What comes after Lent?

Today marks the end of lent and the end of my first 40 days of veganism.

Cutting almost everything out of my diet was a bit of a shock and struggle at the outset, but 40 days later I feel fresher, healthier and happier. That, and for reasons mentioned in my previous posts, is why I’m carrying it on. I can still eat most of my favourite foods - or, at least, vegan replacements - and have discovered so many new great recipes. 

One of these is a baked sweet potato combo, with quinoa, spinach, onion and cranberries. For a sunny day like this (well, it was when I ate it), this is a delicious light and summery meal that contains nothing nasty and will fill you up. 

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As usual, my cooking involved absolutely no preparation or forethought so I had to sub and swap a few ingredients from the original recipe. Not too many, though. 

The basic ingredients are as follows

  • 2 sweet potatoes (or more if you’re real hungry)
  • 3/4 cup quinoa 
  • 1 block vegetable ‘oxo’ cube
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1/2 sachet coconut cream
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 toasted almonds
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 3 cups spinach 

Bake your sweet potatoes in the oven or microwave (I did both) until you can poke ‘em with a fork pretty easily. Meanwhile, boil the quinoa in the veggie cubeuntil it’s nearly cooked.

As these are toasting away, dollop a tablespoon of vegan butter into a saucepan, with some olive oil and coconut cream. Then add in your almonds, raisins, cranberries and spinach, sprinkle some salt and pepper on topand cover with a lid until the spinach is wilted. After 7-10 mins, transfer the quinoa (remember to drain!) into your saucepan and let it fizzle away until your sweet potatoes are cooked. Mine took around 10 minutes, following 5 in the microwave.

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After you’ve cooked it all up, it’s pretty simple. Cut open your sweet potatoes, slide on some vegan butter (if you fancy - I ALWAYS do) and scoop your quinoa-veggie mix on top. Then, eat it all up! 

It’s fun and colourful recipes like this that have made me so want to carry on with veganism as long as I can. It’s sad that it’s still such a ridiculed lifestyle when it can be healthy, easy and fulfilling.

Having watched documentaries like the award-winning Earthlings, which is narrated by ‘Her’s Joaquin Phoenix, I would - as it currently stands - struggle to return morally to supporting an industry which is so flawed and lacking in compassion. 

I know so many of you are rooted in your meat-eating ways that you would never become vegan out of pride, but I could not recommend going Vegan for a short period of time any more. You will undoubtedly educate yourself and discover how many amazing foods there are out there that you’ve probably never tried before. Heck, you might even carry on doing it like I’m going to. 

At the very least - give this recipe a try. You could even sit down with it in front of Earthlings (though it might suppress your appetite!)

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