According to global market research group, Mintel, an increase in health and sustainability concerns have led to plant-based diets becoming more popular, with 39% of people reporting to have reduced their meat consumption in 2019. Although there is now a wide range of innovative plant-based alternatives available, a common misconception is that plant-based meals are bland and boring. So below I have compiled five of my favourite plant-based meals to hopefully provide some inspiration and show that plant-based cooking is far from boring. Read on for Plant-Based Dishes: 5 Bursting-with-Flavour Meals You’ll Love!
1. Peanut Satay Noodles
I make this dish about 3 or 4 times a week. It is quick, easy, and packed with flavour, I promise even your meat-eating friends will love it! First you need to chop and sauté garlic, ginger, and any stir fry vegetables until tender, and then add any noodles of your choice (brown rice noodles work really well). The most important step is to add plenty of the peanut satay sauce (peanut butter, tamari, olive oil, lime juice, brown sugar, and chilli powder), and serve with crushed peanuts and coriander if you’re feeling extra fancy.
2. Mexican Chilli Bowl
As a student, veggie chilli has always been a firm favourite of mine because the ingredients are low cost and are most likely already in your cupboard. I love the Deliciously Ella recipe because it uses minimal ingredients but doesn’t compromise on flavour. If you like a meaty texture you can add Quorn mince to this recipe, but it is totally great without it too. I find adding a lot of smoked paprika and any fresh herbs makes all the difference. I like to serve it with a side of nachos and guacamole to make a veggie chilli bowl.
3. Sweet & Sour Tofu
Tofu is a great source of plant-based protein and I like to prep mine ahead for the week. Marinating is a crucial step and adding cornflour is the best way to make the tofu go crispy (see the video above).
To make this dish, toast some cashew nuts by placing them on a baking tray in the oven for 10 minutes. Add any veggies of your choice to a pan with a diced onion, cover in the sweet and sour sauce, and add the pre-cooked tofu. Once the veggies are fully cooked, sprinkle the toasted cashews on top and serve with white, steamed rice and fresh basil.
4. Sundried Tomato & Olive Spaghetti
Okay I had to include a pasta dish…who doesn’t love pasta, right? To make the sauce combine sun-dried tomatoes, olives, basil, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice in a blender and pulse a few times, but not until completely smooth (leave a few chunks). Add the sauce and cooked spaghetti to a pan and heat through the sauce, adding some reserved pasta water to loosen it, and voila!
5. Vegan Sticky Toffee Pudding
This dessert honestly tastes incredible and you wouldn’t guess it’s vegan. It’s a cake covered in caramel sauce, what’s not to love? The Happy Pear have a great recipe which I’ve tried and tested, and it gets my stamp of approval! This recipe uses a vegan ‘flax egg’, coconut sugar, and coconut milk to create a thick caramel sauce.
I hope this article has provided some inspo for those of you who are or are interested in following a plant-based / vegan lifestyle. My biggest tips for cooking plant-based meals is to stock up on good quality spices, fresh herbs, and experiment with meat-free alternatives to find the ones you like. What’s your favourite plant-based meal and dessert so far? Let us know in the comments below, join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram. Check out these other vegan-based articles and (our interview with the Plant Power Doctor, Gemma Newman) combined with regular exercise, will certainly help you Keep YOUR Fit ON!
Mintel (2020) PLANT-BASED PUSH: UK SALES OF MEAT-FREE FOODS SHOOT UP 40% BETWEEN 2014-19. https://www.mintel.com/press-centre/food-and-drink/plant-based-push-uk-sales-of-meat-free-foods-shoot-up-40-between-2014-19