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This post feels like it’s a little overdue in writing but when I do share vegan recipes on Instagram, at least a few people ask what books I use and I thought it might be helpful to share some of my favourite books and favourite recipes, too. I’ve actually lost track of when I made the switch from being vegetarian to predominantly vegan, maybe around 3 years ago now.
And I say this to be open – I’m 98% there. But if I’ve gone to someone’s house and they’ve made a beautiful vegetarian dinner, or I’m stuck somewhere in a country pub and my option is a side salad or a mushroom risotto, I’m going to take the risotto. I don’t beat myself up about it and to be honest, I don’t think the militant approach helps anyone. I’d far rather share my experiences and gently encourage people to give it a go rather than aim for perfection. It doesn’t exist and you’ll only end up miserable.
It’s definitely a good time to follow a new food lifestyle – there’s so much choice for vegans now whether you cook or prefer to pop something in the oven. M&S Plant Kitchen “Chicken Kievs” are outstanding and if you give me an Iceland “No Bull” burger and I pop it into a bun with all the best burger toppings, I’m convinced you’d never know the difference.
Mostly it’s just about trying and not be afraid. I used to eat some interesting things when I was working full-time and my workmates were sometimes quite suspicious. And let me tell you, I was the FUSSIEST child, brought up in the 80s on a diet of meat 5 days out of 7 who would insist on picking out every scrap of vegetable out of every meal. The irony is not lost that now they make up about 90% of what I eat…
Anyway here we go with some of my favourite books to cook from (most of the time I aim for batch cooking – not with a view to freezing but we really don’t mind eating something 3 nights in a row).
I’ve been cooking from the Deliciously Ella books since the first one came out and when I first started getting poorly with undiagnosed stomach conditions which at the time was probably the start of my Ulcerative Colitis. I knew her as the person who had “cured” herself through eating properly and cutting out rubbish. Whether you believe it or not there’s no doubt the majority of her meals are absolutely excellent.
I also find the portions are really generous and in most cases where it says it makes for 4 we can either get 5 or 6 portions out of them. The one thing I would say that does bother me when people talk about vegan cooking is that it’s expensive. Let’s be clear about one thing – buying vegetables is NEVER going to be more expensive than meat or fish and I will argue until I’m blue in the face about that one. Also, think outside the box. You don’t need to use coconut oil for example, olive oil or vegetable oil will do fine. There are plenty of ways to lower the cost of what may seem like expensive, faffy recipes. Here are some of my favourites from each book – she also has an app for iphone users with many more recipes and I often use this to cook with:
- Deliciously Ella* – Black and Kidney Bean Chilli, page 114
- Deliciously Ella Every Day* – Veggie Paella, page 174
- Deliciously Ella Every Day* – Buddha Bowl, page 161
- Deliciously Ella With Friends* – Smashed Turmeric and Mustard Seed Potatoes, page 180
- Deliciously Ella Plant-Based* – Cauliflower and Red Lentil Dhal, page 181
I think I first came across the Bosh Boys on Instagram, where they use their channel to regularly share videos of vegan dishes actually being made. It was a pea-pesto that caught my eye, whipped up in no time in a Nutribullet and served with pasta and that was me hooked. I’ve got three of their books (the fourth one isn’t so much a cook book as how to follow a vegan lifestyle) and regularly cook from them.
I struggled a little bit at first as their focus was on mainly comfort and junk food, just vegan versions. Yes, it’s amazing to be able to make a vegan Shepherd’s Pie and have it taste EVEN BETTER than any meat version – Fact – but once you’ve eaten that 3 days on the spin, you really need a salad. They’ve since released ‘Healthy Vegan’ which means I can now find something no matter what kind of mood I’m in.
- Bosh!* – Creamy Mac & Greens, page 51
- Bosh!* – Thai Red Curry, page 78
- Bish Bash Bosh!* – Shepherd’s Pie, page 108
- Bish Bash Bosh!* – Broccauliflower Cheese, page 54
- Bish Bash Bosh!* – Guacajacks, page 47
- Bosh! Healthy Vegan* – Emj’s Hearty Hotpot, page 150
- Bosh! Healthy Vegan* – BBQ Sloppy Jackets, page 138
This is a relatively new book for me but I’ve had a lot of their other books over the years when I used to eat meat and if I fancied a treat lunch when I was working, Leon was always my place to go as somewhere you could find delicious hot vegan stews and cold salads. This book is pretty much a bible from how to make vegan mayonnaise to carrot ‘smoked salmon’ but I haven’t had a chance to try many recipes so far.
- Leon Fast Vegan* – Lemon, Pea and Basil Risotto, page 67
- Leon Fast Vegan* – Jemima’s Chickpea and Cauliflower Stew, page 94
I’m including this because I’ve been wanting it for AGES and it actually arrived yesterday. I have no idea what any of the recipes are like, how easy they are to cook but I’ve seen so many glowing endorsements on Instagram that I thought it would be worth trying. The downside is that most of the recipes only make for two, so it will ultimately mean cooking more regularly. However, I love the idea of being able to pop everything into one dish and popping it in the oven.
It’s half vegan and half vegetarian recipes but even the veggie ones are easily adaptable. Here are some of the recipes I’ll be trying first of all:
- The Green Roasting Tin* – Simple All-In-One Daal With Roasted Shallots, Coriander, Pomegranate and Cashews, page 110
- The Green Roasting Tin* – Roasted Cauliflower With Chickpeas, Spring Greens, Lemon and Tahini, page 72
- The Green Roasting Tin* – Roasted Tomato, Red Pepper and Artichoke Panzanella with Tarrgon and Lemon, page 60
When I can be bothered, and trust me when I say it’s definitely not all the time, I really enjoy cooking especially since the kitchen makeover. Creating nutritious food brings me a lot of happiness and I need to do it more often instead of just resorting to tea and toast sometimes for dinner…don’t judge 😉