Why Try Veganuary

Why Try Veganuary

For your own health and the sake of the planet, we take a look at going vegan…

If you’ve been considering just how ethical and healthy your diet really is, then Veganuary is a good opportunity to join like-minded others for the month of January to see what a vegan lifestyle entails. It has a host of celebrity supporters with the likes of Joaquin Phoenix, Billie Eilish, Sara Pascoe and Paul McCartney backing the cause.

Surrey actor Peter Egan is among the ambassadors, having turned vegan around 14 years ago. He says: “There is a myth that veganism is difficult and boring. But it is not. I’ve just come back from Vietnam and there was a vegan restaurant there that did an incredible Peking ‘duck’ – which looked and tasted incredible and was made from mushrooms. It was so imaginative. We have some great vegan restaurants here in London such as The Gate and Mildreds. And restaurants generally are offering good vegan options – I love Wagamama’s spicy tofu hotpot, for example.”

Peter has long been an animal rights advocate and works with various charities so it was an ethical decision for him to go vegan. But he says it has also had huge health benefits. “I’m 77 and I feel that my body is in the best shape it’s ever been in. I have no digestive problems. 

“Some people try Veganuary and love it so much they stay vegan, for others, it encourages them to cut down on meat, which is also a wonderful result. If you care about the planet, consider veganism as a lifestyle choice.”



2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing

3 cloves garlic, crushed

3 sprigs of thyme

8 sage leaves, finely chopped

4×400g cans chopped tomatoes

3 tbsp red wine vinegar

3 tbsp caster sugar

4 large aubergines, sliced lengthways as thinly as possible

150g melting vegan cheese, grated

85g white breadcrumbs

50g pine nuts

Handful of basil leaves


1. Heat the oven to 200°C /gas mark 6.

2. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the garlic, thyme and sage, and cook gently for a few minutes. Then add the tomatoes, vinegar and sugar, and gently simmer for 20–25 minutes until it has thickened.

3. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan. Brush the aubergine slices on both sides with olive oil, and fry in batches until each slice is softened and slightly charred.

4. Mix 25g of the grated dairy-free cheese with the breadcrumbs and pine nuts, and set side.

5. Into a large baking dish, add a little of the tomato sauce and spread over the base. On top of this, add a layer or two of aubergine slices. Season.

6. Spoon over more sauce, then layer some cheese and basil leaves, and then another layer of aubergine. Repeat until you end with a layer of tomato sauce, and top with the breadcrumb mixture.

7. Bake for 30–40 minutes until the top is crisp and golden, and the tomato sauce is bubbling away. Rest for 10 minutes, and scatter with torn basil leaves.

For more celebrity recipes, sign up to Veganuary.