Eating vegetarian and vegan cuisine is fun, exciting, and above all, healthy. Amongst the many plant-based restaurants in London, Kirk Haworth brings vegan dining into his innovative, avant-garde restaurant, Plates London. The chef's culinary journey developed from a young age, with him winning the North West Young Chef of the Year award at 17 and later perfecting his techniques at award-winning and Michelin-starred restaurants. He turned to a healthy diet when he was diagnosed with Lym Disease in 2016, with Haworth discovering its health and environmental benefits, and devoted his time to discovering the creativity of plant-based foods – thus, the birth of Plates London.
Here, Haworth shares with us his top five favourite healthy ingredients in cooking.
Braised in liquorice stock, pressed, and baked until crisp.
Different types of seaweed have incredibly high percentages of essential vitamins and minerals that our bodies need every day to thrive. Seaweeds are also a great source of iodine, which helps to support the thyroid.
Smoked and barbequed over coals, then glazed with artichoke caramel.
There are so many different varieties of mushrooms that have so much medicinal potential and should be added to our diet. For example, one of my favourites is the Lion’s Mane mushroom, which can help boost brain function and reduce anxiety and stress levels. Fungi are an incredibly powerful and delicious ingredient.
Cleaned, blanched, and marinated in lime juice, pine oil, and agave.
Aloe vera, in the food system, has a lot of untapped potential. It is an amazing source of vitamin C and is also extremely good for skin and hair. I am very passionate about working with this ingredient and am looking forward to more research being done on its other medicinal benefits.
4) Flax Seed
Folded into your morning porridge for a boost of vitality.
Flax seed is a great source of fibre, omega 3 and fatty acids, especially for someone on a plant-based diet. It’s the perfect booster to add to dishes to increase its nutritional profile, yet doesn’t impart too much of itself onto a dish.
5) Raw Cacao
The perfect vehicle to make smoothies rich, chocolatey and (most importantly) healthy.
The purest form of chocolate, raw cacao contains flavonoids that help blood flow. It also has 40 times more antioxidants than blueberries and is one of the highest plant-based sources of iron you can find.