I'm a strong believer in making your own food as much as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I love going out for a good feed and trying new things, but nothing quite beats a home cooked meal. Cooking at home allows me to have full control over what ingredients I use, and I can make the meals as cheap and simple or as extravagant as I like!
When you choose to take the time to make your own things such as plant milks or dips, you know exactly what ingredients are in the final products and what you are putting into your body. Most pre-made products have added oils, sugars and high amounts of salt which is just not necessary.
Some of my favourite things to make myself include almond/soy/oat milk, basil pesto, a variety of flavoured dips/spreads, sauerkraut (beetroot & purple cabbage with garlic is my favourite!), nut/seed butters, jam, crackers and dehydrated fruits and vegetables for long lasting easy snacks. I’ve also recently been experimenting with making my own sourdough bread which has been really fun and super tasty!
Another bonus of choosing to make your own products is that it limits the amount of waste you are producing. If you're lucky, you can find some pre-made products in glass jars which can be recycled, but most of the time products such as those mentioned above come in plastic containers or cartons with plastic lining. Plastics such as these are not as efficiently recycled and most of the time end up as land fill, polluting our environment. Any food scraps you may have from creating food at home can easily be returned to the earth via composting!
If you do choose to make food yourself, it is important to remember that because these foods are made with fresh, natural ingredients and that no further processing such as heat treatment, sterilisation or use of additives or preservatives, they will not last forever. It is best to keep everything refrigerated, keep an eye on it and use within 5-7 days.
The best thing about making things yourself is that it’s fun! I will take any chance I can to get into the kitchen and make something new! You can get creative with different flavours, kids can get involved and chances are it’s going to be cheaper too! If you do choose to purchase pre-made products (which I still do sometimes, I'm not perfect!), make sure you look at the ingredients. Always look for products with no added oils, salt or sugar. (And that are vegan!)
I'll be posting lots of recipes and tips in the coming weeks so be sure to stay tuned, but for now, check out my recipe below for a delicious basil pesto!
1 cup frozen peas (thawed)
1 cup of fresh basil (packed)
1 cup of fresh spinach (packed)
¼ cup nutritional yeast
Juice of half a lemon
¼ sunflower seeds (optional, for texture)
Place the thawed peas, fresh basil, spinach and sunflower seeds (if using) in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times.
Add the nutritional yeast and lemon juice and pulse several more times. (You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula).
Pulse until you have reached your desired consistency.
Transfer to a sterile jar and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Use as a spread on sandwiches.
Mix through a salad for a dressing.
Use a base on homemade pizza instead of tomato paste.
Dollop on steamed potatoes with hummus and nutritional yeast.
Mix through wholemeal pasta with some olives & cherry tomatoes for a quick dinner.