Emese and Nandi share vegan and plant-based recipes on their blog My Pure Plants. While he cooks, she bakes. They make a perfect duo to bring you delicious comfort food recipes as well as a bit of occasional sweetness. They are encouraging their readers to cook and bake from scratch with local, seasonal produce and eliminating/limiting processed and artificial food.
Emese and Nandi from My Pure Plants Interview
- Tell us about yourself. How and why did you become vegan and how has that changed your life in general?
As we became parents the need to have healthy food on our table for our daughter’s sake and for our sake increased. We started reading about nutrition and what a balanced diet should look like. We enjoy cooking and baking. Always have been. We have already made most of our dishes from scratch before but it all turned serious when my husband found Forks over Knives on Netflix. After then we watched all we could about a plant-based diet and researched all over the internet. We gave ourselves a month to get up to speed before we cut a clean break for ourselves.
- How has being vegan changed your kitchen and what you cook?
It really has opened up a whole lot of ingredients to discover, taste, and experiment with. Our spectrum of food choices has widened significantly. We found ingredients we haven’t tried before (like nutritional yeast) or ingredients we hated but cooking them in a whole new way changed our feelings from hate to love (like mushrooms). We have already been in a gluten-free kitchen which means baking things got a whole lot harder. It isn’t that easy to use gluten-free flours, to begin with, but egg-free baking was a new and completely different level.
Vegan Orange Chicken Recipe Video from My Pure Plants
- What do you love about cooking plant-based food?
The variety of ingredients is huge. Add to it the many different ways to cook them and you get a never-ending list of recipes. We love that we don’t look at a vegetable and see it like what it is but see the potential to turn it into something completely different. In a standard diet, vegetables are side dishes. But here they get to be the hero of the main course. We love experimenting with different textures, cooking methods, and flavors. Our current favorite is oyster mushrooms. There is really no recipe we cannot use them as a meat alternative.
- Kitchen appliances can make life so much easier. How many do you have, and which do you use the most?
We have a couple of items. Not too much as we have limited counter space. We use our Vitamix and our food processor the most. You need a good blender to turn soups and sauces silky smooth. And a food processor just cuts the prep time significantly. I even make pie crust with it. My husband just got a griddle for the summer grilling projects. It is astonishingly fast to grill veggies.
- Are you a clean or messy cook?
My husband is a clean cook. He washes unused stuff as he goes. But I am a messy baker. Flour is flying around if I am focused on making the dough. I use the oven time for clean-up.
- What can you see out of your kitchen window?
Our kitchen looks towards our garden. We see the swing set and the trampoline that is set up for our girls. We have a small area to grow our own vegetables. Currently, we are growing spinach, sweet pea, tomatoes, onion, garlic, cucumber, eggplant, and zucchini.
- What motivated you to start a vegan food blog? And what is that like?
We have been thinking for a while about getting out of our full-time jobs and do something by ourselves. After our first daughter has been born the need to have more flexibility increased. My husband loves cooking and first, he started to research making recipe videos on YouTube. I used to have a hobby baking blog with a handful of recipes. One day we just kind of put the two together. We did a lot of research. I do love a good checklist. And in 2018 we took a leap of faith and started it all. At first, everything was very slow and we didn’t really know how to do things. We even had to take a couple of breaks, like when our 2nd daughter arrived, or when pre-school has closed down in 2020. The food blogging community is very competitive but fiercely loyal to each other at the same time. We got help from them and made amazing friends. Now we get to enjoy our freedom of working from home, being with the kids without stress, and earning an income.
- You create original recipes. What do you enjoy about that and is it ever difficult?
There is a huge difference between cooking recipes and baking recipes. It is easier to test a stew or soup or sauce as you go. My husband gets to change ingredients, flavors, texture as he goes. With baking I have one shot, then bake it. If I don’t like the result, I have to go back to scratch. In my opinion, developing a good baking recipe may it be bread or cake or other pastry need more time and more rounds to get it right. I am still sitting on a lot of baked goods recipes I don’t deem perfect enough.
No Tahini Hummus Recipe from My Pure Plants
- What recipes do you make the most at home? Do you make something new all the time or do you have a rotation of favorites?
We have a rotation of favorites for sure. While we are always in a test mode in our heads, we have a lot of new dishes to try and tweak all the time. Our daughters prefer more steady main courses. We make a wide variety of soups, stir-fries, and pasta dishes. We prefer to keep it simple and try to make something that is quick and easy. 10. What cookbooks do you use?
We have several non-vegan cookbooks that we collected years ago. We also used to like buying cookbooks when we were traveling. Nowadays, we get inspiration online from our favorite bloggers. They are not necessarily vegan bloggers as it is just so intriguing to figure out how to make the same standard dish vegan and delicious.
- Do you ever have kids to cook for and is that different from keeping adults fed?
Absolutely. My kids don’t like harsh flavors or unfamiliar textures. They prefer simple dishes with a handful of ingredients. They do love our spinach soup and our hidden veggie pasta sauce for example. We make those a LOT. :-)) When we cook for the four of us, we always prepare some extra things for us like additional toppings or stir-fry for pasta instead of the usual kid-friendly sauce.
- What do holidays look like for you and your family?
The last 1.5-years have been quiet. We mostly just spent time with our extended family at their home. Our girls are still very little (3-year and a 5-year old) so holidays are more or less revolve around them. The places we chose to see or the activities we chose to do are usually to make sure all of us have some fun.
- Vegan foods have become so much more commercially available in just the last few years. What do you see changing in the vegan food world in the next five years?
I hope more types of vegan convenience food will be available at an affordable price. As the demand increases, I hope in 5 years you get to buy things that are harder to make at home easier and cheaper.
- What are the five ingredients that you couldn’t, or wouldn’t want to, cook without?
Garlic, smoked sweet paprika powder, tomato puree/sauce, oats, banana.
- Your perfect meal, what is it?
My perfect meals are the ones with lots of ingredients like a veggie burger loaded with several layers of yummy food, or a mouth-watering pizza with lots of toppings, or a chili loaded with different legumes, and veggies. Any dish really that bursts with flavor is a perfect meal for me.
- What projects are you working on next?
We are currently working to develop 6 recipes for the Most Flavorful Tofu Marinades. Tofu can be a tricky ingredient and a lot of people who try it can sometimes be put off if they can’t get the taste or the texture right. We hope these people will get to love tofu after trying our marinade recipes.
- Anything else you’d like to add?
We published our first cookbook last year titled Express Vegan. It contains one month’s worth of exclusive recipes that can be prepared within 15 minutes! using only 5 main ingredients. This means 25 exclusive (never ever published on our blog) recipes that are completely new, specifically developed for busy weekdays with 2 bonus chapters for condiments and sides. The book also includes 20 tips on how to shorten the cooking and prepping time of almost ANY recipe.