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How To Elevate Your Plant-Based Cooking This Summer Season

Above picture: Vegetarian specialist Raman Gomathi (left) and Michelin Star Chef Fabrizio Marino (right)

If you are conscious of leading a healthier lifestyle and have an interest in incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet but don’t know where to begin, the experts at Just Veg, the Maldives first all-vegetarian restaurant located at Atmosphere Kanifushi Maldives, is here to help.

Serving an incredibly delicious range of vegetarian dishes, Just Veg is pioneering fresh and healthy plant-based dishes in the Maldives. Guests are consistently wowed by the depth of flavour and variety of ingredients on show at the restaurant, garnering hundreds of 5-star reviews. With summer in full swing and plenty of incredible fruits and vegetables now in season, it’s a great time to be thinking about how to incorporate more delicious plant based foods into diet.

Vegetarian specialist at Just Veg Restaurant, Mr. Raman Gomathi says: “When reducing your meat intake and instead opting for a diet rich in plant-based foods, studies have shown that you are less likely to contract certain diseases, have lower risk of certain cancers, better weight management, and improved heart health.

“Overall, a more plant-focused lifestyle can be a health-conscious choice for people who are looking to reduce their risk of certain chronic diseases and maintain a healthy weight. Not only this, it tends to be more affordable and can be just as delicious, particularly in the summer when you can draw on all of the fresh fruits and vegetables in season.”

Recent research has shown that one in ten Brits (12%) have already made the switch to a flexitarian diet and supermarkets across the country are offering more choice than ever before, so there’s no better time for Mr Gomathi to offer his tips and tricks on incorporating tastier plant-based food into your diet.

    • Herbs and spices will take your meals to the next level
      Experimenting with herbs and spices can add entirely different tastes to your dishes whilst also bringing out new flavours to the vegetables you are cooking with. For example, a great addition to a vegetarian chilli would be oregano (either dried or fresh), ground cumin, bay leaves, chilli powder, and fresh garlic. For a more distinct flavour, add herbs near the end of cooking, or for more blended flavours, mix these in at the beginning.


    • Textures help create variety and improve mouthfeel
      A simple way to elevate your cooking is by combining a variety of textures, such as crispy with creamy, or adding croutons or nuts to a salad – sprinkling pine nuts over a summer salad is a great way to add crunch. This is also a fantastic opportunity to add more vitamins and minerals to dishes for that extra health boost.


    • Incorporate a variety of cooking techniques
      Get creative in the kitchen and utilise more cooking techniques to help bring flavour to your cooking. Roasting, grilling or sautéing brings out a variety of different tastes – for example, roasting vegetables, such as onions or peppers for 20-30 minutes will caramelise them, bringing out their natural sweetness and intensifying their tang.


    • Ensure to touch on the five senses of taste
      Add flavours that touch on each of the five senses of taste- salty, butter, sweet, sour and umami. Where Umami is typically characteristic of broths and cooked meats, the flavour can be achieved in plant-based meals by adding simple ingredients such as mushrooms, miso paste, or soy sauce, enhancing the overall balance of the dish.


    • Take inspiration from international cuisines
      You might be surprised at the amount of vegetarian dishes there are in different cultures. Opting for Mediterranean staples such as feta or stuffed peppers are a delicious accompaniment to salads. Paneer in Indian cuisine is a key ingredient in many curries and adds an alternative texture, too. Each cuisine incorporates traditional spices and cooking techniques, and therefore offers an exciting way to try your hand at new dishes.


    • Take your plant-based cooking to new heights
      Those interested in learning more about plant-based foods can take their education a step further by attending the annual Just Veg Festival, held at Atmosphere Kanifushi Maldives. The four-day festival celebrates contemporary plant-forward cuisine, offering guests a great introduction to what a vegetarian lifestyle could offer.


During this four-day culinary event, Michelin Star Chef, Fabrizio Marino, joins guests in the Maldives to bring them a limited-edition gourmet menu curated by himself and the team at Just Veg. Taking place from 16 – 26 October 2023, interested guests can join the celebrations at no additional cost – but places are limited so advance bookings are essential.