Best Cuisines for Plant-Based Meals

A lot of people cringe at the thought of plant-based eating because they think that the only thing available to eat is salad and dry rice cakes. But this could not be any further from the truth. Some of the most delicious cuisines in the world are very vegan-friendly or are easily tweaked to be vegan. When you can see the availability of meals based on cuisine, it sparks a whole new view of what is possible on a plant-based diet. Here are some cuisines and example meals to show you just what I mean.

Indian

A personal favourite. Indian food is some of the best food out there. There are so many varieties of beans and lentils out there, as well as the versatile chickpea. You can make an endless variety of different curries. From dry spiced versions to thick, creamy and hearty curries. You can make amazing veggie balls, breads and sauces, all with flavour and depth to satisfy the foodie in you! Not only are curries tasty but they are nutritious too. Beans, chickpeas and lentils are high in fibre, minerals, vitamins and protein. Combined with a wholegrain paratha bread or brown rice and you have the amino acids available fot a complete protein. Spices, dried and fresh also contain many phytonutrients shown to have positive effects o health. Indian cuisine is also great the next day. Perfect to take to work the next day or freeze for another occassion.

Tips for Indian Cusisne

  • Swap out poor quality vegetable oils and gee for organic unrefined coconut oil.
  • Use organic coconut cream and milk for the best taste
  • Go to your local indian supermraker to pick up spices and ingredients.
  • When making a curry, prepare yoiur spices and ingredients as you add them in the recipe. Prepare everything and then cook it.
  • Enjoy some popadoms, homemade or store bought for a lighter meal. We often skip rice and heavier breads for this option.
  • Naan bread is NOT vegan. I ate naan for 6 months before learning that it is made with milk. Opt for paratha sintead. pudina paratha is a bread with mint, delicious with most curries.

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Italian

While a lot of Italian food is centred around cheese and meat, a lot of those mealls can be “veganised”. For example, take out the cheese from the pizza and add any of your favourite toppings extra. You can enjoy delicious varieties of vegetable pasta from your classic arrabbiata to delightful green veggie pesto pasta. Not only that but because of the surge in plant-based alternatives, you can now also make amazing lasagnes. Veggie lasanges are great. You can make them with only vegetables or use a lentil tomato base or even a soy mince tomatoe base if you looking for a meat-like alternative. Essentially… the options are endless!

Tips For Italian Cuisine

  • Vegan pizzas are all about the tomate base. Making a killer tomato base is the key to making a pizza without cheese just as good as without cheese. Add herbs and fresh tomatoes to make a great base alongside your choice of veggies.
  • Italian cooking is pro-veggie. Try new varieties of vegetables for increased diveristy of nutrients.
  • Use fresh organic herbs and vegetables for the best flavour
  • You can make your own fresh pasts at home or for a healthier alternative, you can use legume pasta – a high protein gluten free alternative to wheat pasta.

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Georgian

I googled as much as I could about eating plant-based in Georgia before I went travelling there. and found very little information. We watched the Anthony Bourdain episode where he visits Georgia and what he portyed was all about meat and drinking. Well, Anthony, bless your soul but you were wrong. There is so much amazing food in Georgia and beyond that, it is incredibly vegan-friendly. Being a majority Eastern Orthodox Christian nation, they practice lent, where they avoid all animal based products for 46 days. So in every menu in every restaurant, they have what they call a ‘fasting’ menu. It’s a menu that is completely vegan. Well here and there they have fish but for the most part, it’s all vegan. and the dishes are great, A varity of a dumpling, called a Kinkhali with potato or mushroom. Veggie pates and bean stews. After fearing I was going to starve while travelling georgia i ended up fearing I was going to put weight on! One of the best places to visit as a vegan.

Tips for Georgian Cuisine

  • Use lots of fresh herbs and spices for meals. They may not do lots of spicy but they do flavour.
  • Make big bowls of pkhali (veggie pates) and store in the fridge for snacking and on sandwiches.
  • The eggplant rolls are best served cold and are usually taken as a starter.
  • Enjoy any of these meals with a good glass of red or white wine, the real Georgian way.

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Thai

Of course, any mention of vegan friendly cuisine would not be complete without Thai food. Thai food offers amazing curries and snack foods. Rich in interesting flavours and healthy, you just cant go wrong with Thai. You can choose how spicy or not you want to take it. It’s also a great to whip up quickly. A basic Thai curry requires a good paste (no fish sauce for vegans), veggies and coconut milk. Fry it all up, add paste and then add the coconut milk and you have an amazing curry.

Tips For Thai Cuisine

  • It’s all about the curry paste. If you are able to get ingredients to make your own, do so. If you can’t, try to source well-rated authentic and good quality curry paste.
  • Don’t forget the lemongrass and lime (kaffir) leaves. These are essential to the Thai flavour.
  • Use fresh crunchy vegetables for your spring rolls and eat them immediately. They do not go down as well later on.

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Middle Eastern

Middle Eastern cuisine is another top one for me, if only for the hummus and falafels. Falafels are in most plant-based people’s arsenal. I have been through so many falafel recipes and I have to say, I think I found the one. A friend of mine passed it along and I don’t think he realises what a game-changer he found. My partner and I were dancing in the kitchen when we tasted the first one – crispy on the outside and soft and flavourful on the inside. Follow the recipe carefully. Hummus is of course another plant-based staple and for good reason. Combined with tahini it forms a complete protein. It’s also high in fibre and other minerals and vitamins and well, it just tastes so dam good. With everything! (ever tried steamed broccoli and hummus?) Middle Eastern food however has a lot more hidden gems other than hummus and falafels.

Tips Middle Eastern Cuisine

  • As with most other cuisines and recipes, using good quality fresh ingredients makes for the best meals, especially fresh salads like fattoush
  • When making hummus or falafels, use dried beans that you soak.
  • Cook chickpeas for hummus, and if you want gas-free super smooth falafels, take their little skins off. The most tedious of tasks in the world but if you out for perfect hummus, it’s the way to do it.
  • For the falafels, dont cook them after soaking. This is the abolsute key to making good falafels.
  • You can easily make your own tahini at home. Store bought can be expensive and it doesnt have to be.

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And there it is…

I hope that this dispels any myth that eating a plant-based diet is boring and bland. I also hope that it will inspire people to eat more plant-based meals during the week and for them to see how easy it is to convert non-vegan meals to vegan ones. Eating plant-based meals is healthier, kinder and more eco-friendly.

Do you have any recipes that you would like to share? Connect with Dolma Vegan Fragrances on our Instagram page or our Facebook page to share ith us 🙂