Guest blog by The Tofu Diaries
Let’s face it: travelling as a vegan can be hit and miss. I’ve been to cities that are packed full of vegan food galore, while others are a positive desert for meat-free meals. Not only that, but I’ve often found myself eating much heavier food than I’d like on a trip.
Having your own kitchen on holiday is an absolute blessing, giving you the option of cooking up your own tasty plant-based grub if and when you need to. Roomzzz Aparthotels come with fully-stocked cupboards of pots, pans and crockery, a hob, microwave and fridge – not to mention a dining table to enjoy your feast at!
5 tips for cooking a great vegan meal on your trip
1. Plan ahead of time
Before you set off, dedicate a little time to researching recipes, planning how many meals you’ll need to prepare and creating an ingredients list. Not only will you appreciate it when you get to your destination, but it’ll make shopping far easier.
Pro tip: select recipes that create minimal washing up, like one pot dishes!
2. Use fresh herbs
No one wants to be buying cupboard staples like herbs and spices if you’ll only get to use a tiny bit. Fresh herbs mean you’ll get a full flavour dish with no waste at the end.
Pro tip: Take side salads up a notch by adding fresh herbs to them too
3. Source the best quality ingredients you can
Are you staying near a market with fresh local produce? If it’s in season, even better! Before your trip, seek out the days and times of farmer’s markets within walking distance.
Pro tip: If you’re staying at the Manchester City Corn Exchange Roomzzz, be sure to pay a visit to the Arndale Market (open every day) that sells a massive range of fruit and veg.
4. Research where to buy speciality ingredients
Visiting a new city is a good excuse to visit new shops and find products you might not be able to get at home. I always make sure I look up vegan and international grocery shops to hunt down the harder-to-find vegan goodies.
Pro tip: If you have time to head out to Chorlton in Manchester, then Unicorn Grocery is the place to go; they have tempeh, seitan and I heard a rumour they sell seven flavours of hummus!
5. Make extras for tomorrow
Having a fridge in your apartment makes it easy to store ingredients and keep them fresh, so why not create double the portions and have the leftovers the next day? It saves that cooking time from eating into your holiday and avoids any food waste.
Pro tip: If you’re visiting a city where vegan options are seriously lacking, or you’re on a budget, bring some pots along with you and take the leftovers out for a lunchtime picnic.
What to cook in your aparthotel
As I’ve mentioned, the ideal recipe for making in your aparthotel kitchen is one that creates minimal washing up! But you also want a recipe that is flexible and doesn’t require precise measurements or kitchen scales.
This creamy vegan one-pot gnocchi is just the thing – it’s full of flavour and feels special, but it also only requires one pot and is easily adapted to the ingredients you can find. Bought a 100g packet of sun-dried tomatoes? Roll with it and make yours more tomatoey! Can’t find shallots? Don’t sweat it and simply sub them with a finely chopped red onion.
Creamy Vegan One-Pot Gnocchi – makes 4 portions, ready in 25 minutes
6 shallots, finely chopped
3tbsp olive oil
400g pack ready-made gnocchi (most will be vegan, but always check the label!)
250g mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
50g sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
30g almonds, roughly chopped (not too small)
2 handfuls baby spinach
1 clove garlic, crushed
200ml dairy-free cream
Juice of ½ lemon + ½ lemon to serve
Handful fresh tarragon, roughly chopped with any hard stalks removed
Salt and pepper, to taste
- In your frying pan, heat 1 tbsp of the oil over a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the mushrooms and cook for around 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they have released their liquid and become crispy. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside.
- In the same frying pan, heat 2 tbsp of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for few minutes until they start to soften, stirring regularly.
- Add the gnocchi to the pan and continue to cook on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the gnocchi have begun to turn brown (around 5 minutes).
- Add the cooked mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, almonds, spinach and garlic to the pan with the gnocchi. Stir well and cook for a couple of minutes to wilt the spinach.
- Stir in the cream, lemon juice, tarragon, salt and pepper then simmer for 2 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and serve with a wedge of lemon! Store any leftovers in the fridge to reheat the next day.