Common Vegan Foods

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Basic staples to get the creative juices flowing…

When you go vegan, your mind opens to food you wouldn’t normally try. So how do you incorporate these new foods into your diet?

Here’s a quick run-down of the most commonly mentioned and purchased vegan foods. They’ve been chosen as they’re common at most supermarkets, and easy to turn into a meal.

Think you’ve got this covered already? You’ll be interested in a more advanced selection of foods to try.

Please note: prices are given as an average, so you can get an overall picture. They vary between brands and stockists, so check before purchasing.

vegan tacos with avocado and dips

Tofu

Also known as bean curd, tofu is essentially mashed up soya beans, and can be an acquired taste. It’s high in protein but low in fat, so worth getting into your diet. You can buy tofu in larger supermarkets (usually Cauldron brand) or Holland and Barrett (Dragonfly brand) for approx £2 per pack. It most commonly comes as plain in a block, or marinated in pieces.

vegan tofu scramble

Homemade Tofu Scramble

Some people can eat tofu out of the packet, no prep. It might not suit your taste though! It’s definitely something to play around with, to see what style suits. With no prep it is pretty bland, but that does mean versatile too.

You can get 4 portions from a pack of tofu, so grab some and prepare it 4 ways to experiment. Scramble it up and fry it with preferred seasonings like paprika or garlic, then pop on toast for breakfast. Or chop into cubes and fry, bake, or grill. You can marinate the cubes or just use salt and pepper. We like to drizzle with a little soy sauce and olive oil… and bake.

Simple Scrambled Tofu Prep

Baked Tofu Prep

Other Easy Tofu Recipes

Note – we are talking about firm tofu above, found in the fridge section. Don’t mistake it for silken tofu, which is found in the cupboard or ‘world foods’ section. Common uses for silken tofu are creamier or blended foods, like desserts and sauces.

Houmous / Hummus

So… houmous. You either love it or hate it. But, if you dislike regular houmous, try red pepper houmous, caramelised onion houmous, chilli houmous… the list goes on! The point is, you can buy many different types now. It’s also ridiculously easy to make at home (recipe below),

houmous hummus appetizer bowl

and you can add anything to it. We love mixing in a little peri-peri sauce.

So what is houmous? It’s cooked and mashed chickpeas, with added tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. Those last few ingredients can be left out, or substituted for a different flavour. As described above, you can get many different variations to suit! You can even buy houmous and spruce it up at home, if you’re feeling particularly lazy. Most use houmous as a dip for crudités, or in pitta/sandwich with salad for an easy lunch. It’s a good source of dietary fibre, healthy fats and B vitamins, as well as the all-important protein again. It’s around £1.20 for a 200g pot (4 servings), so a cheap and easy filler!

Easy Peasy Houmous Recipe

Adventurous Mexican Houmous 

Falafel

Here at Learner Vegan HQ, we’ve met ZERO vegans that dislike falafel. So don’t let us down here! But what’s in those little mushy things?

They’re usually made from chickpeas, onion, coriander and other seasonings. Falafels are diversifying now though – you can get Moroccan-style, sweet potato falafel, or make your own at home from various recipes. Falafels are great, as they’re high in fibre and protein, but unfortunately fat too, so stick to 3 or 4 per portion!

You can buy them pre-packed, and eat hot or cold, so there’s no excuse to have a non-vegan lunch. Dip them in houmous, throw in a salad or wrap, or serve as an appetiser.

Most supermarkets sell the Cauldron brand refrigerated (£1.50 for 8). Some stores even do their own brand now for a little cheaper! If you’re a little more adventurous, try making your own.

Check out an easy falafel recipe right here.

avocado on toast vegan breakfast

Avocado

Avocado is the healthy fat we talked about on our basic nutrition page. If you can get it into your diet, DO! Grab them from the salad section of the supermarket – it’s around £2 for 4, but you can get them a little cheaper if you’re willing to ripen them at home. Try to use them when slightly ripe – you’ll be able to feel when they’re a little soft rather than rock solid. Slice open lengthways, remove the pit and scoop out the green. If the green part is difficult to slice, it’s probably not ripe enough yet. However, if it’s turned brown, you’re too late! Avocados are a tricky little thing until you get the hang of them.

