Veganuary: Plant-Based Meals To Enjoy At Dinner
Vegan? Veggie? Flexitarian? If you’re looking for some mouth-watering recipe inspiration, we’ve got you covered.
From the classic sweet potato curry to finger-licking-good bang bang cauliflower, there’s quite literally something for everyone. Because meat-free doesn’t have to mean fun-free.
Whatever tickles your taste buds, here’s six easy vegan recipes for dinner that you can tuck right into.
INGREDIENTS - SERVES THREE:
- 1 onion, finely chopped.
- 1 carrot, finely chopped.
- 1 celery stick, finely chopped.
- 1 tbsp olive oil.
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed.
- 100ml red wine.
- ¼ bunch of thyme, leaves picked.
- 1 tbsp tomato purée.
- 1 tbsp soy sauce.
- 1 tsp caster sugar.
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar.
- 1 x 400g tin cooked green lentils, drained.
- ½ x 400g tin chopped tomatoes.
For the mash:
- 500g sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped into 3cm pieces.
- 15g vegan margarine.
- 1 tsp mustard powder.
- 1 tbsp plant-based milk.
- 1 tsp pumpkin seeds.
- Tip the onions, carrots, celery and olive oil into a large saucepan. Cook over a medium heat for eight to 10 minutes until softened, add the garlic and fry for another minute. Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan, and simmer for two minutes until most of the wine has evaporated.
- Add the thyme, tomato purée, soy sauce, caster sugar and vinegar to the pan and stir to combine. Add the lentils, tomatoes and 100 ml water and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes until reduced and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- To make the mash topping, bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the sweet potatoes and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until cooked through. Drain, then add the vegan margarine, mustard powder and milk, and mash until smooth with plenty of salt and pepper.
- Heat the oven to 200C / 180C fan / gas 6. Season the filling and pour into a medium to large casserole dish. Top with the mash, starting with spoonfuls on the outside and working your way inwards to prevent the filling spilling out. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on top and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden and bubbling.
INGREDIENTS - SERVES TWO:
- 1 block of extra firm tofu, drained.
- 2 tbsp olive or coconut oil.
- Pinch of salt and pepper.
- 60ml BBQ sauce.
- 1 tsp chilli paste or sriracha.
- 2 soft buns, toasted.
- Avocado (optional).
For the creamy coriander slaw:
- 115g shredded cabbage.
- Pinch of coriander leaves, chopped.
- ¼ red onion, thinly sliced.
- 3-4 tbsp vegan mayo.
- 1 tbsp apple cider or white vinegar.
- Pinch of salt.
- Drain the tofu, pat dry and cut into one-inch thick slabs.
- Heat a pan over a medium to high heat, add oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Once the pepper is fragrant, carefully add the tofu. Sear until crispy and golden - do not move it around the pan, let it develop a crust.
- Mix the BBQ sauce and chilli paste in a bowl and set aside.
- Add the shredded cabbage, onions, coriander, mayo, vinegar and salt into a bowl, and toss to combine well, then taste. It should be creamy, tangy and flavourful.
- Toast the buns and slice the avocado.
- Once the tofu is nice and crispy, reduce the heat to low, and add the BBQ sauce mixture, coating the tofu well. Let it caramelise slightly in the pan and turn off the heat.
- Assemble the burger. Spread more mayo on the bottom bun if you like, add the hot tofu and top with cool slaw and a few slices of avocado.
INGREDIENTS - SERVES FOUR:
- 4 tsp coconut oil.
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds.
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped.
- 3 large garlic cloves, crushed.
- 4 tsp grated fresh ginger.
- 1 tsp ground turmeric.
- 1 tsp ground coriander.
- Pinch of red chilli flakes.
- 1 medium/large sweet potato, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks.
- 1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained.
- 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes.
- 1 x 400ml tin coconut milk.
- 1 bag of baby spinach.
- Freshly ground black pepper to season.
- Cooked basmati rice or quinoa.
- Chopped fresh coriander and unsweetened coconut flakes.
- In a large saucepan, heat the oil over a medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and toast for about a minute, until fragrant and slightly darker in colour. Immediately stir in the onion, season with a pinch of salt and cook for three to five minutes, or until the onion is soft.
- Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, coriander and chilli flakes. Stir to combine and sauté for a couple of minutes, until the garlic softens.
- Add the sweet potato, chickpeas, chopped tomatoes and coconut milk. Stir to combine, cover and simmer over a medium heat for 20 to 30 minutes, until the potato has softened.
- Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve on a bed of cooked grains, garnished with coriander and coconut flakes.
