Category: Food & Drink

Vegan Food in Copenhagen

To say I was a little apprehensive about spending a week in a foreign country as a new vegan is an understatement. I find eating out in the UK as a new vegan slightly daunting so being in a country that I’ve never visited before made me slightly anxious. I packed a few vegan friendly flapjacks and bars, just in case but I also downloaded the Happy Cow app and spent some time having a look at the different venues available. I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were quite a few vegan/veggie places in Copenhagen, and even some vegan specific places.

At the airport I bought an almond, banana and cashew shake from Pret a Manger and Boots had some individual Graze boxes so I picked up a box of the nuts and a pack of Starburst to eat on the plane, as we didn’t think we would be getting any food. It turned out we did, but as we hadn’t ordered anything, there wasn’t a vegan option so I sat back and enjoyed my nuts! After dropping our bags at the hotel, we headed out in search of lunch and we weren’t disappointed. We arrived at Astrid och Aporna and had the most amazing salad. It cost about £10, but Phil and I shared it between us. It’s based in a vegan shop, which pretty much blew my mind! I could eat everything they had! They even had some Go Max Go bars, so naturally I bought a few to enjoy while we were in Copenhagen.

Astrid och ApornaI had thought that they sold vegan burgers and hot dogs, but they didn’t on the day we were there so settled for this epic salad and some chocolate cake. We noticed on the Happy Cow app that we weren’t far from a 42Raw so we stopped there for a chai latte and a juice. It was lush! On the menu, it showed that they also do a vegan burger, so we made a mental note to go back there another day.

42 Raw juiceWe hadn’t really planned where we were going to have dinner, but while we were on our way to Tivoli Gardens, we noticed there was a Wagamama nearby. As I knew they had vegan options, I was happy to try there. After looking at all the menus of restaurants and cafes inside Tivoli Gardens, and discounting them all, we were very relieved to turn a corner and find that there was an entrance to Wagamama from the gardens! We headed in and enjoyed some much needed hearty, filling food. I asked the waitress what I could have and she pointed out a few things. I opted for the yasai steamed gyoza and yasai itame. They were delicious and I cannot wait to have them again.

Yasai steamed gyoza Yasai itameThe hotel did a pretty decent breakfast buffet. There was lots of different breads and rolls to choose from, a huge variety of fruit and cucumber! I made sure I ate as much as I could, as well as helping myself to the generous pot of coffee on the table.

Breakfast at Island Hotel CopenhagenOn our second day there, we felt much more confident about food, especially as you can search on the Happy Cow app for venues near your location. After a morning of learning at the National Museum, we headed to another branch of 42Raw for lunch. This time, we had the burger and some sweet potato fries. I’ve never felt so healthy!

42 Raw burger 42 Raw sweet potato friesIt was quite an epic meal! They do such a good variety of snacks, cakes and drinks, its well worth going to. After a quick check on Happy Cow, we noticed that we were really close to Botaniq, which is a 100% vegan cafe. It had a lovely feel, though it was quite quiet when we were there, but that suited us as we had the pick of the tables. We both opted for a slice of the cheesecake and it was light and refreshing and washed down well with a cup of chai.

BotaniqAs we’d had such a big lunch, we didn’t need that much for dinner, especially as we’d bought tickets for The Martian and knew we were going to have some cinema snacks (and they had vegan sweets at the cinema, I kid you not!) we headed to the mall next to the hotel to see what they had to offer. We opted for something from the buffet at Indiana Mexican, mainly because it was the easiest vegan option.

Indiana Mexican restaurantLook at all that veg! While it was a decent meal, it was the low point during the week, mainly because the standard of vegan food was so high.

On our final full day in Copenhagen, we headed to Christiania, mainly because we wanted to try the veggie restaurant, Morgenstedet. It didn’t open until noon, but there were quite a few of us waiting to go in. It’s a small, quirky little place, but everything except one salad (and there were about eight salads available) was vegan. I had the biggest smile on my face. I was about to order a selection of the salads, when we noticed the previous customer receiving a vegan burrito, which came with two, that’s right, two salads! Phil and I both opted for this and it was the best meal I’ve eaten! Simple, filling, healthy and delicious. I still can’t get over how good it was!

morgenstedetI wish I could eat like this all the time, but my lack of food skills and imagination definitely holds me back! This was epic and kept us going all afternoon. If you’re even in Copenhagen, this is a must visit. That afternoon, we walked all the miles so we didn’t want to venture far for dinner. We headed back to the mall next to our hotel, as we’d spotted LêLê and after a quick check of the menu, we headed over.

lele curry with crispy tofuI had the curry with crispy tofu and spring rolls, and while it wasn’t as delicious as the meal we had had at Wagamama, it was still pretty good. Despite being in a shopping mall, the restaurant was surprisingly lovely. It was near closing and was fairly quiet, just what we needed after a busy day walking around the city. Considering the food we ate was incredibly healthy and the fact we walked over 40 miles in the few days we were there, I think this is the only holiday I’ve ever been on where I’ve lost weight! Being vegan rocks!