The good news is you can freeze avocado. If you can’t use them in time, mash up with a little lemon juice and freeze in foil. Just defrost when needed – it makes lovely guacamole for dips or tacos!

But what else can you do with them, apart from guacamole? Try avocado sliced on a sandwich or salad. They’re also tasty blended into pesto pasta. Some people like them in a smoothie, too.

Easy Guacamole Recipe

Avocado Pasta

Mock Meat

Wow… where to start? The meat substitute market has exploded in recent years, thanks to the rise in veganism. HOORAY!

veggie vegan burgers on plate

Vegan burgers can be very appealing

You can now buy anything, from simple burgers, to prawns, to gourmet steak. Fake meat can be made from soy, mushroom, wheat gluten, or other proteins, so even if you have dietary requirements or allergies you’ll most likely find something to suit.

Most supermarkets sell their own vegan freezer range at an affordable price, such as 8 burgers for £1. If you feel like splashing out, try the Fry’s brand at Holland and Barrett, or Vivera and Oumph! at Tesco. Their products are pricier, for example 2 steaks for £2.99.

Or, try making your own seitan! It’s a wheat gluten ‘meat’ that’s fun, but trickier, to make. Take a peek at this beautiful recipe for Seitan Steak.

Couscous

Couscous is really popular among vegans as it’s so versatile. It’s a light and soft alternative to rice, made from steamed and dried durum wheat. You get a good dose of selenium and protein from it too. Find it in the cupboard section of supermarkets couscous inside green pepper– approx £1.20 for 1kg plain and dried. You can also buy couscous ready-seasoned in a packet and just add water – it’s around 50p for 1 serving.

Couscous is ridiculously easy to prepare. Pour just enough boiling water to cover it and leave for 5 minutes to soften. Of course, it’s quite bland like this, so you can add a little vegetable stock, sweetcorn, peas, pepper, garlic – whatever suits! We enjoy it with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, a dollop of cream cheese and falafel on top.

And of course, don’t forget to use all of the ingredients you’re already familiar with to spruce it up – a range of fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices and dressings.

ENJOY!

Now, these are real basics for you to start using and experimenting with. They are all versatile foods that can be found in any good UK supermarket. Let us know below what you think of them – have you tried any before?

Tired of these basic food items? Ready for something different? Check out our advanced food staples.