INGREDIENTS - SERVES FOUR:
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil.
- 1 red onion, sliced.
- 3 red peppers, sliced.
- 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes.
- 200g sweetcorn.
- 1 x 400g tin black beans, drained.
- 300ml vegetable stock.
- 500ml passata.
- 1-2 tsp chipotle paste.
- 8 tortilla wraps.
For the spice mixture:
- 2 tsp ground cumin.
- 1-2 tsp chilli powder or cayenne.
- 2 tsp garlic granules.
- 2 tsp dried oregano.
- 2 tsp smoked paprika.
- Dairy-free yoghurt or crème fraiche.
- 1 avocado, sliced.
- Small bunch of coriander, chopped.
- Sliced red chillies.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the onion and peppers for 10 minutes, until tender. Add the sweet potatoes, sweetcorn, beans and stock. Simmer for 15 minutes until the stock has mostly evaporated and the potatoes have softened.
- For the spice mixture, combine the dry spices in a bowl with 1 tsp each of salt and black pepper. Sprinkle half over the vegetable mixture and cook for one minute, then remove from the heat.
- Simmer the passata with the remaining spice mixture and chipotle in a small pan over a low heat for six to eight minutes.
- Heat the oven to 200C / fan 180C / gas 6. Divide the veg filling between the wraps and roll up. Spoon some of the sauce into the base of a lasagne dish. Arrange the enchiladas into the dish in a single layer, pushing them against one another in a neat line, then pour over the remaining sauce. Bake for 20 minutes until bubbling and the tortillas are golden. Spoon over the yoghurt and scatter with the avocado and coriander.
INGREDIENTS - SERVES FOUR:
- 100g plain flour.
- 1 tsp smoked paprika.
- ½ tsp garlic granules.
- ½ tsp dried oregano.
- 150ml plant-based milk.
- 125g panko breadcrumbs.
- 1 cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets.
- Cooking oil spray, for baking.
- 3 tbsp sriracha.
- 3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce.
- 1 tbsp runny honey or maple syrup.
- 1 lime, juiced.
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted.
- 2 spring onions, thinly sliced.
- Heat the oven to 200C / 180C fan / gas 6. Tip the flour into a large bowl along with plenty of seasoning and the paprika, garlic granules and dried oregano. Slowly whisk in the plant-based milk until you have a smooth, thin batter.
- Line a large baking tray with baking paper and set aside. Tip the panko breadcrumbs into a shallow bowl. Using a fork, add a cauliflower floret to the batter bowl, tossing to fully coat it, then lift out, letting any excess batter drip off. Transfer to the baking tray and repeat with the remaining florets.
- Spray the florets lightly with the cooking spray, then transfer to the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing halfway through, until golden and crisp. Meanwhile, combine the sriracha, sweet chilli sauce, honey and lime juice in a small pan and cook over a medium heat. Heat until just warmed through.
- Put the crisp cauliflower florets into a large bowl and pour over the sauce from the pan. Toss really well, then add to a shallow serving bowl. Scatter with the toasted sesame seeds and spring onion.
INGREDIENTS - SERVES THREE:
- 3 tbsp coconut oil.
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast.
- ½ tbsp tomato purée.
- ½ tbsp dried mustard.
- 1 garlic clove, crushed.
- 1 tsp salt.
- Pinch of ground turmeric.
- 500ml unsweetened almond milk.
- 80g cauliflower florets, chopped.
- 70g raw cashews, chopped.
- 225g macaroni.
- ½ tbsp white vinegar.
- 105g broccoli florets.
- Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat until warm. Add the nutritional yeast, mustard, tomato purée, garlic, salt and turmeric and cook until mixed through, approximately one minute.
- Whisk in the almond milk, then bring to a simmer over a medium heat. Add in the cauliflower florets and cashews and let simmer until the cauliflower is tender.
- Add the cauliflower-cashew mixture to a blender or food processor along with the vinegar and puree until very smooth.
- Bring a large pot filled with salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring often, until slightly tender. Remove the shells with a slotted spoon, saving the cooked water, and place in a large bowl.
- Bring the pasta water back to the boil and place a steamer on top. Tip in the broccoli and cover, cooking until bright green and not overly soft.
- Toss the hot macaroni with the cashew-cauliflower sauce until well coated. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Add in the broccoli and toss again, adding in any remaining cooking water to thin the sauce if needed.
Millions swear by veganism to beat bloating, boost skin and raise energy, but we think the real reason is because of super delicious plant-based meals like these ones.
