Going Vegan: Delectable Dinners

Call it what you will, – dinner, supper, cena, or even tea – the main meal of the day is serious business. Vegan or not, this meal is usually the one that you have time to dedicate to, and it tends to be your most nutritional meal of the day.

When you become vegetarian, the challenge is creating dinners that don’t surround a big hunk of meat. When you go vegan, the question that arises is this: what do I do without the cheese?
It’s far too easy, when vegetarian, to just plug a nutritional gap with cheese. Don’t get me wrong, it’s delicious, and a very filling way to eat, but that choice is taken away from you when you turn plant-based. So what to do?
Well, first off, stop thinking of meals as having to have a star player. The foods on your plate should work together as a team to provide you with a balanced meal and a whole spectrum of nutrition. Also, as you’ve got a little more time and effort to put into dinner, try to actually think about what your body needs to get from this meal. Have you been tired lately? Are you fighting off a cold? Are you heading to the gym in a few hours and need a bit of a a perk up after work?
Dinner can deal with all these issues and more!
Here are a few tips and tricks to help you have a delicious, satisfying vegan dinner time as well as one that can provide you with all the nutrients you need!:
  • Put ground almonds or almond meal into pasta sauces or vegan bolognese; you won’t notice the flavour and the texture will just blend in, but the almonds help to bring cholesterol down!
  • Protein doesn’t always have to come from tofu; quinoa has a great protein profile and, when combined with beans, provides a very available whole protein.
  • Add dark leafy greens to meals where possible, even as a side. These are rich in iron and calcium, and spicy oven-cooked kale chips taste absolutely delicious.
  • Staples will always be staples, but play around with the type; try buckwheat noodles, wholewheat couscous and a mix of quinoa and rice in place of white noodles, white couscous and white rice. Your body will thank you!
  • Don’t give up on creamy dishes; blended soft tofu can take the place of cream in dishes like pasta alfredo.
  • Add chopped avocado into any mixed vegetables. These have good fats and more potassium than bananas.
  • Soups are a great way to stave off colds; fill them with lots of vegetables, lots of herbs and lots of spices so they can boost your immune system!
  • Beans, beans and more beans; you will never get enough.
  • Be aware that tiredness can indicate iron deficiency. If you’re feeling lethargic, try adding cooked soybeans, lentils, spinach, tomato paste or pumpkin seeds to your meal!
  • Try new one recipe at least once a week. There are a wealth of vegan cookbooks and websites out there!
  • Don’t forget the classics; lentil curry is a vegan classic for a reason!

Too often, we forget that foods make our bodies run properly and literally nourish us! Make sure that your vegan dinners are as nutritious as they are delicious; and below are a few recipes to get you on your way.

Happy eating, herbies!

Heather

 

@2014 Hillary Sapulveda

kt 08/14

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