World Vegan Day special: Recipes for tasty vegan dishes

On the occasion of World Vegan Day, here are a few delicious sweet and savoury dishes that you can whip up at home. Read on...

Roasted mushrooms and mixed vegetables salad

Ingredients: For salad
> 1 packet (200 gms) mushrooms
> 6 to 8 baby corn
> Half a head of broccoli
> 1 zucchini, 6 inches long
> Half a head of red cabbage

Roasted mushrooms and mixed vegetables salad

For dressing
> 1 tbsp flax seeds
> 1 garlic clove
> 1 tsp fresh lime juice or more to taste
> Salt to taste
> Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method: Salad
> Clean the mushrooms and cut them into halves.> Put a papad roaster or non-stick tava or griddle on low heat. Carefully arrange the mushrooms on this in a single layer. (do it in batches if necessary.)
> Turn them occasionally, till they are cooked. They will release water, so be careful if using the papad roaster. Remove from heat and set aside.
> Wash the baby corn and cut them into thin slices.
> Bring a pan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the baby corn and boil for 2 minutes.
> Remove from heat, cover and leave the baby corn in the hot water.
> Wash the broccoli and cut it into 1-inch florets. Add the florets to the pan containing the baby corn.
> Wash the zucchini, and cut it lengthwise into quarters. Do not peel it. Dice the quarters into 1-inch pieces.
> Put the zucchini into the same pan of hot water (but about 5 minutes after the pan was removed from the heat).
> Drain the vegetables after another 5 minutes. The broccoli and the zucchini should still be crunchy. Leave them in a colander to drain thoroughly.
> Wash and cut the red cabbage into 1-inch bits. Set aside.

> Roast the flax seeds on a tava or griddle over low heat, till they are fragrant. Remove and set aside to cool.
> Crush the garlic clove with the back of a spoon and separate the strands slightly.
> Place it in a small bowl with the lime juice, salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside for 15 minutes.
> To assemble the salad
> Put the mushrooms and drained vegetables in a salad bowl and toss gently.
> Sprinkle the roasted flax seeds on top.
> Add the red cabbage and lastly pour the salad dressing on top.
> Mix well but gently and serve immediately.

Okra pulao

> 1 cup whole okras
> 1 cup chopped red, green and yellow peppers
> 2 cups cooked brown rice
> 1 tbsp cumin seeds
> 1 tbsp fennel seeds
> 1 tsp red chilli powder
> Salt taste
> 1 tbsp olive oil

Okra pulao

> Remove the head and ends of the okras.
> Cook the okra in the oil first, then add the different peppers and salt to taste. Add 1 tsp red chilli powder, 1 tbspwhole cumin and 1 tbsp fennel seeds).
> When the vegetables are cooked, add two cups of cooked brown rice and toss everything together.
> Cover the pot for two minutes on low heat and then serve hot.

Peanut Milk

½ cup peanuts
3 cups of water

Curd and chaas made using peanut milk
Curd and chaas made using peanut milk

>> Soak 1/2 cup raw peanuts with their red cover for about 6 hours till soft.
>> Grind very fine with minimal water
>> Take a heavy-bottomed pan (not non-stick) and transfer the ground peanut mixture in it
>> Add 3 cups of drinking water and mix well
>> Bring this mixture to the boil, stirring all the while
>> Cool to room temperature
>> Strain (optional)


10 stalks of chillies, washed and dried

>> To set peanut milk dahi, when the milk is at room temperature, place it in the bowl
>> Put 15 chilli stalk caps in the milk
>> Cover the milk and leave it undisturbed for 10 to 16 hours
>> Remove the stalks before using. Add lemon juice, salt and any other flavourings to make the raita or the chaas

Baingan Bharta

1 large, round aubergine
8 garlic cloves
1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
Oven or angeethi, mango wood, if possible
Green chillies to taste
1 tsp raw oil (mustard oil)

Baingan Bharta

>>Wash the aubergine and pat dry
>>Make 8 small insertions in the aubergine and insert peeled, whole garlic cloves into them
>>If cooking in an oven, brush the aubergine and onion with oil, put on a baking tray and place it in the oven preheated at 180 degrees Celsius
>>If using angeethi, let the fire subside slightly and add the mango wood. Put the aubergine and onion in the angeethi and cover them completely with the ashes
>>Roast the aubergine and onion slowly, turning them around, till their skin is charred. Remove and set aside
>>Remove and discard the charred skin of the onion and aubergine
>>Mash the aubergine, garlic and roasted onion, till well pureed and transfer into a bowl
>>Add chopped green chillies
>>Add salt to taste
>>Serve with bajre ki roti
>>Note: Peel the onion and keep it whole, smash the top of the onion with your fist to crack it open. This is called mukka maar pyaaz