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  • Planning in advance when going vegan helps so much!⁠
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Even now, as a vegan of 6 years, I create meal plans. I also see if there's any prep work I can do while baby is asleep. It keeps me on track.⁠
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If you’re THAT person – the one who makes dinner plans when they arrive home from work, you could try advance planning. It is much easier to follow a varied vegan diet if you know what you’ll be eating, have the ingredients in, or even partially prepped. You won’t be tempted by a snack on the way home, because something delicious will be waiting! ⁠
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It doesn’t have to be a week’s worth of complex meals, just a few days ahead. Choose easy options when you know you’re home late, and use weekends for experimentation. Being organised can be handy AND fun!⁠
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Slow cookers also save us from ‘hanger’. Make use of one! Pop a casserole or curry in before you leave the house, so dinner is ready when you’re home. ⁠
Make extra portions of meals to freeze, so you have your own ready meals on lazy days. ⁠
Do online shops too – you can filter for vegan foods at most supermarkets now and have them delivered to your door. ⁠
And if you’re a takeaway fiend, know what the vegan options are beforehand. This works well at restaurants too – know your choices before you go! ⁠
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Preparation is your friend.⁠
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#veganhealthcoach #vegancoach #vegancoaching #howtogovegan #veganmom #onlyvegan #goingvegan #goveganstayvegan #stayvegan #veganiseasy #vegantransition #veganeducation #veganknowledge #tryvegan #veganforbeginners #veganbeginner #vegansupport #veganhelp #parttimevegan #parttimevegetarian #vegetarianlife #veganuary2020 #vegetarianlifestyle #vegetarianuk #veganstruggles #newvegan #vegannewbie #almostvegan #veggiepower #veganuary
  • ⭐️ How Can I Ditch Dairy For Good? ⭐️⁠
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As a new vegan, dairy can be a tough one to completely eliminate from the diet. I remember finding it a bit of a minefield at first.⁠
There's nothing worse than picking up an item off the shelf and finding it has milk in it... especially when it could easily have been made without!⁠
I remember how jammy dodgers used to be vegan, and then they created a new recipe with milk in... just why?⁠
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It's worth doing though! Not only is it an industry based on suffering, dairy is not designed for us to consume anyway - it's chemically made for baby cows. It causes many of us health issues such as bloating and IBS too.⁠
But there are so many delicious alternatives out there too, so it’s a great place to make a change. ⁠
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Do you need help? This post is a great starting point. Just head over to my bio to read it!⁠
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#vegan #vegans #vegetarian #vegetarians #ukvegetarian #ukveggie #veggieuk #vegetarianuk #healthyeating #coaching #vegancoaching #helpgoingvegan #newvegan #veganhelp #vegansupport #parttimevegan #vegancurious #almostvegan #goingvegan #veggie #animallover #veganuary #veganuary2020 #veganshare #vegetarianlife #vegetarianlifestyle #flexitarian #petlover #animallover #freefromfood
  • Have you been to Spain? One of our favourite places is Barcelona. We've visited twice, and always share a huge vegetable paella when we're over there. It's so good!⁠
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Nobody makes this dish like they do - but we can try! ⁠
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The joy is you can throw in any veggies you have that go well with a tomato-based sauce. This serves 3-4 and can be adjusted if needed.⁠
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🥣 Vegetable Paella 🥣⁠
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Ingredients -⁠
1 litre vegan bouillon/stock⁠
300 g paella rice (you can get away with using risotto rice if you have it to hand)⁠
80 g sweetcorn⁠
60 g white onion⁠
4 pieces babycorn⁠
50 g broccoli⁠
50 g frozen peas⁠
400 g chopped tomatoes⁠
200 g passata/blended tomatoes⁠
80 g chicken-style faux meat (chicken pieces or Linda Maccartney pulled chicken works well. You can leave this out if you're not a fan of faux meat)⁠
1 tsp garlic puree (optional)⁠
1 tsp ground paprika (optional)⁠
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Instructions - ⁠
⭐️Add everything apart from the passata and bouillon to a wide pan.⁠
⭐️Add around 600ml of the bouillon to your pan and put on a moderate heat (it should be simmering constantly). Keep stirring so you don't get too much sticking to the bottom!⁠
⭐️The paella will be absorbing your bouillon constantly. If it starts to get a little dry, add more of your bouillon in 100ml increments.⁠
⭐️Add remaining ingredients after 10 minutes.⁠
⭐️The paella rice should be softening and expanding, with the veggies mostly cooked through after about 20 minutes. Add your passata now and mix in. Leave for another 5 minutes or so, and give it a taste test before serving.⁠
⭐️If you have a lemon or lime, cut in half and squeeze over your finished dish. Enjoy!⁠
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#vegansuk #veganbowl #veganhomemade #VeganInstagram #easytobevegan  #veganuk #veganfooddiary #dairyfreerecipes #colorfulfoods #veganeating #nomeatnoproblem #veganideas #goingvegan #vegansoulfood #londonvegan #vegansofinstagram #veganinspo #plantprotein #letscookvegan #veganism #nourishtoflourish #veganuaryeats #veganuary #veganuary2020 #newvegan #veganrecipes #vegetablepaella #easyveganmeals #veganrecipe #veganaf
  • VEGANUARY TIP:⁠
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⭐️ Try New Foods Frequently! ⭐️⁠
