Posts Tagged ‘tasty’

The Vegan Larder

Welcome to the home of the vegan larder! Here’s where we’ll give you a run down of the stuff we think are essential vegan must-haves to (try and) always have handy. Here is a list of things that I consider to be essentials and try not to do without or things I wish I always had stocked!

.::The must-haves:

  • Herbs&Spices;

(Without these fella’s, my cupboards and meals would lack life!) Black pepper, cayenne, chilli powder, chinese five spice, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, curry powder, ginger, nutmeg, paprika, tumeric. And here’s a spice I recently discovered: garam masala. Wonderful. Will be making this fella a staple in my diet of spices!

Bay leaves, oregano, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, basil, parsley (any one remember parsley the lion from kids tv? He was my favourite! I wish I could have him in my cupboard but that would be cruel…).

  • Rice&Grains;

Arborio rice (for risottos!), basmati rice, brown rice, couscous. And I know this is cheating but I like to keep my cupboards stocked with a couple of the Uncle Bens 3 minute microwaveable rices. They can be life savers when you don’t have the time!

  • Dried foods;

Puy lentils, red lentils, soy mince (I like to use this when recipes ask for TVP or textured vegetable protein! Always comes in handy).

  • Nuts;

Almonds, cashews, peanuts, pine nuts (always nice to sprinkle on stir frys!).

  • Canned goods&jars;

Chickpeas, butter beans, chopped tomatoes, sun-dried tomato paste, tomato purée, peanut butter (for the boyfriend!), your regular condiments such as mustard and ketchup and my personal favourite: brown sauce! I also find it handy to get jars of sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes, they make a great addition to soups, pasta sauces, and pizza toppings!

  • Pasta and noddles;

Linguine, macaroni, rice noodles (I like to get the straight to wok noodles, they make stir fries even quicker and save on the washing up!), soba noodles.

  • Frozen foods;

(I much prefer to buy my veggies fresh but I also like to keep some frozen veggies on hand just in case!) sweetcorn, edamame, peas, spinach, peppers, Linda Mccartney sausages and pies and Fry’s Schnitzels and chicken-style strips (essential for those times you just can’t be bothered to cook!).

  • Fridge foods;

Tofu, rice milk, soy milk (I prefer to get my soy milk from the baking section of the supermarket where you’ll find the UHT milks, not only is it cheaper but you can buy a load and keep them in your cupboard and just transfer them to the fridge as and when you need them!), vegan mayonnaise,

  • Oils and other essential liquids;

Cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, groundnut oil (perfect for those stir fries!), tamari (this is a darker soy sauce, I prefer this to regular soy sauce because it’s got a stronger flavour meaning you don’t need to use as much!), chilli sauce.

Other useful things for vegans to have include nutritional yeast, vital wheat gluten, and extra-firm silken tofu. However, these are always things that I find a little less easy to get hold of and so I am, personally, less likely to have these in my cupboard but if you can get hold of these I would highly recommend keeping them in stock!

Butter bean and Sun-dried tomato soup

Do you ever get that rumbling feeling in your belly around lunch time but never know what to eat? Well you need wonder no longer! This soup is such a quick and easy dish to make (should not take longer than 30 minutes!), you’ll be full in no time. It also serves to keep those pesky tummy rumbles at bay  as the butter beans help you feel fuller and satisfied for longer.

This recipe serves 4 (or 1 for a few days, as it will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days!)

What you’ll need

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion

2 cloves of garlic

2x 425g can of butter beans

4 tablespoons sun-dried tomato paste

900ml Vegetable stock

– approx. half a can of chopped tomatoes (depends how thick you like your soup)

– rosemary or thyme (dried or fresh, it’s up to you, either tastes good.)

– salt and pepper to taste

.::How it’s done:

  • Heat oil in saucepan. Add the onion and fry for 3 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and fry for two minutes.

  • Add the butter beans, sun-dried tomato paste, stock, chopped tomatoes, rosemary or thyme and a little pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10- 15 minutes.

**Top Tips**

This soup is so versatile there’s a whole host of different things you could try doing with it. Here’s just a few ideas that I have come up with over the years:

– When preparing stock try adding 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar. This brings the soup to a whole new level of deliciousness!

– If you’re a fan of chick peas, like I am, try substituting one can of butter beans for a can of chick peas. I’ve also added tofu to the dish too!

