It used to be that vegan food consisted of just plants, fruits and grains, served up individually as part of what seemed like a horrifyingly puritanical existence. Should you want cake, cheese, burgers, pizza or ice cream, you could forget it.
Where once vegans were on the margins of society, now more and more people are understanding that for both health and environmental reasons, making a commitment to eat a more plant-based diet is not part of a fringe fad.
These days there are some 600,000 vegans in the UK. With the demand for plant-based food rising and rising there are more and more sophisticated recipes coming to the fore.
November marks World Vegan Month, and so, we round up five of the best vegan recipes out there. We’re talking cheese that isn’t really cheese. We’re talking cake that actually tastes like rich, calorific joy. We’re talking mains so magnificent even the most committed carnivores will demolish with relish.
1. Cheese is, most people would surely agree, one of life’s greatest pleasures. Grated onto pasta, sliced onto an oatcake with a morsel of quince jelly. Liberal helpings stirred into a simple risotto. Melted onto a thin, crispy pizza. We could go on indefinitely about the joys of cheese. We’d wager that many more people would be vegan if it weren’t for the cheese issue. But they probably don’t know about cashew cheese. We’ll admit, we were sceptical; let’s be real – nuts are not simply not cheese. But this recipe by Madeleine Olivia will probably change your mind. This is a really good basic to have in your repertoire as mastering this open up a whole world of cheesiness that you would have to otherwise forsake.
2. There is nothing worse than healthy things masquerading as indulgence. But in the case of these Brownies, we are willing to make an exception. Comprised mainly of cacao powder and dried fruit they ought to taste of cardboard and disappointment but they don’t. They taste so damn naughty!
3. Comfort food is so good for the soul – and we think lasagne is the ultimate heartening dish. This recipe includes aubergines, butternut squash, porcini mushrooms and rosemary – not to mention an awesome vegan béchamel sauce. A genuine treat for the tastebuds.
4. First of all, this black rice paella looks the part: contemporary, adventurous and inviting – perfect for any meal, including a formal dinner. Black Venus – as the rice used within the recipe is called – can be hard to find, but it’s worth the search thanks to a nutty, rich flavour that tastes as good as it looks.
5. Coconut – in whatever form its comes, is an ingredient that’s a total staple in vegan cooking. Coconut yoghurt forms the basis of these flatbreads which are delicious in their own right. However, when topped with garlicky mushrooms and sprinkled with a zest of lemon and some flat leaf parsley you’ve got nothing short of a feast.
Happy plant-based feasting!