More Easy Vegan Meals

If I’d know being vegan was as easy as it is, I would’ve become vegan years ago. Truth be told, I was worried about what I could eat before becoming vegan, and I know lots of people worry about defiencies, but to be honest, this is the healthiest diet I’ve ever been on! Partly, because I now have to do a lot of cooking from scratch, thanks to the fact that food manufacturers seem to be dairy in every. little. thing. We’re eating more veggies, cooking from scratch almost every day (some days we have leftovers) and becoming much more aware of food and taste. While I will never look forward or get excited by cooking (or washing up afterwards!), I am mostly pleased with the results of what we make. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be entering Masterchef or anything, but we’ve got a good selection of pretty decent and pretty tasty vegan meals.

Easy Vegan Meals1. Cheese on Toast. To be honest, I don’t really miss cheese. I thought I would, but it’s not even an issue. However, that doesn’t mean to say that I’m not happy about the mature melty vegan cheese from Bute Island. It’s not too fake, has a good texture and doesn’t take long to melt. I added some French’s Texan Jalapeño Relish and it makes for a tasty lunch.

2. Tofu Salad. This is a little something I came up for school lunches. It’s particularly handy is there’s enough for two days. I fry a block of tofu, cut into chunks, while cooking some Waitrose mixed grains. Once the tofu is golden, I put in a cup of peas, edamame beans and any other veg around. This time it was carrots, but I’ve also added mushrooms and sweetcorn. I add in the cooked grains, a tablespoon of soy sauce and a tea spoon of chili. Delicious!

3. Vegan Sausage Bap. For this, I used some of the Fry’s Braai style sausages, which worked really well, a squirt of tomato ketchup and some vegan mayonaise.

4. Tofu Stir Fry. This is my all time favourite dinner. I use a block of tofu, a pack of stif fry veg from Waitrose, which consists of baby sweetcorn, tender stem broccoli and green beans. I also make this Minimalist Baker sauce with a few variations. I don’t put in any ginger because it’s the devils work. I also reduce the amount of sugar and corn starch by half. The sauce covers everything really well. I’ve used Biona Spelt noodles and instant noodles, the latter being my favourite because it’s easier. Phil’s not so keen on this one, because of the veg, so I’ll make it when I can leftovers the next day.

5. Vegan chilli. Sainsbury’s veggie mince is delicious. We can get enough chill out of one pack for two dinners for the pair of us. We simply chop two onions, two red peppers, two green peppers, add the mince, a tin of red kidney beans, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and chili powder. On the first night, we have it with brown rice and the second night, jacket potatoes and vegan cheese. It’s such a winner!

6. Vegan Roast Dinner. Roast sprouts are delicious. Fact. Add some leek, parsnips, carrots, roast potatoes, gravy and the VBites Turkey Roast. This was surprisingly easy to do, even in our small and dodgy oven. It took about an hour and a half to prep and cook, but obviously as it’s a roast, it’s quite easy and you can enjoy a nice glass of vegan red wine while it’s cooking. This might be what Phil and I have for Christmas so it was a good test.

So when people ask what me what vegans eat, it’s very simple really – healthy and delicious food!

New Vegan Meals

After my first few weeks of being vegan, I thought I’d do a quick round up of some of the meals we’ve been eating. I’m not going to lie, there have been times where it’s been difficult. This is mainly because I’ve been busy back at school, have become tired, and this past week, I’ve been ill with a cold. Normally, I’d revert back to old, lazy food habits of just getting a pizza from a supermarket, or having a lasagne from Cook. Lack of convenience is the hardest part of being vegan. We can’t even pop down the pub for a quick bite. It has got me down a bit, as we need to eat a healthy balanced diet. For this to happen, we need to be organised and accept the fact that we need to cook, from scratch, most nights. Not something either of us is keen on, but it’s the best way. I also need to make enough dinner so that I can have leftovers for lunch or make myself something filling for lunch. I don’t always have a lot of time to eat during lunchtime, so what I do eat needs to fill me up until dinner time.

Here’s what we’ve eaten:

Roast Veg wrap

Vegan roast veg sandwich

This was something I made at home for lunch. I roasted up some peppers, courgette, red onion and squash, put some Sacla Free From pesto on an Crosta & Mollica Classic Piada wrap. It was amazing! The best wrap I’ve ever eaten. I’ll definitely have this again. And it would be handy for school too.

Golden Cottage Pie

Vegan Shepherds pie

This was an absolute winner of a dinner. I got the recipe from Little Miss Meat-Free and it was so easy to make. We had peas and sweetcorn and plenty of gravy with it and there was enough for both of us to have left overs for lunch the next day. I will definitely be making this again soon.

Vegan Sausage & Mash

Vegan sausage and mash

You can’t beat sausage and mash can you? This one isn’t hard to veganise. I always use soya milk in the mash, but this time I used Pure Spread. I wanted to ramp up the veg a bit so quickly fried some mushrooms and onions to go with it. Delicious. We tried some of Dee’s sausages, but we weren’t keen on them. Next time, we’ll be going for some Linda McCartney sausages, as they are always a winner.

