Your Vegan Cooking Questions Answered By Nadine and Jörg From Eat This!
Plant-based since 2006: the best tips and recipes you need to know
Food Editor at Kitchen Stories
Nadine and Jörg from Ulm, Germany, the founder of Eat this!, have been convincing people to try vegan eating and cooking for many years with their award-winning food blog (and books). They believe (and we do too!) that vegan cuisine is super simple, versatile, and extremely tasty. And that is by no means about restricting your options. Their motto coincides with our slogan for Veganuary: Anyone can cook - vegan!
The duo always create their recipes with one principle in mind: These are not exclusive for vegans, but for everyone who enjoys good, healthy, and, above all, delicious food.
A few years ago, we already had the pleasure to exchange ideas on how to cook simple, delicious, and vegan. We were all the more thrilled that the two of them have joined us for Veganuary with advice and expertise, as well as exciting recipes.
11 Questions For Nadine And Jörg From Eat This!:
Hey you two! Let's start with our main topic this month: What are your thoughts on Veganuary? Have you tried it?
Veganuary is great! We especially enjoy the fact that the campaign is getting so much media attention and traction in recent years. In our early vegan days, we didn't have anything quite like this.
Your blog has been around since 2011 and you've been vegan since 2006 - so you can be counted among the "vegan pioneers". What was the reason why you decided on a vegan diet already back then?
As "obvious" as it may sound, in fact the love of animals, i.e. the ethical aspect, was the decisive point. The fact that a purely plant-based diet has other benefits for us and for the environment was a nice "add-on" factor at the time.
In your experience, is it true that a vegan diet is more expensive than an omnivorous one?
In our opinion, but also in our experience, this is nonsense. Vegans do not only eat expensive almond paste and hyped superfoods. On the contrary, seasonal, maybe even regional vegetables are easy on the wallet. However, we also notice that if a product has been labeled "vegan", it often also comes with a higher price point, although the product itself hardly differs or possibly not at all from the "conventional" ones in terms of production and raw material. So we hope that the policy changes regarding the financial treatment of vegan products. For example, in Germany, soy milk is charged with a higher VAT rate of 19%.
Do you have any solid tips for people who want to start a plant-based diet in January? What would be the best way to get started?
The best tip is not to get carried away and just start. We can't emphasize enough how easy it actually is to switch to a vegan diet. Studying the ingredient list of a product quickly becomes a habit; today vegan products are often already labeled anyway, and if something that isn't vegan does accidentally end up in your shopping cart, it's not the end of the world.
Speaking of habits: What are the top 3 vegan go-to dishes in your repertoire when you're just starting out on a vegan diet?
Oh, choosing the go-to dishes is difficult. What must not be missing in the cooking repertoire is a really good vegan bolognese. This can be prepared with soy granules as a substitute for minced meat, but also with lentils. Best prepared in the largest available pot. Because according to Bolognese tradition, you'd rather have too much of it in the fridge than too little.
Creamed mushrooms are one of the absolute comfort food classics, at least for us. And they are so simple and so quick to make, even without cream.
We'd also throw one of our favorite tofu dishes into the mix. The Vietnamese-inspired tomato tofu really convinces even the last tofu skeptics.
Let's move from favorite classics to showstoppers: what do you put on the table when you want to impress your guests?
We like to impress with recipes that are either reminiscent of "nonvegan" dishes or with those that are seemingly totally simple to put together but are really delicious. Our "Mock Duck" made from seitan with our vegan gravy, for example, always goes down well on festive days, and our "Lib el Kousa", a zucchini garlic dip from the Levant always has guests chasing us for the recipe.
And what do you cook on a busy day?
One of our absolute favorite dishes, when hunger is really gnawing, is our quick creamy tofu noodles. 10 minutes, a few standard ingredients from the Asian store, and a good blender, that's all it takes. The tofu also adds extra protein.
Even if you don't have your favorite dish in front of you, which spices or seasonings manage to give every dish that special something?
We would say fresh herbs. A pinch of finely chopped parsley, basil, or chives always works wonders.
The texture matters just as much as the flavor. Which ingredients can give vegan dishes a particularly creamy texture and what makes the best crunch?
Soaked and pureed nuts, especially almonds and cashews not only provide a great creaminess, but they also add a lot of flavor and umami to otherwise possibly somewhat bland cream soups. But also store-bought products such as oat cream or vegan cream cheese have become really very good in recent years.
When it comes to the crunch, nuts, and seeds that are quickly roasted and then sprinkled as a topping over the food are our #1 choice.
Since we are already in your kitchen, give us a glimpse into your pantry: What are the must-have ingredients?
Let's go straight back to the nuts and seeds. Cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts are always there, as well as sesame seeds, flax seeds, and sunflower seeds. Fresh herbs as well and a few cans of chickpeas. And of course hot sauces, such as our beloved Sriracha. But honestly, our pantry doesn't look that much different than the one in "non-vegan" households.
11. Thank you for all the valuable advice and insights! One last thing: Do you have a tip on how to stay motivated and vegan after Veganuary?
It's best to look for recipes that you already like and simply "veganize" them. If you can't stand brussels sprouts to death and then jump right in with three brussels sprout recipes, you won't enjoy it. But coming up with your own vegan variants of old favorite recipes and noticing how they taste just as good will certainly keep you busy and motivated - even beyond January.
Nadine and Jörg's favorite vegan recipes:
Vegan lasagna bolognese
Vegan creamed mushrooms
Vietnamese-style fried tofu in tomato sauce
Lib el Kousa - the most delicious zucchini garlic dip
Quick creamy tofu noodles
Published on January 16, 2023