It’s #Veganuary! But for many, Veganism isn’t something just for January; it’s a lifestyle that they voluntarily choose for themselves and I have always been intrigued as to why and what benefits it has.
Lauren has been Vegan for 5 years ever since she took part in her first Veganuary and ever since, she has lived a 100% vegan lifestyle.
I met Lauren via Instagram and we share a mutual love of good food, supporting women in biz and Northamptonshire.
As it has been Veganuary, I came up with the idea and suggested to Lauren that she takes me to all her favourite Vegan spots in Northamptonshire in order to build this guide together.
And I am glad she said yes!
Along the way, not only have I eaten some good food with her of which I am happy to share with you, but I have learnt lots along the way that proves being vegan doesn’t mean you’re limited to what you can eat.
For me, I am not ashamed to admit that I do eat meat, dairy and enjoy too much cheese (I think I have a slight addiction) so I won’t lie to you, I was hesitant about trying vegan alternatives.
But Lauren has well and truly shown me that I can enjoy vegan food once in a while and it can be a good alternative.
Throughout this guide, Lauren has shared with me to share with you her top 5 tips on veganism for those who are considering or are hesitant in trying it.
I have loved doing this collaboration with Lauren who has helped me bring this guide to life – so a big thank you!
So here it is. Our tried and tasted Vegan guide to Northamptonshire (so far!):
- Breakfast at Ten Hands Cafe Bar
- Lunch at Bread & Butter Factory
- Sunday Roast at The Lamplighter
- Dinner at The Green Loft
- Afternoon Tea at Fawsley Hall Hotel & Spa
- Tapas at Bread & Pullet
- Pizza at The Princess Alexandra
- Other Vegan Spots
Breakfast at Ten Hands Cafe Bar
This is my local breakfast, brunch, lunch and working spot in Towcester when I need a change of scenery, so I was curious to see whether I could have a vegan breakfast and test what options Ten Hands Cafe Bar had.
Lauren has been here before and enjoyed a vegan breakfast, so I wasn’t in no doubt about their ability to deliver something tasty!
As I came for a working breakfast, I decided to go for a Mixed Oats bowl, which was made with oat milk, oats, berries and came with maple syrup, plus to go full out, I asked for my flat white to be made with oat milk too.
But a big yes to this – whilst I *try* to stick to a Slimming World plan, oats are a great source for breakfast and I could quite happily eat this again knowing it’s pretty good for my health!
They also had their Vegan Big Breakfast and Avocado smash with tomatoes on toast available on their menu too – and a lot of what Ten Hands does can be altered to your tastes and dietary requirements.
Read more: Brunch at Ten Hands Cafe Bar, Towcester
Do your research:
“Just as you would starting anything new, do your research before you get stuck in. Explore the health benefits, discover the environmental impact of a plant-based diet or uncover the reality of the meat and dairy industries and you’ll open your eyes to the reasons why people choose to go vegan. It’ll make it more meaningful for you too as you begin your vegan journey.“
Lunch at The Bread & Butter Factory
I have eaten and enjoyed a working sesh in the Bread & Butter Factory plenty of times and I have been aware of the fact they offer vegan options, so it’s great to know one of my favourite spots is so accommodating.
On this occasion, Lauren enjoyed their soup of the day, Celery, with a vegan cheese and pickle sandwich on granary bread and after much pondering, I went for a vegan cream cheese bagel with tomatoes, onion, a side salad and bowl of pineapple and mango.
Firstly, it was wonderfully healthy, which is a bonus if you’re trying to eat well after Christmas.
And secondly, I didn’t think the cream cheese could live up to expectations and as mentioned before, I was hesitant – but turns out, it actually made the bagel really moist and I didn’t feel so full after eating it.
This was our first vegan eatery together and Lauren took lots of pleasure in witnessing me eat vegan cheese for the first time!
If you check the menu itself, Bread & Butter Factory can accommodate all dietary requirements and can swap things in and out to ensure it’s vegan-friendly.
Plus, it’s a friendly little cafe on St Giles Street that’s local and great for working at.