Vegan Alfredo with Fusilli (Serves 2)
>> 1/2 cup dry, raw and unsalted cashews
>> 1 onion chopped fine
>> 1-2 cloves of garlic
>> 1 green/red/yellow capsicum cut in to 1/2 inch cubes
>> 1/2 cup broccoli florets
>> 7-8 mushrooms chopped
>> 3 tsp sun dried tomatoes (optional)
>> 1 tsp red chilli flakes
>> 1 tsp mixed Italian herbs
>> Salt and pepper
>>1 tsp olive oil
>>200 gms fusilli pasta

Vegan Alfredo with Fusilli

Start cooking the pasta in a pot of boiling, salted water, first. Dry roast the cashews till they start showing brown patches on them. Powder the cashews in a blender and add some water to make a paste.Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil. Add the broccoli, mushrooms and chopped capsicum. Let it cook for 5 minutes. Add in the cashew paste and mix well. Add about 1 cup of water. Let them all simmer together till the sauce achieves a nice thick consistency. If you think the sauce is not enough add in a little bit more of water and let it simmer. Add the chilli flakes, herbs, salt and pepper.

Recipes for those with a sweet tooth

Oat Pumpkin Muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup pureed red pumpkin (with skin)
2/3 cup oat meal
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 vanilla pod
4 tbsp maple or golden syrup (sweetener)
2 tbsp vegan butter flavouring (optional)
5 tbsp apple sauce
3 tbsp pureed prunes
1/2 cup chopped walnuts and dates
Hot water

Oat Pumpkin Muffins

Sift together the flour, oat meal, cinnamon powder, salt, baking soda and cocoa. Now add the sweetener, apple sauce, pureed prunes, pureed pumpkin and butter flavouring. Cut the vanilla pod and add to the mix. Use a hand blender to mix the batter well. If it’s too dry, you can add a few tablespoons of hot water. Once mixed, add the chopped walnuts and dates. Mix once again but with a wooden spatula and let it stand for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, heat the oven to 180 degrees and grease the muffin tray. After 20 minutes, place the batter in the muffin tray and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or till the tops crack.
Let it cool down. Your fat-free muffins are ready to eat. Serve them with melted vegan dark chocolate.
Note: If you don’t have red pumpkin, substitute with any other vegetable of the same family, like bottle gourd. Keep the skin intact; it adds to the fibre content of the muffins.

Dark Walnut Heaven

500g dark chocolate (without hydrogenated fats)
300g shelled walnuts

Dark Walnut Heaven

In a double boiler, melt the dark chocolate till it’s all done. Now temper it, stirring all the while so the chocolate does not burn, for about 10 to 15 minutes. Take it off the flame and let it cool slightly (do not let it set).
Meanwhile, keep a tray ready, with butter paper. Add the walnuts in a bowl. Once the chocolate is slightly cooled, pour it over the walnuts and mix till the nuts are fully covered. Place the chocolate covered nuts on the butter paper in unwieldy heaps and refrigerate till set.

Fat-free Carrot Cake

2/3 cup grated carrots
7 seedless dates
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup water
1/8 tsp each cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and ginger powder
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup oat meal
1 tsp baking powder
2 to 3 tbsp black raisins and walnuts (chopped)

Fat-free Carrot Cake

Soak the dates in warm water for 10 minutes and then puree them with the carrots. Boil this mixture on low heat, then add the maple syrup and the spice mix (cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and ginger powders). Cook while stirring till the mixture thickens, slightly. Keep aside to cool.
In a bowl mix the flour and baking powder. Add the puree and mix till just combined. Add the vinegar and stir lightly once. Add the raisins and chopped walnuts and bake at 180 degrees Centigrade for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick from the centre comes out clean.

Corn daliya laddoos

> Organic corn daliya 200 grams
> Jaggery 1 cup
> Green cardamoms 20 to 25
> Extra virgin coconut oil

Corn daliya laddoos

> Soak the corn daliya overnight.
> In the morning, wash the daliya and steam for 20 to 25 minutes.
> Grate the jaggery. De-seed the cardamoms and crush the seeds lightly.
> Melt the jaggery, add the rest of the ingredients.
> Cook till the mixture thickens then quickly make into laddoos and keep aside to cool.
> Enjoy this healthy version of the traditional boondi laddoos.

Chocolate Mousse (Serves 4-6)

>> 1/2 litre (roughly 2 1/2 cups) of chocolate soy milk at room temperature
>> 1 strip of agar agar/ China grass
>> 1/4 cup water

Chocolate Mousse

Cut the agar agar with scissors into small pieces. Put it in a grinder and grind it till it resembles flakes. Mix the powdered agar agar flakes with the water and bring it to a boil. Stir frequently and make sure most of the agar agar has disappeared. A few small lumps are okay. While stirring continuously, add the chocolate soy milk, little at a time. Keep it on the stove for another 3 minutes till the soy milk is hot, and then take it off the stove. Pour into a big glass bowl or smaller bowls to set. Keep it in the fridge and let it set for at least 45 minutes. Top with some grated/ chopped vegan chocolate (Bournville, Mordes Dark) and serve cold.