If you want what they’re having - or rather, not having - grab an apron and get cooking.
Discover more from our Veganuary series below:
Your 5-Minute Mental Health Check Up
Hey there! How are you feeling?
That’s a question we don’t ask ourselves enough.
It’s quite normal for us to schedule an appointment with the dentist or doctor to check our oral and physical health, so why is it less common to check on our mental health?
So many factors are closely related to our mental health, which is why it’s important to address the small changes and approaches we can take to prioritise and care for our mental wellbeing.
According to research, one in five US adults experience a mental health problem of some kind each year, while in England, as many as one in four people experience the same issue.
That’s why, for Mental Health Awareness Week, we’ve created a quick and easy five-minute mental health check you can do every day, anywhere.
WHAT IS MENTAL HEALTH?
Mental health is how you feel in your mind and your mood. Just like your physical health, it depends on many factors, including your genetics, your environment, your circumstances, what you do to maintain it, and underlying physical or mental health conditions you may suffer from, and how they are treated.
This Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from Monday 15th May to Sunday 21st May, addresses anxiety. Anxiety is an emotion we all experience, but sometimes it can get out of control and cause issues for our mental health.
In a survey of 3,000 adults, 34% said they experienced anxiety.
HOW TO LOOK AFTER YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
Here are just a few things you can ask yourself or do to ensure you’re doing what you can to protect your emotional wellness.
HAVE I DRANK ENOUGH WATER?
Keeping hydrated is key for both your physical and mental health. When you don’t drink enough water and start to become dehydrated, your body triggers warning signals that you’re in a ‘life-threatening’ situation and starts kicking up stress hormones, particularly cortisol. An increase in cortisol is connected to anxiety, depression and mood disorders.
Carry a bottle of water with you to keep your hydration levels topped up. If you’re someone who likes more structure, you can use alarms or trackers to remind you that drinking water is part of your self-care.
HAVE I EATEN THE RIGHT FOODS TO FUEL MY BODY?
Diet and lifestyle can have a profound effect on our mood and research reveals there’s a direct link between what we eat and how we feel.
There are plenty of foods and nutrients that can put a smile on your face and make you feel awesome. When we’re stressed, it’s tempting to reach for comfort foods like pizza and sugary snacks that give us a temporary ‘high’. However, these foods can soon leave you feeling exhausted, jittery or sluggish.
Food high in fibre, as well as fruit, veg, nuts and seeds are more beneficial to your mental health. Discover our very own nutritious mood-boosting recipes here.
DID I GET ENOUGH SLEEP?
Anyone who has struggled with sleep will know what a difference it makes to our bodies, minds and ability to function.
For many people, sleep is often the first thing that suffers when they’re struggling with their mental health. The CDC recommends adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep a day.
If you’re struggling with your sleep, there are a few simple changes you can make, including:
- Establish a bedtime routine;
- Avoid tech and caffeine before you go to sleep;
- Practice meditation/relaxation.
READ MORE: How To Fix Your Sleep Schedule
Humans are hardwired to need time in nature, as we evolved to prefer environments where we had fresh water, sunlight, and nature because those provided us with the resources we needed to survive. But, nowadays, nature doesn’t just allow us to survive, it helps us to thrive.
Spending even small bursts of time outdoors can greatly benefit your mental wellbeing. A 2019 study found that spending just 20 minutes outside significantly lowered stress hormone levels.
MOVE YOUR BODY
Okay, so this one is our thing for sure. Keeping active has so many benefits, mentally and physically - from lifting weights to flowing yoga.
Regular movement throughout the day can boost your mood, reduce stress and refocus your mind.
Partner some fresh air with your movement to elevate the benefits - and kill two birds with one stone.
Explore our guided workouts and fitness tips here.
REACH OUT TO FRIENDS
Human connections actually boost feel-good neurotransmitters in your brain. The key is not how many friends you have, but to surround yourself with those whom you can be your most authentic self.
Be honest with yourself about how much time you need to spend with your friends to feel fulfilled, refreshed and empowered, and then make it happen - even if it’s just a catch-up dinner once a month, it makes a difference.
Meeting new people can be equally beneficial to your mental wellbeing, as studies have shown that connecting with strangers can help us feel happier and more connected with our communities.
WHAT AM I DOING TODAY THAT I CAN LOOK FORWARD TO?
Planning things to look forward to or that you enjoy doing can help us cope with difficult situations by increasing our sense of hope.
Whether it’s something as small as binge-watching your favourite TV series or something more extravagant like a weekend away with friends, factoring in time to do what you love will help you adopt a more positive outlook each day.
