We barely have worked off the excess calories of the past Christmas season and here I am writing about food ideas for another special event, the 4th of July. To be even more specific – vegan meal ideas for Independence day.
I am so pleased to have a guest post by Marijke Doldersum of www.easydone.net. She is a serial immigrant who blogs about how to create a simple lifestyle abroad.
More and more people are making the change to the vegan lifestyle. It is not so hard to prepare vegan family meals although it does require more planning and preparation.
However, if you like to go out for dinner on Valentine’s night it may be a bit more complicated. Depending on where you live, it could be hard to find a restaurant near you that serves a tasty vegan dinner. Where I live in France, I expect it to be more or less impossible unless you are happy with salad leaves!
So what about creating some simple vegan recipes yourself?
Our trial period at being vegan
We ventured into vegan family meals about 18 months ago and tried it for at least 6 weeks or so. It was an eye opening experience and although we are not strictly vegan anymore we have dramatically cut down our meat and fish intake.
To be honest, it was not so much the meat and fish we missed during our trial but we struggled with having to leave out the cheese especially in vegan pasta recipes.
So let’s make a tasty and romantic vegan dinner of three courses with vegan wine if you can find it and romantic candlelight.
I live in a French wine region and we are so lucky to have several ‘vignerons’ who are producing organic and vegan wines.
I have been told that it is not easy to make 100% vegan wines but several winemakers in the Languedoc have nevertheless committed to this principle.
If you’re unable to get vegan wine, consider decadent hot drinks to ward off the winter chills.
Vegan meal ideas for special celebrations
The starter is simple yet tasty and can be made in advance. Moreover, I recommend making it in advance as the flavours integrate so much better.
Our vegan dinner theme is ‘Mediterranean’. The main course is Ratatouille, a French recipe using a number of different vegetables that are perfect for a slow cooker recipe.
I have added a couple of interesting spices to give it a bit of a twist. That in itself should excite you as the flavours are a combination of fragrant spices, a touch of chilli and sweetness.
The dessert is based on fruit. As Valentine’s day is in the winter in many parts of the world, it could be hard to find seasonal fruit. You may have been forced to opt for canned fruit. Besides, you need juice and that comes with fruit in a can.
The good thing is that all dishes can be prepared in advance so you won’t have to spend too much time in the kitchen on Valentine’s ‘date night’. You could also do all the preparations together for an unusual romantic touch.
Roast Capsicum Pesto on Sourdough
Serves 2 people
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Roasting 30 min, processing 10 min.
Toast bread just before eating
- • 2 medium-sized red capsicums
- • 1 -2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- • salt, pepper
- • chili to taste
- • 50 ml of virgin olive oil
- • two slices of a good quality sourdough bread
- Place the capsicums in an oven dish and bake in the oven until charred and the skin puffs up.
- This usually takes around 30 – 40 minutes on 180 degrees Celsius.
- Cool and peel capsicums.
- Blend in a food processor with other ingredients.
- Serve on toasted sourdough
Serves 2 people
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking 45 min to get the flavors integrated
Couscous 10 minutes.
- • 1 Spanish onion
- • 2 cloves of garlic
- • 1 red capsicum
- • 2 medium-sized courgettes
- • 1 aubergine
- • A tin of 400 Gr of chopped tomato or 4 large tomatoes chopped
- • 1 small tin of tomato puree
- • salt, pepper, chili, paprika, sumac, thyme, oil and cumin seeds
- Chop all vegetables in bite-size pieces.
Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the aubergines with a bit of salt and pepper.
- They tend to need more time cooking and will taste better if pre-fried.
- Heat oil in large pan and fry cumin seeds until fragrant.
- Add garlic and onion and simmer for 5 minutes
- Then add capsicum, courgettes, and aubergines and let softly fry for 5 minutes.
- Follow with tomatoes, puree and all the spices.
- Simmer for 1 hour until vegetables are cooked and have soaked up the flavor.
- Serve with couscous (follow instructions on packet) and a nice green salad.
Oven Baked Fruit
Serves 2 people
Preparation time 15-20 minutes
Roast fruit 30 min in the oven until soft. Syrup if homemade 30 min at least to simmer and thicken.
The ingredients for this recipe are seasonal so if certain fruits are not in season you may have to use canned fruit.
- • apricots, pears, peaches, plums
- • 1 cup of juice (canned fruit or orange juice)
- • cane sugar
- • cinnamon and cloves
- • roasted almonds
- Arrange enough fruit halves for two or more in a roasting dish.
- Heat juice with spices and sugar and reduce to half a cup.
- Pour over the fruit and bake in a moderate oven for 45 minutes.
- Homemade Syrup:
I use orange juice with a bit of lemon, sugar to taste and a cinnamon stick. Bring to boil and simmer.
- Roast almonds until crunchy.
- Chop and serve over fruit.
- Serve with a nice cool glass of dessert wine.
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So there you go! Some great vegan meal ideas and perfect for a romantic dinner on Valentine’s day.
If you are vegetarian and would like to add some cheese, I recommend some crumbled feta or goats cheese with the Ratatouille.
And a dollop of your favorite cream or sour cream on your baked fruit for a finishing touch.
Enjoy your dinner and each other!
- Do you have any successful vegan recipes that would be great for a Special dinner?
Share them in the comments below.
Marijke is the blogger behind easydone.net. She has just started ‘Easy Done Online Services’ providing freelance writing, proofreading, and virtual assistance. Check out more vegan recipes from Marijke on her Pinterest board.