What I 8: The Best Vegan food in New Zealand with Huma from @peacefulplanteater

#whatI8

Vegan eating is growing rapidly, so settle in with @peacefulplanteater to find out how to eat Vegan in New Zealand.

You have been doing amazing things within the world of Plant-Based food. What’s the key to growing a great food account, and give us a tip for taking a good shot of your favourite food.

I like to keep all my content authentic. I create recipes that don’t require slaving away in the kitchen for hours, and I use ingredients that can be bought in most countries so that everyone can use them. I don’t like spending hours in the kitchen to cook one meal, so I share the delicious easy recipes I cook with everyone hoping to inspire people that eating healthy, Plant-Based meals is not as hard as you may think.

A tip for taking a good shot would be you don’t need a fancy phone! I take all my snaps on my iPhone. And don’t overthink it. Just snap the food, add a garnish and it usually looks good. 😀

You are an absolutely incredible cook, and you share all of your creations with the full recipe on Instagram. How’d this all come about for you and why is Plant-Based cooking important to you?

I originally made my Instagram when I first went Vegan in 2015. It was to show people that eating Plant-Based food is actually really delicious, and it doesn’t consist of just boring salads. More and more people started asking for the recipes for the meals I was making.

I then started adding recipes to my instagram and my followers loved/really appreciated it. I think our little planet is not treated as well as it could be, and there is so much research about the benefits of a Plant-Based diet.

I continue to write recipes and share them (no matter how much admin it may be for me) because I feel like I can convince people that Plant-Based diets are awesome and lead by example in a sort of way.

People don’t have to cut out meat and dairy completely if they find it too hard, but I strongly believe every little bit counts for your health, the animals and the planet.

Within the world of Plant-Based cuisine, what is your favourite food category and tell us what you look for when you’re looking for the Best there is in that category.

I love Thai Curry! I love vegetables and Thai curries are so good for eating lots of yummy vegetables as well as tasting incredible. I like to look for authenticity. I find that the cruddy little restaurants in side streets usually do great food. I don’t know what it is about them, but if a restaurant looks the opposite of fancy to me, I will definitely try it as that is where I have eaten some of the best meals I have ever had. 

Let’s face it, if I had your cooking skills I wouldn’t go out to eat, though when you do where do you find the best Thai Curry? 

Aunty Mena Vegetarian Cafe. This is a tiny little restaurant in Wellington but everytime I go inside it’s always packed. The food is super affordable and comes in great sized portions. I feel like you can taste the love in the dishes from Aunty Mena’s. There is a tiny kitchen where you can see everything going on and they do great food. I always make sure I visit Aunty Mena’s when I am in Wellington. The whole menu is Vegan, which isn’t the best thing because you want to eat everything on the menu and choosing what to get is very hard as everything sounds incredible.

Chu Thai Eatery . Go with Hangover Noodles (the new name for Drunken Noodles). This is a lovely wee spot on Ponsonby Road. They have a great Vegan menu too. It’s a cute little restaurant that’s great for special occasions like birthdays. It has a lovely atmosphere and the food is brilliant. I have been here for many birthday celebrations and I will continue to go. They have lovely service and the food has always been perfect. The Thai Red Curry from here is so perfectly creamy that I never want to venture out and try something else.

Khu Khu Eatery.  Another spot on Ponsonby Road. With only a few tables, it’s a very intimate restaurant. They have great service too and although the menu isn’t very big, all of the options on there are fab (I have tried them all!). The Thai Green Curry and the Panang Curry were stunning. They are a good portion to fill you up without being overly full and the vibe in the restaurant is great with lots of greenery and plants. This is a great place for dinner and drinks catch-up! Everything on the menu is Vegan here too.

Sunflower Thai Auckland. A hole in the wall in Auckland CBD. Everything on the menu is Vegan, super cheap and delicious. There are always lots of people here when I go, which is always a good look. They have a massive Vegan menu. The Thai Red Curry here is delicious. If you are a Plant-Based eater but miss eating meat, this is a great place to go as they have lots of mock meats.

Vegan Eggs Bene from Cafe Mimosa is stunning.

What is something you’ve eaten that just blew you away because you did not expect it to be that good? It might have been an out-of-the-way place or an unexpected flavour combo.

Pretty simple! But the Vegan Sausage Roll from BP (the petrol station) blew me away! I genuinely thought I had picked up the meat version. I have always loved Sausage Rolls, so for them to nail a Vegan version was the best news for me! I love it and it’s so cheap, which is great because heaps of Vegan options at mainstream places are usually slightly more expensive than the non-Vegan version.

An unexpected flavour combo that is delish would be Dates and Peanut Butter. This is the perfect little snack to satisfy my sweet tooth at night, and I usually only need one because it’s so nice and sweet!

What are some of the best Plant-Based cooking products that you have been working with? Any tips for the cooks at home?

Oh, good question. I feel like Legumes are a great thing to have in the pantry. Chickpeas are great because they are so versatile! Hummus, Falafel, in curries and in salads. They work with any cuisine and they are great for protein. Lentils are also pretty similar, they taste great in curries, stews, salads, wraps and pretty much everything. They are great for protein and they are such a cheap food which is good for people on a budget. We always have Chickpeas and Lentils in our pantry, and we try to add them to every meal, even if it is just to get a bit more protein in the meal. 

Which other foodies do you love to follow and why? Give us at least three to check out.

@tasty.twinsss They are twins from Wellington that live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. They post great recipes along with other tips like how to cope with the stresses of exam season. Always positive vibes with these two!

@alexskitchenstory She posts simple meals that are so easy to make but they are restaurant-quality! Some really beautiful Plant-Based gems on her page!

@thatgreenolive Lots of stunning Plant-Based inspo here. Her food looks incredible and her photography is amazing. I always get hungry looking at her pictures and she has an awesome company where she creates toppings for food which is super aesthetically pleasing! 

What’s on your hit list? Can you give us five dishes you have to eat in the future that we can expect a post on? Even if you have to wait for travel bans to lift!

Bit of a random one but my partner and I always talk about how we think a Mi-goreng Toastie would be a hit! We don’t have a toastie maker but this is on our must try list. 

I want to try and nail a Vegan Frittata. I think Frittatas are delicious and a fun way to eat veggies. Once I nail this, you can definitely expect to see this on my page.

I made them once before, but I will post Dumplings one day. Although they were an effort to make, you could definitely taste the love in them! So much better than store bought Dumplings. 

I haven’t posted my Vegan Chocolate Cake! There will be a post for the cake lovers hopefully in the near future.

Hummus. Hummus is so easy to make. We go through so much Hummus in this household, I don’t know how I haven’t already posted my Hummus recipe. I guess that will be the first one on this list that you see. 

We want to start the year right by eating healthy and so we’re excited for all those upcoming recipes! Check out some of the Vegan eats @peacefulplanteater shared above here.

Have you ever tried a Vegan dish? Let us know in the comments.

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