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Simple vegan meal plans

(44 Posts)
ValerieFlowers Sat 04-Jan-20 22:55:10

Hi, I have thought of trying a vegan diet for months now and it's reached a point where I feel that I can't go on eating meat and animal products any more because of the guilt I feel, even though nowadays I hardly eat meat at all. Yes, I have always enjoyed the taste of meat, fish and dairy but I care more about animals and the planet and I feel that I'm ready now to commit to giving up meat and dairy. The thing is I am a totally new to a vegan diet and I don't have a lot of time for meal preparation (single mum, work full time). I am looking for a) a short, concise beginners guide to becoming vegan and b)a really simple vegan diet plan, with quick and easy meals that don't require a lot of prep or lots of ingredients, whilst still providing the essential nutrients. Can anyone recommend any books or websites please? Thank you.

AppleJane Sun 05-Jan-20 13:16:22

www.vegansociety.com
uk.veganuary.com

If you let us know which supermarkets you use hopefully someone can make specific suggestions for you!

Good luck smile

ValerieFlowers Sun 05-Jan-20 21:40:53

Thank you very much for these websites, I'll take a good look. I usually just shop at Tesco so any suggestions would be much appreciated.

AppleJane Mon 06-Jan-20 13:33:45

Unfortunately I don't have a Tesco close to me so I'm not familiar with their stuff!

Can you give a list of the meals you usually cook? You can swap meat for chickpeas, mixed beans, lentils, tofu, soya mince, nuts.

So for a Bolognese you could swap mince for lentils and serve with steamed broccoli and if you usually sprinkle cheese on top you could replace that with fried mushrooms or ground nuts mixed with nutritional yeast flakes to resemble parmesan.

Once you've veganised your usual meals you can then take it one step at a time to add a healthier meal to your meal plans as you go along.

I would recommend staying away from fake cheese until your memory of real cheese fades a little. I'd also recommend taking a B12 supplement (it's generally thought even meat eaters can't get enough these days due to soil being treated with pesticides)

Will your children be going vegan too?

Any specific questions you want answered pop here and I'll keep an eye out to answer them for you if I can!

ForTheLoveOfCatFood Tue 07-Jan-20 16:53:44

There are some good vegan beginner recipe groups on Facebook which I’ve found useful.

I use tinned green lentils (Tesco do them with the other beans) where id of used mince before.

I like the Linda McCarthy sausages, tesco have them in frozen section which are really nice. Some times in the chilled meat free section they have chicken pieces (can’t think of the brand not quorn) they are yummy too

These are some typical meals we have over the week:
Sausages and mash
Sausages and pasta
Mixed bean (what ever ones I have) chilli
Mixed bean lasagne (sometimes use vegan mince or lentils instead)
Sweet potato & chickpea curry, or Dahl Or any curry I add chickpeas too some of the ready made curry sauces are vegan for quick dinners (Tesco’s frozen samosas and bahjis are vegan for a treat)
Mushroom & broccoli chow mien
Chicken and black bean sauce or any other sauce & rice
Roast dinner - the ‘meat’ element I alternate between sausages, stuffing (I use paxo but add nuts and some other bits whatever I have in) or filo stuffed veg parcels
Pizza - most pre made bases are vegan then Tomato or bbq base and add mixed veg on top
Red Thai curry with chicken pieces, veg and rice
Meatballs (frozen section inTesco) with pasta
Pancakes (bbc vegan recipe) easy to make and yummy! I use oatly milk

Hope that helps smile

I recommend the bosh books or deliciously Ella App as they have loads of recipes with easy to find ingredients and not 100 different ones either so not expensive.

ValerieFlowers Tue 07-Jan-20 21:16:09

Thank you AppleJane and Cats, this is really helpful.

AppleJane the meals I usually cook are: Spag Bol, chilli con carne, chicken curry, (I also make a nice vegan curry), fish with potatoes and potatoes or rice with veg, chicken and rice and veg, a variety of pasta dishes, some of which are vegetarian, others that contain chicken.

The things that I will miss will be milk in tea and coffee - can you recommend a good vegan substitute? I can't imagine anything to be quite as good for me as milk in terms of taste, but I'm sure I'll get used to it and if not, it's a sacrifice I need to make. Also, butter on bread. I almost bought Vitalife vegan spread, but saw that it contained Palm oil which is what I don't want to buy. Do you know of a decent vegan substitute for butter to put on bread?

