Knowing what to eat is one of the toughest challenges when getting started with plant-based eating.
Dr Gemma Newman - otherwise known as the Plant Power Doctor - has given us three of her favourite recipes to help kickstart your plant powered journey!
Gemma has been helping patients to tackle their chronic illnesses with a plant-powered diet and the results have been staggering. From women suffering from hormone issues such as endometriosis, to the millions who suffer from high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes and obesity, Dr Newman shows how this way of eating can have a radical effect on your health, whatever your age.
Below are her three delicious plant-based picks for you and the whole family. Whether you have to whip something up quickly or you've got an hour or so to wind down and cook... there's something here for you!
Sweet and Sour Tofu
This plant-based version of the classic Chinese meal has that irresistible tangy sweet-and-sour flavour. Baking the tofu in the oven first is the easiest way to get it nice and crispy if you are cooking without oil.
For the tofu 1 block of firm or extra firm tofu, pressed. 2tbsp arrowroot ½ tsp chilli powder ½ tsp chilli powder
For the sweet and sour sauce 50ml soy sauce 25ml rice wine vinegar 50ml pineapple juice 1 tbsp apricot jam 2 tsp maple or date syrup ½ tsp Chinese 5 spice ½ tsp garlic powder ½ tsp chilli powder 1 tsp cornflour
For the stir-fry 2 tsp sesame oil (optional) 1 red pepper, cut into chunks 100g mange tout or asparagus tips or sprouting broccoli spears - blanch them first or slice them lengthways 100g baby corn 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 15g piece ginger, finely chopped (or a frozen cube)
To serve 3 spring onions, halved lengthwise and shredded A few sprigs of coriander A few drops of sesame oil and/or 1tsp sesame seeds Brown rice of noodles
Step 1. First bake the tofu. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°C/gas mark 6 and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Cut the tofu into chunks and pat dry. Mix the arrowroot with the chilli powder, if using and a little salt and toss in the tofu chunks, making sure they are not touching, then bake for 15-20 minutes until crisp and brown.
Step 2. Whisk together all the sweet and sour sauce ingredients except the cornflour and set aside.
Step 3. Heat a wok and add oil, if using. When the air above is shimmering, add the vegetables, garlic, ginger and stir fry for 2-3 minutes. If not using the oil, use 1tbsp water instead, adding a little more after a couple of minutes if necessary.
Step 4. Pour in the sauce and simmer for 2-3 minutes until it looks syrupy, then mix the cornflour with a little water and add to the wok, stirring constantly until the sauce has thickened slightly and is glossy. Add the tofu and simmer for a further minute, then serve sprinkled with the spring opinions, coriander and sesame oil or seeds if using.
This is one of Gemma's favourite recipes. Her family loves this take on the classic comfort food and always asks for seconds. This recipe doesn't include any green vegetables but they can be added easily. This is the best served with a large bowl of green peas.
1 tbsp olive oil (optional) 1 onion, finely chopped 1 stick celery, finely chopped 300g selection of root veg, use what you have: carrot, beetroot, parsnip, celeriac, diced 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 400g cooked brown lentils 1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped (or dried herbs) 1tbsp mustard ketchup 1sp Dijon mustard 100ml red wine (optional) 300ml vegetable stock
For the mash 700g potatoes, peels and chopped 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled 75ml plant-based milk 25g breadcrumbs A small bunch of parsley
Step 1. If using oil, heat it in a large saucepan. Add the onion, celery and selection of vegetables and sauté until lightly browned. If not using oil, add all the vegetables to the saucepan with 1-2 tbsp water, and sauté, adding more water if it becomes too dry, until the vegetables are lightly browned.
Step 2. Add the garlic and cook for a further couple of minutes, then stir in the lentils, herbs, mustard ketchup and Dijon mustard. Pour in the red wine and bring to the boil. Allow the wine to boil away almost completely, then add the vegetables stock. Continue to simmer until the vegetables are tender.
Step 3. While the base is cooking, boil the potatoes in plenty of salted water with the garlic until tender. Drain thoroughly and squish the garlic out of its skins. Add to the potatoes with the plant-based milk and mash thoroughly.
Step 4. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°C/gas mark 6. Arrange the vegetables in the base of an ovenproof dish, then top with the mashed potatoes. Mix the breadcrumbs and parsley together and sprinkle over the potatoes. Bake in the preheated oven for around 30 minutes until lightly speckled brown and bubbling.
This warming recipe is a classic comfort food. Gemma's made this with fresh peaches and blueberries, but it can also be made with apples, pears, plums or any frozen packets of mixed fruits, such as fruits of the forest.
Bird’s custard powder is vegan and oil free if you get the original powder, not the instant variety. It can be made with plan-based milk - the only real difference between using this and the cornflour recipe here is annatto powder, which gives it the colour.
For the base 3 peaches, cut into wedges 100g blueberries 1 tbsp coconut sugar or soft light brown sugar 1sp cornflour ½ tsp ground cinnamon
For the topping 100g wholemeal self-raising flour 75g ground almonds 1tbsp baking powder 2tbsp coconut or soft light brown sugar 150ml plant-based milk (almond is good here) A few drops of almond or vanilla extract 1tsp cider vinegar 1 flax egg (1tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 2 tbsp just-boiled water)
For the custard 500ml plant-based milk 2tbsp light soft brown sugar or maple syrup 1tbsp vanilla extract 3 tbsp cornflour
Step 1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°C/gas mark 4. Arrange the fruit in the base of an ovenproof dish. Mix the sugar, cornflour and cinnamon together and sprinkle over the fruit. Stir to combine.
Step 2. If using apples, mix them with the base ingredients and add them to a large saucepan over a medium heat to soften with a dash of water or apple juice for 5 minutes before stirring in any berries you might want.
Step 3. To make the topping, put the flour in a bowl with the ground almonds, baking powder and sugar. Mix the plant-based milk with the almond or vanilla extract and cider vinegar, then stir in the flax egg. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine, keeping the mixing to a minimum. Drop heaped tablespoons of the mixture over the fruit.
Step 4. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until the topping is brown and the juice from the fruit is bubbling through.
Step 5. To make the custard, put 400ml of the plant-based milk in a saucepan and the rest in a large bowl or jug. Heat the 400ml milk with the sugar and vanilla extract, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved. Mix the remaining milk with the cornflour.
Step 6. Just before the milk boils, pour it into the jug, stirring constantly, then pour everything back into the saucepan. Heat, gradually bringing to the boil, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens. It may suddenly start thickening very quickly on the base of the saucepan - if so, stir or whisk furiously to make sure you don’t get any lumps. Transfer to a jug and serve with the fruit cobbler.
If you cook any of these recipes, be sure to tag us in your posts @omvits & @plantpowerdoctor!
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