You might have noticed by now that I really love food. I like going in search of new things to eat, I like exploring new countries in order of which cities have the best grub, I am a big food fan. When it comes to actually making food, however, I am lazy as hell. If I open a recipe book and the thing that looks nice has more than about five ingredients, I’m probably going to have a Linda McCartney sausage sandwich instead. Fact. This is probably why it’s never occurred to me to post a bunch of meal ideas before.
We’re half way through Veganuary now, and a bunch of people have asked me for easy recipes they can make that don’t require obscure ingredients and take a whole day to cook. And you know I aim to please. Without further ado – and I won’t pretend I know the nutritional content of any of these – here are some easy vegan meals you can smash together with minimal effort, and have leftovers for lunch the next day.
Puff Pastry Pizza Tart
Making your own pastry is lunacy, so don’t even think about it.
- Jus-Rol Puff Pastry (or Tesco/Sainsbury’s/Asda own brand)
- 3 Tbsp Passata or 4 Tbsp Tomato Puree
- A handful of your fave veg – mushrooms, peppers, courgette, broccoli, go nuts
- A few pinches mixed italian herbs & cracked black pepper
- Optional vegan cheese – Tesco Jalapeno ‘Cheddar’ or Mozzarella-style get my vote
Serves 4 if served with salad/a side of veg, or 2 with a bit leftover if you can’t be arsed with that.
I doubt you even need a recipe for this, but not enough people think to make pizza out of magical puff pastry so here ya go. Unroll the pastry. Cover the pastry in a thin layer of passata or puree. Chop veg, fling it all over the tomatoey pastry. Now sprinkle it with delicious herbs and pepper. Now cover it in fake cheese. Bang it in a preheated oven for 15 mins at 200C, done.
If you stare at it longingly through the oven door while it cooks, you’ll probably get to see the pastry rising up and down like it’s breathing at some point, which is sort of weirdly fascinating.
Chilli-topped Wedges (or fries)
The easy way to do this is to get tins of mixed bean salad, stew them in chopped tomatoes with some generic chilli seasoning and then stick the whole lot on some wedges you got from the freezer aisle. The technique below is not really far off.
Warning: there are more than 5 ingredients.
- An array of beans. If you’ve got a big enough pot, just chuck in 5 full cans so you’ve got enough food to last you for all of time. I normally use black eye beans, cannellini beans, kidney beans, borlotti beans and haricot beans.
- 1-2 tins of chopped tomatoes (2 if you’re going down the 5 tins of beans route)
- 1-2 teaspoons each of: paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder/puree, cumin (only 2 if you used 5 whole cans of beans)
- 1 baking potato per person you think deserves wedges
- 1 tbsp oil (vegetable, sunflower, miscellaneous oil)
- A solitary onion
- Optional vegan cheese to go on top (this is a recurring theme)
I’ve never made this and ended up with less than 6 servings, so make sure there’s room in the freezer to save leftovers.
Phase 1: Slice the potatoes so that they are now wedge-shaped. Easier said than done. Toss them around in a bowl with the oil (and some salt and pepper if you’re feeling inspired) and stick in the oven at 200C, where they will stay for 30 minutes while you look at other people’s chilli on Instagram. Try and remember to jiggle them around about 15 minutes in for even cooking.
Phase 2: Chop up the onion, fry it until it’s soft. You can skip this step if you can’t be bothered. Now empty all the beans and the chopped tomatoes into the pot the onion is hopefully in. Give everything a good stir, add in all the seasoning, stir it again and then turn the heat down to a simmer for about 20 minutes, after which you can ladle it out onto the wedges.
Pro tip: if you can find it, a drop or two of liquid smoke makes all chilli taste like heaven. If you can’t find it, forget I told you. Posh places like Waitrose and M&S have it, because it is posh.
Lazy Vegan Mac & Cheese
Ain’t nothin’ wrong with sauce from a jar. (But if you do want to make your own sauce, you can find a recipe for that just here.)
- 300g Dry macaroni
- 1 Jar FreeFrom white sauce (I either use Tesco’s or Sacla if I can find it, Asda also do one)
- 1 Block faux cheese – Tesco Smoked is perfect, likewise Sheese or Cheezly cheddar-style (which is crap for anything else but great in sauce)
- As much Nutritional Yeast as you like
- Maybe an onion
- Cracked black pepper to season
Optional extra: handful of BBQ Pringles.
Serves 4, so if there’s two of you that’s tomorrow’s lunch sorted. Preheat the oven to 200C, yeah?
While you’re boiling the pasta, chop and fry the onion, add the sauce to the pan and grate in about 1/3 of the block of ‘cheese’. As far as the nooch is concerned (which you can buy in Holland and Barrett if you haven’t already discovered it) I normally start with three tablespoons and then just pour in about the same again because I am an addict. Take the sauce off the heat once the cheese has melted in and it’s thickened up.
When the pasta is cooked, stick it in an oven dish and stir the sauce through – I normally grate more cheese over when half the pasta is in the dish, then eeeeven more when it’s all in. Gotta have layers. If you’re going with the Pringle thing, smash up a load and sprinkle them on top like a big junk food crust, and stick your creation in the oven to bake for about 15 mins. (You could just eat it without baking it, but trust me, it’s better if you can hold out for the final step)
Naturally this is best served with garlic bread – Tesco Value/Finest, Sainsbury’s Basics and the Lidl Alfredo Garlic Pizza Bread are all vegan-friendly.
Woks are underrated. More people should have woks.
- Straight-to-wok rice noodles or soba noodles
- 1 pack of firm tofu or vegan fake chicken pieces
- 1 bag of mixed stir-fry veg (I said these were lazy dinners)
- Plenty of soy sauce, or splash out on a packet sauce like my number 1 lavish expenditure, Sharwood’s Hunan Smoky Chilli stir fry sauce. Glorious.
If you’re going the tofu route, make sure you press it to get any excess water out before you slice it up, and fry it on all sides in the sauce before you throw everything else in the pan. If you’re going with fake chicken, zero pressing required, just fry it for about 5 minutes in some of the sauce also, then put the noodles, veg and rest of the sauce in. Toss everything about like you’re Gordon Ramsay for 2 minutes before putting it in your face. Easy.
Some other easy vegan stuff
- Pesto pasta with veg. Sacla and Tesco both do FreeFrom green pesto, which is the bomb with spaghetti and some fried greens/sundried tomatoes.
- Pie and mash. Duh. Fry’s Pies or Linda McCartney will sort you out.
- Ultimate Kid’s Tea: Veggie burgers, waffles or potato smiley faces, beans.
- Sausage casserole. I make this one, but with vegan sausages instead of Quorn (more Linda McCartney action, or Morrison’s)
- Breakfast for dinner. Sausages, fried mushrooms and tomatoes, hash browns, toast. Why more people don’t have this for dinner, I do not know.
- Endless curries. Chickpea tofu curry and microwave rice, all day long. I normally make it up as I go along, but it’s usually a recipe a bit like this one from A Dash of Lemon.
Hit me up with your favourite easy vegan meals in the comments belowwwww!