A huge part of prioritising your mental wellbeing is learning to understand and manage your feelings.
When we’re upset, we don’t always know why we’re feeling that way. It often helps to acknowledge our feelings without any judgement or telling ourselves we’re ‘weak’ for feeling the way we do.
We all have good days and bad days, and that’s okay. However, by asking ourselves the questions in this article and adopting these simple habits, we can work toward feeling like our best selves once again. Remember, rest is a basic human need.
Inside The New AYBL HQ
A world-class team deserves a world-class home - and after months of hard work, dedication and long days, the time has finally come.
Introducing the new AYBL HQ.
Measuring an impressive 56,000 sq feet, our global home is a place like no other. Featuring modern design throughout and a wealth of creative working spaces, our office is a place where people come to innovate and be their best.
Want to discover more? Join us as we step foot inside our creative hub.
Building on our high standards, our office is a hub of creativity and collaboration. From top to bottom, the stylistic space is kitted out with all the necessary tools and resources to optimise productivity and inspire our talented teams to push boundaries.
Its ultra modern design allows for plenty of natural light, open spaces and greenery to accommodate different work styles and preferences.
As a community-first brand, we wanted to create an environment that would not only enhance creativity and productivity, but a better sense of community and belonging for our people.
1. THOUGHTFUL DESIGN
Designed to maximise natural light, flow and functionality, our new home offers a modern and sleek look that reflects our brand and values.
2. COMFORT THROUGH & THROUGH
On every level, the office is equipped with comfortable furniture, ergonomic workstations and state-of-the-art equipment. There are also spaces for relaxation, where you can unwind, recharge and take time for you.
4. CUTTING-EDGE TECHNOLOGY
When you’re the UK’s fastest-growing company, you need technology that can keep up and deliver. From video conferencing tools and virtual whiteboards to our very own photo studio equipped with high-class cameras, our new HQ is home to the latest technology to support collaboration, communication and productivity.
This place truly has everything. That goes for hot water taps on every floor, too. Brew anyone?
Influential, inspirational and innovative. We had to make sure our team had the space to thrive and build the best ideas.
Designed to accommodate different working styles, our office offers a range of spaces for focused work, collaborative work and socialising, as well as options for remote work and flexible schedules.
AYBL is on an ever-evolving journey to ensure the brand promotes and supports sustainability wherever possible.
With that in mind, we have incorporated a range of eco-friendly features into our office design, including energy-efficient lighting and appliances and recycling programmes.
We understand that there is still plenty of work to be done, but right now, it’s about progress not perfection.
We’re incredibly proud to be working in such an amazing office space that not only supports us to be the best in our field, but supports our health, happiness and the environment. Here, we can work together to pave the way for the boldest and bravest ideas whilst feeling like we’re part of something special.
This is truly where the magic will happen.
How To Start Running
The hardest part of running? Getting out the door.
Running is a great way to get fit and feel better, but sometimes, a lack of motivation - or even know-how - can catch you short.
Starting a new running habit needn’t be difficult - all you need is a good pair of running shoes and the willingness to move a little or a lot, all at your own pace.
To help put you one stride ahead, we’ve pulled together the very best running tips for beginners, so you can get off to a safe start and enjoy hitting the tarmac (or treadmill).
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM OUR BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO RUNNING
THE BENEFITS OF RUNNING
If enjoyment alone isn’t enough to get you increasing your stride, perhaps the proven health benefits of running will?
Running is one of the most effective ways to increase daily activity, cardiovascular fitness and mental health. It also is widely accessible, as you don’t need any fancy equipment, it’s relatively inexpensive and you can do it just about anywhere.
Here are some of the other key health benefits of running:
- Promotes muscle development;
- Can help aid weight loss;
- Helps to relieve stress levels;
- Boosts the release of endorphins, sometimes called a ‘runner’s high’;
- Increases bone strength and joint health;
- Promotes better sleep;
- Increases lung capacity, metabolism and energy levels;
- Reduces cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease.
Whether you’re new to running or getting back to it after a long break, it’s really important to ease yourself in and gradually build up to avoid injury. Here are some top tips to get your started on the right foot.
Now, we’re not saying you need to go out and buy a wardrobe full of expensive new running kit, but what we are saying is that staying equipped for the environment and surface you’ll be running on is non-negotiable.
Start by investing in a suitable pair of running shoes that fit comfortably and offer extra support, cushioning and grip for your runs.
