All posts tagged: vegan

photo credit Sgaia Foods

Sgaia Vegan Meats

Photo courtesy of Sgaia Foods. While link hopping vegan restaurants in Glasgow, I stumbled upon a product called Mheat from Sgaia Foods. To say I’d had a fortuitous bounce would be an understatement, as I’d discovered the best vegan meat I’ve ever tried – purely by accident. And I do love a happy accident. Before proceeding, I’ll state right away that Mheat is not cheap – nor should it be. Mheat is a proper hand-made artisan product, carefully developed and crafted by a small team of passionate people who are dedicated to their mission to produce a healthy, tasty, vegan alternative to meat.  I hesitate to call it a meat alternative, because it really is a unique product within itself. But if I were to make a comparison, I’d say it is the Waygu of meat substitutes. We tried four products with our first order and all were exceptional. If I had to choose a favourite, it would be their Streaky Mheat Rashers. The flavour is perfect – savoury, salty and smoky, with a hint …

A Beefy No Bull Review

A while back, I wrote about being super impressed by Iceland’s No Bull Vegan Burgers. I still think they’re amazing, so I’m thrilled to report that Iceland has expanded the No Bull range with some outstanding beef substitutes. There are also some very good chicken replacements, but this review will cover the beefier options. Here are three that I absolutely love. I’ve tried a few mince substitutes, but I’ve not found any I like better than No Bull Vegan Mince. The flavour is amazing and the texture is the closest I’ve found to actual mince. Because it’s coloured with beetroot, it does remain pink – even after frying. I easily overcame this by adding in a gravy or sauce to cover the odd colour. So far we’ve used it to make spaghetti Bolognese and mince and tatties and both meals were very good. I’m looking forward to trying it in a chilli. Another favourite are the No Bull Vegan ‘Meat’balls. They’ve a similar flavour to the burgers, and they’re perfect served in pasta sauce or …

Heavenly Chocolate

Every so often, I find myself eating too much sugar and have to cut back. I’ve gone so far as to not eat it at all, and while I do feel good when I’m off the sweet stuff, my sweet tooth always gets the better of me. In an attempt to achieve some balance, I decided to find a low-sugar treat that didn’t make me feel deprived. It was on this quest I discovered Heavenly Chocolate, and it’s nothing short of miraculous. With less than a teaspoon of sugar in each generously-sized bar, Heavenly Chocolate is also free from dairy, gluten, soy, egg, GMO, and palm oil.  This vegan-friendly chocolate comes in a variety of flavours, most of which I’ve tried, and I have to say my favourites are coconut and dark. I find one or two squares of either to be extremely satisfying. The texture is smooth and creamy – never waxy – and the flavour is what you’d expect from a proper chocolatier. At the time of publishing, the Heavenly website is offering free shipping …

Vegan Chilli

I’ve been making this chilli for years, and it’s one of our favourite things to eat when it’s a bit cold and grey out (so nine months out of the year in Scotland). You’ll get much better results soaking and cooking dried beans instead of using tinned, but if you’re in a hurry, tinned beans are fine. I’ve included the spice mix I use, but if you can’t be bothered, feel free to use a packet of chilli seasoning mix. I like Old ElPaso if I’m in a rush or don’t have everything to hand. This recipe feeds four. Six if accompanied by rice. Ingredients: 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 red chilli pepper, finely chopped 1 medium onion, chopped 300g mushrooms, coarsely chopped (quartered works well if they’re not huge) 30g coriander, stems and leaves separated 400g tinned chopped tomatoes 250g dried pinto beans, cooked according to packet (unless it says to add salt – don’t!) 1 vegetarian stock cube 1 tablespoon tomato puree Spice mix 2 teaspoons cumin 1 teaspoon chilli powder (the temperature …