My daughter won't be going vegan, I've decided that she'll still eat meat, fish and dairy as she's only 4 and still growing and developing. She doesn't eat a lot of meat though and I will give her vegan meals from time to time, such as vegan curry, but she will continue to eat meat, fish and dairy until she's fully grown and then she can make up her own mind about her diet.

Cats I'll look into the Bosh books, I already get their recipes in facebook and they look delicious. I'll look at the Ella App.

InspectorAlleyn Tue 07-Jan-20 21:46:15

I’ve been vegan for almost a year and DH and the DC eat vegan at home. If you have an Instant Pot, I can heartily recommend the Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook (and getting an Instant Pot if you don’t have one grin). It’s the first cookbook (vegan or non-) that I have used frequently and doesn’t require lots of outlandish ingredients. We particularly enjoyed the lentil shepherd’s pie and the cheesecake. I do like Bosh, but use this book more.

ValerieFlowers Tue 07-Jan-20 22:07:51

Hi Inspector, thank you for this. I have a slow cooker, is this pretty much the same as an instant pot, do you know?

BoredOfTheBoard Tue 07-Jan-20 22:07:56

One of my easiest meals is a from a packet of prepared veg/potatoes and linda McCartney sausages. Get in from work, throw the veg and sausages in a large pan with some olive oil, fry briefly, then add water, bring to the boil, add veg gravy granules and gravy browning and turn it down to lowest heat for 45 mins. In that 45 mins I can do a whole lot of other bits, get pets fed, washing on, get changed etc

Its not my most exciting meal of the week granted but it's good for busy nights

You could prob swap the veg sausages for any other vegan meat substitute or beans if you prefer

BoredOfTheBoard Tue 07-Jan-20 22:17:23

Re milk, I like koko. And for butter substitute, I highly recommend Naturli. You will think you're eating lurpak 😁 have only ever seen it sainsburys.

ForTheLoveOfCatFood Tue 07-Jan-20 22:18:41

I like oatly barista for hot drinks and normal oatly for cereal etc buy them in the uht milk aisle same product as in the chilled section but cheaper

Flora buttery is good (does contain sustainable palm oil) or sunflower spread is nice to but not as ‘buttery’ for putting on bread

I think the meals you normally cook you won’t have any issues veganising them. The vegetarian butcher what the cluck chicken pieces are fab for using in dishes you would normally use chicken.

The works have some good offers on vegan books atm if that helps

ValerieFlowers Tue 07-Jan-20 22:20:15

Hi Bored thank you very much for this. It sounds right up my street, quick and simple, yet tasty. Before Christmas, I was listening to an interview on Radio 2 with Cerys Matthews, who's written a cook book that includes vegan and vegetarian recipes and she rated Linda McCartney products very highly and I'd made a mental note of it. I'll definitely try your suggestion.

AppleJane Wed 08-Jan-20 07:37:07

Milk
Unsweetened soya (Aldi 59p) Tea / homemade yoghurt
Oat barista Latte
Hazelnut Hot chocolate
Sweetened soya Cereal / porridge
Almond Cereal
Coconut Rice pudding
Cashew nut Cheese sauce

If you don’t take sugar in tea avoid naturally sweet milks.

When I first swapped from cows I bought every type I could get my hands on and did a side by side comparison. Some, like coconut, were just too funky for tea and some separated. To be honest I didn’t like any, I just hated soya the least! Now I don’t notice at all.

Like giving up sugar in tea, the first week is the worst and then it just becomes normal. Not having to worry about having a constant supply of fresh milk in the fridge is worth the swap alone imo!

AppleJane Wed 08-Jan-20 07:56:33

Children as vegans

Mine are all grown now so I do wonder what I would do if I had little ones when I went vegan. I think I would get myself sorted out first and then research as much as I could about it and maybe contact others who are already doing it. I have read that there is some suggestion that dairy could be doing more harm than good hence why there seems to be more allergies and skin problems today!

