Recipes: Easy Vegan Dinners for Beginners

Tofu Quiche with Broccoli

Catering for a wide range of dietary needs and preferences is an essential skill for the modern home cook, with ever-increasing diversity in tastes and diets amongst people of all cultures and backgrounds. Veganism is the practice of not eating any animal products, including meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, or any other animal by-products, and is estimated to be the diet of choice for almost 2% of the world’s population – a whopping 140 million people worldwide!

This edition we’re focusing on how you could easily adapt familiar dishes to suit a vegan diet: even if you’ve never considered cooking in this manner before, it’s really easy to adapt your cooking

with just a few changes. No matter what you or your family and friends choose to include in your diet, we’re confident that you’ll be able to cook up something tasty and nutritious in no time at all with these recipes!

Vegan Malai Kofta

Vegan Malai Koftas

Vegan Malai Koftas

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups russet potato, unpeeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup peas, frozen
  • 2 Tbsp toasted cashews, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced finely
  • 1 tsp serrano chili, finely chopped (or pinch of cayenne)
  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped or pureed
  • 2 Tbsp cashews, toasted and ground (coffee grinder works well)
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 cup water, or as needed
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala (leave out if you don’t have it, or put pinch cinnamon)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp coriander, ground
  • 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring a medium pot of water to boil and add potatoes and carrots, cook for 10-15 minutes until easily mashable with a fork. Add peas and cook 1-2 minutes more, then drain water and transfer to a large mixing bowl to cool.
  2. Meanwhile start sauce in a deep skillet, sauté pan or wok. Heat 1 Tbsp of oil over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and cook until they begin to sizzle. Add onion, ginger, and serrano pepper if using. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally until onion begins to brown. Add tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes more. Transfer mixture to a blender (or food processor) and carefully blend until smooth. Return to pan and add remaining ingredients, saving water for the end and adding as much as you need to make a nice thick consistency (it will continue to thicken as it cooks). Combine ingredients and stir well, let it bubble gently over a low heat while you prepare koftas. If too watery, you can add additional cashew powder to thicken it.
  3. Add remaining ingredients to koftas, stir and a thick dough will form. Oil a metal baking sheet and form koftas into golf ball sized balls, placing a few inches apart on sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes until crispy on the bottom and flip over. Bake an additional 10-15 minutes until crispy on all sides.
  4. When koftas are done, drop them in the heated sauce and serve immediately with rice or bread of your choice

 

Tofu Quiche with Broccoli

Tofu Quiche with Broccoli

Tofu Quiche with Broccoli

Ingredients:

  • 1 unbaked 9 inch pie crust
  • 1 pound broccoli, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound firm tofu, drained
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/8 cup Parmesan flavour soy cheese

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 C. Bake pie crust in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes.
  2. Place broccoli in a steamer over 1 inch of boiling water, and cover. Cook until tender but still firm, about 2 to 6 minutes, then drain and chop into small pieces. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onion and garlic until golden. Stir in the cooked broccoli and heat through.
  3. In a blender, combine tofu, soy milk, mustard, salt, nutmeg, ground red pepper, black pepper, parsley and Parmesan soy cheese; process until smooth. In a large bowl combine blended tofu mixture with broccoli mixture. Pour into pie crust.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until quiche is set, 35 to 40 minutes. Allow to stand for at least 5 minutes before cutting. Serve with mixed green salad and baked potatoes.

 

Quick Coconut and Squash Dhansak

Colourful squash

Colourful squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 500g butternut squash (about 1 small squash), peeled and chopped into bite-sized chunks
  • 100g chopped white onions
  • 4 heaped tbsp korma curry paste
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 400g can light coconut milk
  • 400g lentils, cooked and drained
  • 200g bag baby spinach
  • 150ml coconut milk yogurt, plus extra to serve

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Put the squash in a bowl with a splash of water. Cover with cling film and microwave on high for 10 minutes or until tender. Alternatively, roast in the oven on a medium high heat until tender. Meanwhile, add the onions to the hot oil and cook for a few minutes until soft.
  2. Add the curry paste, tomatoes and coconut milk, and simmer for 10 minutes until thickened to a rich sauce.
  3. Drain any liquid from the squash, then add to the sauce with the lentils, spinach and some seasoning. Simmer for a further 2-3 minutes to wilt the spinach, then stir in the coconut yogurt. Serve with warm naan and a dollop of extra coconut yogurt.

 

Vegan Mac and ‘Cheese’

Vegan mac and 'cheese'

Vegan mac and ‘cheese’

Ingredients:

  • 350 g dried penne or macaroni
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 litre unsweetened organic soya milk
  • 100 g dairy-free margarine
  • 85 g plain flour
  • 1 heaped teaspoon English mustard
  • 1½ tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes (available online or from specialist stores)
  • 50 g vegan cheese – optional (available online or from specialist stores)
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • ½ a bunch of fresh thyme
  • Olive oil
  • 40 g fresh breadcrumbs

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions in a large pan of salted boiling water.
  2. Meanwhile, peel and halve the onion, then place in a small pan over a medium heat with the milk. Slowly bring to the boil, then remove from the heat. Pick out and discard the onion, then set aside. Melt the margarine in another pan over a medium heat, then add the flour, stirring continuously until it forms a roux. Gradually add the warm milk a little at a time, whisking continuously until smooth. Bring to the boil, then simmer for around 10 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in the mustard and nutritional yeast flakes, grate and stir in the vegan cheese (if using), then season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  3. Drain and add the macaroni to the sauce, then toss to coat. Transfer the mixture to an ovenproof baking dish (roughly 20cm x 30cm), then set aside.

Peel and finely slice the garlic, then pick the thyme leaves, discarding the stalks. Add to a medium pan over a medium heat with a splash of oil. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden, then transfer to a food processor with the breadcrumbs and a splash of oil. Blitz until combined and roughly chopped, then sprinkle over the pasta. Place the dish in the hot oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and bubbling. Leave to stand for around 5 minutes, then serve while warm.

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