If there’s one kind of post I’m regularly requested for, it’s vegan recipes. Unfortunately, as regular readers will know, I bloody hate recipes. Now, I’m not saying recipes are bad – it’s more that, I personally am just not the kind of cook who gets on with them. I’ve found that understanding how ingredients interact means I can cook perfectly well without the need a recipe really (especially for stuff like sauces), which is great, because I can’t follow them for shit! This does mean that I can’t do complicated stuff like meringues or soufflé (also, not entirely sure what a soufflé *is*, or if it’s vegan), but I’m pretty confident cooking all of the below options.
I have posted a few up in the past, but I thought what might be useful (and let’s be honest, more achievable) is some meal ideas, rather than a full-on recipe with measurements and all that. My hope is that this is the kind of post you check back to when you’re at a loose end for dinner and have a seemingly random selection of stuff in the fridge, you know? I’ve given you seasoning options, but these are all ideas so feel free to mix and match with whatever you like to eat and have available. Let’s crack on!
1. Porridge/overnight oats with peanut butter, raisins, brown sugar and agave syrup. You could add cinnamon or nutmeg for a seasonal twist! I personally am never down for porridge, but it’s healthy and cheap so worth an inclusion.
2. Breakfast smoothie with banana, chopped hazelnuts, maple syrup and oat milk. It’s like breakfast but also like dessert? Throw some blueberries on top for added yum.
3. Fried tofu with mashed tomatoes on toast. Season the tofu (we are talking thin slices here, none of this “strip” nonsense) with salt and pepper and make sure to fry without oil for full-on crispy goodness. If you’re craving bacon, maybe chuck in a dash of maple syrup (or buy fake bacon rashers- but if you get the hang of frying the tofu then that will work out cheaper). Mashed cherry tomatoes with a bit of oregano, pepper and chilli flakes (y’know if you want): so much better than ketchup.
4. Sliced avocado, hash browns and beans. A staple in our house. Like a half fry-up when you can’t be bothered with the full thing – takes about ten minutes but seriously fills you up.
5.Fried onions + mushrooms and halved Linda McCartney sausages on a bagel. Kind of extra for an at-home breakfast, sure. It’s not the quickest or simplest breakfast option, I’ll admit. But my word, if that don’t keep you going until lunch . Bonus: chuck in some vegan Siracha mayonnaise OR mustard on the bagel instead of butter (never both).
6. French toast. Oh hell yeah, we do vegan French toast! So, what you wanna do is mix whatever vegan milk is available with a *tiny* bit of yoghurt or cream, cinnamon, vanilla essence, and maybe some maple/agave syrup (if you like!) and then soak the bread in that. Who needs eggs anyway! Some people add in stuff like chia seeds or ground flaxseed to adjust the texture and so on: fine if you’ve got that to hand, but you don’t need to buy anything special and it will work fine without.
BONUS: Super obvious omni breakfast options: cornflakes, Weetabix, granola, bran flakes, toast with peanut butter/jam/agave, fruit, breakfast bars, black coffee… you know, your basic obvious breakfast stuff.
7. Sandwich with thinly sliced fried tofu, lettuce, mustard, grated carrot and salt and pepper. TRUST ME IS GOOD. And hey, you already fried the tofu slices this morning for breakfast right? So, how easy was it to fry a couple extra and take them to work LIFE HACK RIGHT THERE
8. Wrap with falafel, lettuce, hummus, tahini, diced garlic and a bit of chilli. Like a lunchtime version of that perennial kebab shop fave: the falafel wrap.
9. “Roast” potato salad with chopped leek, onions and cherry tomatoes. This is a speciality of mine: oil in a pan, and then just add the ingredients one by one with a bit of oil on top for each new ingredient. When it’s all roasty and crispy, sprinkle with noosh for that cheesy, B12-y goodness. YUM.
10. Black pepper sweetcorn fritters on a bed of crispy lettuce and kale with tomato salsa.
BONUS: any of the more stacked veg options. So, a fritter is basically whatever the fuck tou like, rolled in a mixture of oil & dough (and breadcrumbs on the outside if you want), and then fried. My fave are sweetcorn fritters (black pepper goes in at the “dough” part) but you’ll find mushroom, aubergine, carrot and basically anything else you can think of makes a decent fritter. Also there’s no way I’d ever include kale in a bed of lettuce because I LOVE lettuce and hate kale, but I included that as an option for all of you lettuce-hating types (side note: what is wrong with lettuce-haters, it’s so crispy and green and cold and crunchy like instant crunch my god )
Initially I broke dinner into “fancy” and “non-fancy”, but I don’t want to encourage meal snobbery and as Ryan pointed out, anything looks fancy if it’s got a sprig of parsley and is served on a gold-edged plate. I mean, if you’re good at flatlays, probably an egg salad looks appetising, and that is one of the least appetising foodstuffs I’ve ever seen. (Also not vegan: thank God). So, here is the general dinner section!
