Plant Based But Not Simple: How To Make A Vegan Diet Exciting

Is it all about rabbit food? In a few years veganism has gone from an obscure diet to a trend, a way of life for many. As the planet warms and we understand better the impact of the meat, dairy and egg industries on climate change, more and more people want to get involved. Considering that a plant-based diet can often be a healthier option, this really is a no-brainer.

However, making the switch is sometimes difficult, especially after growing up in a society that idolizes animal products in the diet. Unfortunately, that means vegans regularly eat the same old, boring dishes that feel more like a chore than an exciting nutritional and environmental choice.

But a plant-based diet doesn’t have to be boring – there are hundreds of fantastic recipes that will make you drool with impatience. So whether you’re a full-fledged vegan or just trying to cut back on animal products and don’t know where to start, here are three cool but painless recipes that don’t require meat or dairy, no eggs.

1. Crispy gnocchi with garlic and mushrooms

There is nothing easier than making pasta with tomato sauce and calling it a vegan day – it’s a plant-based dish that everyone knows and loves. However, while Italian cuisine is usually adorned with meat and cheese in abundance, there are some brilliant options from the country of the boot, many of which involve gnocchi. “While gnocchi are widely regarded as a pasta dish, soft dumplings are typically made with potatoes, flour and eggs,” explain experts at Pasta Evangelists. That being said, due to the starchy quality of potatoes, many versions of these forgo eggs altogether as they don’t require any additional ingredients to bind them together. You can pretty much add any veg you love to delicious homemade gnocchi, but this garlic and mushroom recipe is one of our favorites.

Ingredients

  • 300g of gnocchi (homemade or store-bought)

  • 1 red onion, sliced

  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 250g sliced ​​button mushrooms

  • A handful of pine nuts

  • Fresh basilic

  • Olive oil

  • Salt and pepper

  • Pesto (optional)

Method

  1. On high heat, toast your pine nuts in a frying pan without oil. Put aside.

  2. In the same pan, heat the olive oil (about 2 tbsp) and roast the gnocchi until golden, about 5 minutes per side.

  3. Add the garlic, onions and mushrooms and sauté for an additional 5-10 minutes until crispy. Stir every few minutes.

  4. Season with salt and pepper.

  5. Transfer to a pasta bowl. Garnish with pesto, if desired, and add your pine nuts and basil to serve. If you’re running out of Parmesan, you can sprinkle nutritional yeast over the dish for a cheesy flavor.

2. Stuffed zucchini

Stuffed vegetables are a staple food in the Eastern Mediterranean region. From the Balkans to Turkey, via the Levant and even Egypt, this dish in its many variations originates from the former Ottoman Empire. Authentically, the meat would be used to stuff the zucchini, however, this particular vegan option uses the high-protein lentils instead. The stars of the recipe are the traditional spices and herbs that give it its unique flavors, while the turmeric adds a yellow liveliness that is gorgeous on any plate. Stuffed zucchini is a versatile dish, so you can choose just about anything for the garnish as long as you keep the seasoning similar – we recommend tofu as an alternative. You will probably want to serve two to four zucchini per serving, depending on their size and your hunger, so don’t worry about the number.

Ingredients

  • 12 zucchini (preferably the round variety)

  • ¾ cup cooked green or black lentils (or 1 can)

  • ⅓ cooked red rice

  • 1 red onion, finely chopped

  • 1 carrot, grated

  • 1 tablespoon of parsley, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon of dill, finely chopped

  • 1 tsp lemon zest

  • 2 sprigs of spring onion, finely chopped

  • 8 finely chopped mint leaves

  • 1 tsp sweet paprika

  • ½ teaspoon of hot paprika

  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon of baharat (or ½ teaspoon of cumin and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon)

  • A handful of pine nuts, almonds or pecans

  • Olive oil

  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onion, sauté until golden brown.

  2. Add the carrot and stir for 2 minutes. Then add the garlic, spices and cooked rice, mix for another 2 minutes.

  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked lentils, half the dill and half the parsley. This will be your fill.

  4. Cut off the heads of your zucchini and set the “lids” aside. Using a spoon, empty their insides. Adjust their bottoms to make sure they can all stand straight and balanced so the filling doesn’t slip off during cooking, cutting off pieces if necessary.

  5. Finely chop the zucchini entrails and mix in the scallion, mint and the rest of your parsley and dill. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  6. Generously stuff the zucchini with your filling so that it forms a small bulge at the top. Place the nut of your choice on the picks.

  7. Brush your zucchini and lids with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and arrange on a baking sheet.

  8. Bake for one hour in an oven preheated to 175 ° C.

  9. Serve on its own or with a vegan yogurt sauce.

3. Sabitch

Traditionally eaten with a hard-boiled egg, this simple Iraqi eggplant-based breakfast sandwich is a Middle Eastern favorite that can easily be vegan. Pronounced Sa-Beekh, it incorporates potatoes and eggplant in a blend of fragrant flavors, such as amba (a spicy mango sauce common in Iraq) and schug (a hot herb sauce of Yemeni origin in base of peppers, garlic and coriander). The original version uses fried eggplant (although we chose a slightly healthier baked variety), while the hummus increases the flavor while providing a hearty dose of protein. If you’re not too keen on sandwiches (or are gluten-free), you can turn this dish into a salad without much effort.

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant, cut into ½ cm slices

  • 2 small potatoes

  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced

  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced

  • 1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped

  • 2 fresh pita breads

  • Lemon juice

  • Chopped garlic

  • Tahini

  • Hummus

  • Schug (or your favorite hot sauce)

  • Amba (optional)

  • Olive oil

  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Arrange the eggplant slices on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Rub with olive oil on both sides, sprinkle with salt and bake in a preheated oven at 180 ° C for about 20 minutes, taking them out when tender and golden.

  2. While the eggplants are roasting, cook the potatoes in a pot of salted boiling water until softened. Drain and slice.

  3. Make a tahini sauce from your raw tahini by mixing it with a little water, lemon juice and chopped garlic until it reaches a smooth consistency but not completely runny.

  4. Now it’s time to assemble your sandwich. Cut off the top of your pita and spread some hummus, schug and amba to taste.

  5. Insert the eggplant, potato slices, tomato, cucumber and parsley, adding more eggplant if there is room.

  6. Top the sandwich with your tahini sauce and dig.

This article does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or management of EconoTimes.