January sees many meat eaters turn to plant-based diets in a bid to commit to what is known as Veganuary. Swapping steaks for soy burgers and a lot more greens seems simple enough but how easy is it to cook meatless recipes at home?

Thanks to Mindful Chef, we’ve been whipping up some completely vegan recipes in our own kitchen – in a bid to eat more plant-based, healthy food and to save money this January. Some include “fake” meats, in a bid to convert those who think no meat is no meal, as well as purely plant-based options.

Follow these recipes and our cookalong videos to see how we got on. We also decide whether, as regular meat-eaters, we’d cook these dishes post-Veganuary.

Heura plant-based chick’n and turmeric noodles

How to make vegan ‘chicken’ noodles

Ingredients:

Serves: 2

400g celeriac

2 carrots

1 red onion

2 tsp ginger and garlic paste

160g Heura chick’n pieces

1 tbsp green harissa paste

1 tbsp sundried tomato paste

1 tsp turmeric

½ vegetable stock cube

80g kale

100g brown rice noodles

Method:

Preheat the oven to 240C. Peel and dice the celeriac and carrots into one to two cubes. Place on a lined baking tray, drizzle with 1 tbsp oil and season with sea salt and black pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until soft and golden.

Roughly dice the onion. Heat a large saucepan with 1 tbsp oil on medium-high heat. Add the onion, ginger and garlic paste and cook for three to four mins, until softened. Add the chick’n pieces, harissa, sundried tomato paste and turmeric. Season with sea salt and cook for three minutes.

Add 500ml hot water to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Crumble in the stock cube and stir. Simmer for two to three minutes, until reduced slightly. Add the kale and roasted vegetables and cook for three minutes. Season with sea salt to taste. Move everything to one pan and simmer for a minute.

To serve, divide the cooked noodles between serving bowls and ladle over the broth.

What we thought

Honestly, this dish is not just for Veganuary. Packed full of flavour and goodness, it was truly filling as well, thanks to the copious amounts of celeriac and the soy chicken. Which brings me to say, I’d never tried the Heura vegan chicken brand before but I’ll definitely be adding it to the basket for future shopping trips. Delicious.

Satay tofu scramble with lime and mangetout rice

How to make vegan tofu scramble

Ingredients:

Serves: 2

80g brown rice

60g shiitake mushrooms

2 garlic cloves

4cm fresh ginger

½ red chilli

1 lime

Handful of fresh mint

80g mangetout

280g naked tofu

2 tbsp Asian paste

1 tbsp tamari

1 tbsp maple syrup

30g deep roast peanut butter

Method:

Bring a medium saucepan filled with salted hot water to a boil. Add the rice and boil for 25-30 minutes, until cooked, then drain. Return to the pan and set aside.

Halve the mushrooms. Finely chop or grate the garlic and ginger. Thinly slice half the chilli (remove seeds if you want less heat). Zest and quarter the lime. Pick the mint leaves from the stalks and finely chop.

Heat a large frying pan with one 1 tsp oil on medium-high heat. Add the mangetout and cook for two to three minutes, until softened. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Reheat the pan with 1 tbsp oil to high heat. Add the mushrooms and crumble in the tofu. Cook for six to eight minutes, until the tofu is crisp and golden. Stir in the ginger, garlic and chilli. Season with sea salt and black pepper.

For the satay sauce; mix the Asian paste, tamari, juice from two limes, maple syrup, peanut butter and a splash of water in a small bowl. Stir until smooth. Pour the sauce over the tofu and cook for one minute. Add another splash of water, if necessary, to make a creamy sauce.

Stir the mangetout, zest and half the mint through the rice. Serve the rice with the satay tofu. Garnish with the remaining mint, lime wedges and chilli.

What we thought

This was such a pleasant surprise as – I won’t lie – tofu isn’t my favourite meatless protein substitue. I really rate the Tofoo Co and have to say that the tofu mixed so nicely with the rice and mangetout. It’s times like these that Mindful Chef is a godsend as not every kitchen will have the ingredients to make an Asian paste and satay sauce and these really helped make the dish. I’d eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner so I’d call that a success.

Creamy porcini gnocchi with walnuts

How to make vegan gnocchi

Ingredients:

Serves: 2

120g chestnut mushrooms

75g baby plum tomatoes

1 vegetable stock cube

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

10g dried porcini mushrooms

250g potato gnocchi

1 shallot

4 tsp garlic paste

½ tsp red chilli flakes

Handful of fresh parsley

20g walnuts

80g almond yoghurt

Method:

Heat a medium frying pan with 1 tbsp oil on medium-high heat. Quarter the mushrooms and add them, with the whole tomatoes, to the pan. Season with sea salt and cook for three to four minutes, until softened.

Dissolve the stock cube and nutritional yeast in a jug with 150ml hot water. Add the dried porcini and leave to infuse.

Bring a large saucepan filled with salted hot water to a boil. Add the gnocchi and simmer for two minutes, until they float to the surface, then drain.

Meanwhile, finely slice the shallot. Add the shallot, garlic paste and chilli flakes to the mushroom pan. Cook for two minutes, then pour in the stock mixture. Boil for two to three minutes, until reduced by two-thirds.

Add the cooked gnocchi to the sauce and boil for one to two minutes. Roughly chop the parsley and break apart the walnuts. Add the yoghurt and half the parsley to the pan and stir. Season wtih sea salt and black pepper.

Serve the gnocchi onto plates and scatter over the walnuts and remaining parsley.

What we thought

This is an excellent option for anyone who follows a plant-based diet or is lactose-intolerant but still wants to indulge in a creamy pasta or gnocchi dish. While the nutritional yeast and mushrooms ensures this, there is a tart, tangy flavour that comes with it – whether that is to your tastebuds’ liking or not. Personally, I prefer the regular version of the dish, however this is a great alternative if you’re cutting back the dairy.



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