Your Vegan (#Veganuary) Shopping List

Your Vegan (#Veganuary) Shopping List

So it’s #Veganuary and I for one am delighted. I love cooking, but the supermarkets - even McDonald’s and Greggs - are responding to demand from more than me, so it’s never been so easy to pick up an off the shelf vegan ready meal or wee treat for my tea.

I’ve always been vegetarian - even when I was wee despite being marched to doctors and dietitians and whoever else, I just didn’t like meat and basically ate mostly peanut butter, white bread and rice krispies for the first 20 years of my life. So obviously I’m not very good at recommending meat substitute type products - ones that are supposed to taste like bacon or beef or chicken. 

I tend to stick with plant type things, and I’ve listed some here that I think would be good additions to your #Veganuary, or just your plain old January shopping list*.

Nutritional yeast

This goes on loads of what I cook - and even my Iceland Vegan pizza last night. Nutritional yeast is sold as flakes, and for whatever reason, adds a delicious cheesy, salty, moreish taste to anything it’s added to - I use it on kale in the oven, sprinkled on my Iceland pizza, in chillies and stews… yum! I mostly get it in The Nutmeg (Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten free whole food store in Belfast City Centre, great & knowledgable staff), Holland & Barrett or Amazon.

Harrissa paste

Similarly to nutritional yeast, this hot, aromatic paste made from chilli and assorted other spices and herbs will add a little va va room to stews, curries, even avocado toast. Warning - start small and build it up - a little goes a looooong way! I mostly use it in paste form, and you’ll pick it up in most bigger supermarkets like Tesco, and sometimes even when you’re buying wrestlers in Home Bargains :) 

‘Milk’

I find the consistency & taste of Almond milk best for putting in my overnight oats, on my cereal and in my tea. I use mostly Alpro Unsweetened as it’s always on offer somewhere, and sometimes M&S’s version. For coffee - especially lattes etc in coffee shops - I think Oat milk is better - this Oatly one is great. You might disagree - give them a try and let me know!

Bread

Burgen’s Soya & Linseed bread is my favourite - it’s great for toast (my wife’s favourite food type), as far as bread’s go it’s super high in protein & fibre, if it’s in the fridge it keeps really well, and usually Iceland have it on sale for £1 - what’s not to love?

Chocolate

Because sometimes you just need a wee something something when you’re on the sofa working your way through Arrested Development and Luther. My Moo Free advent calendar was a big hit, and their mini bars are great, and someone got me a box of Booja Booja truffles at Christmas - unreal! Check out their websites for stockists, but both definitely available in The Nutmeg.

Falafel

These little middle eastern balls of chickpea, onion and coriander are a great addition to some rice and veg, some salad, a quick wrap with some harrissa, even some beans on toast. I always have a packet or two in the fridge - they’re pretty cheap, you can have them hot or cold and they’re really tasty. These ones from Tesco are probably my fave.

Veganaise & Houmous/Hummus

For when you need a bit of a spread on your wrap, on your toast, or just a dollop on your salad, then both Veganaise (vegan mayo) & Houmous/Hummus are great options. Houmous you’ll get everywhere, and Veganaise is available in The Nutmeg and I think Sainsbury’s too.

Baked beans

My favourite lazy weekend brunch/lunch is beans with a bit of curry powder or chilli flakes added, on (Burgen) toast, and basically whatever else happens to be in the fridge - avocado, chopped / fried tomatoes, hummus, fried chickpeas, falafel, veganaise, sprinkle of nutritional yeast… etc. Amazin.

Rice

I love my rice like my Granda made it - over boiled and super sticky. However you like it, rice is a cupboard staple… I also love those wee bags of ready to go ‘microwave’ rice. I don’t have a microwave, but you can fire it straight in the pan with some stir fry veg for a super quick meal and less washing up :)

Supermarket Ready Meals

I’ve been stocking up on Iceland’s £2 vegan houmous pizza and whichever Marks & Spencer ‘Plant Kitchen’ things I can get my hands on before they sell out. With more and more attention on mixing up our diets, and #Veganuary in particular, there are more convenient and tasty options out there than ever - give them a try! Here’s some ideas, but just have some fun exploring!

Olive, sunflower or coconut oil, onions & garlic

Eh just always.

Nuts & seeds

It’s a dark day when there’s no cashews, almonds or chia seeds on the go in my cupboard and in my curry, soup, salad, stir fry, overnight oats…

Spices & flavours

Aside from the Nutritional Yeast & Harrissa mentioned above, you can check out my poptastic guide to spicing up your food - and your life - here

* Disclaimer: Some of my clients, friends and family are veggie or vegan, some aren’t - it’s cool - it’s a personal choice. Lots of people ask me about cutting down on meat or dairy, or adding more veg for lots of different reasons - this time of year mostly because it’s #Veganuary, and there’s lots of hype and products on the shelves. What I always advise is just please be sensible. Don’t go mad - evolving your current diet, adding variation and finding out what works for you is way better and way more sustainable than going cold ‘turkey’ 🙄

P.S. you can check out my Top 5 places to eat vegan in Belfast, and Top 5 vegan recipes to have a go at at home!