11. Jacket potato with baked beans. A classic of the genre. All you need to add is salt and pepper. Grated vegan cheese is an option but beans are bloody great, so why bother?
12. Nuggets and chips. Yeah there’s nothing fancy about this, is there? All the flatlaying in the world won’t posh up a nugget. But still, NUGGETS, y’know? My favourite “chicken” nuggets are from Fry’s and they are widely available from any good-sized Holland & Barratt OR Whole Foods.
13. Satay inspired stir fry with tamarind sauce, peanut butter, chopped peanuts. I’ve given a “recipe” for satay before because it’s one of my favourites of the sauces. I’d also chuck bean sprouts into this and add a healthy squeeze of lime, but that’s just me. Make sure you get any noodles apart from egg to make this vegan (udon, rice, wheat, glass) and if you’re going to use a pre-made sauce from a jar, you’ll need to check that it’s vegan. But also DON’T BOTHER, it’s easier, cheaper and healthier to make your own. And no you don’t need a blender just mix it in the pan with the veg!
14. Soup Chunky soup is an absolute staple in our house. I actually didn’t know tinned soup was a thing but again, cheaper, easier to make your own and it will last you! Basically any veg, rough cut, bit of oil, and four cups of water in a pan. Put it all on simmer, chuck in salt/pepper/other seasonings and then just monitor, stir and wait. Mash up the veg halfway through for a thicker texture of soup, or add a dollop of soy yoghurt/cream or oatly creme fraiche.
15. Hot dog with mustard, ketchup, relish (what is relish yo), and fried onions. You want either the Linda McCartney sausages, the Vitali tofu “weiners” (lol), or the Sgaia hot dogs for this. Cook, put in bun, etc.
16. Veg chilli with rice. if you want mince then go for it (Tivali is the best one), but I find using a wide variety of veg is enough! Make sure you are plentiful with the tomato purée and the chilli flakes, and have some creme fraiche on the side to dribble on top. Trust me!
17. Pasta bolognese We made this recently using the Tivali mince and it was great! I’m not much of a pasta person but you could definitely make this for a pal coming round as an easy thing to whip up.
18. Vegan pie. I think I would buy the pastry, and then layer my own ingredients inside. You could sprinkle a layer of noosh in between layered chopped vegetables for a cheesy variation. If you want to put a meat substitute in go for it, but veg by itself is all you need for a good pie!
19. Curry. I probably could write a whole post on curries. At the base level, to make the curry vegan you need to use coconut cream instead of milk/ghee and veg oil instead of animal fat. And obviously get rid of meat or use a vegan alternative. I quite like fried sweet potato for that purpose!
20. Pizza from scratch using homemade dough, mashed tomatoes (or purée), Mozarisella and topped with whatever you like after that. An actual home cooked pizza from scratch is just bloody great, isn’t it? You can buy premade bases OR make your own for cheap. Mix two cups wholewheat flour, two cups plain flour, with oil, water and a bit of salt and you’re good to go. Assemble toppings on top of the base BEFORE you cook the base, otherwise it will burn. There’s a whole load of vegan cheese designed specifically for pizza but I think Mozarisella is the best- although if you prefer your cheese sturdier/overly melty/more pungent etc then you’ll have to try a few out. (Violife pizza cheese is less melty than Mozarisella). Feel free to add meat alternatives on the top- although having grown up without meat pizzas I have to say I’m partial to a good old Vegeteriana type topping.
BONUS FOR GOOD LUCK! Because what’s life without an occasional burger?
21. Burgers made from shredded beetroot&carrot, rolled in a bit of flour, noosh, salt, pepper, chopped lemongrass, and then fried into patty shapes. Serve in a bun, obvs, with chips and pickles and mustard and all the rest of it.
So, there you have it! As I said, I’ve deliberately not put in measurements or set ingredients because these are intended to be adaptable ideas – but if you’re really struggling and would like some specifics, please give me a shout and I’ll help as best I can. Happy vegan-ing!