Eating a vegan diet can be tough, everywhere you look you are bombarded with difficult looking recipes or recipes that use ingredients that you would never want to eat. I am more of an if it ain’t broke don’t fix it type so I like to just slightly alter everyday recipes to make them vegan.
Where do I shop?
I shop mostly at Sainbury’s as their vegan range is better than any other supermarket at the moment and it is forever expanding and offering new products for me to try. However, I do like the Iceland No Bull Burgers as they are the closest thing to a bbq burger I have tried.
How much do I spend?
Roughly, on a fortnightly shop for two people, 7 cats and 1 dog I can get away with spending £60. Although we have no children these recipes are child friendly but obviously you will need to adapt the amount you buy to satisfy how many little hungry mouths you have to feed.
Are the meals really boring?
No! Not at all I find the meals more filling and exciting than I did when I was a meat eater to be honest. I just adapt recipes by adding more veggies and replacing meat with alternatives such as mushrooms, lentils, jackfruit, tofu or soy products.
My Weekly Meal Plan
Below is what my family eat in a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I will talk through each of the meal option and provide recipes or links to the recipes I love to use.
There is nothing scary in this meal plan so it is perfect for students, frugal families and people on a budget. Its cheap, cheerful and best of all cruelty free.
As well all know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It jump starts your metabolism and wakes up the system after the nightly fast. I like a mixture of cooked breakfasts and fruit bowls. The great thing about fruit bowls is they are completely customisable and you can add things such as granola or dairy free yogurt.
Vegetarian Sausage, Waffles and Beans
This is a simple but staple in my vegan arsenal. I love to use Sainsbury’s vegetarian sausages as they are “meaty” and have a little bit of spice which gives them a nice kick. To make this a fuller breakfast why not try adding mushrooms, spinach or tomatoes? I also like to tofu scramble just to up the protein intake for the day.
This is health in a bowl and there are so many different variations. Just check out some of these beauties!
I like to use Sainsbury’s tropical fruit smoothie mix. It contains pineapple, papaya and mango.
I chuck 80g in a blender and blend until nice and thick. If you want a thinner smoothie trying adding fruit juice or coconut milk.
Then all you have to do is spoon it into a bowl and cover with fruit, nuts or granola.
My personal favourite is plain homemade granola and seasonal fruits from my local farmers market.
Get inventive, contrary to what you have been told in the past, play with your food and find what works for you.
For example, bananas to me are a big no no, they are mushy and just wrong so I never eat them yet I see many recipes call for bananas so I just play around until I find an alternative that works for me.
Porridge and Cereal
These really speak for themselves, just get yourself a nice big bowl of hot porridge (made with either dairy free milk or water) cover in maple syrup or agave and away you go.
Cereal is a great cheap and quick pick me up when you don’t want to cook a breakfast.
Again there are so many ideas for vegan sandwiches. You could keep it basic and just go with Quorn or the love of my sandwich life, the TLT (tofurkey, lettuce and tomato).
You might prefer to spread humus on crusty bread or smash some avocado and sprouts on toast. Sandwiches are personal because they are diy, you can customise the hell out of it or keep it simple.
If you have never made your own soup then I am sorry to tell you but you are missing out on some yummy soul food.
The great thing about making your own soup is not only do you control what goes in it with regards to salt and sugar but you can put vegetables in it you wouldn’t normally eat.
Once you blend the soup down you can’t really taste one individual vegetable they all combine into a lovely smooth and tasty broth.
If you have tried the above recipes and really want to venture into the world of soup making why not try some of these recipes below:
Amazing beetroot soup recipe from Good Houskeeing. Beetroot is a great blood cleanser and is good for the heart. Get the recipe here
Leaf crunching, halloween and soup are all synonymous with autumn. Get warm and cosy with a bowl full of butternut squash soup. Get the recipe here
Everyone loves a classic italian dish and nothing is more classic than this vegan minestrone soup. Packed full of veggies and pasta, it will keep you full and warm inside.
Get the recipe here
I am sure everyone has fond memories of sitting round the table at their grandparents on a Sunday. Knife and fork in hand you would patiently wait for the roast to arrive on the table and then the mad scramble for the potatoes, vegetables, stuffing and gravy.
Well just because you no longer eat meat does not mean you can’t enjoy a good Sunday roast.
In our household we go crazy for a Linda McCartney vegan joint with a red wine and shallot glaze.
I serve it up with homemade roast potatoes and at least 3-4 different types of vegetables. Broccoli, cabbage, brussels, peas, cauliflower and roast parsnips for the hubby make up the green stuff.
No Sunday roast would be complete without yorkshire puddings, this is the recipe I use and like any other yorkshire just make sure your oil is really hot and keep the oven door closed.
Add the trimmings you like, sage and onion stuffing or maybe some mini vegan sausages like these from V-Bites and then top it all off with gravy for the best Sunday roast ever.
