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PLANTS ON OUR PLATES: lots more to come!

Updated: 2 days ago

<<Thanks for your fantastic support and ideas in our first four-week feast of Veganuary information! It's given us a lift at the start of 2024: boosting our health, helping tackle climate breakdown, and discovering new tasty plant-based approaches to food and drinks. Best of all has been so many money-saving tips! So much info was sent, we're creating these all-year-round food pages - and we'll keep adding updates throughout 2024.>>


Highlights and recent additions:

  • EATING IN: yummy recipes from Planet Action Street Arts

  • BARGAIN OPTIONS: try out Anna's Spag Bol for 51p per portion. Can you conjure up an even lower-cost meal?

  • EATING OUT UPDATES: New vegan sushi cafe Veganatomy opens (see supporter thumbs up, below).

  • FAQS: nutrition guides and advice - feel great as well as guilt-free! JUST ADDED: starting the switch to non-dairy milks - your tips and questions welcome. Link here.



Coming soon:

  • Visit the cafe that's been pioneering "green cuisine" since the 1970s!

  • Preview of Tyneside Vegan & Music Festival 2024

Meet plant food fans who're changing minds and palates!

  • ? Did you know? Veganuary was started by a couple who live in York: report here.

  • vegan foodie Yasmin shares her journey of vegan discovery (her first 2024 cookery demo is on 16 Feb in Jesmond. Info here, or email Laylas Kitchen.

  • amazing Anna volunteers to share with schoolkids and shoppers all she's learnt over 40 years since turning away from meat and fish.

More green foodie profiles to come - let us know if you'd like to nominate other heroes helping this win-win-win trend, boosting health, reducing carbon emissions and protecting animal welfare.


EATING OUT

  • Super Natural cafe: late openings and special menu items during Veganuary

  • Earthlings cafe is offering Thali nights Fri, Sat and Sun throughout Veganuary - book here.

  • Vegano: "minimalist vibe offering Italian-inspired" cuisine

  • Veganatomy: opened mid January 2024 - vegan sushi. CAN supporter Dora's review on Day 1: "It's fab food and friendly"


EATING IN: supporters and our expert panel share their tips


WHERE TO SHOP

When time or pennies are tight - combining home cooking with supermarket vegan bargains is getting easier all the time

  • Lidl: growing range of vegan products - check here 🌿 low-cost vegan

  • Morrisons, Aldi: most supermarkets have Veganuary offers, these two have been mentioned by quite a few people🌿 low-cost vegan

  • Alternative Stores: pioneering independent store run by vegan family - not easy to compete with supermarket prices but big range, great for advice, also delivers.

Advice on non-dairy milk options (plus cheese and egg substitutes) are being added to our FAQs later this week. But if you plan to experiment away from diary this Veganuary, here's an initial tip we've been given. Simply:

  • buy the cheapest non-dairy milk you find - if you like it, you're sorted! But if not keep working through the other lower priced offers first.

  • try it out with cereals, porridge or hot chocolate (the switch in tea is often the hardest, so stick with dairy where you prefer it)


HOME BAKING

Forget the stereotype that vegan food prep takes more time or costs more.

  • Batch cooking: Anna estimates it's not hard to make meal portions for about 50p - a few portions for the freezer plus some eaten fresh saves time and money.

  • "Veganise" your favourite meals: all our "seasoned vegan advisers" stress how easy it is now to adapt previous meaty/fishy favourites - we'll be adding some of their favourites in Week 4 and welcome your challenges or questions!

  • Box schemes: here's a great Supporter Tip from Mark.

"I found food box schemes great as a start-off point; they make it easy to switch because they offer convenience and introduce new recipes and ideas without too much effort. They also avoid food waste, which is a bonus, and mostly avoid the ultra-processed foods that are marketed heavily in Veganuary but are mostly unhealthy and filled with artificial and chemical-based foods. 

  • The greatest one I’ve found, wholly focused on plant-based food, is Grubby (pictured). As with most of the box schemes, it can be quite expensive at full price but there are usually introductory offers. I used it for a couple of months; if you're organised, motivated and have the time, you can use the inspiration to then move away from the box scheme, keep some of your fave recipes and do your own shop/food plan. 

  • Gousto: I've used this on and off, they allow you to filter meals to be 'plant based', 'vegetarian' or 'vegan', which can be really useful. 

Moving on from the meal box schemes, I then opted to use the convenience of just getting a veg box delivered. These are what I call an 'upgrade' from the meal kits, because they enabled me to get better quality produce (organic), where possible, local. They also cut out all (or most) of the plastic waste and packaging, which is a bonus.

  • I’ve used Hexhamshire Organics (pictured), which is fab because its also local and you can customise your box with different seasonal fruit and veg.

  • I do also use Abel & Cole, mainly for the flexibility it offers to add other organic produce to the order (e.g. soya milk), and their app is very easy to use. It delivers on a set day, for me a Friday, which is very convenient. 




RECIPE SUGGESTIONS - shared by Climate Action Newcastle supporters (including these delicious ideas from Planet Action Street Arts

Email climatenewcastle@gmail.com if you'd like full recipes where not supplied below.


