Filed under Culture
Written by Vira Anekboonyapirom
By now, you probably don’t need an elevator pitch to convince you that adopting a vegan lifestyle is better than its carnivorous counterpart. Since you’ve found yourself here, one would assume you believe in ethics and building a sustainable future by adopting said vegan lifestyle. But after sampling a vegan dish or two in your lifetime you’re either unsure of how to make it work long term or you’re a little more hardcore and have attempted Beyoncé’s 22-day vegan diet back in 2018, and are just here for Dj Tigerlily’s Tvna Melt Recipe.
Like most, we don’t just happen to adopt a vegan lifestyle but decide to try it for health or ethical reasons. Similarly, Dara Lawson aka DJ Tigerlily turned to a vegan lifestyle around 6 years ago after struggling with health concerns and was “Ready to try anything to get better.” Dara knows all too well how hard it is to stay inspired when cooking at home, here she shares her cooking tips, favourite vegan restaurants and a “tuna” melt recipe below.
Dara on becoming vegan
“I initially decided to go vegan about 6 years ago for health reasons – I was struggling with stomach issues and was ready to try anything to get better. It wasn’t an instant change from being sick to being well, but month by month as I learned how to eat and filled my diet with whole foods I noticed changes in my mind and body. I’ve never felt better and am incredibly grateful that I’m able to eat a plant based vegan diet. Now, the main reason I continue to stay vegan is for the animals. I can’t understand why (especially when there are so many amazing options out there) that you would sacrifice the life of an animal for your meal.”
When traveling it’s hard to find places that accommodate for vegan meals and cooking in your hotel room is just not an option since the majority don’t offer a kitchen. For Dara, being on tour and traveling means it’s a lot easier to dine out or order room service. “My go-to order in room service is some kind of pasta and salad, or a buddha bowl with fries. Ordering services like uber eats/menu log are often my best friend too when I’m in a rush as I can grab a burger and salad on the go!”
DARA’S FAVOURITE VEGAN RESTAURANTS
“For high-end dining for special occasions.”
“Italian food you won’t be forgetting about anytime soon.”
“YUM – perfect for indulging in delicious burgers that taste like the real deal without the impact.”
DARA’S TIPS FOR COOKING VEGAN AT HOME
1. Make meals that you already know how to cook but just vegan-ise them by swapping out ingredients.
2. Youtube and Instagram have so many incredible and simple recipes that are just a click away.
3. Go easy on yourself and don’t worry if you can’t be perfect 100% of the time when you are starting out.
4. Get yourself a great food processor – they’re not cheap but it opens up a whole new world of cooking sauces, soups, smoothies etc
STAYING INSPIRED WHEN COOKING AT HOME
“It can be really hard but I like to use cookbooks (old school I know) and let the recipes in there that I know and love inspire me. I’m also known for (my husband isn’t too fond of this) throwing things together and seeing if they work. It took a while but I can now make a banging vegan chicken caesar salad with a nori-based dressing – delicious!”
DJ Tigerlily’s Go-To TUNA MELT RECIPE
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 red onions, sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 packet of Future Farm Tvna
2 tablespoons vegan mayo
A small handful of chives, finely chopped (optional)
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
4 slices of bread
2 tablespoons vegan butter
1 jalapeño, finely sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a medium sized frying pan, heat the oil on low heat. Add the onions and cook for 10-15 minutes until softened and beginning to caramelise. Add the sugar and cook for a further 5 minutes until sticky, dark and soft. Set aside.
- In a bowl, mix the Tvna with the vegan mayo, chives and vinegar. Season generously with pepper. Set aside.
- Butter the bread then add to a dry frying pan until golden and toasted on one side. Flip over and add a cheese slice to each piece of bread and continue to cook until melted.
- Assemble the tuna melt by sandwiching the tuna mayo mixture with caramelised onions and sliced jalapeños between two slices of cheesy toast.
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