Rachel de Thample
You have to be brave and really start enjoying experimenting with new ingredients.
So, you want to eat less meat. But, you might be asking yourself where do you start? It’s the same question I asked myself early last year, when embarking on my first book project, Less Meat, More Veg, which aimed to tackle that very subject.
It wasn’t easy at the start. I grew up eating steak for breakfast – and that steak often came with a fried egg on top of it. Lunch would be a burger or BBQ sandwich and dinner would also feature a hearty helping of meat, usually red meat. For most of my life, meat has been the focal point of a meal.
Since writing my book, a great majority of the meals I eat are completely plant-based. In hindsight, it seems I’ve taken a quantum leap. But, it’s has been a gradual change. There’s no way anyone can be expected to change their diet overnight.
One of the key things for me was to stick with familiar dishes and ingredients, and trim the meat gradually. It will be less of a shock to the system. It’s also important to know that you don’t have to swap your steak for tofu. I haven’t.
My book is actually full of meat recipes, but with no more than 50g per serving. (I also cover dairy, eggs and fish as well). I feature things like roast dinners (with a good selection of inspiring veg - like cauliflower with spices and honey or peas with spring onions and lemon), burgers (like an Asian-style burger with 50% mushrooms, 50% beef) and pasta (wonderfully familiar territory – where a rich tomato sauce and some toasted pinenuts and herbs on the top will never leave you wanting).
Eating these dishes has helped me move to an even more veg-focused diet as many of the meaty recipes in my book can further be transformed into, dare I say it, vegan meals. I purposely didn’t use the words vegetarian or vegan in my book because I think both have bad connotations for meat-eaters.
As you’ll see below, going meat-free needn’t involve insipid nut roasts, tofu or facon. The following plant-based menu is full of flavour, colour and zest - good, old-fashioned grub.
By Rachel de Thample, author of Less Meat, More Veg (Kyle Cathie; £16.99). www.lessmeatmoreveg.com