With a deep-rooted love for beef and lamb, coupled with a flourishing dairy industry, New Zealand isn’t exactly known as a vegan country. However, according to the latest research from Chef’s Pencil, Kiwis show the third most interest in the world when it comes to vegan-related searches.
Whether you’re looking to make a dedicated lifestyle switch, have noticed you’re intolerant to lactose or simply want to experiment with new recipes, incorporating plant-based ideas and recipes into your everyday life can be incredibly rewarding. To get you inspired we’ve put together a few tried and tested “plant power” tips from our vegan kitchen experts:
Let’s face it, soy protein ‘mince’, coconut oil-based ‘cheese’ and fermented rice ‘bacon’ can often put people off embracing a vegan diet. Not to mention they can be expensive. Instead of substituting your normal protein with vegan alternatives designed to mimic meat, why not experiment with new recipes designed especially with vegans in mind? For example, this hearty vegan chili is perfect for a winter’s night and completely holds its own, without the need for a ‘meat’ substitute.
For some people, giving up meat can mean serious flavour cravings. Chickpeas, lentils and other vegan proteins can be delicious, but for those who love the taste of meat they just don’t cut it. This is where smoking comes in. Using seasonings like smoked paprika, smoked salt, chipotle and even Lapsang Suchong tea to add a smoky, meaty flavour to your meals.
Indulge in desserts
Preparing vegan meals doesn’t just have to be a savoury affair. In fact, with recipes like this no-bake cheesecake you can indulge in delicious, dairy-free desserts that will have you reaching for a second slice. This raw coconut bounty slice is also perfect for summer BBQs and beach picnics. Some vegans choose not to eat honey, which can simply be replaced with maple syrup.
If you’re finding it hard to get inspired in the kitchen or love the idea of sitting back and letting someone else do the work, Uber Eats can be a great way to enjoy vegan meals. There’s no shortage of plant-based options, with the digital restaurant ordering and delivery service predicting a huge 95% of the items tipped to be 2019’s top foods are vegan or can be made vegan. With tasty options like tofu, seitan, tempeh and mushroom patties all on the menu there’s no reason why your takeout meals can’t be vegan-friendly.
Know your proteins
One of the biggest qualms people can have with vegetarian and vegan diets is the supposed lack of protein that can leave you feeling hungry and unsatisfied. This couldn’t be further from the truth and is often caused by poorly balanced meals. To give yourself the best possible chance at embracing vegan options be sure to educate yourself on plant-based proteins. Lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, wild rice, nut butters, mushrooms and sweet potatoes are all great places to start.
For most people, the path to veganism is a process. Rather than go cold turkey, many vegan advocates suggest starting slow and working your way towards increasing the number of plant-based meals and snacks in your diet. For example, start with a vegan lunch here and there, then throw in a vegan dinner once a week. Before you know it you’ll have built up an inventory of your favourite recipes and ingredients.