Celebrated on Nov 1 every year, World Vegan Day was created in 1994 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of The Vegan Society.
Adopting a vegan diet can be challenging however it can have many health benefits including reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. If you’re thinking about trying out a vegan lifestyle or just fancy trying some delicious vegan dishes at home, Elly McCausland has three recipes that everyone will enjoy.
Crunchy veg noodle salad with ginger, sesame and lime dressing (serves 2)
This is the kind of food I dream about and crave every day. It’s substantial and satisfying due to the tangle of noodles – I love toothsome soba noodles here, but udon or rice noodles would work well too – and it’s also incredibly fresh, zingy and crunchy from the robust dressing and the tender vegetables. Best of all, this keeps well in the fridge, so make extra and enjoy it for lunch in the following days.
For the dressing:
• 2 tsp miso paste
• 1 tsp agave nectar or caster sugar
• 2 tsp rice vinegar
• 1 red chilli, finely chopped
• 1 tsp soy sauce
• 1 tsp sesame oil
• 1 tbsp pickled sushi ginger, finely chopped
• 1 tbsp lime juice
For the noodles:
• 1 tsp black sesame seeds
• 1 tsp white sesame seeds
• 100g mooli (Asian radish)
• 2 large carrots
• 1 avocado
• 2 spring onions
• 150g soba (or other) noodles
• Two large handfuls of edamame beans
• A few mint leaves, shredded, or chopped coriander to garnish
Make the dressing by whisking together all the ingredients in a small bowl or jug. Taste and adjust as needed – you may want it a little more salty, sweet or sour.
Toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan and set aside. Bring a medium pan of water to the boil. Meanwhile, finely slice the mooli into matchsticks and either do the same with the carrots, or use a spiraliser if you have one – it gives a nice texture. Put the carrots and mooli into a large bowl. Peel and slice the avocado and add to the bowl, then finely slice the spring onions and add them too.
Put the edamame beans and soba noodles in the boiling water and cook for around 4 minutes or until the noodles are just al dente. Drain the lot in a colander and rinse under cold water. Shake off any excess water and add to the bowl with the vegetables. Toss well with the dressing and vegetables, then divide between two bowls and sprinkle with the sesame seeds and mint/coriander to garnish.
Plum, ginger and hazelnut breakfast crumble (serves 2-4)
This recipe is my all-time favourite weekend breakfast – it has all the indulgence of a traditional crumble, with its crunchy, spiced oat topping, but is much healthier and naturally vegan. I also love to mix up the fruit according to the seasons: in summer, try sliced peaches and berries; in winter, bananas and blueberries work well; I also love a mixture of chopped pear and gooseberries, or rhubarb and blackberries.
• 10 ripe plums, each stoned and cut into 6 slices
• 2 balls of stem ginger in syrup
• Zest and juice of 1 orange
• 2 tbsp agave nectar or maple/date syrup
• 1 star anise, broken into pieces
• 1 tbsp cornflour
• 150g jumbo oats
• 40g spelt flour
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• ½ tsp ground nutmeg
• ¼ tsp salt
• Pinch of ground cloves
• 80g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
• 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
• 3 tbsp maple syrup
• 1 tbsp water
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Put the plums in a medium baking dish. Finely chop the stem ginger and add to the plums along with the orange juice and zest, 2 tbsp agave/syrup, star anise and cornflour. Toss well to mix.
In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, cloves and hazelnuts. In a jug, whisk together the rapeseed oil, 3 tbsp maple syrup, water and vanilla. Add this to the oat mixture and stir well to combine.
Tip the oat mixture on top of the plums in the baking dish. Spread it out over the plums and give it a couple of gentle stirs to mix a bit of the oats into the fruit. You want most of it on top, though.
Bake for 40 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling and juicy. Leave to cool for a few minutes before serving – perhaps with a scoop of coconut yoghurt. (Be careful not to eat the pieces of star anise!)
Spiced roast pumpkin houmous (makes around 400ml)
Make a big batch of this and let your imagination go wild. It’s obviously wonderful scooped up with warm flatbread, but it also makes an excellent dip for falafel or vegetable fritters, and is lovely slathered on a sandwich with some smoked tofu, or dolloped on top of a bowl of brown rice and vegetables. It requires a little more effort, but it really is worth using dried chickpeas for this – they have a much better texture when soaked and freshly cooked.
• 150g dried chickpeas
• ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
• 300g pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (prepared weight)
• ½ tsp smoked paprika
• ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
• Salt and pepper
• 2 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
• 5 tbsp tahini
• 1 clove garlic, chopped
• A small bunch of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
• Juice of ½ lemon
• 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, to serve
Begin by soaking the chickpeas in cold water overnight. When ready to make the houmous, drain the chickpeas, put in a large saucepan and cover by about 4 inches with fresh cold water. Bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes, then add the bicarbonate of soda – it will fizz and froth. Simmer the chickpeas for around 40 minutes, or until tender – you should be able to crush them against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon. Drain, reserving 250ml of the cooking liquid (this is important).
Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 200C. Put the pumpkin chunks on a baking sheet and toss with the paprika, cinnamon, generous salt and pepper and the rapeseed oil. Roast for 30-40 minutes, turning occasionally, until the pumpkin is tender and caramelised on the outside.
Allow the chickpeas and pumpkin to cool for 5 minutes. Pour half the chickpea cooking liquid into a food processor or blender, followed by the roast pumpkin and the cooked chickpeas. Add the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, parsley, and 1 tsp salt. Blend well – you might need to add the rest of the chickpea liquid to get it to blend evenly. Don’t worry if it looks a bit runny – it will thicken a lot as it cools. Stir to mix up the ingredients if it isn’t blending evenly. Taste and check the seasoning – you might want a little more lemon juice, salt or some smoked paprika. Spoon into a serving dish and sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds.
Elly McCausland is a food writer and blogger at Nutmegs, Seven. She has a passion for travel and all things gastronomic, with a particular emphasis on fruit, breakfast and proper British puddings. When not concocting recipes or planning her next cultural odyssey, she is an English literature academic, specialising in children’s literature.