When you haven’t got the time, the energy or the budget to make a vegan gastronomic feast… It’s time to think of those quick vegan fixes that require little brain power and don’t require a ‘big food shop’ trip.
So you are on a tight budget, just paid out your hard earned cash on bills and now you are wondering what you can eat/make for the next few days until payday rolls around again…Or maybe you are a busy working parent on a fixed income, with zero spare time – and although you would love to make one of those amazing dishes you’ve swooned over in your collection of vegan cookery books, you really REALLY do not have the time to source ingredients, let alone cook the thing!
Life can be busy – and hectic – and overwhelming at times, it can also be unpredictable and stressful. And we shouldn’t always feel the pressure of making the most wholesomely perfect vegan meals all the time. Sometimes we just need something super-quick and easy, that will do the job/fill the spot.
So here are a few of my own ‘go to’ quick and easy vegan ‘meals’ that are still ticking nutrition boxes, won’t require a new mortgage/bank loan and should be easy to make with more generic everyday items in your pantry. Most of these are really simple and may seem obvious, but we all have that ‘stare at the cupboard/stare in the fridge’ moment now and then. So here are some non-taxing ideas you can whip together in a few mins:
- Beans on Toast! Sooooooo simple and yes – we could call it a kid’s meal, but hey – it is nutritious, comforting and fun all at the same time…
- Baked potato with…? Thinking beans (again, I know – remember: I AM British!), vegan cheese melted, onions, veggies, corn, spinach or even throw a salad on top and add some dressing or vegan mayonnaise. Heck, even on it’s own can be great, with a helping of vegan margarine and a smattering of salt/pepper or herbs like rosemary and time!
- Rice and beans/peas: Any kind of legume actually – I LOVE black beans and rice, but also will happily have any kind of beans (add some seasoning like pepper, garlic salt, herbs etc. if straight from a can or soaked overnight).
- Pasta! The dried kind, not the fresh, unless making it from scratch yourself. I often have leftover pasta with just a sprinkle of Himalayan salt and pepper, or garlic salt – straight from the fridge, and find it so tasty! Other options: just add your favourite organic pasta sauce, mushrooms, etc. OR throw in some vegan mince if you have it – let it marinate in the sauce for a while, or add seasoning if dry,
- Caesar Salad! Cobb/iceberg lettuce, vegan dressing (or make your own) and cube up yesterday’s bread and throw in the oven/air fryer for a few mins… sprinkle a little vegan parmesan if you have soon, maybe a lemon – and your super vegan Caesar is ready! Mmmmm
- Cheese toastie sandwiches (using a sandwich toaster or press). Throw in the odd mushroom or onions for variation (or even those baked beans again!).
- Couscous: This grain is Sooooooo easy to make! And just lovely with any beans or peas or lentils or…. anything! Make some falafel to go with it, or jsut use instead of rice or pasta. Seriously: get yourself a couple of boxes in, and it goes a long way! Add to pan with boiling water and a nip of olive oil…Bring to boil, remove from heat and place lid on top of pan, and then walk away! Wait approx. 15 mins. Remove lid, stir and fluff with a fork – and it’s done.
- Fresh bread and olive oil with balsamic dip with herbs….There are usually some variations in flavour, such as garlic and lemon, mushroom, etc.
- Crackers and ‘cheese’ on a cheese board…Simple, fun finger food…
- Crudites with dips – carrot sticks, pepper sticks, apples slices, celery, or any raw veg you can eat (broccoli) and have a small bowl of humous and mayo, vegan ranch or any other dip
- Tofu egg salad – firm tofu chopped up roughly in a bowl, add in: turmeric, coriander, salt pepper, soy sauce (I use Bain’s which is organic and has a slightly different flavour). Fold in some vegan mayonnaise (decent helping). Stir together and use a potato masher to break down tofu some more. Place in fridge for at least 10 mins…. Voila! Add to sandwiches or toast, veggies such as celery sticks… or use as a dip…Deliciouso! Ooh add some watercress/sprouts on top for a treat!
- Scrambled tofu: Chop up tofu in a bowl, add in turmeric, soy sauce, a little oil, salt, pepper, and stir. Sit for 10 mins (the tofu, not you!)… slice mushrooms, a pepper, spinach leaves, if you have them, spring onions… Heat up a little oil in a frying pan or wok. Add tofu first for 5 mins, on medium heat, then throw in remaining veg. Cook on medium for about 10 mins, until tofu seems crispy-ish. Stir regularly until ready to serve.
- Mashed potato, beans and vegan sausages (yes, kids food again!). Tip: I make the potatoes in either a microwave or a steamer first…with the skins still on. Then chop in half to let cool. Then I scoop out the potato into a new bowl, leaving the skins with a little potato remaining. I soften the potato with a spoon or masher tool, add a little vegan margarine or olive oiland stir in and a dash of Himalayan salt. Meanwhile, I save the remaining skins and use them the next day – and melt vegan cheese and onions onto them… serve with vegan sour cream – perfect – 2 meals from one!
- Soup! Store bought are obviously easy, but if you do have time to set going and leave, then making your own is wonderful! My fave is Carrot, Potato, Ginger: Set a pot of water in a large pan to boil… add some veg stock (one or 2 cubes should do… you may need to add to small amount of boiling water first if your pot is not ready. Meanwhile, scrape and chop your carrots, and set your potatoes to cook (microwave or steam 4 or 5 or so) at the same time… Start loading your chopped carrots into water in pan…. Add potatoes as and when cooked… I do 2 x batches of potatoes and maybe a full bag of carrots. Add some ginger to the soup pan. Stir regularly. I leave for about an hr… to really get some flavour going. Add some extra herbs if required… I like coriander. After about an hr, or less if running tight on time, remove from heat and use a hand blender to blend the carrots and water and potatoes/ginger. Take a small spoon to test the flavour… at this stage you may want to add more: ginger, veg stock, some salt or pepper to taste. When ready, add to bowls and sprinkle coriander or pepper to finish, serve with bread rolls or whatever you have bread-ish. When I make this, it makes at least 2 days worth of food for a family of three.
- Chip sandwich/butty AKA Fries in a bread bun! If you have an air fryer – even better!
- Ritz Crackers and vegan cream cheese – yes, a quick snack, but that’s OK… and those Ritz are quite filling!
- Fruit Salad – whatever you have in the house will work… chop and mix together… voila.
- Rice Krispie treats Easy peasy kid friendly desert/treat! Get your krispies or cornflakes (we have organic versions). Melt some vegan baking chocolate in large bowl. Throw in krispies/cornflakes and stir… then share into cupcake cases, place in a lidded container and pop into fridge for 10- 20 mins. These only tend to last a day or two before the choc gets white dots… although they are usually eaten up well before then!
- Chickpea salad – Olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs… mix! Add pine nuts if you have them, or throw into a larger salad with lettuce, onions, tomatoes, etc.
- Pizza bagels – you know how that goes: sauce on bagel, cheese on top – and toast it!
So all of those are very basic options – but they are there to help in case of the brain freeze “what to eat/make in a hurry” emergency. 🙂
Remember to save any leftovers for the next day – you can always morph them into a new meal! 🙂
Of course, there is always the very simple option of grabbing some fruit, some nuts, raisins, a raw carrot or celery… or even a bowl of cereal… We really are quite lucky, we vegans, aren’t we? There is that myth out there of ‘fussy vegans’, but really, we have HEAPS of options and choice and are often easily-pleased.
Hug a vegan today! 🙂