We have heard the plant power noise from vegetarians and vegans globally and accept the good in their mission calling for more high foliage meals. But it can be tricky to eliminate all meat in one go!
Give us a break. We South Africans are basically made of 90% lamb tjops.
The 7th of March each year is observed as Plant Power Day though. A day established to encourage people to eat more vegetables and include plant-based foods as part of their daily meals.
We understand the difficulties in trying to incorporate more vegetarian meals into our diets and have listed a few of our favourite vegetarian options.
Plant Power Day is not about cutting out animal products entirely, but rather making plants the centrepiece of your diet. It is about being more conscientious about your eating habits.
Once in a while think of trading that long cold glass of milk for some OJ, or plant-based seed milks like almond or soy. You could maybe do with a little less hamburger, why not swop with eggplant. And dare we say, trade ice-cream for sorbet.
Food For Mzansi’s tip: Keep your vegetables fresher for longer by placing them in a zip-lock bag in the fridge. Your vegetables can last three times longer and you can reuse the bags.
These are seven recipes to consider this Plant Power Day:
Start strong with pap
The people of Mzansi are known for their love of corn or mealies. It’s a staple food in most households that give us our much-loved mealie pap.
KwaZulu-Natal small-scale farmer Nokuthula Khoza has started doing things differently by using her extended maize crops to make masa to create other dishes for her family to enjoy and even treats us with three recipes!
Masa is a corn dough that comes from ground nixtamalised corn, traditionally used in Latin American dishes to make corn tortillas, tamales and pupusas (thick cornmeal flatbread).
Seasonal change sniffles call for soup
With summer transitioning into autumn, those chilly days in between call for a comforting bowl of soup.
If you are looking for something a little spicier though, try our favourite Johannesburg-based cookbook author, Dianne Bibby’s Spicy Harira vegetable soup with barley and quinoa.
Veggie curry, yes please
We reckon curry could possibly be the dish of the nation. Ditch the meat and make the Food For Mzansi resident plant-based guru Dané Vermeulen’s vegetarian curry. Vermeulen advises, “One thing to keep in mind is not to try elaborate recipes to mimic meat, explore the world of vegetables, mushrooms and fruit to challenge your perception of food, in order to change what you eat.”
The proof is in the chickpeas
Look for something simple. The Lazy Makoti, Mogau Seshoene, makes this chickpea and bean salad, filled with all the plant goodness you need to get through the day.
The stack of flavours
Meat does not have to be the primary source of flavour in your meal. And you do not have to be miserable skipping one day without a meaty something on your plate. Worried about a lack of flavour?
Then make Dané Vermeulen’s vibrant veggie stack!
Sweet tooth, we got you
Going plant-based for the day does not mean you will not have your sugary treat. Try Dané’s watermelon sugar crunch. Watermelon season is making a slow retreat, enjoy this refreshing treat while you still can cling on to warm days.
The green farming queen’s veggie toast
Green farmer Gugulethu Mahlangu has just the beginner recipe for you too. Her inspiration behind her farming endeavour is tied to her choice of diet. Make Gugu’s cauliflower and avo toast:
1 cauliflower head
Extra virgin olive oil
A handful of chickpeas soaked overnight
2 ripe avocados
4 (toasted) baguette/pocketless pita/flatbread
1 tbsp lemon juice
Garnish, fresh basil
Tips/Suggestions: Add 1 half of diced red onion on your avocado mash for a kick.
- Boil your chickpeas for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 220°C.
- Cut your cauliflower head into even slices, then place slices on greased baking pan and drizzle with olive oil.
- Sprinkle salt and chili flakes to your satisfaction on both sides of the cauliflower slices.
- Toss the cauliflower pan into the oven to roast for 15 minutes on both sides.
- Drain your chickpeas and leave to cool.
- Swirl your chickpeas with two tbsp of vegan mayonnaise.
- Mash the avocados with a tbsp of lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
- Spread your mashed avo on your toasted choice of bread.
- Add the cauliflower slices on top of your mashed avocado.
- Sprinkle with chickpeas and enjoy!