Fajitas with Potato Wedges
Holy guacamole, vegan fajitas are a spicy treat for anyone. You can completely customise the filling and the spice level on these hombres. I always pick up a fajita meal kit from the supermarket for convenience but you can also make your own fajita spice mix.
I like to use jack fruit because of its crispness when fried but I have also tried the tofurkey chickn style pieces and they take on flavour really well.
If you are using jackfruit I suggest frying this first in the fajita spice mix until it is as crisp as you would like it and in a separate frying pan fry your peppers and onions.
Combine into one pan and mix it all together so the spice mix is incorporated into the onion and peppers.
Warm up your tortillas and then start building your fajita. My favourite filling is salad leaves with the fajita mix on top followed by a big dollop of tomato salsa and topped with vegan cheese.
This recipe also works well as enchiladas, just place the made up fajitas in a dish, cover with tomato sauce and top with dairy free cheese. Cook it in the oven until the cheese is nice and brown and voila enchilada.
Anything that is made in a slow cooker is fine by me. Just chuck everything in, set it on low and go about your day. Bonus, come home to a ready to serve meal.
This casserole is a staple in our week, we never miss a sausages casserole night. I use the Sainsbury’s veggie sausages again because they hold up really well in the slow cooker and do not turn to mush.
I add some tinned tomatoes, basil, onion, peppers,mushrooms, garlic and vegetable stock. All in the slow cooker on low for between 6-8 hours or on high 4 hours. I don’t even defrost or brown the sausages, I put everything in together and leave it to do its thing.
If I am feeling adventurous I will also make up some herb dumplings *drool*.
Either serve on its own with some crusty bread or on top of some mashed potato.
Stirfrys’ are healthy and quick. You can put in as much veg as you like and top it off with a beautiful sauce. Heat some oil in a wok, I use the Ken Hom Performance 2 piece wok, throw in your vegetables and tofu. Give it a quick stir on high heat to make sure the veg is cooked through but still retains its crunch, pour over a homemade sauce mix or a packet sauce and serve over a bed of brown rice or noodles. I have always had a love-hate relationship with tofu, I love the amount of protein it provides and the taste however I hated cooking it, I could never get it right until I followed this recipe. Favourite vegetables to use in a stir-fry include broccoli, baby corn, mushrooms, pak choi, bean sprouts, peppers and onions, oh and of course many cloves of garlic (trust me Dracula wouldn’t step foot in my house with the amount of garlic I cook with). I like to pair my stir fry with a noodle dish and this recipe from Pinchofyum hits the spot.
Creamy Paprika One Pot Pasta
If I were a real chef, this would be my signature dish. It never fails to impress and never fails to delight the taste buds. It is a one pot dish so not a lot of preparation required and my favourite part, not a lot of cleaning up afterwards. Fry onion and garlic together in a large pot, then add in whatever vegetables you have lying around. I normally add peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, peas, spinach and sometimes cherry tomatoes, if my husband hasn’t already eaten them. I put all of the veg in the pot with the onions and garlic. Next I add 2 tbsp garlic powder, 2 tbsp Italian or mixed herbs and coat all of the veg in the mixture. Pour in 300ml of stock and 200ml dairy free milk, add the pasta, bring to the boil then let it simmer. Keep gently pushing the pasta down into the pot until it is submerged and the sauce should thicken onto the pasta.
Vegetarian Sausage & Mash
This is a traditional English meal. Normally served with mushy peas in the middle of the week (I have no idea why, it just always seemed like a midweek thing when I was child). Cook sausages in oven, boil potatoes in pot, mash said potatoes with some dairy free milk and a dollop of dairy free butter. Season with salt and pepper, plate up with mushy peas or any other veg you like and this is the most important part, pour the gravy alllll over that plate and there you have bangers and mash.
Mexican Bean Salad Bowl
Sounds extravagant, really simple dish to make. Cook up some rice whether its microwave rice, boil in the bag or just normal rice in a saucepan. Whilst the rice is cooking, dice up some sweet potatoes and rub some oil on them with a little bit of paprika and cayenne pepper. Place the potatoes in the oven and cook until fork tender. Next you can either do what I do and buy a can of mixed beans in a chilli sauce or you can buy cans of different beans and mix them up in your own chilli sauce. Heat up the beans, I like to add sweetcorn to the beans as well. Now it is time to plate up, I put the rice in the middle of the dish and decorate around it. I add tomato salsa, fresh salad and crumble tortilla chips on top.
Everyone gets a bit nibbly sometimes so my favourite snacks include; fruit, crisps, homemade oven roasted chickpeas, humus dip with chips, vegan chocolate and yogurt.
I am not going to pretend that I am the healthiest person in the world because I am not. I am a human being and I wont lie to you and pretend this blog is written by a health nut who wears yoga pants all the time. I am a normal everyday person just trying to find my way on this crazy little rock, floating in the middle of space. These meal ideas are there to help people like myself who long for their favourite meals just with a vegan twist. I do use sauces and other ingredients out of packets as I don’t have time to always make things from scratch but there are plenty of recipes out there in vegan land for you to try.