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Vegan essentials

After 500,000 people in the UK embraced veganism for a month this year, what are the essential foodstuffs to potentially see them through the rest of 2021?

This year has been the biggest year yet for Veganuary 2021. In just 7 years, the number of people who take up the plant-based challenge has swelled to more than half a million people. I joined in again this year and applied my learnings from the last time I tried veganism.

If you’re trying veganism for the first time right now, or just want to start bringing in some more plant based meals into your life, here are my vegan essentials.

Beans, beans, beans

As a Beane myself (… get it?) I wholeheartedly recommend them as a part of any diet, let along a plant based one. With beans, you’re getting plenty of protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre full carbohydrates – and at a fraction of the cost of something that uses meat or processed protein.

Personally, I love a good bean burger that only takes a few minutes to make. I also tried Pick Up Limes’ macaroni chilli and that was a winning mid-week dinner that was enjoyed for lunch the next day as well.

Dairy free milk

The alternative milk market has boomed over the past few years, and oat milk (specifically Oatly) has been a favourite of mine for the past couple of years. I regularly keep a bottle in the fridge for a daily oat latte, and I also keep another plant based milk for creating creamy porridges on cold mornings.

If you’d like to find out what alternative milk is best for you, here’s a handy guide from Peta.

Seasonal produce

I recently started getting a seasonal veg box, and I love it! Eating seasonally has many benefits for both yourself and the environment, and it can save money too.

Snacks

Snacks have been one of the hardest things to get my hands on in January… milk powder and other animal products (I’m looking at you, gelatine) are widespread!

Personally, I’ve fallen in love with hummus chips (and so has my boyfriend, which is saying something) and they are now a regular addition to the shopping list. Dark chocolate is another tasty, kind of healthy treat to fall back on.

Seasonings and spices

I’ll be the first to say that the traditional British palate can be kind of… plain. It’s a cuisine that, while being very tasty, relies on a lot of meat, gravy and root vegetables. So, when meat and cheese aren’t an option, plant based dishes risk being boring.

So, it’s absolutely essential that you spice up your life! Curry pastes are an easy staple that keep in the cupboard and fridge, powders like paprika, cumin and coriander can be added to just about anything and, well, you can never have enough garlic.

Keep some tins of coconut milk and stock as well, and you can create a variety of tasty, wholesome dishes with the same vegetables that you usually have.

What are your vegan essentials? Let me know in the comments below!
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  1. I love this as it’s so encouraging to see more people trying out a plant-based diet/lifestyle. I always have some tofu available and definitely have beans and herbs and spices to make everything so flavourful. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. I’m vegetarian myself and agree with all of these. When I first turned vegetarian (aged 5 or 6) my mum had no idea what to feed me to give me protein and iron! Beans are 100% an essential, and so good.

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