Vegan Vibes by Michelle D’Arcy Jewell

There are lots of reasons why someone might choose to have a vegan lifestyle but it seems that there are an increasing number of people choosing to omit animal products from their life to help the environment. Research has shown that there are many environmental issues associated with animal farming from water use and land use through to animal feed and methane.

Changing to a vegan way of life might seem like a really difficult choice, but there is no reason why it needs to be. Swapping products over is really straightforward with so many vegan options available in shops and online. Most recipes can be exchanged for vegan versions, although if you are new to eating vegan foods it can be better to not try to replicate your favourite meals with vegan alternatives but to cook new interesting recipes that you haven’t tried before. A favourite in my house is a simple spaghetti with a rich tomato sauce which can be served with garlic bread and salad.

Simple tomato sauce for pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried mixed herbs
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon tomato puree
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar

Method:

Chop the onion finely and microwave with a small amount of water to soften for 2 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir well then blend to create the base of the sauce.

Add vegetables of your choice (finely chopped and boiled). We usually add carrot, courgette and red pepper.

Vegan food doesn’t need to be complicated. Enjoy this simple tomato sauce with spaghetti or shaped pasta. Add extra toppings to suit your taste.

To add protein we fry chopped mushrooms and add them to the top. If you want a really protein rich sauce you can add some cooked lentils to the sauce before blending. Or if you are a fan of vegan alternatives, you can also add some small pieces of vegan sausage to the mushrooms to top the dish and then sprinkle with vegan cheese, however if you are new to veganism you may wish to omit these.

Fried mushrooms are a simple way to top a vegan dish with a little extra protein.

Vegan Protein

It is a big misconception that it can be difficult to get enough protein when you are a vegan. There is plenty to be found in vegetables and whole grains which are easy to incorporate into your meals. Other great sources are pulses like lentils, green peas and beans such as red kidney beans and haricot beans. You can also get protein from nuts and seeds. The only vegan complete proteins are quinoa and soya. The easiest way to get soya is through soya milk, but if you don’t like that, you can try tofu instead or eat it in its raw form such as edamame beans which work brilliantly in stews and stir-fries.

Edamame beans are versatile and tasty source of protein.

Guest article by Michelle D’Arcy Jewell

Michelle D’Arcy Jewell is one of The Two Vegans who run vegan fairs in Shropshire and own the The Vegan Hub, a vegan shop in The Parade in Shrewsbury selling groceries and gifts. She also runs the Shropshire Veggies and Vegans group.

Caroline Talbot
Author: Caroline Talbot