Trip to the gyp: Veganuary edition
Time, budget and gyp friendly vegan meals!
As Veganuary draws to a close, it seemed the right time to put my culinary skills to the test. But there are so many reasons why people may feel eating plant-based, especially at uni, could be tricky. There is often a suggestion that eating a vegan diet can be expensive, time consuming and basically inconvenient. So, these are three recipes that I made, on a budget, within a short time frame, and of course with a limited gyp. This is not a ‘why you should go vegan’ agenda but just a showcase of if it is possible as a student, to even just incorporate more plant-based meals into your repertoire, if you fancy it!
For the veggies, vegans and the plant-curious among us
Meat alternatives are a great place to start, if you like meat, but for whatever reason fancy incorporating more plant-based meals into your diet. This is a ‘veganisation’ of the classic student meal, ‘spag bol.’ This makes two portions, so you can pop it in the fridge and eat for lunch or tea/dinner the next day, or breakfast…
- 150g of Vegan mince (I’m using the Plant Menu one from Aldi, £1.19 for 400g)
- Half an onion (red or white is fine)
- Any veg you want to add like mushrooms, peppers, carrots (for nutrients and that)
- Teaspoon of garlic
- 75g (ish) of dried pasta per serving, so 150g for this quantity
- One can of chopped tomatoes
- Tablespoon of tomato paste
- Salt/pepper/herbs to taste/if you have any
Dice your onion and chop any other veg (I’m adding some mushrooms) you will also want to chop your garlic if you haven’t hopped on the lazy garlic trend, in which case you deserve the faff of cutting and peeling garlic. And soften them in a pan with some oil, adding your vegan mince once sufficently softened. Once the mince is browned, add some tomato paste and chopped tomatoes
Whilst this is happening, bring a pot of salted water to the boil in a separate pan and cook your pasta according to packet instruction. Most dried pasta is vegan, but just check the ingredients. I’m using chickpea pasta so you can’t come for me with the ‘where do you get your protein?’ comment, this stuff has 25g of protein per serving!
Once the “meat” is cooked through (it should take around 15-20 mins) you can season to taste, so add some salt and pepper and if you have mixed herbs, go for it. Add it to or on top of the drained pasta.
Dish up, you can combine the sauce and pasta in the pan or keep separate, et voila.
If you just have a microwave…
Then that is tough going, but hopefully an easy chocolate mug cake will cheer you up.
- Two tablespoons of vegan butter
- Three tablespoons Plant-based milk
- Three tablespoons of plain flour
- Two tablespoons of Cocoa powder
- Two tablespoons Sugar
- Few drops Vanilla extract/essence
- Any toppings you would like
Add the plant-based butter into a microwave safe mug, and melt. It should take around 20 seconds. Then add plant-based milk (I’m using almond) and the dry ingredients. Mix the flour, cocoa powder and sugar well to combine and add some vanilla extract if you have some (I don’t because it’s spenny…)
It should have a thick kind of consistency, like in the picture below.
Not that a picture can convery consistency very well… Then at this point, add anything else you think would elevate the mug cake experience such as dark choc chips or peanut butter, and pop in the microwave for around 50-60 seconds, checking to see if cooked through after a minute – just put back in for 10 seconds each time until it looks like a cakey brownie in a mug.
Go (vegan) ham on the toppings, berries, more chocolate or vegan ice cream if you’re lucky to have a freezer. If not just enjoy on its own!
Soup is so easy to make with just a hob and one pot, so bonus points for hardly any washing up. Plus, it can be a great way to use up the veg that you bought with the good intention of eating, but are now just waiting to go off in the fridge – no shame here, we’ve all done it!
This is a real winter warmer: Spicy sweet potato and red pepper soup.
- One Sweet potato
- Half an Onion (red or white works really)
- One Red pepper
- One veggie stock cube
- Tablespoon of curry paste or a teaspoon each of the spices you may already have like paprika, cayenne, chilli, garlic
- Coconut milk (optional if you want it creamy)
- Salt and pepper
Peel and chop your sweet potato, onion and red pepper.
Add some oil to you biggest pot, add in your onions and let them sweat a bit (no more than you would for a 1:1 supo that you haven’t read the book for)
At this point you can either add your curry paste of the selection of spices, whichever you had about and let that cook with the onions
Then add your sweet potato cubes and red pepper and let that soften slightly, it should take about 10-15 mins
Then boil some water and make about a litre of stock, by adding the boiling water to your stock cube and mixing
Then add the stock to the pot of veg and let this cook until the sweet potatoes are soft. You can check this by seeing if you can easily stab a piece with a knife
At this point, if you have some left over coconut milk that you don’t know what to do with, just add it in to make the soup creamy
Turn of the heat and let cool slightly before blending and serving!
So, hopefully this gives you some budget and gyp friendly veg-spiration and will help you to reassure your parents that you do eat vegetables when at uni.
All image, including the feature image credit are author’s own.
Other articles reccomended by this author:
- We speak out about the new Vegan speakeasy in town!
- Top 10 cheap date ideas in Cambridge
- From Cakes to Cambridge: Interview with Freya Watson