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Veganuary: How to eat sustainably on a plant-based diet

 (Gousto)
(Gousto)

A good place to start with a plant-based diet is to increase the variety of plants that you eat.

Not only is this really beneficial for your gut health but it’s also a more sustainable approach as it increases general biodiversity through spreading out the demand for certain crops.

Sourcing protein is a common concern for most people taking up a plant-based diet.

A quick win is lentils and pulses, as they are a great source of protein and fibre as well as being one of the most sustainable foods. Pulses and lentil production use minimal water to grow, improve soil fertility and reduce dependence on energy-intensive fertilisers.

Not wanting to miss out on hot, creamy drinks in the winter, it’s a good idea to look out for plant-based milks that are fortified with calcium, B12 and iodine.

Looking out for the B-corp stamp on milks is another good sustainability hack as well as drinking oat milk over almond milk.

Now that you’re armed with a list of top tips for a healthy and sustainable Veganuary, these easy to follow vegan recipes, which encompass seasonal vegetables and pulses, will leave you wanting to make them time and time again. You won’t miss the meat either, promise.

Chickpea, spinach and coconut curry with brown rice

With aromatic spices and pre-steamed brown rice, you'll shortcut your way to this rich, vegetable-packed curry in just 10 minutes. Sizzle, ding, and serve up a weeknight winner in no time.

Ingredients:

50g solid creamed coconut

20g mango chutney

400g tinned chickpeas

16g tomato paste

120g baby leaf spinach

15g ginger and garlic paste

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tbsp curry powder

5g vegetable stock mix

1 tsp nigella seeds

300g steamed brown basmati rice

125g cherry tomatoes

Method:

1. Before you begin… get all your ingredients and equipment ready. Wash your fruit and veg.

2. Now, let's get started! Boil a kettle. Chop the cherry tomatoes in half. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Heat a large, wide-based pan (preferably non-stick) with a generous drizzle of vegetable oil over a medium-high heat.

3. Once hot, add the ginger and garlic paste, curry powder, ground turmeric, tomato paste and drained chickpeas and cook for 1 min. Meanwhile, dissolve the vegetable stock mix in 200ml boiled water.

4. Add the halved cherry tomatoes to the pan and cook for 1 min or until softened. Once the tomatoes have softened, add the vegetable stock to the pan and cook for 2 min further.

5. Meanwhile, squeeze the pouch[es] of steamed brown basmati rice to separate the grains. Tear the top corner of the pouch[es] (just a little!) and microwave for 2 min or until piping hot. Tip: if you're cooking two pouches, pop them in together but increase the microwave cook time accordingly.

6. Put the spinach into a colander over the sink. Pour boiled water over the spinach until it's bright green and wilted.

7. Chop the creamed coconut roughly (if required!). Turn the heat down to low and stir through the chopped creamed coconut and mango chutney. Add the wilted spinach, season with a pinch of salt and a generous grind of black pepper and give everything a good mix up – this is your chickpea, spinach and coconut curry. Serve the chickpea, spinach and coconut curry over the brown rice. Garnish with the nigella seeds. Enjoy!

Tamari mushroom and roast broccoli bowl

 (Gousto)
(Gousto)

Fill your bowl with a selection of umami-rich mushrooms, broccoli, protein-packed quinoa and quick-pickled carrot ribbons. Then drizzle the colourful salad with a sweet miso dressing and dig in.

Ingredients:

1 broccoli

15g fresh root ginger

1 spring onion

25g agave syrup

150g portobello mushrooms

160g mushrooms

5g toasted sesame seeds

1 tbsp white miso paste

15ml toasted sesame oil

15ml rice vinegar

15ml tamari soy sauce

1 carrot

130g quinoa

1 red chilli

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C (fan)/gas 6. Top, tail and peel the carrot, then continue to peel lengths until you end up with a pile of carrot ribbons. Add the carrot ribbons to a small bowl with the rice vinegar and set aside for later – these are your quick-pickled carrot ribbons.

2. Whilst the carrots are pickling, slice the mushrooms and keep the portobello mushrooms whole. Add the sliced mushrooms and whole portobellos to one side of a tray. Drizzle over the tamari soy sauce and 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil and give everything a gentle mix up until coated.

3. Cut the broccoli into 6 wedges. Add the broccoli wedges to the other side of a tray (or a separate one!) with 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil and a pinch of salt and give them a good mix up. Put the tray in the oven and cook for 20-25 min or until everything is cooked through, tender and golden – this is your tamari mushrooms and roast broccoli.

4. Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa in a sieve under cold running water. Add the quinoa to a pot with a lid with 250ml cold water and bring to the boil over a high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for 18-20 min or until all the water has absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Once cooked, remove from the heat and leave to steam-dry, uncovered, until serving.

5. Whilst everything is cooking, peel (scrape the skin off with a teaspoon) and grate (or finely chop) the ginger.

6. Combine the grated ginger, white miso paste, toasted sesame oil and agave with 2 tbsp water and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Stir it all together – this is your miso dressing.

7. Trim, then slice the spring onion. Slice the red chilli into rounds. Serve the tamari mushrooms and roasted broccoli over the quinoa and drizzle the miso dressing all over. Drain the quick-pickled carrot ribbons and serve them to the side. Garnish with the sliced spring onion, chilli rounds (can't handle the heat? Go easy!) and sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Mushroom and thyme fusilloni

 (Gousto)
(Gousto)

Pasta “con funghi” is a popular mushroom pasta, but you'll swap cheese for creamy coconut yoghurt and thyme-infused mushrooms. Serve with a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts for a delicious dinner!

Ingredients:

15ml Henderson's Relish

5g thyme

20g pine nuts

200g fusilloni pasta

150g portobello mushrooms

1 brown onion

2 garlic cloves

11g veg stock mix

80g coconut yoghurt

Method:

1. Boil a kettle. Peel and finely dice the brown onion. Heat a large, wide-based pan (preferably non-stick) with a drizzle of olive oil over a medium heat. Once hot, add the diced onion with a pinch of salt and cook for 4-5 min or until starting to soften.

2. While the onion is cooking, slice the portobello mushrooms. Peel and finely chop (or grate) the garlic.

3. Once the onions have softened, add the sliced mushrooms and cook for 8-10 min further or until the mushrooms are beginning to caramelise.

4. Add the fusilloni pasta to a pot of boiled water with a large pinch of salt and bring to the boil over a high heat. Cook the fusilloni for 10-12 min or until cooked with a slight bite. Once done, drain the fusilloni and then return to the pot.

5. While the pasta is cooking, strip the thyme leaves and chop them finely, discarding the stalks. Dissolve the vegetable stock powder in 200ml boiled water.

6. Once the mushrooms have caramelised, add the chopped garlic and thyme and cook for 1-2 min further. Add the Henderson's Relish and vegetable stock to the pan and cook for 3-4 min.

7. Meanwhile, heat a separate large, wide-based pan (preferably non-stick) over a medium heat. Once hot, add the pine nuts and cook for 2-3 min or until lightly toasted. Remove the mushroom pan from the heat and stir the coconut yoghurt through. Add the drained fusilloni and give everything a good mix up – this is your mushroom and thyme fusilloni. Serve the mushroom and thyme fusilloni and season with a good grind of black pepper. Garnish with the toasted pine nuts. Enjoy!

Recipes from Gousto, the UK’s best value recipe box offering 75 meals to choose from weekly. Visit Gousto.co.uk for more.