Good Gravy

I am obsessed with roast dinners at the moment. Maybe it’s the change of season, but I am seriously craving stodge – mashed potatoes, roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings – anything carby and comforting that can be paired with my favourite roast, and I’m after a rich, delicious gravy to top all of this lovely food. I don’t want to come across like a snob, but for me, Bisto just doesn’t cut it, and homemade vegetarian gravy is often thinly-flavoured and somewhat disappointing, so you can imagine my delight in discovering Essential Cuisine’s No1 Savoury Gravy. It’s by far the most full-bodied, satisfying vegetarian gravy I’ve tried, and it isn’t much of an exaggeration to say we eat it by the bucketload. It’s also not an exaggeration to say that it’s so rich and tasty that would not be out of place served over actual roast beef. It’s super-simple to prepare and suitable for vegetarians and vegans. It’s also gluten-free. And it’s extremely versatile. We use it as a base for savoury stews and soups, and …

Love Seitan

I’d always assumed that giving up meat would mean giving up traditional meals that I’ve loved since childhood. How could I enjoy a roast dinner without a roast? I’d tried a vegetarian roast from a rather popular brand, but didn’t like it, and while there are loads of good veggie burgers on the market, none really work as a roast substitute. So I’m happy I discovered Love Seitan. If you’ve not tried seitan, you must! It’s a fantastic meat substitute that can be used in all sorts of recipes, and it’s also great sliced and eaten as you would sliced beef or pork. It’s made from wheat protein, so it’s very high in protein. It also has a firm, pleasing texture that works well in dishes like curries, fajitas, and stews – any time you need something firm and a bit chewy. My favourite way to eat it is thinly sliced and fried in bit of olive oil until it’s crispy. This makes a fantastic bacon substitute and can be used as a breakfast ‘meat’ …

Vivera Veggie Steak

For the past couple of years, I’ve been a ‘flexitarian’. Being married to a vegetarian means I eat many vegetarian meals, and became quite adept at cooking them, too. Over the last year, I found myself eating less and less meat until one day I decided not to bother with it anymore. My timing could not have been better as I’m spoilt for choice – there are some fantastic new meat substitutes on the market, and one of my favourites is Vivera Veggie Steaks. Similar to seitan, Vivera Veggie Steaks are made from wheat protein as well as soya. They’re fortified with iron and vitamin B12 which is a big help to vegetarians and vegans who can sometimes struggle to get enough of both. They’re also a good source of protein. The texture is surprisingly steak-like, and the flavour is lovely. They’re so versatile and could be used in place of beef in countless dishes – fajitas, curries, sandwiches, whatever – anytime you need proper texture and flavour. I like to pan fry mine with Brazilian …

Peanut Butter and Banana Overnight Oats

This is one of the easiest make-ahead breakfasts around, and it’s incredibly nourishing and delicious. You can easily scale this recipe up as it keeps well in the refrigerator for up to a week. Do use salted peanuts for your garnish. Trust me – it’s a lovely counterbalance to the sweetness of the banana and it lends a bit of texture as well. Serves 4 100 grams large oats 2 teaspoons chia seeds 350ml sweetened macadamia milk* 1 heaped tablespoon peanut butter Garnish per bowl 1/2 banana, sliced 2 teaspoons salted peanuts, crushed maple syrup, if desired Combine the first four ingredients in a bowl, stirring well to ensure the peanut butter incorporated into the mixture. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, put 1/4 of the oat mixture into a bowl and top with the sliced banana and peanuts. You can add a bit of maple syrup if you like a little more sweetness. Enjoy! * you can use any milk you like here. Unsweetened is fine.