When it comes to the clothing, well, that’s where we step in. Fusing form and functionality, our Pace Collection is designed for practicality - with soft, lightweight and breathable details - so you can run with ease and without distraction.
Take measured steps to keep your body safe and free from injury. Warming-up is an essential part of any workout, especially running. We recommend walking or doing an easy jog for five to 10 minutes before increasing your intensity. You may also benefit from warm-up exercises, such as dynamic stretches.
Be mindful of other safety advice, such as running against the flow of traffic and carrying your mobile with you at all times.
READ MORE: Top Tips For Staying Safe When Running In The Dark
Nothing can get you lost in the moment quite like blasting your beats as you pound the pavement.
We all have our own taste in music, which makes it all the more important to pick a playlist that’ll motivate you to power through, even when times get tough, with the wind against you and the heavens pouring.
If you need a little inspo, we’ve got plenty of tracks to keep you moving. Check out our Spotify here.
OUR TOP SIX RUNNING TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
Now that we’ve established the basics, you’re probably wondering exactly how to start running?
If you’re totally new to running, chances are your motivation levels are pretty high. That being said, it’s as important as ever to pace yourself. This includes your running speed, intensity and training frequency.
Don’t be afraid to start off with a few fast paced walks each week to build up confidence, condition your muscles and create a positive habit you can stick to. Pacing yourself will allow you to continue progressing and reduce your risk of injury.
The likelihood of strains, repetitive stress and foot pain tends to be greater during your first few weeks of running as a beginner, or if you’re returning to running after a long break.
The Run-Walk Method is a great way for new runners to get started, helping to build endurance with less joint stress and is a manageable intensity level.
The method combines running with intervals of walking. Start by alternating one minute intervals of running with one minute of walking, and then gradually try to increase the time spent running. As you become more comfortable, reduce the time spent walking.
Check out our beginner’s running plan further down this page.
Never underestimate the power of rest.
It’s completely natural for your muscles to feel a little sorer than usual, but if you’re experiencing genuine pain or discomfort, it’s crucial you allow it time to rest and recover.
If you’re suffering from sore muscles, more likely than not, it’s DOMS - AKA delayed onset muscle soreness. This is the aching or stiffness you experience as a result of intense training, however, this should subside within 48 hours.
Avoiding exercise altogether can actually prolong DOMS, so consider lower intensity exercise, such as walking, mobility and slow jogging to increase blood flow and relieve your muscle fatigue.
Chances are, you already knew this, but if not, you’ll soon learn that eating well and staying hydrated can significantly influence your runs.
You lose water through sweat, whether cold or hot, so you need to drink before, during, and after your runs. You ideally want to drink 120 ml to 180 ml of water every 20 minutes, but pay attention to your thirst level and drink when you feel thirsty. During longer workouts (90 minutes or more), some of your fluid intake should include a sports drink to replace sodium and other minerals (electrolytes).
In terms of nutrition, it’s best to eat something light and high in carbohydrates but low in fat, protein and fibre. Aim to finish eating 90 to 120 minutes before you start running.
If you’re running for longer than 90 minutes, you’ll need to replace some of the energy you’re burning. A general rule of thumb is to consume 100 calories after an hour and another 100 calories every 45 minutes.
It’s easy to neglect other aspects of your fitness and strength when starting your running journey. Balancing your running sessions with other forms of resistance training and exercise will help to build muscular resilience, reducing your risk of injury and boosting performance.
Repeatedly hitting the road without building strength in the gym can not only lead to injury, but a performance plateau too. Be sure to balance out your training with strength-based exercises to work on muscular endurance, speed, power and potential imbalances - all of which will help with your running in the long run.
You can find plenty of guided workout routines and strength-building exercises, like our Back & Shoulder Workout, on our Fitness page.
Running is a natural movement, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve aspects of your running form to improve your experience and efficiency.
First things first, keep your posture upright. Keep your head lifted, your back long and tall and shoulders level but relaxed. Maintain a neutral pelvis and ensure you’re not leaning forward or back at your waist.
Likewise, it’s important to monitor your footstrike - this is the way your foot hits the pavement. You might land on your heel, in the middle of your foot, or on your toes or forefoot. It’s recommended that you should try to land in the middle of your foot, and then roll through to the front of your toes. However, if you’re naturally a toe runner (land on your toes) or heel striker, it may be best not to change your stride.
READ MORE: The Principles Of Good Form With Caroline Gravity
RUNNING PLAN FOR BEGINNERS
Without a clear idea of what you’re trying to achieve, and the steps you need to take to get there, you’re making the challenge much tougher than it needs to be.
That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate running plan for beginners.