A popular way to start off each new year is to give your body a rest from all the fatty foods and heavy drinks from Christmas by giving something up for the month of January. For some of us, we do Dry January, and go without alcohol for the full thirty days. This year, I am doing no carbs – no bread, pasta, or potatoes – for the whole month, and believe me, it’s even harder than I had anticipated. But another very popular choice is Veganuary. This is where for the whole month you try to eat exclusively vegan foods. Here is one of our favourite recipes for a delicious, vegan stew, perfect to help fight those January blues.
Step One: pick your vegetables. January is a great time of year to try and eat more diverse root veg, as they are in season. Splash out and go crazy by using something other than the staple potato, or even the trendier sweet potato – although both make excellent bases. Vegetables currently in season include cauliflower, celeriac, leeks, parsnips, potatoes, swede and turnips. If you’ve still got a sprout tree in the larder, you could even bung a couple of sprouts in. Any and all of these would be great additions to the stew.
Stews are great recipes because they are so versatile and also so easy to get right. They’re also a great and affordable meal, perfect for after the Big Christmas Spend. This recipe should take less than an hour and feeds six, although can be stretched to more with liberal application of stock!
Veganuary Friendly Ingredients
- Around a kilogram of root vegetables
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 medium red onions, diced
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 800g crushed or chopped tomatoes
- 400 g butter beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 pint stock
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- Other herbs/spices if you feel like it (I often come back to basil)
Veganuary Recipe Instructions
- Preheat the oven to 220°C, or Gas mark 7.
- Peel and chop the veg into roughly one inch pieces.
- Add vegetables to a large baking dish or casserole pan. Drizzle olive oil over and sprinkle the salt, pepper and cayenne over the top and mix everything together until the veggies are well coated in both oil and spice. Place in the middle of the oven and roast for 30-35 minutes until the edges are crispy and veg is fork tender.
- Warm the olive oil in a large pot over a medium heat. If you can’t find any olive oil, sunflower or other vegetable oil will do. Maybe don’t use coconut, as although it is often seen as the wunderkind of the oil world, I find it tastes very confusing in this kind of hearty stew. Add the onion and cook, stirring every so often to soften.
- Add the garlic, tomato paste and red chili flakes to the onion mixture and cook another minute.
- Stir in the canned tomatoes and stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let cook for 15 minutes.
- Add the beans to the tomatoes and let cook until the beans are warmed through.
- Tip the roasted veggies into pot along with the oregano and stir into the tomatoes, coated everything well in sauce.
- If you don’t love a stew texture, now’s the time to blend everything together with a stick blender until you have a delicious soup. You could also add a greek yoghurt or similar subsitute at this point if you’ve accidentally over chilli peppered – we’ve all been there!
- Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed and enjoy.
The only downside to a delicious stew is the almost certain spilling – so why not use these gorgeous linen napkins from Piglet?