I’d never buy a ready meal. I appreciate they can be useful from a convenience standpoint, but packaged foods are typically jacked up with excess sodium and fat to make them palatable. Since switching to a plant-based diet, I have also cut out white, processed carbs. Carbs get a bad rap, but complex carbs like sweet potato, oatmeal, quinoa, lentils, beans, buckwheat and teff are all nutrient-dense options.
When it comes to snacking, I keep things simple. If I’m at home, my go-to snack is a bowl of organic soya-based or coconut yoghurt with blueberries and cacao nibs. Simple, effective and tasty. If I’m out and about, I’ll grab a banana, some dates or a protein bar. I love coconut water, too. I can’t walk past a Planet Organic without buying something – my debit card has taken a hammering there in the last seven years.
A buddha bowl is a great WFH lunch. They’re easy to make: I’ll throw together baked tempeh or tofu with a variety of spices, quinoa, avocado, sauerkraut, black beans and hummus. I eat a lot of legumes like lentils, beans and chickpeas. Something like a mung bean stew is great to make in bulk and reheat for a speedy lunch. It pairs perfectly with a wholegrain like quinoa or buckwheat. Mung beans are underrated – they’re incredibly tasty and pack a ton of nutritional value.
Roasting vegetables is a great way to up the flavour. If you haven’t tried roasted broccoli and cauliflower, you haven’t lived. Add plenty of herbs and spices for a great side dish. I also like roasting a whole bulb of garlic – you can then add the cooked cloves to everything from soups to curries for an incredible depth of flavour.
Herbs and spices are a good way to mix things up. I used to be obsessed with shito – a spicy black pepper sauce from Ghana – but I don’t eat it anymore as one of the base ingredients is dried fish. I’m on the lookout for a plant-based version. In the meantime, I cook with a lot of tahini, coconut aminos (a lower sodium version of soy sauce), wholegrain mustard, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. I eat a lot of hummus, too.
Pasta is my go-to entertaining dish. I make a creamy cashew pasta with crispy tempeh, cherry tomatoes, sautéed kale and a cashew sauce made with basil, garlic, nutritional yeast, olive oil and various spices. It’s always a winner with friends. That and a plant-based cheesecake. Use nuts and dates for the base; cashew cream and coconut milk for the filling; and other ingredients like blueberries and nut butter for flavour.