Cooking is a wonderful life skill and learning to make healthy and delicious meals can really help with the transition to a vegan diet. Making home-cooked meals can help us feel more connected with what we eat, as well as saving money. Cooking tasty meals will help show your family and friends how incredible vegan food can be and can open people’s minds. The idea of cooking vegan food may be a bit daunting at first but it opens up a whole new world of ingredients and cuisines you may never have tried before. Here are my top ten tips to help you make a start and create some hits in the kitchen.
Watch cooking videos
Discover YouTube cooking videos to learn the basics (knife skills!) and discover recipes – Pick Up Limes, Vegan Richa and Deliciously Ella are my go-tos.
Fill that spice cupboard.
The trick is to season and garnish – cinnamon on porridge; cumin, turmeric and paprika in stews with some fresh coriander and dried and fresh herbs in tomato sauce etc. Invest in a good knife.
Invest in a good knife.
It saves time and is safer, especially as you’ll be chopping lots of fresh veggies and herbs when you eat plant-based. Remember to sharpen it from time to time too.
Rethink how you see meals.
Meat is no longer the centrepiece. Go for one pot stews, homemade veggie bowls or baked sweet potato with salad and hummus.
Invest in one quality pan.
Invest in a good pan and make one-pot meals. You’ll spend less time preparing, washing up and there is something so comforting about a bowl of good food.
Not everything needs to be made from scratch.
Shop-bought tahini, hummus, kimchi, vegan curry pastes and so on can make it less daunting to enter the kitchen and create flavour.
Veganise your favourite meals
Find the vegan version of your favourite meals so you don’t feel you’re missing out. There is a vegan version of pretty much everything on the internet from creamy mac n’ cheese to Shepherd’s Pie. Last month, I had vegan “scallops” made with mushrooms – delicious.
Keep it simple.
One of the best ways to cook is to get playful with the ingredients without measuring too much. Season as you go along and start with less technical things like curries or stir-fries to build confidence.
Stock your pantry.
You can always whip up quick and easy plant-based meals using pantry ingredients such as whole grains, beans, lentils, tinned tomatoes and frozen veggies with spices.
The kitchen is your playground. Catch up on podcasts while you’re cooking or listen to music. It’s amazing how much better food tastes when you’ve enjoyed the process.