31 vegan dinner ideas for veganuary

January the 1st 2020. And many of you are *hopefully* comitting to veganuary… or maybe you have just decided to eat more plantbased and are looking for some meal inspiration…. well then, here are 31 lunch or dinner ideas you can try making or incoporating into your weekly diet!

When you first start eating plantbased you may find it hard to know what to eat and you end up just eating salad, or you take away the meat and dairy but don’t replace it with anything so you end up unsatisfied, hungry and get cravings.

So my best tip is to 1) Remember to substitute what you take away. I.e switch dairy products for non dairy alternatives. And if you take away the meat or fish on your plate, don’t just take it away or substitute with more potatoes. Instead substitute it with tofu, tempeh, beans, soya products or something else that gives you protein.

Another tip is to write down all your favourite meals and find a way to veganize them. Now a days the majority of dishes can be veganized in one way or another. Though of course, you do have to be prepared for the fact that the dish won’t taste exactly the same. So some prefer to note veganize and isntead just recreate new vegan dishes which don’t try to replicate a non vegan dish.

I would suggest you write down a bunch of different meal ideas or recipes you want to try or try to recreate and have that as a back up for when you don’t know what to cook or eat. A good idea is also to have the list on your phone for the days you are tired and hungry and need to quickly shop for food.

Invest in some cookbooks or follow a bunch of vegan recipe creators online (such as myself 😉 Instagram: itsahealthylifestyle)

Also, here is a post with some good staple foods to always have at home &what’s in my fridge/freezer

And for more inspiration or cooking videos, you can follow me on my Youtube channel – IzzyM

Meal ideas

*click the picture for the name of the dish*

There you have many different dishes you can try out 🙂 I have plenty more recipes you can search for on my blog. Also a whole bunch of breakfast, snacks and desserts which you can check out.

So now it is just to get cooking and try different recipes, see what you like and what you don’t like!

If you try any of these recipes, let me know in the comments down below or on my Instagram (itsahealthylifestyle)

Peanut butter cookies recipe

Peanut butter fudge cookies…. what else can you want?

Recipe testing can go two ways….. you try to create a dish and it turns out amazing so i have to quickly write down the ingredients and measurements as to not forget them.

Or the dish can turn out unedible and can’t be saved….. but even then i write down the measurements and ingredients so that i can adjust for next time.

With this recipe… i thought it was the latter. A fiirst the cookies didn’t really turn out as i hd expected or wanted. They very soft coming out of the oven and thought maybe it was too much margarine. They didn’t quite taste like the crispy, crunchy cookies you can buy in stores.

But they were still tasty so i covered them an placed them in the fridge overnight…. andthe next day. Well that’s when i realized these cookies turned out suoer good anyway. They just needed time to fully cool!!

They are more soft and fudgy… almost like snickerdoodle cookies.

These cookies are quick to make, however they do need time to fully cool down so the wit until you can eat them may be a little longer than other cookies… but it’s worth the wait!!

Can you switch peanut butter for another nut butter?

I haven’t personally tried but i don’t see why not…. so you could give it a try!

Gluten free or sugar free version?

No, making these gluten free won’t work… inead it’s better to opt for another recipe 🙂 such as my chickpea peanut butter cookies

As for sugar free… it should work fine to switch the sugar for stevia. With the syrup… you should be able to use a stevia syrup/sweetener syrup, but that is alot more expensive. Or you could just add a little more liquid and make the cookies less sweet. However i can not guarantee the results if you do make this switch.

If you try these cookies… let me know wha you think!!

Recipe

Makes 10-12 cookies

Ingredients:

240g flour

150g sugar

100-150ml syrup

100ml peanut butter

200g margarine, room temperature

2tbsp cornstarch

1 tsp baking powder

1tsp bicarbonate

1 tsp vanilla powder

1 tsp cinnamon

Pinch of salt

How to:

Preheat the oven to 175 C

In a bowl whisk together the margarine and sugar until fluffy. Add the peanut butter and syrup.

In another bowl mix together the dry ingredints.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until well combined.

Cover 1-2 baking trays with parchment paper.

Form the dough into balls and place on the pparchment paper. Press down slightly. They will spread out a little so leave room for them to flatten and spread out.

