Viva the vegans

Viva the vegans
A vegan meal for 'Veganuary'

Veganuary is a movement which inspires people all over the world to try a vegan diet for a month. It was started in 2013 by Matthew Glover and Jane Land, a couple from Yorkshire who wanted to reduce animal suffering ‘as effectively as possible’.

The aim is to follow a meat and dairy-free plant-based diet in order to achieve a healthier and more sustainable eating regime – and environment. And the movement is getting bigger and bigger every year.

A spokesperson for Veganuary told the Times that for 2020’s awareness campaign they are currently at 370,000 sign-ups for the UK alone: “This is incredible, as last year we got 250,000 so we were aiming for 350,000 for this year, but the numbers are still rising.”

A slew of celebrities are also championing veganism. They include Madonna, Bryan Adams, Beyoncé and Joaquin Phoenix – who convinced the organisers of last week’s Golden Globes event in Hollywood to only serve vegan food. Plus there was a recent landmark court ruling declaring veganism as a ‘philosophical belief’, and its positive impact on the planet is well documented.

Veganuary’s Ambassador, TV presenter and wildlife expert Chris Packham, says: “As I’ve become more and more aware of the impact
our diet has on the environment – and of
course the species that live in it – I’ve
become increasingly concerned to minimise
the negative aspects of that impact.”

A recent survey found that following their Veganuary experience, 47% of respondents said that they would be committing to staying vegan, and 51% were influenced by the discovery of ‘great tasting food’.

So, with that in mind, we’ve selected a couple of official Veganuary recipes for you to try.

They’re great if you’re currently undergoing the month-long pledge to eat vegan and need a bit of mealtime inspiration, or perfect if you fancy experiencing a taste of a vegan diet…


Lebanese tabbouleh



  • 50g bulgur wheat
  • 2 large, ripe vine tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper



  1. Cook bulgur wheat as per packet instructions.
  2. Make a small cross at the base of each tomato and place them in a separate bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 30 seconds, then drain away the water.
  3. When the tomatoes are cool enough to
    handle, peel and discard the skins. Cut the tomatoes into quarters, discard the seeds and dice the flesh. Transfer the diced tomatoes to
    a serving bowl.
  4. Add the parsley, mint and onion to the tomatoes and mix well until combined.
  5. Fluff up the cooked bulgur wheat with a fork until the grains are separated. Add it to the tomato mixture.
  6. Drizzle over the lemon juice and olive oil and season to taste with salt. Mix well to coat the ingredients in the liquid.

Strawberry shortbreads



For the shortcakes:

  • 200g dairy-free margarine
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 300g plain flour, sifted

For the cream:

  • 1 × 400ml can of full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
  • 75g icing sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

And don’t forget…

  • 16 strawberries



  1. In a bowl, cream together the margarine, vanilla essence and sugar. Stir in the flour and mix into a dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the oven to 160°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  3. Roll out the chilled dough to about a ½ cm thickness and, using a cookie cutter, cut into rounds. Place them on the baking sheet, sprinkle with a little extra sugar and bake for 12-15 minutes.
  4. Leave to cool for at least 10 minutes.
  5. To make the coconut cream, chill a large mixing bowl for 10 minutes, then take the chilled, hardened coconut milk from the fridge and scrape out the thickened cream, leaving behind the liquid.
  6. Beat for 30 seconds until creamy, then add the icing sugar and vanilla extract.
  7. Slice fresh strawberries and cover one shortcake with them. Cover in cream, and add another shortcake to the top. Sprinkle with icing sugar and half a strawberry to serve.


Raise a glass to Veganuary


Times Drinks Editor James Viner recommends three quality bottles – two wine and one beer –suitable for anyone following a plant-based diet



2019 Fairtrade Pinot Noir,
WO Robertson, South Africa

(Co-op, £7, 13%)

The Co-op was the first retailer to list ingredients on wines, and has long issued clear vegan labelling across their own-brand range, working closely with producers to support the switch to vegan-friendly fining agents, where possible. Jaded festive palates will love this new, jolly, pale, light-bodied and unoaked midweek red. Think gamey walk-in-the-woods flavour, plus smoky cedar, plump raspberry and strawberry fruit. Screams for tender pink salmon fillets or seared tuna. Serve cool.


2018 The Society’s White
Burgundy, France

(The Wine Society, £9.95, 12.5%)

Using the definitions provided by The Vegan Society, The Wine Society lists around 300 vegan-compliant wines made without animal-based fining agents. Here is a smart, handcrafted, unoaked and affordable white burgundy from a warm and fine vintage, which not only ticks the vegan box but also tastes fantastic, giving a lot of glorious bang for your buck. Expect satisfying white flowers, baked lemon, crisp green apple, melon and stone fruit. Anyone for white fish with parsley sauce
or crab?


The Wild Beer Co ‘Ninkasi,’ England

(Waitrose, £7.50, 750ml, 9%)


Named after the ancient Sumerian goddess of brewing, this barrel-aged ‘Saison’-style beer from
Somerset is a divine vegan-friendly alternative to fizz. It was brewed with tangy Kiwi hops, locally-sourced apple juice and then re-fermented in the bottle with Champagne yeast.

Vegan cheers to 2020!

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