Sourcing Inspiration in the Kitchen – Vegan Recipes
August 28, 2018
Between wedding activities, travel since returning from the wedding, and just general laziness, I’ve been uninspired by my vegan cooking for the past couple of months. As a creature of habit (and someone with a very addictive personality), I get stuck in a cycle of making the same few dishes over and over again (like this) until I eventually get bored with them. I figured I would take this opportunity to show you what I do to get out of a rut in the kitchen and get the creative juices flowing again in case this happens to anyone else!
First things first, I pull out all of my recipe books from the kitchen. I’m very lucky that friends and family have been buying me all sorts of vegan recipe books over the past year or so – which makes sourcing inspiration that much easier. However, I own plenty of recipe books from my pre-vegan days that I still turn to and just modify! I never ever follow a recipe exactly how it’s laid out anyway, so this allows me to substitute ingredients I’m not over the moon about for something I’d much prefer.
The recipe books I’ve referenced in this post:
I absolutely love dedicating a couple of hours to sitting with my recipe books. It’s cathartic and really gets me excited to jump right back into the kitchen!
The first thing I do is go through every single recipe book using sticky notes to favourite the recipes that interest me.
Then I go back through all the books and figure out which meals I want to make for the week and start to compile my shopping list. (Side note: I used to get overeager when doing this and would buy groceries for 6 new recipes in one week and inevitably wouldn’t be able to make that much in one week, so food would go to waste. Now I’m much more realistic about my time, probable leftovers, and money when purchasing food for the week).
Pictured are some of my favourite recipe books that I turn to frequently.
Other sources of cooking inspiration are Pinterest as well as vegan YouTubers that I follow such as From My Bowl (Caitlin Shoemaker) and Ellen Fischer (her recipe book, Epic Vegan Food, is an ebook that I ended up printing – call me old school, but I still sometimes need that feeling of a book in my hand to feel connected with what I’m reading).
This past week I tried four new recipes that I wanted to share with you (pictures were taken on my mobile phone – apologies for the poorer quality):
Heirloom Tomato Salad:
Reminiscing about France on a daily basis had me turn to the A Kitchen in France recipe book – which isn’t mine! Borrowed from my roommate and potentially stolen if she doesn’t notice it missing! 😉 Shallots, not used too regularly in my kitchen, are intriguing to me. They’re like a perfect blend between an onion and garlic (<– which so happens to be my first love) and so being able to use that where possible has been really fun!
- Heirloom tomatoes
- Olive oil
I’ll use any excuse to incorporate kimchi into a dish! I’ve been making kimchi fried rice for a while (I should pop that one on the blog for you guys! It’s a household favourite!) and first tried kimchi dumplings at one of my favourite vegan restaurants in LA called Plant, Food, & Wine. Man oh man were those dumplings next level! I sourced Pinterest for a recipe, found one close enough, and just modified to my liking!
- Garden veg tempeh
- Vegan kimchi
- Lemon juice
- Wonton wrappers
- Toasted sesame seed oil
This inspiration was pulled from both Ellen Fischer’s Epic Vegan Food book as well as The Art of Wellbeing recipe book. I recognize these are certainly not the most appealing-looking items here and could’ve been stuffed fatter with veggies – but this was my first time ever using Nori wraps and they’re quite tricky to roll. They probably would’ve actually rolled easier had I stuffed them with more vegetables. Lesson learned and I’m definitely keen to give these another go since they tasted so fresh and healthy.
- Red & green bell peppers
- Red onion
- Dip: tahini, tamari, ginger, lemon juice
Vanilla Buckwheat Bars:
As I prepared for a trip this past weekend, I was trying to go through all fresh produce in the house, so nothing went to waste. I had 5 medjool dates in the fridge for smoothies that I never used and *ping* an email slides into my inbox from Caitlin Shoemaker’s blog, From My Bowl, promoting these bars that so happened to require medjool dates. Done and done! I already had all the other ingredients in the house (except for buckwheat groats – I’d never heard of those before!) so was keen to make some bars for our flight the next day! These were majorly easy to make and tasted yummy. Not sweet at all (even with all the sweet ingredients) and still felt very healthy. (I also added cinnamon and nutmeg as a variation of her recipe). Linking directly to her recipe here.
Having spent the time to do some research and prepare ideas ahead of time, I’m feeling far more excited to jump into the kitchen and play around with some new recipes! What do you do to get your creative juices flowing in the kitchen? I’d love to hear all about your inspiration!