– For a thicker soup add why not add the whole can of tomatoes to the mix?

– There a whole host of different tomato pastes available at your supermarket, for example, tomato and chilli. Experiment!!

As you can see the world really is your oyster with this soup! Happy cooking!!

Chickpeas on toast

Right, the first Speedy Veganzales meal I’ll be posting is a variation on an old classic: beans on toast. I could be really cheeky and post a recipe to that. But I think I can do slightly better than a can of beans and some toast. So, I’ve decided to mix it up and make my own recipe for all you chickpea fans out there. I mean let’s be honest, do you even know what bean is in baked beans? I sure don’t. But chickpeas are the coolest of the beans anyway (assuming they are beans… again I don’t know).

As mentioned with the intro post to Speedy Veganzales, this meal is going to be quick and easy to make, as well as tasty and nutritious. Chickpeas provide a great dose of the fabled vegan protein, so eat ’em up if you want big vegan guns. The meal provides both carbs and protein, so should keep you energised and full for a while. It is perfect for any time of the day: breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Will Serve

2 (or just 1, if you’re me…)

The Recipe

You will need:

  • 1 tin of chickpeas
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil (10ml)
  • 2 teaspoons of tomato puree (10ml)
  • Half a tablespoon of paprika (preferably smoked)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of demerara sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • Half a teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • A pinch of cayenne chili pepper
  • 4 slices of bread
  • Vegan margarine/spread

The method

  • Firstly empty your cans of chickpeas (including the water) and chopped tomatoes straight into a saucepan. Stir this together and then add the olive oil and tomato puree and begin to heat the mixture on the hob on a high heat.

  • Stir the mixture whilst heating it. Add the paprika, sugar, salt, turmeric, black pepper, and chili pepper whilst doing this, one at a time, stirring each one into the mixture as you do so. Continue stirring and as the mixture starts to bubble and boil turn it down to a medium heat.
  • Continue stirring, ensuring that there is constant evaporation as the mixture needs to thicken up. After about 15-20 minutes total time over the heat, it should be ready. At this point put the mixture on a low heat. Toast your bread and spread is generously with margarine before putting it on a plate.

    • Scoop the mixture and place it over the toast. Give it a minute before tucking in, as the juices will run into the bread a little. Enjoy!

      Note: This meal is a little spicey. It’s not too much but it has a bit of a kick. If you want a more authetic baked beans style flavour then put the sugar up to half a tablespoon, whilst removing the chili pepper and lowering the paprika to one teaspoon. Or just use baked beans…

      Speedy Veganzales

      Right, I’m gonna let you into a little secret now. I can’t cook. I’m terrible at it. People seem to automatically assume that as a vegan you’ll also be a culinary hero. I mean, you kind of need to be as you’ll seriously struggle in trying to find a vegan ready meal. But alas, I am a failure in the kitchen. This probably comes from 100 grams of inability, two teaspoons of laziness, and forgetting to stir in creativity. If I haven’t got the lovely Wrosie or Ellie to help me out (both of whom ARE culinary heroes, or heroines, or whatever) then I feel somewhat doomed, either feeling too apathetic to cook or feeling inspired only to be completely demoralised by the sheer range of stuff I could attempt. Nevertheless, I am still alive so I must have managed to cook something in my time as a vegan in order to still be talking to you right now. Hopefully I shall be able to share the secrets of my vitality here…

      These are the Speedy Veganzales meals. The idea is to create a range of recipes for dishes which are both so simple that they make microwave meals seem difficult in comparison, and so quick that you’ll be eating them before you even realise you’ve started cooking. All meals in this category have a time limit of half an hour. Any longer and they simply ain’t speedy enough. Also, these meals should be able to be cooked up on the most basic of cupboards. You won’t see any ingredients here which require you to order stuff over the internet, hunt out a specialised store, or climb a mountain to obtain. All the ingredients should be available in your local Tesco Express. The meal will also need to be both tasty and (reasonably) healthy! Don’t expect to see deep fat fried lettuce here, no siree! Or maybe do if my other creations fail… we’ll see. Anyway, these are the requirements to create a Speedy Veganzales meal. Basically they should be simple for you to recreate. Now hang around, as the first meal in this category will be on its way to you err… speedily enough.

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