Healthy Gajar Halwa (Serves 2)
>> 4 long carrots (usually available in winter. I’d suggest you use it only when it is available seasonally)
>> 1/4 cup melted jaggery syrup (more or less depending on your sweet tooth)
>> A handful of cashews powdered in a grinder
>> 2 cloves of cardamom
>> 4-5 almonds roasted

Gajar Halwa

Wash the carrots. It is not necessary to peel carrots as most of the nutrition is just under the skin. Cut the carrots in half and steam for 20 minutes. Don’t let it become too soft.  Once they are done steaming let it cool for another 10 minutes or so and then using a big holed grater, grate the carrots. Mix in the jaggery, cashew powder and cardamom. Top with some slivers of roasted almonds. Serve warm or cold.

Chocolatey Walnut-Date Muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup oatmeal
1 tsp cinnamon powder
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
½ vanilla pod
4 tbsp maple or golden syrup, or sweetener of choice
5 tbsp apple sauce
2 tbsp pureed prunes
3/4th cup pureed red pumpkin with skin
2 tbsp vegan butter flavouring
Few tbsp hot water
½ cup chopped walnut and dates

Chocolatey Walnut-Date Muffins

Sift the flour, oatmeal, cinnamon powder, salt, baking soda and cocoa together
>> Add the sweetener, apple sauce, pureed prunes, pureed pumpkin and butter flavouring. Cut the vanilla pod and add to the mixture
>>Use a hand blender to mix the batter well. If it is too dry, you can add a few tablespoons of hot water
>>Add the chopped walnuts and dates. Mix once again but with a wooden spatula and let it stand for 20 minutes
>>Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease the muffin tray.
>>After 20 minutes, pour the batter in the tray and bake for 15 minutes or till the top cracks
>>Serve with vegan dark chocolate
>>Note: If you don’t have red pumpkin, substitute with bottle gourd. Keep the skin; it adds fibre to the dish

-Recipes courtesy Anuradha Sawhney, author of the cookbook Back to the Basics, Anushree Sahai and Rithika Ramesh from the The Green Stove, India's first 100 per cent vegan bakery

Inputs from Kartiki Nitin Lawate and Phorum Dalal of the mid-day guide team.

Tips and tricks while cooking vegan food
>> Use ceramic pans and pots. They are easy to cook in, keep clean and don’t have the toxins associated with non-stick and Teflon pans.
>> You can ‘fry’ onions without oil. Heat a non-stick or ceramic pan, add the chopped onions and stir them. They cook in the water they release. If they start to stick, sprinkle some water or vegetable stock and keep stirring. You can cook them till they are translucent or till they are deep brown. Remember, oil is just a medium.
>> Non-dairy milk can be substituted for milk in any recipe. The different non-dairy milks are rice, soya, cashew, almond and peanut milk.
>> When peas are in season and cheap, shell them, dry them in the sun and store them. When you want to use them, take them out and soak them in water before cooking with them. Their taste is much better than their frozen counterparts.
>> An easy way to get browned, cubed tofu is to slice the whole piece of tofu horizontally into the thickness you want. Brown both sides in a pan. Remove and keep aside to cool. Once cooled, cut them into cubes.
>> To get as much nutrition in your diet as possible, keep it varied. One way to do that is to use different whole grain flours. Whole grains have fibre and fibre is great for your body. Buy the grains yourself and get them ground.

What is World Vegan Day?
It is an annual event celebrated on 1 November, by vegans around the world. The Day was established in 1994 by Louise Wallis, then President & Chair of The Vegan Society UK to commemorate its 50th anniversary. Vegans across the world join together to celebrate animal rights. Animal advocates hold street stalls about veganism, host vegan potluck events, plant memorial trees for World Vegan Day and give away animal friendly vegan baking.

A few benefits of a vegan diet
>> It contributes significantly to weight loss
>> A specific low-carbohydrate diet may also reduce the risk of heart disease by 10 percent over 10 years, a research indicates.
>> It might help to prevent and treat several degenerative diseases, including coronary artery disease, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, kidney disease and dementia.
>> According to nutritionist Winston Craig, writing in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2009, vegan diets tend to be higher in dietary fibre, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron and phytochemicals, and lower in calories, saturated fat, cholesterol, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium, zinc and vitamin B12.

Famous vegans, Pamela Anderson, Bill Clinton, Ben Stiller, Vanessa Williams

Some famous vegans
>> Hollywood model-actress Pamela Anderson
>> Singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette
>> Noted Hollywood director James Cameron
>> Former US President Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea Clinton
>> Singer-songwriter Jason Mraz
>> Hollywood actor-director Ben Stiller
>> Hollywood actress, singer and former beauty queen Vanessa Williams

Did you know?
2014 marks the 70th anniversary of the term 'vegan', 'veganism', and the establishment of The Vegan Society

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