Vegan Cooked Breakfast

Vegan Cooked Breakfast

Beans, mushrooms, cherry toms, fried tofu, vegan sausages and a bit of bread. The perfect start to a lazy Sunday. I replaced the egg I would normally have with a bit of tofu and it was delicious. I didn’t miss the egg at all and was suitably stuffed.

Roast Veg tart, corn on the cob & sweet potato fries

Roast Veg tart

I’ve written about the roast veg tart before. This time I put loads of veg in and we had it with corn on the cob, cooked in the oven, and some sweet potato fries from Waitrose. This was a great dinner, plus look at all that veg!

Ann’s Vegan pasty, oven chips and peas

Annes pasties

This is my go-to lazy, comfort dinner. Oven chips (or if I’m feeling like a treat, I may even pop to the chippy and get some chip shop chips for us to share!) and one of Ann’s vegan pasties with a generous helping of peas is one of my all time favourite dinners. The pasty takes an hour to cook from frozen, so you can bung it in the oven and go off and get yourself in your jammies while it’s cooking. You can’t go wrong with this one.

I know what you’re thinking – there’s a lot of chips there. I like chips. A lot. But I do realise that, even oven chips, aren’t very healthy. We’re still in a transition period at the moment, finding new meals that are quick, easy, simple and healthy. I’ll add more when I’ve found them.

Becoming Vegan

So I’ve been a vegetarian for over 10 years and have decided it’s time to become vegan. My reasoning for it was and still is animal welfare. As far as I’m concerned, no living creature should have to die or suffer for me to eat. For a long time I’ve bought, what I considered to be, ethical dairy products, but I’ve been questioning for a while if there is such a thing and I’ve come to the conclusion that there isn’t. While I can choose to buy organic, free range dairy, it’s unlikely that the dairy used in the convenience foods and treats I buy is anything remotely linked to the ethical standards that I’d like them to be.

Free range chickens

Becoming vegan is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time and there are three main reasons why I’m going to switch from being vegetarian to vegan. Firstly, there’s the animals. Eating a vegan diet ensures that no animals are harmed for me to eat. Everything from egg production to milking has serious ethical issues for me and I’m just not comfortable supporting such cruelty to animals. Plus, we don’t need animal products in our diet. While it might’ve been something that we did need, during our evolution when food was scarce, this simply isn’t the case today. In fact, by consuming animal products, we’re actually doing a great deal of harm to our planet, which is the second reason why I’ve decided to go vegan. The fact that the meat and dairy industry does more damage to the environment than the travel industry is pretty shocking. Considering that we don’t need meat or dairy to live, it makes no sense that we continue to consume them on a scale that could devastate our planet. Eating a vegan diet is much more environmentally friendly, especially if you follow a healthy one. This brings me on to my final reason for becoming vegan. Health. There are lots and lots of unhealthy veggie foods out there and while I realize that there’s also a fair share of unhealthy vegan foods (I’m looking at you Oreo’s!), I’m determined to follow a healthy, balanced vegan diet. This way, I’ll get plenty of vitamins and protein and I won’t have to worry about any deficiencies. Plus, I won’t be able to walk into a shop and just buy a massive bag of Monster Munch or a load of Krispy Kreme donuts. (Both have dairy, I’ve checked!) This means that I’ll have to eat the meals I plan and shop for, helping me to reduce my food waste, keep my food costs down and help keep my waistline in check. While I will be indulging in some delicious vegan treats, both homemade and shop bought, the fact that they won’t be readily available is good news for my waistline!

Poppy on the beach

Plus there’s this little lady. I don’t see a difference between her and the animals people eat. How can I say I love animals and continue to eat them and contribute to a destructive industry? I just can’t.

I’ve already started cutting out dairy from my diet and look for the vegan options when we’re out and about. I’m planning on using the next few months to let friends and family know and work out how I’m going to do things but from 2016, I’m going to be 100% vegan. While I realize it’s not going to be easy all the time, especially eating out, once I’m used to it, it’ll get easier. When I first became vegetarian, it was really difficult to find restaurants with suitable food. Fortunately, vegetarian food has come a long way in the last ten years and eating out isn’t a huge problem anymore so I’m hoping that eating out as a vegan becomes more mainstream too. I think the hardest thing for me is going to be is convenience. I’m all about easy food and quick meals, but being vegan means I’m going to have to read every label, phone ahead at restaurants and, occasionally, go without, which is fine as I think it’s worth it, but it’ll take some getting used to. I don’t think I’m going to miss anything, as I haven’t missed anything since going vegetarian, not even bacon.  If you’ve got any good vegan recipes, or tips, please let me know! I’m going to need all the help I can get.

If you want to find out more about veganism, then take a look at Vegucated, The Vegan Sidekick or Peta.