Anyone who remembers the Accrington Stanley milk ads will know we are conditioned to think we have to drink cows milk or something bad will happen! But here we all are feeling better for ditching it smile

AppleJane Wed 08-Jan-20 08:07:12

Instant Pot

An instant pot is pretty much the opposite of a slow cooker smile

It is an electric pressure cooker and if anyone wants mine they'll have to prise it out of my cold, dead hands! grin

They're great, especially if like me you tend to get distracted and pots boil over. I'm useless at par boiling anything! So a few minutes on the 'steam' function in the pressure cooker and I know veg will be perfect every time. You can make rice pudding, soups, chilli, yoghurt - loads of stuff!

I have a recipe where you chuck in uncooked pasta, veg, bouillon powder etc, let it do its thing and instant dinner!

AppleJane Wed 08-Jan-20 08:26:32

Freezer

Your freezer is your best friend for saving time! Mash potato, mash sweet potato, jacket potato, boiled rice can all be frozen. I've also had success par cooking potatoes, coating in coconut oil and letting cool so the oil goes back to solid. Then freeze and cook from frozen for no fuss roasties smile

Cook extra portions every time for your freezer and you'll soon build up a good emergency stock. Frozen mash takes literally just a few minutes to microwave!

I freeze lentil cottage pie base and the mash separate then thaw both before assembling but you could get those individual foil pie tins if you just need one person meals.

For mash, I put cold mash initially in the fridge in a square tub. It goes pretty hard then I chop it into one inch squares so when I put it in the freezer it doesn't all stick together and microwaves easily.

Letthemysterybe Wed 08-Jan-20 08:28:09

I like the tofoo brand of tofu. I put it in stir fries, ramen dishes, Thai style curries.

Higgedy pies do some tasty vegan varieties.

InspectorAlleyn Wed 08-Jan-20 18:31:40

@AppleJane Amen to the Instant Pot love! The recipe book I recommended above is amazing if, like me, you want to combine your love of plant-based food and the Instant Pot grin

AppleJane Wed 08-Jan-20 20:02:27

@InspectorAlleyn I've actually got that book! But to my shame I still haven't properly looked at it (I got distracted by perfecting a chocolate cake recipe, a worthy cause!)

Which recipes are your favourites?

I've also got Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen which I'm dying to dig into. So many recipes, so little time grin

kikisparks Thu 09-Jan-20 09:27:21

For milk definitely try oatly barista.

AppleJane Thu 09-Jan-20 12:57:20

Oatly barista is lovely! But because it has rapeseed oil in it we tend to save it for treats like hot chocolate and lattes.

If you are watching the pennies Morrisons have just started their own brand of oat milk that also has oil in it so could be a cheaper barista replacement for oatly. It is 85p compared to £1.80 for oatly barista.

cricketmum84 Sun 12-Jan-20 13:09:56

I can definitely recommend the vegan one pound meals book. It's in the works for £6 at the moment. All very simple vegan recipes for less than £1 per portion. All recipes are for one portion but obviously you double up for two portions etc.

The best thing is that all the recipes use simple plant based ingredients you will likely have in the house already or can pick up from local supermarket. Nothing fancy or expensive.

Jamie Oliver's veg book is also really good.

My vegan meal plan for this week is:
Sunday - pitta pizzas with violife grated and vivera plant shawarma, sweet potato wedges
Monday - cottage pie with Asda plant based mince and green lentils topped with celeriac mash
Tuesday - broccoli and white bean pasta (you cook butter beans with onion and garlic and blitz to make a creamy sauce)
Wednesday - sweet potato and black bean chilli
Thursday - carrot and lentil stew
Friday - quorn fishless fillets with celeriac chips.

I make an extra portion each evening to take to work for lunch the next day too smile

ppeatfruit Tue 14-Jan-20 09:34:24

Yes cricket I make a mac n' cheese with a white bean sauce, cooked with garlic and onions and B12 flakes (for a good cheesy flavour) which I also use as a topping mixed with breadcrumbs and olive oil.

ppeatfruit Tue 14-Jan-20 09:40:14

Also for simplicity there's nothing better than fruit ! Have a big bowl of it to pick at before meals.

I make an amazing smoothie with seasonal fruit , soaked ground linseeds, and almonds for creaminess. You only need a handheld blender for it , I make enough for 2\3 days.

AppleJane Wed 15-Jan-20 07:35:10

@ppeatfruit your mac cheese sounds interesting using beans as a sauce. And a good way to get protein in there! Could you please share the recipe? smile

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