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Vegan food is amazing. You can get a substitute for anything these days, even haggis, caviar and black pudding!⁠
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Keep trying new things. The first vegan cheeses I tried were awful, they smelled like old socks and wouldn’t melt on toast! Of course, I was just unlucky, there are hundreds of delicious cheeses out there. I persevered, and now I know exactly what to buy for my taste. There are many different styles of chocolate, fake meats, tofu. When I speak to fellow vegans, they always say that their diet is much more varied and interesting now. It’s an amazing opportunity to diversify and find what works for you.⁠
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For a great range of products, check out online vegan stores, independent health food shops, and vegan fairs. The festivals are especially great to visit, as you can grab items not found in shops, save on delivery, and they often have event offers on too!⁠
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There’s also the obvious places to visit like large supermarkets and Holland and Barrett. They do great staples like cheese, yoghurt and sandwich ‘meat’.⁠
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Read reviews and recommendations online too. Other vegans will be able to give you detailed descriptions of what products taste like, and great vegan alternatives for your old firm favourites. In other words, variety really is the spice of life!⁠
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Have you tried anything new this week?⁠
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#vegan #vegans #vegetarian #vegetarians #ukvegetarian #ukveggie #veggieuk #vegetarianuk #healthyeating #coaching #vegancoaching #helpgoingvegan #newvegan #veganhelp #vegansupport #parttimevegan #vegancurious #almostvegan #goingvegan #veggie #animallover #veganuary #veganuary2020 #veganuaryeats #veganshare #vegetarianlife #vegetarianlifestyle #flexitarian #petlover #animallover
  • We have a few new lovely Learner Vegans here, so allow me to re-introduce myself!⁠
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I'm Katy, creator of Learner Vegan.⁠
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I live in the UK (not so sunny Staffordshire!), with a 4-year-old girl and a brand new baby, Ava (she's 2 months now). We also have 3 girly rescue cats in the house, so my husband is rather outnumbered around here! 🤣🤣⁠
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Things I like:⁠
👍Tea (strong!)⁠
👍Bourbon biscuits⁠
👍Writing/reading/mindset books⁠
👍Yoga ⁠
👍Anything to do with veganism⁠
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So why Learner Vegan?⁠
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When I was 24, going vegan seemed impossible for me. I had all these preconceptions, thinking it would be so difficult.⁠
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I wasn't on a high wage and veganism is expensive, right?⁠
I had no other vegans around me to lean on and my husband ate meat - it's just not practical, is it?⁠
I didn't want to live on salad. I didn't want to be nutrient-deficient. I wasn't sure that just one person could make a difference. The list goes on and on...⁠
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But it turned out these were imaginary roadblocks. Some created by my own mind, others by a society that puts profit over compassion. When I finally decided that I couldn't contribute to animal cruelty and environmental damage anymore, veganism was much easier than I ever imagined.⁠
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My food bill didn't go up. I could eat filling meals like pad thai, tacos and the occasional naughty vegan cookie. I was healthier than ever. I found great new friends and support through events and online communities. My spouse was happy to try my vegan offerings (and is now vegan too!).⁠
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My only regret? That I didn't listen to my gut feeling and do it sooner.⁠
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6 years later, there are still myths and stigma surrounding a vegan lifestyle. The great thing is that there are more vegan food options out there than EVER before, and online resources to simplify the transition for you. That's why I started Learner Vegan - to make going vegan SIMPLE, CONVENIENT and AFFORDABLE. I love this community and I hope you will too!⁠
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How about you?⁠
💚💚⁠
Katy⁠
  • Have you done your first full vegan shop yet?⁠
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It can be a daunting thought! 6 years ago when I did my own, labelling was awful, there were no dedicated sections, and staff had no idea either.⁠
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But it was also exciting to discover new foods and bypass those foul-smelling meat aisles!⁠
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In 2020, most supermarkets have dedicated vegan or veggie shelves and clear labels. It's fantastic to see how far we've come in the last few years to normalise veganism.⁠
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If you’re ready to tackle that exciting first supermarket shop as a vegan, you'll want to read this post!⁠
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😎Surviving Your First Supermarket Shop As A New Vegan😎⁠
LINK IN BIO!⁠
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#veganuary2020 #vegancoach #vegancoaching #howtogovegan #veganmom #onlyvegan #goingvegan #goveganstayvegan #stayvegan #veganiseasy #vegantransition #veganeducation #veganknowledge #tryvegan #veganforbeginners #veganbeginner #vegansupport #veganhelp #parttimevegan #parttimevegetarian #vegetarianlife #vegetariansofig #vegetarianlifestyle #vegetarianuk #veganstruggles #newvegan #vegannewbie #almostvegan #veggiepower #veganuary
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