January marks one of the most exciting events of the year for us here at AARVEN - Veganuary! With the majority of our team being plant-based or vegan and all of us enjoying delicious vegan meals together, we're very passionate about sharing the joys of vegan cooking (and eating) with everyone we meet and Veganuary is the perfect opportunity to do so! But what is Veganuary, you may ask? To put it simply, Veganuary is a worldwide charity challenge that asks people to give veganism a go for the whole month of January. Over 629,000 people took part last year and those numbers just keep growing! If you're curious about veganism, hoping to transition to a fully plant-based lifestyle or just want to see what all the fuss is about, we think Veganuary is for you. In fact, I have been vegan for around 6 years now and first started my journey by completing Veganuary. To learn more or to take part in the Veganuary challenge, visit their website here. Already taking part and looking for some delicious, vegan recipes? Leona and Amy are here to share their tried and trusted vegan faves with you...
LEONA'S FAVOURITE: VEGAN TOFU LABABDAR
This rich, flavourful sauce made with tomato, cashew, ginger & garlic pairs perfectly with one of my favourite ingredients - tofu! If you don't like tofu, you can also easily use chickpeas, tempeh or other plant-based meat alternatives. This North Indian inspired dish is similar to the traditional curry house favourite 'butter' sauce, but lighter and more punchy in flavour!
- 400g firm tofu, cubed
- 420g diced tomatoes
- 30g raw cashews
- 1 inch ginger
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 whole clove
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 to 1 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar or sweetener
- 2 green chillis, chopped
- 230 ml water
- 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
Press the tofu whilst you prep the rest of the ingredients.
Heat oil in a pan. Add cubed tofu and cook until golden on all sides. This should take around 5 to 10 mins. Stir occasionally.
Combine tomatoes, cashews, ginger, garlic and spices in a saucepan over medium heat with 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 mins. Cool slightly and then blend.
Heat 1 tsp oil in a skillet. Add bay leaves, onion and pinch of salt. Cook until onion is golden.
Add the spices and mix in. Add the blended tomato mixture and cook for 10 mins or until it thickens.
Add water, green chilies, salt and sugar and mix in. Add the fried tofu, mix in and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 mins.
Add half of the fenugreek leaves and mix in.
Take off heat and let sit for 5 mins. Garnish however you like (I use coriander)
Serve with flatbreads, rice or vegan naan & enjoy!
AMY'S FAVOURITE: BRUSSEL SPROUTS & TOFU
This dish is on constant rotation in our home whilst sprouts are in season! Sure to convert sprout and even tofu haters in lovers, this dish is packed full of flavour. We enjoy is served with some steamed rice or as a side dish to virtually any meal. Don't forget to char the sprouts for ultimate flavour and texture.
- 150g firm tofu
- 2 tbsp chilli sauce
- 1½ tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 500g brussels sprouts
- 180ml sunflower oil
- Pinch of salt
- 100g spring onion, sliced
- ½ small chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- 120g shiitake mushrooms, halved
- 15g picked coriander leaves
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- Start by marinating the tofu. In a bowl, whisk together the chilli sauce, soy, two tablespoons of sesame oil, vinegar and syrup. Cut the tofu block into 0.5cm thick slices. Gently lay in the marinade and set aside.
- Trim the bases off the sprouts and cut each lengthways into three thick slices. Take a large, nonstick pan, and in it heat up four tablespoons of sunflower oil.
- Add half the sprouts and a little salt, and cook on high heat for two minutes. Don't stir much - you want them to char in a few places and cook through but remain crunchy. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with the rest of the sprouts.
- Add two more tablespoons of oil to the pan, heat up and sauté the onion, chilli and mushrooms for a minute or two. Transfer to the sprout bowl.
- Leave the pan on high heat and, using a pair of tongs, lift half the tofu from the marinade and gently lay in the pan, spaced apart and in one layer. Lower the heat to medium and cook for two minutes on each side until nicely caramelised. Transfer to the sprout bowl and repeat with the rest of the tofu.
- Once all the tofu is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and return all the cooked ingredients to it. Add the tofu marinade and half the coriander. Toss together and allow to cool slightly in the pan. Taste and add salt if needed. Stir in the remaining sesame oil (extra, if you like) and serve warm, not hot, garnished with sesame seeds and the rest of the coriander.