Rice Bowl with Greens and Tofu

Vegan meals don’t need to be time consuming or a faff. With just a few ingredients, it’s easy to put together a nutritious, delicious and satisfying dinner. This recipe is my go-to when I’m tired or just can’t be bothered, and is the epitome of what I like to call ‘jazz recipes’. ‘Jazz’, because it’s a bit free form. There are not any set ingredients or measurements. It’s all down to what you like and how you feel! You’ll need: Rice – cooked as according to instructions Firm tofu (I like silken – it’s a little more difficult to work with, but I think it’s worth it) Greens (Chard, spinach, kale, spring greens, pak choi – anything dark and leafy will work) Oil for frying (I like olive, but sometimes I go for toasted sesame) Soy sauce Sliced chilli pepper ( you can use dried, but fresh is best) Grated ginger (again, use fresh if at all possible) Minced garlic Salt toasted sesame seeds (optional) Start cooking the rice. I usually let it simmer while …

No Bull Vegan Burgers Review

A couple of Christmases  ago, I took it upon myself to try every mince pie on the market to see which one was best. Iceland’s offering was the clear winner, and even though I can’t even look at a mince pie now, I still remember being super-impressed by their attention to detail – crumbly, buttery pastry; the perfect filling-to-pastry ratio, and gorgeous, boozy flavour. Iceland is onto another winner with their No Bull Burgers. Of all of the veggie burgers I’ve tried, these are the closest to real beef I’ve found. Aside from the added beetroot to give them a ‘bleeding’ effect (not necessary in my opinion, as this could make vegetarians and vegans a bit squeamish), they are close to perfect. They actually taste like a burger cooked over an open flame. I’d recommend shallow frying them for a better texture, but you can easily bake them if you’re not keen on adding extra oil. We enjoyed ours on a brioche bun with sliced tomatoes, pickles, lettuce and onion, and could have easily believed …

Spanish Butter Beans with Tomatoes

It’s been quite warm in Scotland these last couple of weeks, and the last thing I want to think about is food. So what do you eat when you can’t be bothered? I suggest something than is just as delicious at room temperature as it is when it’s hot. This simple recipe needs only a few ingredients and a relatively short cooking time. It also happens to be vegan. Makes four smallish portions, perfect for lunch or a light supper. Ingredients: 1 tablespoon of olive oil 1 medium onion, diced 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped 250g dried butter beans, soaked and cooked (use tinned if you like) 2 400g tins of peeled plum tomatoes 1 vegetarian stock cube 2 tablespoons mild smoked paprika 200g baby leaf spinach 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped (optional garnish) In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil until it begins to shimmer. Now add the onion and garlic and fry for two minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add the tinned tomatoes. Use your cooking …

Gazpacho

I had the good fortune to spend a summer in Spain a few years ago, and I learned to make this version of gazpacho there. It’s a lovely, relaxed dish to have when the weather is hot and you can’t face turning on your oven or cooker. The secret to the authenticity of this recipe is the vinegar. It really needs to be sherry vinegar from Jerez. I buy Sainsbury’s own brand and it works very well. This is a smooth cold soup, so if you prefer a little texture, reserve and finely chop a bit of the pepper and cucumber. You can add this as a garnish just before serving. Ingredients: 2 slices of stale white bread  or 1 day-old petit pain 1 tablespoon good extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar from Jerez 250ml cup cold water 6 ripe tomatoes, quartered 1 red pepper, seeded and roughly chopped 1 cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped Salt to taste Place the first four ingredients in the blender and whizz until liquefied. Now add the …

Yummy Vegan Burgers

My husband and I have been working on making the perfect veggie burger, and while we’ve found a few good recipes, none were perfect. So we’ve come up with our own. The burger we’ve created had the added benefit of being vegan. It’s also quite high in protein. Full disclosure: it’s a bit of a faff to make, but I promise the results are worth it. Using a 1/4 pound burger press, we got 15 burgers from this recipe. They freeze well, so it makes sense to make a lot in one go and have a couple of weeks’ worth of quick lunches. But if you’re not keen on making loads, this recipe scales down well. You can halve or even quarter it. You can customise your burgers using spices you like. Our favourite is Lakeland Burger Seasoning Mix. It’s surprisingly spicy! But if that’s not your thing, warm spices like smoked paprika, cumin, and chipotle work well. The trick to making veggie burgers with a pleasing texture is to keep as much excess liquid …