World Vegan Month begins tomorrow and the vegan vibe is growing across Nottingham. Here’s our guide to everything from curry and pizza to cake and Sunday roast, all vegan friendly – plus tips on going meat and dairy-free.
How do you replicate one of Britain’s favourite dishes to make it vegan friendly? Nottingham’s all new 100% vegan pub, the Peacock in Mansfield Road, has nailed it.
Instead of cod or haddock, the ‘fish’ is tofu wrapped up in seaweed and deep fried in batter served with chips and mushy peas, just as it should be.
Indian restaurants are one of the easiest places to find vegan food and are happy to cater for strict diets, but inevitably some are more knowledgeable than others. MemSaab, Tamatanga, Kayal, 4550 Miles from Delhi and the Balti House come highly recommended.
That said, it was pub chain Wetherspoon which recently took the prize for the UK’s best vegan curry at PETA’s annual Vegan Food Awards. The spicy dish, made with sweet potato, chick peas and spinach, doesn’t sacrifice anything when it comes to flavour.
Oscars & Rosie’s in Hockley have built up a reputation for not only serving great pizzas but vegan ones too, made with non-dairy cheese. Some have veggie toppings such as The Frenchman with beetroot, rocket and basil pesto. Sham and Pineapple comes with cheating ham or there’s others with vegan chicken and facon.
Zizzi and Pizza Express in King Street also do vegan pizza.
The Hand and Heart is known for its meaty Sunday roasts – and they do a vegan version too. The sunblush tomato and hazlenut roast with red wine and shallot sauce is served with all the trimmings.
The Peacock is another venue with lavish roasts like this vegan steak and ale Wellington. Hannah Crookes, 36, who tweeted the photo from her account @VeganPornNotts, said: “I have been vegan for 20 years. Whilst being vegan is about being decent to others, rather than personal gain, my Twitter account aims to show how well you can eat without hurting others – including cakes, doughnuts, meat analogues and vegan cheese.”
Dainty smoked salmon sandwiches, egg mayo and cheese, are a no-no. So are scones with lashing of clotted cream.
But, don’t despair. Vegetarian cafe, the Flying Goose in Chilwell, can lay on a full blown afternoon tea with savouries such as vegan cream cheese and cucumber, vegan sausage with plum chutney, basil tofu, hummous and falafel. Scones are served with coconut cream.
The Malt Cross in St James’s Street, Nottingham is another lovely spot for tea and the tearoom at Debbie Bryan’s craft centre in the Lace Market will launch its new vegan afternoon tea on November 27.
That vegan staple, tofu, is commonly found in Thai and Chinese dishes. The colourful tofu green curry from Thaikhun in intu Victoria Centre packs a mighty spicy punch. Veg dumplings, sweetcorn cakes and laab hed, a Thai mushroom salad, are other vegan- friendly options.
There’s more cafes serving vegan cake than you can shake a stick at.
Curious Manor, Lee Rosy’s, Homemade, Annie’s Burger Shack, the Dice Cup, Hartley’s coffee shop, 200 Degrees, the Malt Cross in the city centre, the Crocus Cafe in Lenton and Folks and Fables in Bingham… and the list goes on.
There’s delectable doughnuts from Nottingham Doughnut Co and vegan deli Amala Living Foods, in Cobden Chambers off Pelham Street, has a wondrous array like Numinum’s tiffin, pictured above.
Vork Pie’s range of vegan pies making ordinary pork pies look boring. Hit the spot with the spicy one. It’s a blend of onions, mushrooms, lentils, kidney beans and piri piri peppers. Or slightly milder is the mix of butternut squash, carrots and Moroccan spices.
The Long Eaton based company suppliers pubs, the Crafty Crow and the Peacock in the city, the Johnson Arms in Lenton, and the Doctor’s Orders mirco pub in Mansfield Road. You’ll also find them at Debbie Bryan’s tearoom in the Lace Market and on stalls at farmers’ markets and food fairs.
The guilt-free fizz is good on so many levels. Skinny Prosecco is not only vegan, it’s organic and has half the sugar of the normal stuff. That makes it good for you, yes?
It’s on sale at Veeno, in Middle Pavement, and Zizzi in King Street, Nottingham.
Hidden down a little alleyway off the main strip of Long Row, the Alley Cafe was the forerunner when all around were serving meat.
It’s the place to head for quite possibly the ultimate vegan breakfast with baconesque, sausage, hash brown, grilled tomato, mushroom, baked beans, scrambled tofu and toast.
Annie’s Burger Shack is all things to all people. The 30-plus burgers and monthly specials can all be adapted to suit vegans and veggie’s like this Mexican Gringo burger. “The best vegan burger ever,” some have said about the meat free versions.
Other vegan versions can be devoured at the Handmade Burger Co in intu Victoria Centre – choose from Cajun Veg and Bean, Veg-Mex, Sweet Potato and Bean and Thai Vegetable flavours.
How to make the switch to vegan
Nutrition coach Susan Hart, who runs vegan and vegetarian cookery classes at her home in West Bridgford, said the vegan vibe is being felt in Nottingham.
“There does seem to be more choices for vegans now. The Peacock in Mansfield Road has a 100% vegan kitchen. Many Asian restaurants will have a good range of vegan options – Zaap and Wagamama immediately spring to mind.
“And let’s not forget The Alley cafe; a restaurant that has been serving great vegetarian and vegan food long before it became mainstream. Some pub chains like Wetherspoons also have a decent choice and will if possible adapt their dishes.
“Over the next few weeks I will be working with the Castle Rock pubs to review their vegetarian and vegan options.”
Susan’s tips for switching to a vegan diet:
1. Incorporate beans and pulses into salads, chilli, curries and pasta dishes. Use nut butters in sandwiches and savoury dishes.
2. Soya has the most similar nutritional value to milk and can be used in sweet and savoury dishes. Always buy the unsweetened for a better nutritional balance.
3. If you love eggs then consider making scrambled eggs with tofu. Many baking recipes can be made without eggs, or use linseeds soaked in water.
4. There is a whole issue about getting a balanced diet and especially when it comes to B12 and iron. Some cereals, breads, non dairy spreads and milks are fortified with B12 and as long as you have plenty of green leafy veg, dried fruits, pulses, oats and other wholegrain you should be OK for iron.