What is Veganuary?
We’re willing to bet you know exactly what Veganuary is, but for those that enjoy statistics, here’s a recap: Veganuary is an annual event whose purpose is to promote veganism. The idea is that participants start the year by trying out a vegan diet (and lifestyle as far as possible) for the month of January. It began in 2014, and participation has more than doubled each year since. Last year, an incredible 250,000 people took part.
The rise and rise of veganism is great news for the planet, but Veganuary can be daunting for those newly taking the pledge. Vegan eating can be quite a departure from many people’s usual diet; coupled with the welcome but sometimes overwhelming amount of ‘free from’, ‘plant based’ and ‘vegan’ product choices, the whole thing can get a bit, well, confusing!
We’re starting at the beginning with plant-based meat substitutes. If meat usually takes centre-stage on your plate, having an idea of what to use in its place should help ease your transition into veganism. Bonus: there are often additional nutritional benefits!
These are our top 4 favourite vegan ingredients worthy of replacing meat in any dish, without the additives that come with some meat alternatives.
The popularity of jackfruit has exploded in line with the rise of veganism – testament to just how brilliant it is in place of meat. Biona Organic Jackfruit is a great source of fibre and vitamins and is mild with a tender, almost chewy texture – perfect for taking on big flavours.
Drain and rinse and pat dry jackfruit chunks. Chop off the harder core portion and discard and add the remaining chunks to your recipe (e.g. these mouth-watering burgers), either leaving intact or using forks to gently tease apart the flesh-like petals, in the style of pulled pork. Or you could simply heat and serve our ready-to-go Sweet & Smoky, Yellow Thai Curry or Chilli & Lime jackfruit with rice or noodles. Enjoy!
In Place Of:
Pulled pork, chicken and tuna.
2. Banana Blossom
Also known as the ‘banana heart’, banana blossom has been hailed as the next big thing in vegan cookery. It has a naturally neutral flavour and chunky, flaky texture. Like jackfruit, it can be bought fresh but isn’t readily available and can be tricky to prepare. We’ve made it easy with our canned Organic Banana Blossom in Brine.
Simply drain and rinse banana blossoms, then either chop or use whole as your recipe dictates. Banana blossom is ideal tossed in a flour mixture, dipped in a salty batter and fried to replicate battered fish to serve with chips.
In Place Of:
Tempeh is a whole food nutritional powerhouse. It’s made from fermented whole soya beans, is firm in texture and readily adopts the flavours of marinades and sauces. It contains all essential amino acids, which means you can put aside those fears about missing out on protein! It’s also rich in other micronutrients and fibre. Our tempeh is organic and comes in glass jars, which we encourage you to reuse or recycle.
Chop or grate as finely as your recipe requires, marinate or add to sauces and fry or bake. Try doubling up on protein with this Peanut Butter Baked Tempeh or giving your Vegan Bolognese a meaty bite with tempeh.
In Place Of:
Bacon, lamb and mince.
Tofu is made from coagulated soya milk. It’s soft and can be creamy or chewy depending on how its cooked. It has all the nutrition of the soya bean, meaning it packs a protein punch.
Firm tofu should always be placed between paper towels or clean cloths and pressed under weight (such as a chopping board and some cookery books) for a while before cooking. This helps squeeze out the retained liquid so that it can absorb more flavour and take on a firmer bite. Biona Tofu can bring depth to sauces and smoothies or a meaty texture to dishes such as this Tofu and Lupin Salad.
In Place Of:
Have you taken the veg pledge this January? Or are you a full-time vegan already? Let us know your favourite meat alternative over on Social!