1) Make best use of your pots and pans by cooking food in batches to freeze for later on (easy soups with leafy veg, white beans and quinoa are ideal as they contain plenty of protein, calcium and other nutrients). That way, you’ll have more time to get used to all the new recipes you’ll be experimenting with, instead of having to think about what to make every night.
2) Remember you don’t need to replace all your meat or fish with pre-packed vegan substitutes — it’s much cheaper to use pulses and lentils for the ‘meaty’ part of your meal.
3) Start with dishes you know and make adaptations, such as removing cheese and adding nutritional yeast instead for that cheesy flavour.
4) Invest in a food processor. This is your must-have item as a vegan cook as you can make all sorts of meals, from falafels to add to wraps, to vegan cheese for some cheese on toast.
5) Don’t have room for a food processor? Use a mini chopper instead, like the Russell Hobbs Food Collection Mini Chopper, to save space and cut down the time you spend chopping veg.
6) Avocados are a delicious ‘meaty’ fruit, and are great for bulking up salads or even making creamy desserts. ThisJoseph Joseph Duo 3-in-1 Avocado Tool could come in handy if you’re partial to an avo or two. It’ll cut, de-stone and slice your avocado to make life that little bit easier. Perfect for a bit of avo on toast!
7) If you’re feeling adventurous, make your own dairy substitutes, such as creamy banana yoghurt and homemade almond milk.
8) As you’ll be off dairy, you’ll need to get your calcium from rich plant sources instead. Use a wok — like this Salter Megastone Wok — to batch-cook a stir-fry with calcium-set tofu, kale, broccoli and other veg, and drizzle it in calcium-rich tahini before adding the soy sauce. Snacking on almonds is another great way to boost your calcium intake.
9) Swap milk chocolate for dark if you can but if you’re not keen on its bitter taste, it’s super-easy to make some vegan desserts. Use a food processor to make delicious date and nut protein balls, or a blender to make vegan mousse with avocado, cacao and agave nectar (a tasty alternative to honey).
10) If you’re worried about missing out on nutrients, invest in a nutrient extractor like the Salter Nutri Pro 1200W Blender or jug blender and make smoothies. It’s an easy way to add extra veg like nutrient-dense kale or healthy nuts into your daily diet. You can also use your blender for speedy pasta sauces with a creamy coconut base, or soups made from veg, herbs and stock, lightly heated afterwards on the hob.
11) Think you’ll miss ice cream? Make heavenly homemade sorbet with chopped frozen bananas and berries — simply wait for them to defrost a touch, and then blend together with a hand blender.
12) Use this Kitchen Craft Melon Baller to scoop out perfect spheres of melon for an appetising healthy dessert.
13) Love baking? Use aquafaba (the liquid in cans of chickpeas) as a substitute for eggs in meringues and pavlovas. A food mixer will help you out.
14) Make the most of your new plant-based diet by maximising the amount of nutrients you get from your veg. Using a steamer will help retain nutrients which are often lost when boiling.
15) Lentils are an incredible source of nutrients, so create some dishes in which they’re a key ingredient. Lentil dhals are delicious — make these in a pressure cooker for the best results.
16) If you’re going vegan for the environment, why not go the whole vegan hog and use an eco-friendly bamboo chopping board?
17) Most of all, if you find yourself missing meat and dairy, be creative and enjoy capturing similar flavours and textures with new ingredients and recipes. While you may find certain foods don’t replicate animal produce, you can enjoy all sorts of different dishes that you’d never have discovered without going vegan.