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Veganuary Tips: 5 Chefs Reveal the Best Ways To Go Plant-Based This Month

Doing Veganuary this January? You’re not alone: every year, the campaign – which first launched a decade ago – sees hundreds of thousands of people around the world going vegan for the whole month. And if you need Veganuary tips, you’ve come to the right place.


Vogue Arabia, January 2020. Photo: Yulia Gorbachenko

Indeed, a growing number have decided to go fully plant-based in recent years, amid increasing environmental and ethical concerns around eating meat, fish and dairy. The meat and dairy industry alone is responsible for an estimated 14.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United Nations. Meanwhile, a 2016 study found that food-related emissions could be slashed by up to 70 per cent by 2050 if everyone across the globe went vegan.

Happily, a new wave of plant-based chefs and cooks are leading the way when it comes to creating delicious vegan meals that are less harmful to the planet. Read on for their top Veganuary tips below.

Rachel Ama, author of One Pot: Three Ways

Rachel Ama is full of Veganuary tips. Number 1: “Veganize your favorite recipes! This helps you get creative and have fun with flavors you already love. For example, with your go-to curry, keep the same spices and base of onions, garlic, maybe ginger, but instead of adding meat, swap it for things like jackfruit, cauliflower, butterbeans or sweet potatoes. There are so many vegetables to pick from and you can even throw in a meat substitute.

“Cook in bulk to save time and take the stress off. There is nothing better than coming home from a long day of work knowing your dinner is already made – and all you have to do is heat it up and add some fresh vibrant sides to it.

“For your daily ‘essentials’ swap cows’ milk for a nut or oat milk. There are lots of vegan-friendly butters in the supermarket, or get a quality extra virgin olive oil. [Choose] agave or maple syrup instead of honey. Tofu, tempeh, edamame, lentils and legumes are great sauces of protein. Swap a dairy yoghurt for soy, cashew, almond or, my favourite, coconut. There are lots of vegan-friendly protein powders available too.”

Alexis Gauthier, chef patron of Gauthier Soho

“I would begin by sticking to meals which are almost vegan anyway. Pasta with tomato and basil, ratatouille, dhal, Mexican bean chilli – things like that. We are lucky enough now to have thousands of products to choose from. I’d try plant-based sausages or maybe a Beyond Burger as they have been really refined. Really, there has never been a better time to go vegan.”

Anna Jones, author of One: Pot, Pan, Planet

One of the easiest Veganuary tips out there? “Treat vegetables like meat: lots are much better when put on the grill, [with] a bit of char and smoke. Season properly – add salt in stages, and keep tasting as you go. Meanwhile, fresh herbs, such as chopped parsley or dill, can enhance plant-based dishes. Remember umami, too – the deep savoriness that you get from things like sundried tomatoes and miso.”

Sophie Gordon, author of The Whole Vegetable

“One-pot recipes are always easy to do and usually very nutrient rich. Have a look at what produce is at its best around this time of year: lots of root vegetables, dark leafy greens and citrus. Flick through your favourite cookbooks, or look on Instagram, you’ll find so many recipes out there. My go-tos are things like dhal and curries, stews or pastas. Hearty food for this time of the year and very easy to make. Don’t over-complicate things [at the start], but perhaps have a recipe in mind that might involve a bit more work and make it at the weekend.

“A few of my favorite ingredients to have are lentils and dried pulses, nuts, seeds and tahini, which will be your new best friend. Perfect for salad dressings and to add depth to stews, nutritional yeast is a great alternative to something cheesy and can be easily sourced these days.”

Tomi Makanjuola, author of Vegan Nigerian Kitchen

“If you’re going vegan this month, I encourage you to modify the foods you already know and love. There’s a vegan version of everything – from pizza to curries, cakes and soups. Eat what you enjoy and you’ll never be bored. This is also a great opportunity to try foods from different cultures as many of them are naturally plant-friendly. Nigerian cuisine, for example, has some winning dishes such as jollof rice, okra stew, stewed beans and more.

“It’s important to get clued up on nutrition. Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, wholegrains and healthy fats to ensure you are meeting your dietary needs and getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals. Taking part in Veganuary will no doubt give you an amazing head start, but don’t be afraid to take things slowly going forward. It takes time to adjust to a huge lifestyle change. If it helps, stick to simple and accessible recipes, plan ahead with meal prep and stock up on convenient, healthy vegan snacks, so that you’re never stuck on what to eat.”

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