WILD GARLIC [category - 🌿 lowest-cost vegan dish, 🍄 yummiest snack or recipe]

Money-saver bonus: wild garlic is plentiful in parts of Tyneside and self-propagates well (as long we cut the leaves and ensure the bulb isn't disturbed). This guide has 10 recipes plus pictures so you spot the wild garlic easily. A nutritious scavenging soup uses nettles as well as wild garlic; and the favourite of the supporter who nominated this is pesto made from wild garlic - delicious! Link here.


PUMPKIN RISOTTO [category - 🌿 lowest-cost vegan dish] Good value if you combine a carved pumpkin face with cooking the discarded innards. Veganise this risotto by using vegan parmesan (such as Sainsbury nurishh). Link here.


DELIA'S CARROT AND ARTICHOKE SOUP [category - 🌿 lowest-cost vegan dish]

Money-saver bonus is due to Jerusalem artichokes self-propagating with great enthusiasm! - so after initial planting, they become "free food".

Ingredients (for 4): 1 lb carrot; 1.5 lbs artichokes; 3 celery stalks; oil/vegan butter; stock; (optional garnish) parsley, oat cream/milk

Recipe: here. (Replace creme fraiche, butter with vegan alternatives)

***The same low-cost "free food" bonus adds to the attraction of Pumpkin and Jerusalem Artichoke Soup (with a dash of Clementine Cream - veganise by using oatmeal cream) - link here.


SHEPHERD'S PIE [category - 🍄 yummiest snack or recipe]

Ingredients - topping (for 4): 3 potatoes; handful frozen peas; vegan butter; 2 spring onions. 1fl oz oatmilk; pinch paprika; (optional) 3oz vegan cheddar

Ingredients - filling (for 4): 1 tbsp olive oil; ½ red onion; 1 garlic clove; 2 carrots; 1 celery stalk; 400g/14oz canned plum tomatoes; few drops Tabasco; pinch paprika; 1 fresh bay leaf; 3fl oz red wine (check vegan origin); vegetable stock; 1 sprig fresh rosemary; splash balsamic vinegar; handful fresh flatleaf parsley; 400g/14oz canned Puy lentils; freshly ground

Recipe: here (above ingredients versioned for Veganuary) - supplied by local Sophie Dahl fan


VEGAN SPAG BOL: [category - 🌿 lowest-cost vegan dish]

3 portions 69p each (or 72p with herbs); if stretch to 4 portions, 51p each (54p with herbs).

Ingredients: 1 onion (12p), mixed herbs (maybe 5p, unless need new tub), bay leaf (ditto), 1 tin lentils (60p), 2 tins chopped toms (70p), handful mushrooms (around 40p), spaghetti (25p) 

Recipe: Chop onion and dry fry (splash of water, keep close eye on it) or fry in oil. Then gradually (stirring between each) add in chopped mushrooms, tinned toms, drained lentils., a teaspoon of herbs, bay leaf, and leave to cook through. Cook spag according to instructions. Drain, then serve sauce either on top or stirred through (remove bay leaf). 

Swaps to add variety: soya mince or plant mince for lentils; add in celery (chopped), or black olives or courgettes; swap herbs for chilli to make it an arrabiata; tinned lentils can be swapped with dried ones (considerably cheaper). This is full of protein, vitamins and antioxidants.

 

DESSERTS [category - 🌿 lowest-cost vegan dish] Money-saver bonus: grow rhubarb, gooseberries, redcurrants, blackberries for great nutrition and low-cost fruit for breakfast or desserts. Examples: Gooseberry Fool; Rhubarb Meringue (using aquafaba - from a chickpea can - rather than egg white); Mulled Plums with Vegan Custard.


CREATIVE COOKING GONE WILD! - fancy a left-field imaginative blend of surfing vibe and vegan pioneer chef? "Bravocados Vegan Cook Book" is part-biog, 100% inventive! Includes "Fysh and Chips", "Carrot Lox Bagel", "Cauli Steak Dinner", "Tofu Eggs & Brine." Some spicy language on the side. Author: Dave Thielmann. Can be ordered online here.


VEGANUARY BACKGROUND:

Veganuary has helped huge numbers of people learn about the wealth of knowledge and options we now have. We're lucky that it can now be easier and cheaper to reduce the carbon footprint of our meal choices. Lots more background here.

  • report here on our neighbours just down the road in York who started it!

  • plus interview here by Anna with the organisation that runs it every year.


MORE USEFUL LINKS

  • For in-depth nutrition advice: try this Animal Aid website support or the Vegan Society's guide

  • How to gradually improve your lower carbon diet successfully: it's one thing to be convinced by the facts; it's quite another to achieve change in practice! Here's several useful ways to plan: Viva's guide and one from the Vegan Society, here.

  • Science insight into why plant-based protein is healthier for us: a local international athlete recommended this documentary - it transformed his understanding of how the body absorbs protein and totally changed his assumption that meat was the best source - he changed to plant-based sources after watching it. Netflix "The Game Changers"

  • The Vegan Society's free VeGuide app for anyone wanting to try vegan for 30 days.

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