Hello! I don’t know about you, but every time I walk down a high-street right now I spot an A-board from a café or restaurant advertising their new vegan menus. I’m basically tripping over them. And let me tell you, literally tripping over new vegan food options is EXACTLY where I want to be. Thank you 2018, amongst the various political dumpster fires, your vegan food is dope!
I am not sure if you spotted it, but last week there was a story on the news about how undercover investigators from Animal Equality went to an English farm to capture evidence of pigs being violently beaten and abused. I couldn’t bring myself to watch the accompanying video but the description alone was harrowing. Stories like this are the fuel in my furnace when it comes to veganism. They are the reason why I went vegan and inspire me to advocate for veganism and vegetarianism and flexitarianism and reducetarianism with fire (and tasty vegan food) in my belly and love in my heart.
If you were thinking of trying to eat less meat but have concerns that it is really difficult (an argument I overhear a lot) or that “eating out is a nightmare” then this blog-post is for you! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you rely on a food-bank, are struggling financially, live in a food desert, have medical conditions, etc then going vegan may not be possible or desirable. This is encapsulated within the Vegan Society’s definition of veganism being a “way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of and cruelty to animals”.
However, if *shakes magic 8 ball* all signs point to you being able to embrace more vegan and veggie options then the fact that there are SO many more vegan options on the UK high street is rad!
Here are some of the meals that I’ve eaten out and about lately and would recommend to YOU:
“Vegan Meatless Meatballs” is possibly one of the least elegant names for a dish, but don’t let that put you off! These ‘balls are made with aubergine, black olive & rosemary and served in a tomato sauce with a droolsome vegan garlic aioli on a bed of rice. They were a perfect lunch size for me, more delicious than I was expecting and part of Leon’s pretty exciting vegan menu which includes a plant burger, wraps, waffle fries and a bunch of other salad boxes. Leon also have big jugs of free tap water which make me happy.
The Real Greek
I love that the vegan menu at The Real Greek talks about how “The Greek vegan tradition is centuries old – the first philosopher to create a lasting vegan diet is Pythagoras around 550 BCE” because the library is always open and it’s good to learn AND eat. The menu also features cold meze and hot meze items, souvlaki wraps, sides and desserts. I tried the jackfruit stifado and the dolmades (with a side of chips because, duh chips!) and the stifado was tender, nicely spiced and light. I am always a fan of omni-places having a well-thought out vegan menu as it makes going out with a group of pals/family so much smoother.
As you’ve probably seen Wags have rolled out their new vegan menu. Whilst some of their main menu dishes were already veg-friendly, they’ve expanded their vegan and vegetarian horizons and re-worked a few wagamama classics too. They say they “explored possibilities, became inspired” and “created dishes specifically with the vegan palette in mind”. The roll-out of the legendary ‘Vegatsu’ has been genuinely exciting! Seitan coated in crispy panko breadcrumbs, covered in an aromatic curry sauce with sticky white rice and a seasoned side salad – I have to stress that the vegatsu serving size is almost monstrously huge, and my seitan could have been a little crisper, but this was a tasty plate of food and it’s great that its available beyond London. Another star of the vegan menu is the mixed mushrooms and panko aubergine hirata steamed buns – fluffy, crisp, moreish, delicious – let me at ‘em!
Sitting in the sunshine with pals and eating Cauliflower Orecchiette – Cauliflower, baby spinach, chilli, caper, turmeric, garlic & herb breadcrumbs, orecchiette pasta – recently gave me lots of La Dolce Vita vibes. Not least because I can’t get enough of capers at the moment, breadcrumbs are always my friend and my huge bowl of pasta was accompanied by a delicious iced latte. Bliss. Carluccio’s menu also has Tomato Bruschetta, Gemelli alla Primavera, a black rice salad, stuffed courgettes and sorbet for vegans.
If you follow me on my new-ish vegan-Instagram account All Good All Vegan you’re probably already aware that I’m a huge Itsu-fan. But indulge me please as I talk you through some of my highlights from their menu… can I get a ‘heck yeah!’ for the seed-studded deliciousness that is the Veggie Dragon Roll? Can I get a ‘heck yeah!!’ for the silkiest tofu and the creamiest broth in the Thai Coconut Veggie Soup? Can I get a ‘heck yeah!!!’ for the surprisingly opulent-tasting Humble Warrior salad box? Add some soy sauce to the medley of quinoa & sweet potato falafel, avocado, seed, salad, sushi rice and that gorgeous low fat green herb dressing and you’re set! I tend to make a packed lunch four days a week and splurge on a Friday and it’s pretty much ALWAYS an Itsu treat lunch which calls my name.
I am so into the Tofu Katsu Curry at YO! Sushi I can’t begin to tell you. But I will try, for the sake of this blog-post. I know I know, I’m so good to you! Crispy tofu with mild curry sauce, spring onions and steamed rice. You can buy it in ‘Sumo’ size for £9.50 and this has to be one of my favourite ways to spend a tenner. I never knew before I went vegan that tofu could taste good but oh, mate! The tofu is so soft and silky, the coating so crisp and crunchy and the curry sauce I could drink by the litre. Absolutely top-class!
This doesn’t even touch on the tasty munch I’ve eaten at Zizzi, Nandos, Pizza Express, Gourmet Burger Kitchen or the news that KFC is planning on selling vegetarian chicken later this year – eeeeek! Eating out as vegan is getting easier all the time, just as supermarkets continue to sell new and exciting vegan products things all the dang time – word!
In case you did watch the Animal Equality video and need a reason to smile, THIS is the video that finally helped me become veggie and is absolutely ADORABLE. Hope you’re as happy as these piglets today!