Friday 26 July 2019

5 Kitchen Essentials as a Vegan Student

I cook a lot, and I try to make sure that the ingredients I’m cooking with are cheap, as plastic or waste free as possible, and, of course, always vegan. I have a few staples I always have in the cupboard (or freezer), but some which I definitely couldn’t manage without. 

1. Pasta

Let’s be honest, at this point I’m probably 70% pasta (and at least 25% rice). I have pasta so much, and you know what, I don’t care. You need carbs and they’re a great vehicle for whatever sauces you want and are just easy. I’ve particularly had a thing for spaghetti at the moment, it’s honestly just fun. So far this year I haven’t got that much of my pasta without plastic, but from now on I’m going to try and bulk buy it as much as I can.

2. Tinned Tomatoes

Tinned tomatoes are fab for bulking up loads of different meals in a cheap and healthy way. You could just use part of a can on top of pasta for a very low effort sauce. I use mine in curries, bolognaise, but most importantly to make my family-recipe tomato sauce. This sauce is a lifesaver and so easy, I just shove the ingredients in my little slow-cooker (although you can use any big pan, you just have to keep a closer eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn) and leave it be. There are tomato sauce recipes everywhere you look online, even on the NHS website, so you’ll be sure to find one for you. 

3. Frozen peas

I put frozen peas in almost anything at this point. I think they’re the only thing on this list which I have to buy in plastic but I couldn’t imagine many of my meals without them. I stick peas in curries, in tomato sauce with pasta, in risottos and stews. You name it, I’ll probably have frozen peas in it. They’re such a great ingredient as you can get quite cheaply, shove them in almost anything to add a bit of colour and to easily get one of your 5 a day and a bag tends to last for ages if you’re cooking for one person.

4. Nutritional yeast

Oh nooch, we love you so. As you’ve probably heard, people tend to make a big deal about vegans’ B12 levels and how we can’t get it at all because OBVIOUSLY you can only get B12 from meat, never mind the fact that lots of people (meat-eaters, veggie and vegan alike) are B12 and other nutrient deficient. Nooch is a fabulous thing and I love it dearly. You can smush a load in lots of things – thickening up sauces, on top of pasta, wherever you want to put it in really – and get a lot of nutrients from it. These nutrients range from a varitety of B vitaimins, protein, fibre, zinc, magnesium, folate, riboflavin, thiamine, etc. (Don’t ask me what all these things do, I couldn’t tell you, I just know they’re quite good for you to have). Everyone should use nooch, not just vegans. 

5. Lentils

Lentils are simply an incredible food. I use red lentils, as they are the cheapest, easy for me to buy in bulk (big up Grainger Market) and very easy and quick to cook. They’re such a good portion of protein and are filling and slow-releasing energy! I always have several portions of lentil bolognaise in the freezer as it’s a great meal to have when I’ve come in of an evening and just can’t be arsed to cook. And if I don’t fancy pasta, I can always add some chilli powder and have a chilli instead. I’ll often make a dahl and freeze the rest of the portions as well – you just can’t go wrong with lentils!

What are the 5 foods you can’t live without?

If you liked this post you might like: Being Vegan in Disneyland Paris | What I Eat in a Day

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