How to “veganise” your meals

Here we are in January, or what has become known as ‘Veganuary’, again. The alternative name for this month has enjoyed some highs and lows in its relatively short time. This year there will once again be a significant number of people who use the passing of another year and the start of a new year to focus more on healthier food. For most that means less processed and more real food and as a nutritionist I am all for that. If you’re not plant-based but want to introduce more plant-based foods as part of your new year health kick then the transition from old habits and ways of eating to new can be difficult without a few tips and “hacks”. To get you started here are some suggestions to make the transition to more plant-based living without having to make compromises.


PANCAKES: If you love your pancakes in the morning, fear not. Pancakes can easily be made without eggs. In fact, there are many egg alternatives. When replacing eggs in a standard pancake recipes it is recommended that you opt for recipes with 1-2 eggs only as replacing 3-4 eggs with plant-based alternatives can be hard.

Replace 1 – 2 eggs with one of the following:

1 – 2 tablespoons of chia seeds mixed with 3-6 tablespoons of warm water

1 – 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed mixed with 3 to 6 tablespoons of warm water 

Half to a full-size banana

90-180g of apple purée

OATS: Oats are great start to the day and overnight oats, or porridge made with plant-based milk are simple to prepare. If you’re used to sweetening with honey, then this can be replaced with maple syrup and of course yogurt can be replaced with a plant-based yoghurt made from coconut or almond milk.

TOAST: Not sure what to have on toast? Your plant-based options are numerous. From any number of nut butters including peanut, almond, cashew, walnut, hazelnut, to smashed avocado with seeds on top. Add some spice or some heat if you like, chilli salt is a wonderful topping.

SMOOTHIES: If you’re used to a morning smoothie then make sure that you include some form of plant-based protein to keep your blood sugars balanced. Nut butters, ground seeds or plant-based protein powders such as hemp, pea or rice are ideal.


SANDWICHES: If you’re used to having a sandwich at lunchtime, there are so many fantastic plant-based sandwich fillings. Whether you love hummus and want to combine that with some chopped peppers, cucumber, grated carrot or perhaps some nut butter, avocado or falafel with some salad and a dressing. Roasted Mediterranean vegetables and roasted root vegetables can provide great moisture and texture as plant-based sandwich fillings as well. If you love salty, umami tastes then look for sun-dried tomatoes and olives or tapenade as additional flavour providers.

SALADS: Where salads are concerned, think beyond the rather plain and uninspired combination of salad leaves, tomatoes, and cucumber. Look towards more substantial ingredients such as quinoa, buckwheat, lentils, chickpeas, and nuts and seeds. Combine these with some fresh salad vegetables and then use a dressing based on olive oil with an additional vinegar, some citrus and some fresh herbs.

SOUPS: Any number of more hearty soups using root vegetables for texture and flavour to lighter soups such as summer vegetable or gazpacho can make delicious plant-based lunches. Don’t forget about combining plant-based proteins such as chickpeas and rice or using noodles in a tofu based Asian style broth to keep your energy levels constant.

Evening meal

VEGETABLES AS A MAIN COURSE: Evening meals are sometimes where people can get stuck but try to think of celebrating your main vegetables as part of your evening meal. Whether you are having a butternut squash dal, a sweet potato topped shepherd’s pie using puy lentils in place of meat, or whether you are having a vegan cauliflower cheese using cashew cheese in place of dairy. 

COMFORTING CURRIES: Thick and creamy, comfort food curries can be made with coconut milk and plenty of flavour can be added using garlic, ginger, and soy sauce.

STEWS AND CASSEROLES: Rich, warming and comforting stews and casseroles can be made by combining pulses with quinoa or buckwheat and adding texture with a topping of oats, nuts and seeds combine with lemon zest, garlic and chopped parsley. 

There are so many plant-based alternatives to standard breakfasts and lunches and evening meals, you won’t lack variety. Remember a few key concepts and you’ll find an abundance of plant-based options available:

  • Combine nuts/seeds with legumes, legumes with grains or grains with nuts/seeds
  • Always consume some plant-based protein at mealtimes
  • Look to layer flavour and texture

Leave a Comment