Friday, September 30, 2016

Vegan Eats Guide - Part 2

It's been over a year since I did my last vegan post and I thought I would share my new discoveries. I absolutely love everything I eat now that I've really found my feet :) It definitely didn't happen immediately but I'm here to reassure you that cutting out animal products does get so much easier!

So this year I really discovered the power of cashews! My big blender broke so I picked up a slim NutriBullet when the shops were having a 50% off sale and it's been great for blending up a cup of cashews. I blend up a cup at least once a week so I always have sour cream in my fridge :) So easy to do, soak a cup of cashews in water (overnight or use boiling water and soak for a few hours) drain the cashews, pop them into your blender cover with new water, add a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, salt and lemon juice and blend away! I just eyeball the measurements now but you really can't go wrong just, keep adding until the taste is spot on for you - sooo easy!

Those tacos above are made by roasting chickpeas (sprinkled with oil, paprika, salt and pepper) in a hot oven for 10-15 minutes, alongside a chopped up roasted capsicum, avo, tomato, red onion and the home made sour cream - my new addiction!

This sandwich above is a classic lunch staple too, promite on sourdough topped with avos, red onion, black pepper and nutritional yeast!

I discovered Thai food is easy to veganise too. You can just sub fish sauce by using a combo of stock mixed with soy sauce! I made that Tom Kha Gai above and it was fantastic. I've also been loving just a plain spud, covered in, yup, you guessed it the sour cashew cream, along with garlic chives, some smoked salt (if you can find a shop that stocks smoked salt, it's a game changer!) and some vegan margarine.

Eating out is still the only slightly tricky thing thing but you just need to do a little research and you'll be surprised just how many places can make you something vegan when you ask nicely :) Cupcake above is by Stormie D's in Caloundra and the burger was from Kimnat in Woombye.

Another game changer for me this year was discovering the group, Australian Vegan Foodies, on facebook. Everyday I get inspired by what others are making and I've found lots of new vegan foods that I can buy locally from our supermarket. Obviously that group is dedicated to us Aussies, but I'm sure if you do a search you could find a group for your location! I learnt about the above cake from that group and I've made it several times and it's always a hit - super fudgey - thanks Nigella!

Mac n cheese with crispy sage and coconut bacon - yes please! And some Chinese inspired cauliflower above - thumbs up from me :)

I discovered the world of spanakopita from my vegan fb group. So easy to make, you just finely chop some firm tofu, soak it in lemon juice, add in some salt, garlic, toasted pine nuts and a pack of frozen spinach (defrosted) and mixed altogether. Then that mix gets wrapped in filo pastry and popped into the oven. Not a huge tofu fan but these convert me!

Another discovery this year for me was Oyster Mushrooms - oh my goodness! When I tried out the "scallop" pasta recipe above, I got a little misty eyed. As a huge lover of seafood and someone who use to eat a lot of prawns, I really missed that option in my diet but I feel like these king oyster mushrooms have such a great texture filling a void in my life. I find that the stems when chopped and cooked in white wine and stock really have a seafood/scallop taste/feel but the tops of the regular oyster mushrooms take on a more of a chicken texture/look. The secret I've discovered is cooking the oyster mushrooms in white wine + stock water for a few minutes, draining the liquid (but keeping it to pour back over later in your dish) and then frying the mushrooms back in a super hot pan so they start to get a lovely seared texture - soooo good! Also oyster mushrooms don't do that weird soggy/sauté thing that happens with the regular button mushrooms.

Not eating animal products, means you'll get well meaning comments from others (which I was also guilty of asking!) "what can you eat?" or "how come your not wasting away?".  Now those questions are strange to hear because I love food and there is soooo much I can eat to the point where I actually eat a greater variety of foods then ever before and hence not wasting away :p

One good thing about eating out is junk food is a little trickier to find, you do have to hunt down places with vegan options, like the doughnut above from doughnut time but I kind of like that it's a special treat now - others might disagree with me on that one!

If you are starving for baked goodies, it's really easy to just make them yourself, I'm fairly confident you can veganise pretty much any baked recipe, you just need to change the milk to a non dairy option, the butter to say a vegan margarine and you can use a few things to sub eggs, have you heard about Aquafaba? Those cinnamon scrolls above I made from this recipe here

I do really enjoy cooking and trying out weird ideas, those sausage rolls I started making after thinking pumpernickel might make a good mince substitute - it does! I just use left over ingredients from when I make burritos and blitz them altogether in my blender. The picture over on the right is a quesadilla, I put a tiny bit of wasabi on the bottom base, along with lots of avo, chopped up tomatoes and red onions, coriander, pop the top on and then grill in my sandwich press, and hey presto easy lunch/dinner! You can grate some fake cheese too, like bio cheese, but I found it really isn't that necessary.

Obviously I love a certain type of food with ingredients making return appearances but my biggest advice is just to find what you like and run from there. Also, don't be scared you're missing out, I'm sure like me you'll find you're adding in lots of new things into your diet and end up truly loving what you eat :)

I've seen some incredible non dairy cheese popping up on pinterest so maybe next year's update will include my journey down that path and perhaps more exploration into cooking tofu! Wish me luck!


  1. It is amazing that all those foods are actually vegan. They look delicious and I am glad you are enjoying them!

    1. It's been super fun discovering everything out there too :)

  2. Fantastic. I have tried to switch over - first I did extremely which was just too hard and then little by little but I got swayed too much by the convenience of what I already know and that didn't work either. I would like to switch over though. The one thing I get asked though is what about your dog? He eats meat and animal based foods. And I just have always been baffled by it.. It's mostly people who I think get defensive (for no reason.. I wasn't calling them out for not thinking about going vegan, I was just talking about myself) but it made me think nonetheless.. I think there are vegan dog owners whose dogs are also on a vegan diet.

    1. Oh Jane this is so hard to reply after your super upsetting news - I just want to send great big hugs to you all the time, I've been thinking of you guys a lot and, yeah just know that I'm sending super warm thoughtful thoughts to you :) :)

      a quick(ish) answer though, we buy meat for our cats and I always say when people ask that I'm only choosing to go vegan, I'm not choosing it for anyone else or my pets :) I do hear of people feeding their pets vegan diets but honestly I have done zero research on it, so wouldn't know about the health issues on either side.

      Oh and making the switch - it is soooooo hard at the start, it's really hard to get out of what you already eat and is easy to make, so I can totally relate but a year later, I honestly find it super easy! I know some people go cold turkey but I had to go in stages and it just started to become easier to give things up and it felt less heart wrenching to not be able to eat things and then suddenly I was eating all new things and loving life :)

      Okay that was not a quick-ish answer



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