Bake in the oven for 13-16 minutes.

Note… they will be rather soft when you take them out of the oven. So allow them to cool FULLY. Even placing them in the fridge a few hours before eating and then they will be more fudgy rather than crispy.

These work fine to be frozen and reheated 🙂 should also work fine to half the recipe!

Homemade tahini

If you’re new to veganism…. or even if you’ve been a vegan a long time, joining different vegan food related groups online is a good way to get inspiration.

Well aside from also instagram, youtube and pinterest.

This “recipe” is inspired by someone’s post in a Facebook group i am in. Crazy that i had never thought of making my own tahini….

This post also sparked my interest in making my own peanut butter, my own nutella and who knows…. maybe I’ll make some other seed or nut butters 😍😍

If you didn’t know, sesame seeds and tahini are rich in calcium. Aside from tofu, tahini is one of the best calcium rich foods you can eat as a vegan. Not only is it incredibly tasty and great for dressing and sauces, 1 tablespoon tahini is aroundd 4mg calcium. The daily requirement is around 800-1200mg so its not a huge amount but it does help in reaching an adequate calcium amount!

Of course, tahini is also high calorie, meaning you shouldn’t overdo it with the tahini dressing. But 1-2 tablespoons a day, depending on your energy requirements can be part of a healthy diet.

Making your own tahini doesn’t take so long, all you need is a good food mixer.

Are you all tired of my food mixer recipes yet … hahah?

Which sesame seeds to use?

Hulled or unhulled sesame seeds? I personally prefer the unhulled sesame seeds and it will give you a smoother tahini… but you can use the hulled sesame seeds (i.e with the outer husk) if you want.

Ingredients:

I used around 150g sesame seeds. Though you can use as much or as little as you like.

Pinch of salt, around 1/2 tsp is enough for around 150g sesame seeds.

2-3 tablespoons oil. You could of course skip the oil, but it won’t be as creamy then. And you could use water however i don’t think it will last as long then as oil helps to preserve the tahini.

How to:

Start off by dry roasting the sesame seeds this brings out alot more flavour.

Pour the sesame seeds into a frying pan (don’t use oil). Fry on medium heat, stirring from time to time.

You could roast in the oven, however as the sesame seeds are so small they easily burn.

Once roasted, pour the sesame seeds into your mixer and mix on high speed. Keep mixing until a paste begins to form – don’t forget to scrape down the sides so that all the sesame seeds get mixed.

To make the tahini super smooth, it is important to have a good mixer so that all the seeds get mixed.

Once a paste has formed add the salt and 1tablespoon of oil at a time. Keep mixing for another 2-3 minutes, gradually adding more oil as necessary.

I wanted my tahini super smooth and runny so i added about 2-3 tablespoons of oil and mixed for about 5 minutes.

Once done, pour into a glass jar and store in the fridge up to a week. The tahini should be fine even after a week as the oil and salt also work as conservatives however i can’t guarantee if the taste or anything else changes. Also, use a clean utensil when scooping out the tahini so that no other food leftovers get stuck in the tahini, as that increases the chance of the tahini going bad!

Give this a recipe a try if you like tahini!

It took me in total 15 minutes to make, and one 350g package of sesame seeds cost me around 2 euro, whereas 1 jar of tahini around 350g costs me between 4-5 euro!

Do animal lives matter more than human lives? | Vegan question

I got a rather interesting – and hypothetical – question asked to me which was… if i had to choose between an animal (in this case it was a cow) or a human, which would i save. And this was based on me being a vegan. (It’s a bit like the… if i was stranded on an island with only a chicken/pig would i eat it type of question all vegans seem to get asked).

Of course i hope that i will never be in this situation… and it sounds rather hypothetical. And the answer to that question is that i would save the human…. which someone may think is strange because “I am vegan and for the animals… wouldn’t i save the animals… you don’t want animals to die?” .

And why would i save the human… well, for many reasons but even if a cow has a consciousness and nervous system, meaning they can think and feel, a human being does have that extra consciousness. Of course i wouldn’t want the cow to die, but in this hypothetical situation i would choose the humanbeing to save.

