Thalia Heffernan loves to start the day with vegan sausages, roasted tomatoes and hash browns

I am on a plant based diet. I quit eating meat and animal products five years ago and it really helped me get rid of my guilt over eating certain foods. I couldn’t eat a steak and then visit a farm to play with a cow… that didn’t suit me.

Also, for the planet, I think it’s really important for us to be more aware of what we eat and to incorporate more plant-based meals into our diet.

Breakfast

I start my morning with a coffee but I am also a big fan of breakfast. I need toast to function, so on a day when I have time, I’m going to make avocado toast, vegan sausage if possible, roasted tomatoes, and hash browns. I am very passionate about my first meal of the day!

Breakfast

What I eat for lunch really depends on the day I’m spending. If I am on the set, lunch will be provided and can range from a delivery to a full hot meal or a cold buffet.

At home, I like a sandwich and a salad. I also often make leftovers from the night before for dinner or rework them – like we were making mashed potatoes the night before, I would make potato pancakes! This way I can cook something new for the dinner that I love, when I have the time! I’m also a big fan of soup and try to keep it in the fridge so that when I don’t have a lot of time there is something delicious just a few moments away.

Try this lentil curry for a plant-based midweek dinner.

Having dinner

For dinner, I’ll have a lentil curry with rice or a stir-fry. We also love a vegan burger in my house with potatoes. Not a day goes by that I don’t have a potato. I don’t always have time, so I always make sure I have a few Plant-it studs in the freezer so I can put them in after a long day. I also have a good serving of veg with my dinner, my favorites are broccoli or peas.

Snacks

I love to snack. I’m never without a bag of popcorn or crisps, especially on long days of filming where I can’t eat for a few hours. I also eat a lot of hummus and crackers or whatever is convenient, carrots, peppers, etc. Bananas and apples are also excellent.

I love a protein shake, I usually use Hemp Heros chocolate protein with oats, peanut butter, oat milk, banana and ice cream and it’s delicious between meals on a busy day.

Inspiration

I like to use Asian flavors in my cooking and experiment with different vegetables and proteins. Recently I made an all vegan katsu curry and it was a huge hit with everyone who has tried it. I really enjoy making the family’s favorite plant-based dishes and surprising my carnivorous friends and family with them.

Since becoming herbal, I haven’t really found anything that I don’t like, to be honest !! I’m not a big fan of vegan cheeses, but I wouldn’t have been a big fan of regular cheeses before either, so it’s nothing against vegan stuff, it’s just not something I ‘would reach.

Food is one of the most important things to me. I base most situations around food when I can, and I always think about my next meal. I really love trying new things and seeing people bring more delicious plant-based food ideas to mainstream consciousness. When I think of food, I think of family, parties, celebrations, and happiness in general!

Yotam Ottolenghi is one of Thalia's culinary heroes.
Yotam Ottolenghi is one of Thalia’s culinary heroes.

I have two culinary heroes: Yotam Ottolenghi and my mother. I love that Ottolenghi uses vegetables, grains, spices and legumes to make delicious meals that just don’t need anything more. I used a lot of his recipes when I first got herbal and it taught me a lot about how to cook without depending on a meat product.

My mom is an amazing cook and taught me so much. I think I derive my love for food from her and my pride for every meal I create too. I don’t think I would have such a deep connection to her without her.

Thalia Heffernan is Brand Ambassador for Irish plant-based food company Plant-It.

For more herbal recipes, check out ieFood.

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About Jamie Collins

Jamie Collins

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