Being a busy bee, I have many hobbies and passions, from climbing trees, yoga, biking, to tarot reading, watercolor, poetry. Some of these interests are showcased more on a regular basis. Cooking is one of them. I get to display this three times a day, seven days a week (usually). I not only get to show my passion for cooking, but I incorporate it with my passion for the environment and veganism. Making the switch from a healthy diet to an even healthier one through veganism, I needed to update my recipe collection and find new ideas for my meals. Switching to a plant-based lifestyle can be intimidating for some people, and even if you have made the switch a while ago, finding recipes and cooking your own meals can be frustrating and a challenge. Thankfully, I have some tips on how to master the art of plant-based cooking!
Becoming a Vegan, you become more conscious and familiar with the foods you buy, checking the label to see if the ingredients are vegan friendly, and finding alternative options to some of your favorite meals. Foreign plant-based substitutes become your best friend. You can find cashew based cheese and temph bacon in stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. While cashew based cheese tastes pretty darn good, these items are not cheap. Instead of spending your whole food budget on these splurges, you can get more bang for your buck by buying basic the ingredients such as tofu, beans and lentils, and making your own recipes. It saves you a lot of money compared to buying a pre-made meal. Also, you’re limiting your impact on the environment thanks to the minimal package waste you would have produced.
While I was avid amateur chef before switching to Veganism, there was a time where I hated cooking. As a child, I never wanted to help make dinner. This developed into my teenage years as well, and it wasn’t until college when I lived by myself that I finally started cooking. My years of hating cooking were replaced by a new-found joy. I realized that the reason that I hated cooking was because I felt that I was no good at it. When I started cooking for myself, my culinary skills were minimal at best. What does julienne mean? What if I don’t have adobe powder? Will it still taste good? There was so much I had to learn. I started with simple recipes that called for either minimal or common ingredients. As I continued to make meals, I picked up on some of the cooking terminology and my chef skills improved. Starting off with basic and minimal ingredients eased some of the intimidation that cooking meals can sometimes bring. A tasty meal doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, my simple meals are often the most tasty. Even though I am at the point now of creating my own recipes and challenging my culinary abilities, a simple stir fry with garlic, grapeseed oil, and salt and pepper still does the trick.
Due to Veganism’s rise in popularity, there are now more vegan recipes then there ever was before. Vegan cookbooks and blogs are easily available, and there is more than one variation to a recipe. Once you have become more confident in cooking plant-based, branch out and sharpen your skills. Try a more complicated recipe, experiment, and be creative. Every once in a while, when I am in the mood for a specific recipe, say Saag Paneer, I will search my Pinterest and find multiple recipes. I take bits and pieces from each one, and concoct my own version. Also, thanks to trying new recipes, I have learned what ingredients pair nicely with one another, and have used this to come up with my own recipes. Once you’ve learned the basics, it’s all about testing your skills and experimenting.
To help spread the message of the peace and joy of plant-based cooking, I frequently post my own vegan recipes. Located in the Vegan Recipes Tab, I share my yummy experiments. They use simple ingredients and take the complication out of vegan meals. There is also my Pinterest, in which I have many boards dedicated to Vegan meals I hope to make. So what are you waiting for? Begin your journey with plant-based cooking today!