Read More: A Guide to St Giles Street, Northampton
Don’t restrict yourself, eat what you love:
“No change is sustained if we feel like we’re restricting ourselves. We’re simple creatures after all! So take your favourite lasagne recipe and look for a vegan version, indulge in a stacked-up plant-based burger or savour the sweet taste of a dairy-free cheesecake. Going vegan doesn’t mean eating less or living on a diet of raw veg, it means eating what you love in a more conscious way“
Sunday Roast at The Lamplighter
Nothing has ever beaten a Lamplighter Roast Dinner. But what about a vegan alternative? I won’t lie, I wasn’t sure!
The Lamplighter has been a firm favourite for locals for a Sunday Roast Dinner and I shamefully hadn’t visited in about 3 years, but I recall when I last visited how GOOD my last trip was.
So when Lauren suggested we go and how much she raved about their nut roast, I was convinced.
Bearing in mind, it was my first time EVER trying a Nut Roast and I was slightly dying inside that I couldn’t have a side of Cauliflower Cheese, but I was open-minded to trying their version which was a Sage & Cranberry Nut Roast.
On the day we visited, there was a new addition of a Spiced Lentil & Cauliflower Pie which Lauren decided to have on this occasion.
The Lamplighter staff admitted themselves that they need more vegan side dishes, as when we visited, there was none, BUT I know it’s something they are willing to improve on, because I was sad to see there was no vegan alternative to cauliflower cheese (I like cheese, okay!?)
Overall, I’m not 100% convinced on a nut roast, purely because of the fact it had full nuts instead of them all being mashed up (personal preference, but Lauren prefers them full) but I can’t deny how tasty it was and those cranberries were rich and juicy inside.
The roast itself was vibrant and full of lovely fresh vegetables and fluffy potatoes which were to die for!
But if you’re looking for a vegan roast, this is the place to come! Check out Lauren’s mini-review here.
Know how to read labels:
“‘How do I know it’s vegan?’ is a question I often hear when people are starting out. If it’s not obvious from looking at the product, you’ll quickly become a speed-reader when it comes to packaging and labels. Usually, all allergens are labelled in bold such as milk and eggs. There’s a handy guide from Veganuary you can check out too. Worried you don’t have the time to read labels? Top tip – avoid products that require you to scour through the labels altogether! Choose healthy, filling REAL food that not processed and packaged. Hello, beans, pulses and grains galore. It’ll cost you a lot less too.”
Dinner at The Green Loft
A bloggers dinner out is the best type of dinner!
We visited The Green Loft with fellow food bloggers, Chanelle at Food & Frolics and Lisa at The Beauty Type for a Friday night dinner. Green Loft is Northampton’s 100% plant-based restaurant, so if you’re like me and are not vegan, but are not sure about diving straight into a 100% vegan restaurant – think again!
Obviously, we had to go for the full 3 courses to get the best experience possible – one thing I loved about The Green Loft from stepping in, is its unique decor!
My first course was a lovely Melazane which consisted of slices of aubergine, sauteed in seasoned flour then layered in a dish of rich Provencal sauce, sprinkled with a dusting of vegan parmesan – delicious!
Regardless of it all being vegan, this is the type of dish I would find myself eating for a starter anyways.
My main course was a sensational creamy, Moussaka, which you would have no idea that it was vegan cheese and was super filling! It came with a refreshing salad and garlic bread, and again, I love Moussaka so this isn’t too far away from what I would usually eat.
My dessert was definitely the most heavenly and I couldn’t believe it was vegan – a chocolate caramel millionaire’s cheesecake which was gooey, sweet and thick! My fork cut through it so easily and it melted beautifully in my mouth!
Even Chanelle, who is a huge meat lover and made it very clear she wasn’t sure about eating the food, but loved it!
Out of all the experiences so far, this was the one that didn’t feel too far away from anything I eat on a regular basis and I would happily come here again, whether it’s with someone who is vegan, or just because it’s simply a nice restaurant.
Experiment in the kitchen:
“If you love cooking then see veganism as a great opportunity to get creative in the kitchen. Don’t fancy yourself as a chef? Why not give yourself an excuse to get started with a new challenge! BBC Good Food has some simple vegan recipes that don’t require a plethora of unusual or expensive ingredients. Still not convinced? Supermarkets have gone BIG on vegan products and meals this Veganuary so there’s bound to be something to suit everyone (I won’t tell it’s not homemade if you don’t?!).”