Of course, if it was between my own dog and a human it might be a different answer… but then again if i had to choose between saving (which i never hope happens) a family member or my dog… that would be a completely different answer and situation… i really couldn’t choose.

In our society, the majority of us DON’T need to eat or use animal products to be healthy, to get nutrients or to live. The majority of people can survive without animals having to die for their consumption.

I don’t believe in factory farming. I don’t believe it is correct for thousands and millions of animals to die each year just to be eaten or in worst case… to die, be turned into food and then just thrown away because the food has gone bad. I don’t believe in the animal abuse/torture that happens on a daily basis just for the production of food…. when the majority of people in society don’t need it. It is more sustainable for the planet to actually not consume so many animal products anyway.

So i am against the killing of animals when it is absolutely not necessary.

In the past it might have been necessary to kill animals to get enough nutrients to survive, develop and grow as well as use the fur for warmth… now a days, we don’t need any – or very little in certain cases – animal products to survive. But the killing of animals is on a much higher level than the actual requirement or need.

I am against using animals to test on for different experiments. I am against locking up animals and in some cases beating them just for the sake of entertainment. I am against using horses or dogs for racing or any other animals just to fight each other.

I am against the abuse of animals in all forms.

This however does not mean i think animals are better than humans or that humans should die out so that animals can live in peace, which some vegans believe.

I still believe humans have a higher conscious level and are more developed…. though it also surprises me then that not more people make the choice to go vegan or atleast try to eat as vegetarian as possible.

These types of questions are interesting and can lead to quite a discussion and debate, which i am fine with having – though i would prefer to have it in real life, not online. However they are also unrealistic and hypothetical situations… and i live in a society where i don’t need to choose between saving either a human or a cow…. i can do both. By eating vegan and also doing things such as giving blood, being an organ donar and helping people in other ways.

This is my thoughts on this topic, and as mentioned i don’t mind getting these types of questions…. however it is easier to discuss and bring up different thoughts and nuances in a real life discussion.

If you have any thoughts on this topic, feel free to comment down below… would love to know how others think.

Plastic Free July? | Tips & advice | privilege, practical, realistic?

It’s July, and i have noticed on social media there is a “campaign” talk about plastic free July.

I think it is great that we are bringing awareness about plastic and the need for everyone to decrease their use/consumption/buying of plastic. To use alternatives and to demand that products are packaged in other materials than plastic.

You can read more about plastic pollution crisis, HERE. I.e we all need to do something about this…. and if we as consumers show that we want products with less plastic and make active choices. For the sake of the climate and planet, but also for the animals as many animals and marine life are actually dying due to plastic pollution… but even our health is impacted due to the microplastics and BPA.

*This post contains affiliate links*

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I have written previous posts about plastic which may be interesting to read:
Aware but not obsessed? | Organic, plastic free, locally produced food?

Going plastic free – Realistic? Convenient? Practical?

Earth day 2018 – Plastic pollution & ways to minimize plastic use

Pre packaged and portion sized foods

Tips to minimize waste and plastic use

5 ways to minimize plastic use and help the environment

If i am honest, i am not someone who believes in 100% plastic free or zero waste. Even if i like the idea of it…. I just don’t think it is practical for anyone. Unfortunatly, our society uses plastic in SO MANY items… just like with being vegan, there seems to be animal products in almost everything. However, just because there is so much plastic doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible to make a change/difference and decrease your use of plastic.

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It just means some extra planning. You may also need to invest in things such as glass lunch boxes, Metal straws, reusable fresh produce bags, on the go coffee cups/thermos, glass jars,reusable utensils and the list goes on.

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You will also need to carry around an extra bag with you incase you need to buy something when you are out and don’t want to purchase a plastic bag. Of course, this is one of the simplest changes you can make… just buy a cheap cotton bag which you can always have in your bigger school/work/gym bag!

Bring your thermos/on the go coffee cup with you so that you don’t buy coffee out… but if you do have to buy coffee out, skip the plastic lid!

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I think it is great with the initiativ to decrease plastic use… how it is not always practical or possible for everyone.  There is plastic everywhere. And i am pretty sure i use and purchase items which contains plastic which i had no idea about.

