THE VEGAN DIARIES: The Occasional Vegan – the parental test

I’m a sucker for a vegan book, so I didn’t need to think twice when an email landed in my inbox asking me if I’d like to be part of a group of bloggers who promote Sarah’s new book. The Occasional Vegan is a cook book full to the brim of easy, fast recipes that happen to be vegan. I’ve followed Sarah on Instagram for some time now and I her feed constantly gives me food envy!

The Occasional Vegan is a collection of recipes that are homely, comforting and look delightful. It’s written in a very open, friendly tone which makes it accessible to everyone from vegans through to people who are trying out a meatless Monday which makes it an instant favourite for me. It’s so lovely to see a positive, approachable vegan voice out there. Now I knew that whatever I tried I would love and while that would be a glowing review I thought I’d give it a real test and cook for my parents. So let me introduce to you my mum and dad.


Dad: can I put chicken in the curry? No? What about bacon on the top? No? Oh… Can’t wait…

You probably need a bit of background on the two of them, neither of them are vegan, or vegetarian. My dad is a big meat eater (that’s where I got it from back in the day) whereas my mum likes a lot of vegetarian food and often eats veggie meals because they sound great. A bit of a mixed bag for a fully vegan meal…

Looking through the book, there were so many things that I wanted to try first (hello Kentucky fried cauliflower) but none of these would win the parents over. In the end I settled on the quick chickpea and cauliflower curry because we all LOVE curry.

What you need:

1 x 400g can of chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
1 medium cauliflower (broken into small florets)
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes (halved or 1 x 400g tomatoes)
1 tsp fresh ginger root (peeled and grated)
1 garlic clove (peeled and crushed)
1 red onion (peeled and finely chopped)
3 tbsp curry paste
100g spinach (fresh or frozen)
1 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
300g brown rice (rinsed and drained)

  1. Boil your rice in a large pan for about 20-25 minutes.
  2. Grab a large saucepan and get it over a medium heat, add your oil, cauliflower and onions. Fry these for around 5 minutes until they start to soften.
  3. Add in the ginger, garlic, curry paste with a little water if it starts to stick.
  4. After a minute, add in the tomatoes and squash them with your wooden spoon.
  5. Stir regularly and add a mugful of water.
  6. Turn the heat up.
  7. Leave for about 10 minutes.
  8. Add the chickpeas and another half mug of water.
  9. Stir and add the spinach.
  10. Cover with a lid and leave for another 15-20 minutes.

Serves 4 – I can confirm that the 4th serving as left overs was just as delicious

Now, I am the first to admit I barely follow recipes but this one I made a real effort but still, I forgot to squash the tomatoes until the end and I definitely put too much water in so I let it bubble away for a little longer but it all worked out pretty bloody week.



Lovely and tasty, none of the veg went mushy like it often does in vegetable curries. Could also eat cold with a flatbread and yoghurt if you don’t eat a lot of rice.



It smelt awesome while it was being cooked but it didn’t taste as good as it smelt. Veg stayed looking like veg rather than going mushy, but could have done with some mushrooms or chicken for me. I would have preferred a more robust curry taste but I enjoyed it.



Curry perfection! I don’t use a 10/10 lightly! This recipe is so fast and simple to make, it would be easy to make on a Sunday, one for now, 3 for lunches at work. It’s one of those recipes that are jammed packed full of the good stuff but it is so tasty that it might fool you into thinking that it’s maybe bad! It’s also affordable for those people who are watching the pennies (so all of us right?). This is also pretty easily adaptable for non-vegans, you could totally add some vegan Quorn in so that it isn’t so much of a leap from their usual chicken curry.

Basically, we all loved it and apparently we’re all obsessed with vegetables going mushing! Ok, some liked it more than others but it went a lot smoother than I expected! If you’d like to get your hands on a copy, head over to Seren Books – you won’t regret it.

I would like to thank the lovelies over at Seren Books for getting in touch and sending me a copy to review.


3 thoughts on “THE VEGAN DIARIES: The Occasional Vegan – the parental test

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