge
I tried Veganuary back in 2016. I did it on my own, I didn't do any research, nor did I have any support. Not knowing where to start or where to go, I had my troubles along the way.
My meal plan was lacking variety and nutrition, though I wasn't aware at the time. However, I was more conscious of the fact that my food wasn't particularly tasty, exciting or satisfying. I already knew how to make vegan cakes, so I baked a lot to make up for it.
I made it through January without eating any animal products, but I soon slipped back into a vegetarian diet afterwards. I ate cheese because it was in the fridge at home, and politely ate a slice of non vegan cake when I was offered it. And that is totally ok, but in hindsight I wish I had stayed vegan after my first Veganuary.
Now, in 2021, I haven't consumed any animal based foods in years, and I am not missing them. My food these days is more tasty and satisfying, and my diet more balanced than it used to be.
At first my plant-based diet meant a certain amount of work to change my habits. My research and food experiments now amount to a lot of experience - experience that I am more than happy to pass on to you!
I hope these recipes and tips help you have a successful Veganuary and maybe even convince you that a vegan diet does not equal restriction, but can be a diverse, nutritious and absolutely satisfying way of eating. Good for you, good for the planet and good for animals!
You can do a lot with the vegetables, pulses, grains and spices you probably already have at home. But there are some really useful ingredients that can help you with your vegan cooking.
Here’s some ingredients that you may want to get and why they are useful:
- Tofu - Tofu is protein rich and made from soybeans. For the best texture and convenience, we recommend extra firm tofu which does not need to be pressed before cooking to remove excess water.
- Silken tofu - This is a different variety of tofu that is very soft and works well in desserts or to replace eggs. Confusingly, silken tofu may also be called ‘firm’, but is not to be confused with the above variety of tofu! Silken tofu is often sold in long life packets, whereas firm or extra firm tofu is usually found in a refrigerated section.
- Dried soy mince - Also known as TVP, this is a convenient and very budget friendly alternative to ground beef or mince. Rehydrate and season well before cooking.
- Chickpea flour - Also known as garbanzo bean flour, besan or gram flour. This flour is made from finely ground chickpeas and is very useful as an egg alternative, as well as an ingredient for baking.
- Vital wheat gluten - Vital wheat gluten is a powder made from flour which has the starch content removed, leaving just the high protein gluten behind. It is the main ingredient in seitan, which is typically used as a meat substitute.
- Liquid smoke - Liquid smoke is a seasoning which adds a smoky flavour to your cooking. It’s especially good when you want to bring more umami and ‘meatiness’ to a dish and works great with tofu, beans and mushrooms for example.
- Ground flaxseed - Also known as linseed, flaxseed is a small brown seed rich in nutrients. Ground seeds are better for digestion and you can buy them already ground, or grind them at home if you have a powerful grinder. When mixed with water, ground flaxseed can be used to make a flax ‘egg’ which is very useful as a binder in baking.
- Chia seeds - These small grey seeds are also very nutritionally rich. They swell up when added to liquid to make a jelly like texture and can be used to make puddings or as a binding ingredient.
- Plant milks - There are so many varieties of non-dairy milks to try. We recommend soy milk for use in baking and cooking and I like oat milk with my breakfast. For tea or coffee look for a ‘barista style’ plank milk, which are designed to not separate when added to hot drinks.
- Nutritional yeast - Fondly known as ‘Nooch’, nutritional yeast are dry yellow flakes made from inactive yeast. They might look and sound a little strange, but they are loved by vegans for the cheesy and nutty taste they can bring to a recipe. It’s also rich in protein and often comes fortified with vitamin B12.
- Black salt - Contrary to its name this is a fine pink coloured salt with a very distinctive sulphurous smell! It is also known as kala namak and it's great for bringing an eggy flavour to a vegan dish.
- Vegan butter - There are many brands of non dairy butter. We like Naturli or Flora Plant Butter. In the US Miyoko's or Earth Balance are a good option. For baking, a block type (rather than the spreadable kind) of vegan butter will work best as a replacement for dairy butter.
You’ll find that supermarkets have an ever growing collection of meat, dairy and egg substitutes that you can buy too. But the only essential thing you'll need for Veganuary is an appetite to try new things!
TOP TIP: For a savoury flavour boost to your vegan cooking experiment with adding ingredients like soy sauce, liquid smoke, stock powder, nutritional yeast or garlic and onion powder.
TOP TIP: Make vegan versions of meals you already like to cook, and simply swap the meat, dairy or eggs for their plant based alternatives.
TOP TIP: Sign up on the official Veganuary website now for daily tips, meal plans, shopping lists, recipes and further support with your vegan January adventure!
TOP TIP: One common concern about going vegan is getting enough protein. But there's lots of ways to add plant based protein to your diet - try seitan, tofu, lentils, chickpeas, beans, nutritional yeast, seeds, nuts and oats.
TOP TIP: Buddy up! Get a friend or family member to do Veganuary with you for mutual support, sharing meals and exchanging ideas and experience.
TOP TIP: Get app support! When shopping, scan barcodes with Is It Vegan? to find if a product contains ingredients of animal origin. The Happy Cow app will help you find local vegan restaurants and takeaways.
We hope you find this list of Veganuary recipes helpful! Feel free to reach out to us by email or in the comments if we can support you this month.
Lots of vegan love,
Sophie & Paul