But also …. going plastic free means you may need to invest in certain products/items before you can go fully plastic free. Not to mention, it may mean having to cut out ALOT OF different foods because they contain plastic. If i am honest… almost half the food i buy comes in some form of plastic packaging. When going plastic free you will most likely have to shop at stores which sell products that have very little or no plastic packaging… where you bring your own jars or use brown reusable bags to pack the fresh produce. However… alot of frozen food is then no longer an option. But frozen food (meaning frozen vegetables and fruit, not pizza and fries) which are often cheaper and last longer, arenät an option. But many people don’t actually eat up the fresh produce they buy and have to throw it away, meaning that it isn’t really better.

However… what you could do if you can afford it (and have the space in your freezer), is to buy big 1kg frozen vegetables instead of the small 200g/500g bags… because then you atleast minimize plastic in that way. 

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4 examples of plastic:

1 The lid and little inside “lid” in plantbased milks. (Note, cut the little “capsule/lid” when you thro them away so that wildlife don’t get caught in them/eat them)

2: Alot of the food i buy does have plastic… which i do want to become more aware of and limit – as i do have the possibility to do it at times.

3: Everything in that pesto came in a plastic pacakge… apart from the garlic

4: Eevn the glassfood boxes i bought came with plastic.

Also, you can’t forget that if someone is living on minimum wage the most important thing for them is to find some form of cheap food to be able to eat…. not whether it is plastic free, vegan or nutritious.

Going plastic free is a privelage in a sense… I live in Sweden and have the possibility as well as somewhat economical possibility to make choices. I can buy food in bulk and without plastic when possible. I can bring my own bag to the grocery store and invest in glasslunchboxes and metal staws. I can bring my own freshproduce bags and skip the plastic bag that is usually used when buying fruit and vegetables in bulk.

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I can choose between buying lentils in a cardboard package or plastic package. I can choose to not buy a food because it has lots of plastic packaging – because i know i can buy other food. I can take the time to walk/travel to another store just because they have more fresh produce which is loose/buy in bulk. Some months i can spend the extra money on making more plastic free choices. It is a privilige which not everyone has.

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However… i can’t avoid all plastic. It would not be possible for me to buy all my food plastic free. Not to mention, i take medication which i need daily that comes in/is packaged in plastic… there is no plastic free alternative.

I can of course make active choices when possible.

But what about disabled people… there are certain foods which may have extra packaging because it is easier for someone who is disabled.

I think when possible we should all try to limit plastic… example, does the product with a cardboard/nonplastic package cost 1dollar more than the option with plastic… then it is worth tat 1 dollar… according to me anyway.

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Can you skip the small portion packages of food and instead buy in bulk? Can you skip the Nescafe coffee capsules and instead use a coffee press/coffee beans? (in all honesty, i think these coffee capsules should be banned). Can you buy fresh produce in bulk using a paper bag or your own fresh produce bag? Can you buy the frozen berries in a cardboard pacakge instead of plastic pacakge? Can you skip the plastic lid when ordering coffee on the go?

 

Just because we can’t do something perfectly or can’t do it all… doesn’t mean we can’t try. Can’t go completely vegan? Well you can still eat as vegetarian as possible and not buy products with animals products (such as fur, leather, wool), as well as buying cruelty free. Can’t go completely plastic free? Well you can still decrease use of plastic when possible. Can’t go zero waste/minimalist? Well you can still try to limit waste and clutter when possible. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, 0 or 100. We can just do our best and what is possible.

I also think it is important for us all to ask ourselves… do we not make these changes because we don’t want to or because we can’t? There is a difference. Many people don’t even try to limit plastic or try to eat more vegetarian because they don’t want to… even if they can. Whereas there are many who are in situations where they actually can’t make those choices but might want to.

So if you are in a situation where you actually can make choices and changes that are better for the climate, planet, animals… then i think you should. It doesn’t have to make a huge impact in your life, but may make a huge impact for the planet and climate if everyone made those small changes.

You can read more about plastic and plastic pollution in the links below:

Plastic pollution in numbers

The worlds plastic pollution criss explained  *highly recommend you read*

100 steps to a plastic free life

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