Afternoon Tea at Fawsley Hall Hotel & Spa
You know me. Afternoon Tea is one of my favourite things to do and food to eat. So much so, I have a full Northants Food Guide on Afternoon Tea! So when Fawsley Hall invited me to try their Vegan one last summer, I had to go!
Fawsley Hall are very good at accommodating for all dietary requirements, so it was really interesting to compare a vegan vs. non-vegan Afternoon Tea.
I distinctly remember the cream was very different and not as ‘clotted’, then realised it was a vegan butter! However, I enjoyed the softness of the cakes, the selection of fresh fruit in the pot and the scones were lovely, light and fluffy!
In all honesty, it wasn’t all that different and I know if I were to visit Fawley again with a vegan friend (hint hint, Lauren let’s go soon!) I’d happily share one with her!
Enjoy vegan food with friends:
“A sure-fire way to say goodbye to any negative vibes? Invite the haters round for dinner! Whether you’re whipping up a banging vegan meal at home or suggesting eating out at a restaurant, you’re onto a winner if there are quality plant-based options that will satisfy any meat-eater or veggie. Food is all about the joy of sharing and a social occasion and when what’s on your plate is kind to your health, animals the environment, it’s enough to stop anyone being negative about your choices.”
Tapas at Bread & Pullet
Written by Lauren:
The trend for tapas and small plates shows no sign of slowing down, and the Welly Road’s Bread & Pullet is one of Northampton’s most popular restaurants.
Plus, it’s really upped its game in the past year when it comes to vegan options!
On my most recent visit, I went for three small plates and chose; Wild garlic sautéed mushrooms on sourdough toast; Onion bhaji with chip shop curry sauce; Smokey ‘proper’ baked beans on toasted sourdough, with pear & sloe gin brown sauce.
This is a menu devised by people who are serious about food and know that flavours and textures pair brilliantly for a stunning dish.
There is no compromise on quality when it comes to their vegan dishes, that would be enjoyed by omnis and vegans alike.
This style of dining is a fab opportunity to share the joy of vegan food with your fellow diners.
Why not encourage your friend to swap their meat or dairy dish for a vegan option to enjoy a new experience together?
Their menu changes regularly to use the best seasonal and local produce out there, but you can find a sample vegan menu on their website.
Read more: Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea at Bread & Pullet
Pizza at The Princess Alexandra
Written by Lauren:
The Princess Alexandra is one of the best spots for craft beer and real ale in town, but it’s also a hidden gem for food.
Serving Bar Bites and Pizzas, there are three stand-out vegan options on the pizza menu.
The Gamma Ray – vegan mozzarella, sweet potato and balsamic glazed kale and red onion – the Evergreen – vegan pesto base with tomato, spinach, pine nuts and vegan mozzarella – and the Oakham – BBQ pulled jackfruit with vegan cheese.
The Evergreen is the winner for me here, as the pesto base adds something different to your classic tomato-based pizza. The stringy, vegan mozzarella is a close mimic of its dairy counterpart.
And, with pizzas starting from £7.55, they’re amazing value for money.
The team at Princess Alexandra are welcoming and friendly and will give a helping hand when choosing a vegan-friendly beer or and ale to pair perfectly with your pizza.
Other Northamptonshire Vegan Spots
These ones are on my bucket list of places to go to but haven’t been to yet, so just in case you’re looking for even more Vegan eateries to visit, check these out:
The Ark Northampton
Vintage Retreat Northampton
Show yourself compassion and allow yourself to be flexible:
“Give yourself a break! We’re all our own worst enemy. Breaking what might be a lifelong habit of eating animal-derived meals is going to be hard at first, but don’t beat yourself up if you start by being flexible at first, or accidentally eat something containing dairy (you’ll see how many products have milk in unnecessarily!). My tip would be to gradually go vegan and eat the way you WANT to, not the way you feel you HAVE to.”
Overall, I think my views on veganism have changed, thanks to Lauren as she has shown me it isn’t all that bad and there are some serious misconceptions when it comes to it.
I don’t think I will ever be 100% vegan, however, I know going forward what options are available where and it can be easy to swap things in and out to save the environment and to be more sustainable.
If you have any other vegan eats in Northamptonshire you would like to recommend, please do let myself or Lauren know as we plan on adding to this guide together – because as always, I only ever write about something I have experienced, or in this case, Lauren has too!