Sunday, 6 January 2019

13 must-buys for VEGANUARY: on a budget

In our uni house of 6 people, we do a communal vegan/veggie shop every week and normally spend around £13 each.

I knew meat eaters in my halls who would spend triple this amount. Of course, if you have the money to spend on lots of exotic ingredients and food, that’s great, but this post is for those of you who once, like me, said: “I would consider being vegan if - I was rich.” Or, alternatively, you just want to know what it is that we actually eat besides - well - lettuce?

You definitely don’t have to be rich, and we definitely eat more than lettuce. Here are some vegan staples that you might not have thought about. Whether it's a transition, a trial, or even a mere inquiry - have a look to see how you can avoid animal products and save money as we head into 2019- all with minimal effort!

Alpro, while tasty, is expensive, and something we only ever buy if it is on offer as a treat. Instead, look to the long-life milk section of the supermarket, which is not in the fridge. Tesco, Asda and Morrisons all do cartons for well under £1, and our favourite is Aldi, which is 59p a carton! Cereals, teas and coffees, porridge, sauces - all veganized with one tiny swap. Disclaimer - even the three non-vegans in our house drink non-dairy milk, and prefer it to normal milk. Once you get used to it, you’ll wonder how you lived without it!

Bolognese. Cottage pie. Chilli con Carne. Tacos. You may be shocked to know that we don’t just eat grass. Like the milks, almost all supermarkets do their own soya mince in the freezer section - normally £1.50 for a packet that feeds 6. Many meat eaters we have over genuinely don’t even notice the difference. Another tiny change that could make 1, 2 or even 3 of your meals per week not only vegetarian but vegan! 

Disclaimer: Quorn mince is not vegan, it has egg in it. But never mind, it’s more expensive anyway!

Do not think that because of the word ‘butter’ PB is not vegan. It absolutely is. And it will become your best friend. Such a safe vegan option if you’re wanting breakfast at someone else’s house as well.

Humous? Hummus? What I do know is that houmous, like PB, is also a vegan’s best friend. Try it with grated carrot, falafel and salad in a sandwich. Way more flavoursome than cheese or ham. Stock up.

Speaking of sandwich fillers, falafels are great. They're also nice warmed up as a snack. Or in salads. Or even with meals, Mediterranean-style. They’re just nice.

Normally between £1 and £1.40, Vitalite is a dairy-free spreadable butter. It is a simple swap - once you have it in your fridge, jacket potatoes, toast and sandwiches, even frying up veg - all become vegan with absolutely minimal effort. 

Because a lot of Hindus are vegetarian, curries are often just as nice with veg and without animal products. Pastes are great - you just need to add a tin of coconut milk and you've got a super easy, tasty curry. If you're feeling super lazy, go for a jar of the curry sauce rather than the paste - just check on the back to make sure there is no milk powder - often Bhuna, Madras, Jalfrezi and Thai Green/Red can be found completely plant-based.

Tofu is a weird one. It is gross when it isn’t flavoured. But drown it in soy sauce and garlic, sprinkle on some chilli flakes - and it’s easily as flavoursome as chicken in your stirfry! Good for protein, too.

My favourites are Rosemary and Onion, but try them all. We stock up on these when they are on offer (£1 for 6) so keep an eye on the different supermarkets. These sausages are such a staple - you can have them as a meat replacement in a roast, in a sandwich, or we even chop them up and put them in pasta like meatballs. Yum!
Disclaimer: The Red Pepper and Chorizo ones are p e n g!

Again, a simple swap from egg noodles that means that you can have stirfrys but without the chicken-cruelty. The Ready to Wok ones are from Aldi for less than £1. Wholewheat noodles work too!

Disclaimer: Pot Noodles are vegan, except Beef and Tomato. Yep. I’m not a huge fan myself, but there’s a fun fact when for your tucking into your 'Chicken and Mushroom'!

It may seem weird, but Jus-Roll Pastry is vegan, and so are many supermarket equivalents. Wrap your Linda sausages in this, or make a sweet or savoury pie - you don’t have to miss out on the golden deliciousness of a pastry treat! Even the Jus-Roll croissants and pain au chocolats are vegan!

Red lentils are fab. I boil lentils up with the potatoes when I make mash to give it extra flavour and provide extra protein, and dhal happens to be one of the simplest, tastiest curries ever - which also happens to be vegan.

Pesto is actually not even vegetarian, because it has cow’s stomach - rennet - in it. Never fear! Tesco does their own brand for £1.50. Other supermarkets are more expensive but often do offers, just look in the Free From section. Another one that will become your bff.

There you have it: 13 food staples. I also advise lots of fresh fruit and veg to bulk out your meals/lunches. Frozen veg is good too if you’re scared the fresh stuff is going to go off.

Another little tip: MILK and EGGS will always be listed in bold on packaging, as they are allergens. Just look for the bold words if you’re sure something is vegetarian, but not sure about whether it’s vegan. When I started, I felt like I spent my life reading packets, but you get the hang of it!

Whether you're considering becoming a vegan or not, I hope this has been an interesting lil read. There is never any harm in learning what food is out there and what's in the meal in front of you.

Happy New Year!!

Lots of love,

Haze and George xxxxx

1 comment

  1. Yassssss! I’m here for #vegnauary but I’m planning on reducing my consumption right down anyway. I’m going to be as vegan as possible!

    This post is honestly soooo helpful, I plan to do a come shop with me post soon. I can’t stop buying all the vegan goodies so why the heck not share my haul ��


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