Tag Archives: curry

Plant-based meals in minutes – by Ben Martin

If you’re anything like me, dinner on Friday night tends to a pretty rapid affair, before disappearing out for drinks with friends, or settling down infront of Netflix with some popcorn. But what can you just heat up and eat, as a vegan?

Since launching its own-brand dairy-free cheese range a few months ago, Sainsbury’s has introduced two cheesy vegan ready meals as well. First came the Deliciously FreeFrom Vegetable Lasagne, which is £3 per portion and cooks in the microwave in minutes – just watch out as there are very similar-looking products that contain beef and real cheese. Just recently we have seen the arrival of a vegan macaroni and cheese at Sainsbury’s as well, but it’s so new that it hasn’t yet been added to the company website. Again, it comes in at £3 each and just needs to be bunged in the microwave or oven. You could even get a frozen Basics garlic bread to go with it.

A number of supermarkets sell tinned meals that are vegan-friendly. You can find vegetable curry at both Sainsbury’s and Asda, and a vegan-friendly chickpea dhal at Sainsbury’s. Stagg Vegetable Chilli can be found in many stores too. Simply open the tin, warm it up and serve with some instant rice, cous cous or bread for a simple but filling dinner. Asian and Middle Eastern shops are also a great source of interesting tinned meals for vegans.

Another option is to go for dry packet mixes, like this Sharwood’s Tarka Dahl, Beanfeast bolognese, or this tomato and chilli pasta, which usually just involve mixing them with boiling water.

As usual, you’ll find plenty of options at health food shops, but these may be a little more expensive. Geo Organics sell a number of vegan ready meals through health food shops, as do Amy’s Kitchen, although not all of their products are suitable for vegans.

For the ultimate ‘quick and easy’ option, you might be surprised to know that certain flavours of Pot Noodle are suitable for vegans, including Beef & Tomato, Bombay Bad Boy and Sweet & Sour. A number of supermarket ownbrand versions are also vegan-friendly, but you will beed to check labels to be sure. And, of course, there’s always beans on toast.

Vegan one pot wonders – By Ben Martin

Dirty dishesLet’s face it; cooking facilities in student accommodation can often be a bit basic. And if you and your housemates are all trying to cook at the same time, it can easily get crowded, not to mention potentially dangerous! So one way of saving on space – and washing up – is to cook meals that require only one saucepan, otherwise known as ‘one pot wonders’.

The simplest way to do a vegan one pot wonder is to cook something like a bean chilli, vegetable curry, stew or casserole and, instead of cooking rice, serve it with bread. I love having red lentil dhal with toasted pitta breads, for example, which contains all your essential amino acids in one meal. And vegetable soup with bread is a classic, as well as being a great way to boost your vitamin intake.

noodlesaladAnother option is to cook your carbs in the same pan as everything else. Risotto is a great example of this – you have your rice, vegetables and ‘sauce’ all in one, so you can just cook it and serve it up. Similarly, straight-to-wok noodles provide the perfect way of cooking a stir fry in a single pan. Amoy straight-to-wok noodles are usually vegan, and most rice noodles are animal-free too – simply throw them in once the vegetables are cooked and stir them around with the sauce. But one of the easiest ways to cook a meal in one pot is to boil some pasta, drain it, return it to the pan and stir in a jar of pasta sauce whilst warming it over a gentle heat. You can even chuck in some chopped sun-dried tomatoes and olives if you want to liven it up a bit.

Vegan meals don’t have to be huge culinary masterpieces that require half a dozen different pans bubbling away on the stove. Make it easy on yourself and keep it simple.