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Veganuary

Eating less meat can be good for your health, help you save money, and benefits the environment. The Veganuary campaign can help!

If you want to try a vegan diet, January is a good month to give it a go, with the Veganuary campaign offering support, advice and encouragement.


The Veganuary campaign began in 2014, when 3,300 participants pledged to eliminate meat, fish, dairy and eggs from their diets for a whole month.


In 2022, 620,000 people signed up for the challenge. Now veganism has gone from niche to mainstream, with new restaurants and brands springing up across the country, and vegan options now a mainstay on many restaurant menus.


Protein is essential for health – especially to build and repair muscles – and many people think it's only present in animal products. This is perhaps the most common misconception about veganism – but in fact you don't have to consume meat in order to ensure you get enough protein in your diet.

Red lentils

Nuts, beans, and pulses such as lentils are all excellent sources of protein. You'll also find it in grains such as brown rice and quinoa.


Many vegetables are good sources of protein too – especially greens such as spinach, kale, broccoli, and peas.


It's not too late to sign up for Veganuary. Support is offered through emails, social media, and the website – which is full of helpful resources such as recipes, nutritional advice and meal plans.


Try meat-free Monday

If you don't want to give up meat and dairy altogether, but are concerned about the environment and want to save money, eating one or two vegetarian meals each week is a good compromise.

Spinach

The Meat Free Monday campaign encourages people to try skipping meat for one day a week (it doesn't have to be a Monday). The website is an excellent resource for people who are new to vegetarian meals, with lots of recipe suggestions.


One reason sometimes given for not eating vegetarian dishes is that they can be complicated and time-consuming to prepare. But this needn't be the case.


Many favourite meat-based dishes – such as lasagne, moussaka, or curry – can be adapted easily.


Pasta is a quick and easy vegetarian option, and can be served with all sorts of tasty toppings. For the simplest of speedy meals, stir a jar of pesto into hot pasta, top with grated parmesan and serve with a mixed salad. Or stir in crumbled Stilton cheese along with leeks sautéd in olive oil.    


Veggie mince can be used whenever a recipe calls for minced beef. Spaghetti bolognaise, lasagne, chilli and shepherd's pie can be all be made with a meat-free alternative. If cost is an issue, substitute half of the mince for cheaper ingredients such as grated carrots or red lentils.


Pulses and grains – dried or tinned – are a cheap source of protein and can be used in all sorts of dishes. Lentils add flavour and colour to soups, and chickpeas and butter beans can be added to stews and casseroles. When using dried beans and pulses, follow the cooking instructions on the packet carefully; some need to be soaked before using.

Stuffed peppers

For a quick meat-free lunch or supper, try stuffed peppers. Halve one red and one yellow pepper lengthwise, remove the stalk and seeds and fill with a mixture of cooked rice, grated cheese and toasted pine nuts. Sprinkle a little extra grated cheese on top and bake at 180°C for 20 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and golden. Serve with a green salad and crusty bread.


Save money

Many of us are concerned about rising food prices, and this is another reason why people might choose to reduce how much meat they eat.


According to moneysavingexpert.com, vegetarian and vegan diets can help save money – in fact you could cut your food bill by as much as 60% by cooking your favourite meals using plant-based alternatives. Plant-based sources of protein, such as pulses, beans or veggie mince, tend to be cheaper than meat.

Pasta

However, some plant-based alternatives – almond or oat milk, for example – can be more expensive. Supermarkets often offer these at a discounted price, though – so stock up on long-life products when they're less expensive.


Three vegan recipes

If you're halfway through Veganuary, and need some recipe inspiration, try these Asian-inspired recipes from Kelly Loves – an Asian snack and drink company that produces a tasty selection of snacks, drinks, and meal kits to enjoy in your home.

Vegan sushi

Home-made vegan sushi rolls

Serves 2


Ingredients:

100g of cooked sushi rice

1 nori sheet

30g cucumber

30g avocado

25g pickled carrot (or your favourite filling)

2g sesame seeds

Optional equipment needed: bamboo rolling mat


Directions:

Cut the seaweed (nori sheets) in two equal halves and place one half on the bamboo mat.


Take 100g of cooked sushi rice and gently spread it across the nori sheet, leaving 1cm margin at the top of the nori and exceeding 1cm at the bottom. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the rice (optional).


Flip over the nori sheet with the 1cm margin of bare nori facing you.


Place the main ingredient in the middle of the nori, and then a second and a third (optional).


Roll the sushi roll using the rolling mat, ensuring the filling is tucked in.


Release it, and trim either ends of the roll. Cut into 8 pieces with a sharp knife. Serve with wasabi and ginger on the side. Serve soy sauce separately in a small bowl.

Kimchi stew

Vegan Kimchi Stew

Serves 2


Ingredients:

400g kimchi

1 white onion, roughly chopped

1 tbsp crushed garlic

2 tbsp gochugaru chilli flakes

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 pint water

½ tbsp salt

200g softened glass noodles

250g medium tofu

100g white mushrooms

1 spring onion, sliced


Directions:

Start by stir-frying the kimchi with the garlic and onions, until fragrant


Add the chilli flakes, garlic and soy sauce, stirring continuously


Add the water and salt and bring to the boil


Next, add the glass noodles, tofu and mushrooms. Simmer for 10 minutes


Add the spring onion and cook for another couple of minutes.


Serve with extra spring onions placed on the top of the dish or with rice.

Vegan bibimbap

One-pan Vegan Bibimbap

Serves 2


Ingredients:

200g short grain rice

170g of firm tofu, cut into small cubes

½ tsp salt

1 carrot, julienned or sliced thinly

30g shiitake mushrooms, soaked and softened

1 courgette, sliced thinly

200g beansprouts

Large handful of baby spinach

2 tbsp gochujang

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 tbsp oil


Directions:

Cook the rice according to pack instructions, setting aside once ready - you can also you a some leftover rice!


While the rice is cooking, chop the vegetables and tofu


Add the oil to a pan and fry the tofu on a medium-high heat, seasoning with a pinch of salt


Fry the tofu until golden (around 2 minutes) and then set aside


Saute the carrots for 2 mins until they're softening


Add the mushrooms, courgette, beansprouts and a pinch of salt to the pan, cooking them through


Combine the cooked vegetables with the rice, tofu, gochujang, toasted sesame oil and baby spinach, stirring everything until the spinach has wilted and the dish is mixed well.

Little Green Space January 2023

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