These easy vegan recipes can help you eat more sustainably Leave a comment


Try out a egg-free gooey cake and a plant-based noodle dish (Picture: Izzy Croker)

Since COP26, the climate crisis is a hot topic of conversation around the nation’s dining tables.

Whether eating out at a swanky restaurant, enjoying a family meal with the kids at home or cooking a convivial supper for pals, we’re all keen to discuss how to do our bit to help save the planet.

Around the home, having awareness about the food we put on our plates is just as important as reducing plastic, recycling waste and cutting down on our carbon emissions.

Food writer, cook and stylist Anna Jones is on a one-woman mission to help build that awareness.

The vegetarian chef, already has a cult following in the culinary world, and if you’ve been converted to eating less meat, chances are Anna, or one of her delicious dishes, is responsible.

Now she is saving the planet, one pan at a time, with her quick and easy meat-free one-pot recipes that not only cut down on cooking time but also the washing up.

Anna has come up with a whole book of simple sustainable recipes

One Pot, Pan, Planet reveals a way of eating that is mindful of the environment and climate crisis by also reducing waste with the help of handy recipe veg swaps to make sure you use up everything in your fridge.

So it’s a book that’s good for you, the planet – and your pocket.

Anna says: ‘We are at a turning point, in a moment of crisis and great opportunity. The events of 2020 have proven that collective action can lead to radical change. And I hope that we can move forward armed with the knowledge that a different world is really possible.

‘This is a chance to be part of the urgent shift that needs to happen, especially helping to slow climate change.

One pot dishes means less washing up

‘However, all the information on what we do as individuals can feel overwhelming.
I think it is important to focus on one manageable step at a time.

‘We make 35,000 decisions a day – that’s a lot of potential for making a change. What we need of course is a systematic change in our food system, led by our governments. But each small choice we make matters and it’s up to us to make different choices.

‘Our food system has the single biggest impact on the climate. It affects every inch of our planet and every creature on it.

‘If we want to help slow and one day hopefully begin to reverse climate change, it’s widely agreed that the most powerful thing we can do is eat fewer animals and more plants. For you, that might mean one meal a day without meat, or fine-tuning your vegan diet… start from where you are and don’t look back. Change comes from what we do next.’

Here, Anna shares delicious vegan recipes as sustainable as they are stylish.

Chocolate & muscovado fudge cake

This gooey cake is made with oil instead of butter (Picture: Issy Croker)

This dense, gooey (and incidentally vegan) chocolate cake made with coconut oil is as much of a hit with my two year-old as it is with my vegan brother.

It was passed on to me by a kind American friend, hence oil rather than butter in the batter. It is such an easy cake to make: no creaming, no sifting.

Be sure to use a tight-fitting cake tin, as the batter is quite wet and will run out if there are any gaps.

Serves 10

For the icing

  • 100g olive, coconut or vegetable oil
  • 65g dark muscovado sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 200g dark chocolate, finely chopped

For the cake

  • 200g plain/light spelt flour
  • 1½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 250g dark muscovado sugar
  • 75g olive, coconut or vegetable oil plus extra for greasing
  • 1½ teaspoons vinegar (I use cider vinegar)

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Grease a 20cm round springform cake tin with oil and line the base with baking paper.
  2. Put all icing ingredients except the chocolate into a saucepan with 60ml cold water. Heat until everything is melted, making sure the mixture doesn’t boil, turn off the heat, add the chocolate and leave to sit. After about a minute, the chocolate should have melted. Whisk until you have a thick icing and set aside. It should be cool by the time the cake has baked and cooled.
  3. For the cake, whisk the flour, bicarbonate of soda, a good pinch of sea salt and the cocoa together in a bowl. Make sure there are no lumps of bicarb.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, 375ml of just-boiled water, the oil and vinegar. Stir the mixture into the dry ingredients, then pour into the prepared tin (it will be quite a wet batter). Bake for 30-40 minutes.
  5. When ready, the cake should have pulled away from the edges of the tin and a skewer inserted into the centre will come out clean. Cool for 30 minutes in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Spoon over the icing and decorate as you like. Try grated chocolate, chopped stem ginger or flakes of sea salt.

Asparagus & lemon sauté with maple seeds

This quick noodle dish will make a great mid-week meal (Picture: Issy Croker)

Serves four

This recipe was a happy accident when I ordered ten bunches of asparagus from the greengrocer instead of two. It’s one to make in prime asparagus season.

I also make it in winter with purple-sprouting broccoli.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • A good pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • The zest and juice of an unwaxed lemon
  • 2 x 400g bunches of asparagus
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 heads of greens or 200g sugar snap peas
  • 4 nests of egg or rice noodles, cooked

For the sauce

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup plus 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • A pinch of dried chilli flakes

Method

  1. For the brittle, toast both types of seeds in a dry frying pan until they start to give off their aroma. Once toasted, add 3 tablespoons of maple syrup, a good pinch of salt and the chilli flakes and cook for another minute, until the syrup begins to bubble up around the seeds and thicken (but not darken).
  2. Take off the heat and transfer to a plate lined with baking paper, sprinkle over the lemon zest and leave to set.
  3. Mix the sauce ingredients together in a bowl with a tablespoon of water and put to one side.
  4. Cut off the asparagus tips and set aside, then cut the stalks into 5cm pieces on the diagonal up to the last 3cm from the base. Discard these end pieces or keep in the freezer for vegetable stock.
  5. Wipe out the frying pan with kitchen paper and put it back on a high heat. Once it’s very hot, add the teaspoon of sesame oil, the asparagus tips and stalks and the greens or sugar snaps and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the edges char and the asparagus softens slightly. Pour in the sauce and add the noodles and cook for a further minute.
  6. Roughly chop the brittle and serve the noodles with the maple seed brittle on top, and quarters of the lemon for squeezing over.

One Pot, Pan, Planet by Anna Jones (4th Estate), £26, is available to buy now.

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