Words: Shamim de Brún
Veganuary is in full swing. The annual challenge promoting and educating about veganism by encouraging people to go vegan for January has over 2 million official sign-ups.
In all likelihood, there are many more people veganising their way through January who hasn’t signed up on the website. Instead, many will have hopped on board, lured in by the instagramification of veganism or the looming threat of climate change and its links to food production.
Whatever the reason, it is safe to say going vegan can be challenging even in this era of options. So to make it easy on you, we’ve compiled a list of Irish vegan products for our bumper Veganuary guide.
Nobó is most famous for its dairy-free ice creams though the company also makes chocolates, nut butters, and olive oil. Probably one of the most well made vegan ice creams on the market is their salted caramel offering. It has a rich and creamy texture and is excellent in an affogato; if that’s up your street.
Fiid is a Dublin 7 plant-based brand that specialises in versatile microwavable meal bowls. Each of their offerings is one hundred per cent vegan and perfect for anyone who’s not the most confident in the kitchen. The Smoky Black Bean Chilli is a go-to after work can be fudged cooking option that’s whole, balanced and tastes as though you slaved over it. An enchanting mix of colour, flavour and texture, this warming chilli brings a rich blend of Mexican flavours to the table in a jiffy.
Strong Roots is an Irish-founded plant-based frozen food company going international, specialising in healthy frozen vegetable products such as kale-and-quinoa burgers, roasted beetroot wedges, spinach bites, and sweet potato fries. About 90 per cent of their products are vegan, and the other 10ish are veggie. All are air-fryer friendly and can be used in meals or as meals in and of themselves.
Ah, sure, we all know these lads at this stage. The happy freewheeling duo who sea swam before it was cool. Their cafe in Greystones is a must if you’re in the area, but their products make Veganuary mightily more achievable. They make dips, soups, sauces, salads and ready meals. All are widely available nationally, and while a little on the upper end of the spend for hummus, the Irish owned Irish made produce is well made. Their winter warmer winner is the Thai Tastic sauce. Pour it over stir-fried anything for the perfect Veganuary curry.
Vegan does not have to mean diet or even healthy. It can mean cake. 2019’s bakery of the year Buttercream Dream is the go-to baker of the Irish vegan world. So indulgent it’s almost indecent, these cakes are the melt in your mouth stuff of dreams. They make everything from full-sized cakes to cupcakes and cookies. You do need to be sure you order in advance, either by DMing them on Instagram or emailing them directly.
These little jars have been popping up across the land of Ireland and beyond over the past few years. All completely vegan, they have become a mainstay for many. Pronounced’ mouse-ooh,’ these oily crunchy spicy condiments are versatile and diverse. They’re great on rice, bread, or as a dip and as part of many vegan recipes. The great crowd-pleaser of the lot is the peanut rayu. While it is seven euros for the jar, it lasts the distance and will have you looking forward to crunch time.
Born and raised in Dublin 8’s own Fumbally cafe, these nut butters have inspired a cult level of devotion among their followers. The team behind the six different butters is a mixed bag of cooks, baristas, musicians, letterpress printers, and engineers who are most passionately buzzed by good food and drink. Their website has a rake of recipes and ways to use their jars of nutty goodness, but the creme de la creme is, of course, their OG nut butter. It’s a mixed nut butter that tastes more complex than most and is well worth the fiver.
The Cultured Food Company makes live fermented foods. Kombucha, Kin Chi, Sauerkraut and the likes. Fermented foods are all kinds of good for your gut, but more importantly, they taste great. Fermentation makes food taste more. More complex. More interesting. Just more. Each of the cultured food companies offerings is bursting with flavour and can be used in various ways. If you’re a spice fiend, their Kim Chi is the way to go. It’s the perfect accoutrement or addendum to a meal. It’s also a surprisingly brilliant way to add a spicy crunch to a sandwich.
High-quality plant-based comfort food is what Veganuary is made for. All their products are high in protein and are fortified with B12 and iron. PlantIt was voted Ireland’s favourite meat substitute, and when you taste their chicken-free southern fried bites, it’s easy to see why. They’re a great one to dig into for satiating that chicken fillet burger craving or for when you can’t bear to look at another broccoli.