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Food and DrinkVegan Food: What to Eat for Dinner? Key Ingredients

Vegan Food: What to Eat for Dinner? Key Ingredients

More and more people are becoming aware that vegan food has a wide range of ingredients and nuances, allowing us to enjoy many flavours, such as the refreshing ones that will help us combat the heat of this summer, the now so popular umami, or those that will be thoroughly enjoyed by lovers of spicy or sweet. Undoubtedly, two myths have finally been debunked in 2023, vegan food is not composed solely of salads and tofu, nor is it exclusive to those who have decided to follow this diet. Therefore, when we think about preparing a vegan dinner, the options are endless.

Vegan Food Ingredients that Stand Out

The list of ingredients suitable for people who have chosen a vegan-based diet is very wide. However, we have considered that there are some flavours that stand out and are worth knowing whether you are vegan or not. Let’s review some of these flavours and get ideas for your dinner tonight!

Herbal and Refreshing Flavours

Herbal flavours add vitality to dishes; they are also the most suitable for this summer season when the sun is all out and our body asks for something light and refreshing. Some of the key ingredients that fit into this type of flavour are:

  • Mint: It provides a fresh aroma and a refreshing flavour to preparations. Ideal for salads, smoothies and vegan desserts.
  • Basil: With its sweet aroma and slightly spicy flavour, basil is a versatile herb for dressings, sauces, pasta and main dishes.
  • Coriander: It offers a unique flavour and a citrusy freshness. Perfect for guacamole, soups, curries and salads.
  • Flat-leaf parsley: Adds a mild herbal flavour and is commonly used in sauces, dressings and marinades.
  • Dill: With its aniseed and refreshing flavour, it is used in dishes like salads, yoghurt sauces and marinades.

Umami Flavours

Umami flavours are hearty and provide a feeling of fullness and satisfaction to the palate. Although there is some controversy, umami is known as the fifth basic taste, and is characterised by being savoury and slightly salty. Some of the ingredients with this flavour are:

  • Mushrooms: Portobello, shiitake and cremini mushrooms have an earthy taste and a meaty texture that makes them ideal ingredients for hearty vegan dishes such as stews, stir-fries and burgers.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes: They provide a concentrated and sweet taste, and are perfect for sauces, pasta, dips and homemade vegan pizzas.
  • Soy sauce: With its rich umami flavour, soy sauce or tamari is a versatile condiment that is used to enhance the flavour of other ingredients in stir-fries, marinades and sauces.

Spicy and Hot Flavours

Spicy and hot flavours add a touch of intensity and passion to any type of food. These flavours awaken the senses and provide a culinary experience full of energy and excitement. The following ingredients fit into this type of flavour:

  • Chilli pepper: Whether it’s jalapeño, habanero or any other type of chilli pepper, it provides intense heat and bold flavours to vegan dishes. You can use it in sauces, guacamole, stir-fries or even to marinate tofu or roasted vegetables.
  • Cayenne pepper: This potent and fiery spice is ideal for adding a spicy touch to your vegan preparations. Use it in soups, sauces, marinades or rice dishes to give them a spicy and exciting flavour.
  • Chilli powder: Chilli powder is a versatile spice that adds a spicy and earthy flavour to your vegan dishes. Use it in tacos, vegan chili, sauces or even to season your oven-baked potatoes with a spicy touch.
  • Wasabi: Known for its spicy and distinctive flavour, wasabi is perfect for accompanying vegan sushi, dressings, sauces or even to give your vegan snacks a spicy touch.
  • Sriracha: This spicy sauce of Thai origin is a popular condiment to add heat and flavour to your vegan dishes. Use it in tofu scrambles, marinades, soups or to enhance the flavour of your veggie burgers.

Sweet and Fruity Flavours

Although we think of them more as desserts or snacks, these fruits and sweet flavours can also sneak into our main courses. Let’s review some:

  • Mango: This juicy tropical fruit is known for its sweet taste and smooth texture. You can enjoy it in smoothies, ice cream, fruit salads or even in sweet and sour sauces to accompany main vegan dishes.
  • Banana: Ripe bananas are an excellent option to sweeten and give a creamy texture to your vegan recipes. Use them in smoothies, muffins, pancakes or as a base for homemade vegan ice cream.
  • Pineapple: With its sweet and refreshing taste, pineapple is ideal to give a tropical touch to your vegan dishes. You can incorporate it in salads, stir-fries, juices or even grill it to highlight its natural sweetness.
  • Strawberries: These delicious and juicy red fruits are perfect for adding a touch of sweetness and colour to your vegan desserts. Enjoy them in smoothies, salads, cakes or simply alone as a healthy snack.
  • Dates: Dates are a natural and nutritious option to sweeten your vegan preparations. You can use them in homemade energy bars, cakes, puddings or as a filling for your favourite sweets.

Put it into Practice

The best thing about all these flavours is that they are very versatile and we can use them in countless recipes, be they vegan or not. If you haven’t decided on your dinner yet, here are two ideas that won’t disappoint you.

Spicy and Sweet Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Rinse the quinoa under cold water and drain
  2. In a saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the quinoa and cook over medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until tender and the water has been completely absorbed. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, mango, avocado, red onion and coriander.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the lime juice, soy sauce, chilli paste, salt and pepper.
  5. Pour the dressing mixture over the quinoa salad and gently mix to combine all the flavours.
  6. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.
  7. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for the flavours to blend.
  8. Serve the spicy and sweet quinoa salad as a main dish or as a refreshing side dish. Enjoy the combination of spicy and sweet flavours in every bite!

Mushroom Tacos with Spicy Pineapple Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 400 g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 onion, julienned
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, julienned
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh coriander leaves, to decorate

Instructions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until they are golden and fragrant.
  3. Add the mushrooms and red pepper to the pan. Cook until the mushrooms are tender and golden.
  4. Add the pineapple and chopped jalapeño pepper to the pan. Cook for a few more minutes until the pineapple is slightly caramelised.
  5. Squeeze the lemon juice over the ingredients in the pan and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
  6. Heat the corn tortillas in a separate frying pan or in the oven.
  7. Fill each tortilla with the mushroom and pineapple mixture.
  8. Decorate with fresh coriander leaves.
  9. Serve the mushroom tacos with spicy pineapple sauce and enjoy the combination of flavours and textures in every bite.
Sam Allcock
Sam Allcock
With over 20 years of experience in the field SEO and digital marketing, Sam Allcock is a highly regarded entrepreneur. He is based in Cheshire but has an interest in all things going on in the North West and enjoys contributing local news to the site.
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