Meatless Monday – Commonwealth Day

Apparently the second Monday in March is Commonwealth Day. The Commonwealth is a collection of nations that were former colonies of the British Empire. A number of Caribbean islands, African and Asian nations along with Canada, Australia and New Zealand are part of this illustrious group. They meet up in athletic competitions (the Commonwealth Games) and their governments have friendly relations and mutual agreements with each other. This week’s Meatless Monday looks at the ethnic fare of England and how to customize it for the vegetarian/vegan.

British food has often been known as bland, boiled and beefy; not the stuff of which mouth-watering meat-free meals are made.

fish and chips; Sheppard’s pie; steak and kidney pie; Cornish pasty; Yorkshire pudding; bangers and mash (i.e. sausage and mashed potatoes)

With immigration and time, British fare has undergone a transformation and curry is as much at home on the menu as chips (french fries to us North American folk). Celebrity chefs such as Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay have also given new life to the British food scene. With a little tweaking and some inspiration from some of the Commonwealth nations you can keep the traditional spirit of British food (protein and root vegetables) while making it vegetarian/vegan accessible.

Chips
Chop organic Yukon gold potatoes into french fry or chip shape. Mix with some oil and salt; roast until cooked through (about 45 minutes). These can be a healthier version of your chips. Smother in curry sauce OR serve with breaded tofu (baked or fried) for a vegan ‘fish and chips’.
Sheppard’s pie
Take a leaf (or legume) from a West African cookbook and make a spicy peanut Sheppard’s pie topped with sweet potato mash.
Steak and kidney pie
Your protein source of choice (tofu, tempeh, brown lentils) cooked with onion, carrot, mushrooms, tomato paste, vegetable stock and vegan Worcestershire sauce. Bake inside pastry dough.
Cornish pasty
Curried chickpeas baked inside pie crust; almost reminiscent of a Jamaican patty or Indian roti.
Yorkshire pudding
Click here for an egg and dairy free recipe from the Vegan Society website. Serve with a marmite and mushroom gravy and a nice chunk of seitan.
Bangers and mash
Make your own vegan sausage using vital wheat gluten or buy them ready-made. I like the smoked apple sage from Field Roast. Serve with any surplus mashed sweet potato from the Sheppard’s pie recipe.

Links:
The Vegetarian Society
Vegan Society
Vegan London

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