Month number one… so far so….okay?
My reasons for choosing vegetables over delicious flesh aren’t entirely noble. I don’t especially have an issue with humans eating animals if the animal has been reared outdoors and dispatched humanely. The problem is the more I learn about the meat industry the less I trust what big supermarkets say. Supermarkets seem to be heavily into obscuring what goes on in their supply chain and every time a supplier breaks their vow of silence and speaks out we seem to learn something new and hideous about their practices. So while I won’t be refusing the occasional free-range organic beef steak from the farm shop that my Dad cooks for me when I go to visit him, at home in Dalston on my limited budget its definitely vegetables in general (not to mention restaurants, mass catered events etc.)
There have been high and low points. I stupidly assumed, given how not fussed I am about meat, that cutting it out if my diet would be no skin off my nose but I was generally surprised at how big the change has been.
It definitely forces you to be a bit more creative with your food choices. This is quite fun when it comes to cooking at home (which, to be honest, I usually don’t make time for) because I end up living on fantastic cooked vegetable salads with cheese, seeds and nuts.
Lunch boxes are an exciting and horribly grown up addition to my life. Partly through lack of funds, also for want of exciting meat free snacks. It sounds eye-rollingly keen but making 3 lunch boxes a week is saving me about a tenner each week and more importantly means filling up on all of your 5 a Day at once (not to mention the Oakcakes keep you full for ages).
5 A Day Salad
1/2 large avocado
3 Salad Tomatoes
Handful frozen Petit Pois
1/2 pack French Beans
1/2 pack supermarket Green Medley vegetables or similar (these are the small packs of mixed green vegetables sold to serve 2 people as a side dish in most supermarkets – they always end up in the reduced section so if you’re making your box for the following day you can normally grab one for about 40p on the final day of sale)
1/2 tub low fat hummus (this one is my current fav)
1/2 Mozzarella ball
3 handfuls of peppery rocket
This salad is super easy to prepare.
Chuck your French beans into a pan of gently boiling, lightly salted water and simmer. If you prefer to boil what’s in your vegetable pack, put the contents in the water too at this point (if not, follow this instructions on the pack to microwave them). Add the frozen peas after about 5 mins and, when the peas float, strain all the veg and pop it into a bowl of cold water to stop it from cooking further.
While the vegetables cool down, open and drain the water from your mozzarella ball and shred half the ball into bite sized pieces (cold hard boiled egg is a great substitute if you’re dairy free)
Cut the tomatoes into halves and then slice.
Turn the mozzarella pieces and strained vegetables out onto kitchen paper to absorb the excess water.
Slice your avocado in half and carefully remove the stone. I personally slice the fruit in a diamond pattern in the skin and then squeeze the whole lot out of the skin.
Spoon the hummus into one end of your lunch box and add the veggies, rocket, tomatoes and avocados.
I take this salad to work with a separate smaller Tupperware box with a single pack of oatcakes (these are my all time fav but cheaper brands are great too) and two tablespoons of pumpkin seeds (I find keeping them separate is helpful because they can go a little soft).
My partner dresses this salad with a honey and mustard dressing but I personally think the hummus provides enough moisture for the whole thing.