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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  • Why try vegan?
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1. HEALTH:
Many objective studies show that a plant-based diet reduces the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and stroke. It also cuts your risk of certain types of cancer, such as colon and breast. Processed meat is classed as a carcinogenic.
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2. THE ANIMALS:
Can we justify the suffering and death of animals, when we can live happily and healthily without inflicting it? A high proportion of 'meat' animals never see daylight, and many die in their cramped, unhygienic surroundings before they reach the slaughterhouse. Even humane meat is marketing. Is there a humane way to kill somebody that doesn't want to die?
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3. HUMANS:
Veganism isn’t just an animal rights issue, it’s a human rights issue too. Feeding grain to livestock reduces the amount of food that is available to underdeveloped nations. Around 75% of soybeans produced are fed to animals, for example. People go hungry, while that same food they could be eating is given to animals raised for slaughter. Many of these slaughtered animals are then transported to affluent countries such as the UK, for us to eat!
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4. THE ENVIRONMENT:
Most of us have realised by now that climate change is real and happening as we speak. Raising animals for food uses many more resources than growing plants. 30% of the ice-free surface area of the Earth is used to either rear livestock, or grow the food to feed it. They produce a huge amount of methane (cows alone in excess of 150 billion gallons per day!), and methane is thought to be 25 to 100 times more harmful than CO2. This is all without mentioning pollution, deforestation, land degradation, and water scarcity.
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These are brief explanations, do feel free to conduct your own research or ask questions.
Do you think it's worth it so we can eat meat?
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Katy
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#newvegan #learnervegan #veganbeginner #vegancommunity #vegetarians #veggielife #veggielove #veganhelp #vegansupport #dairyfree #plantbased #plantbaseddiet #meatfree #meatless #veganbuys #veganmealplan #animallover #friendsnotfood #veganwannabe #vegannewbie #goingvegan #beingvegan #almostvegan #veganuk #ukvegans #ukvegan #vegansofig #dairyfree #flexitarian #glutenfree
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Did you read it yet?⠀
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Have a look over my latest post: ⠀
Which Vegan Documentary Should You Watch?⠀
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Not all documentaries are graphic or about animal abuse. I've included films about health, marine conservation and the environment. Find out which one suits you!⠀
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LINK IN BIO⠀
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  • ⠀
I'm always going on about how great vegan food is... but even the best of us can make some fatal errors at meal time!⠀
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Crumpets, melted cheese, and marinated grilled tempeh.⠀
A nice easy lunch, I thought. Not the healthiest, but I'm busy and pregnant.⠀
WRONG!⠀
It was awful - dry and hard. But it seemed like a good idea at the time...⠀
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Spill the beans! What's the worst meal you've had?⠀
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#newvegan #learnervegan #veganbeginner #vegancommunity #vegetarians #veggielife #veggielove #veganhelp #vegansupport #dairyfree #plantbased #plantbaseddiet #meatfree #meatless #veganbuys #veganmealplan #veganshopping #foodfails #animallover #friendsnotfood #veganwannabe #vegannewbie #goingvegan #beingvegan #almostvegan #veganuk #ukvegans #ukvegan #vegansofig #veganfails
  • Which Vegan Documentary Should You Watch?⠀
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That's the big question!⠀
Many people have heard of vegan documentaries, but are either too scared to watch one, or have no idea where to start. How about you?⠀
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Those of us who have watched documentaries found them vital in our vegan journey, allowing us to make an emotional connection to animals and the suffering we pay for them to go through, and take our health more seriously.⠀
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This post includes documentaries that span a range of topics, and I narrowed it down to those that are crucial for new vegans too. Give it a read!⠀
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Of course, there are plenty more documentaries out there. Have a recommendation? Comment on the post and let me know!⠀
😁😁⠀
Katy⠀
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LINK IN BIO - CHECK IT OUT!⠀
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#newvegan #learnervegan #veganbeginner #vegancommunity #vegetarians #veggielife #veggielove #veganhelp #vegansupport #dairyfree #plantbased #plantbaseddiet #meatfree #meatless #animallover #friendsnotfood #veganwannabe #vegannewbie #goingvegan #beingvegan #almostvegan #veganuk #ukvegans #ukvegan #vegansofig #vegandocumentaries #vegandocumentary #cowspiracy #forksoverknives #whatthehealth
  • ⠀
We can 100% thrive on a vegan diet.⠀
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Don't believe me?⠀
Even the NHS, WHO and Association of Nutritionists and Dietitians have confirmed that a well-balanced vegan diet is suitable for all stages of life, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and childhood.⠀
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There are many misconceptions around vegans being weak or deficient, but many athletes, bodybuilders and regular people are thriving as vegans. Just look at Tony Gonzalez, Venus Williams and the 'Hench Herbivore'!⠀
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Any lifestyle can be unhealthy if we don't eat the right things. With the fast-food culture, many of us are consuming too much saturated fat, refined sugar, refined carbs and processed foods. ⠀
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We could all do with a rundown in nutrition! I've created two guides - basic nutrition, and advanced nutrition, which are in my bio.⠀
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Katy⠀
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#newvegan #learnervegan #veganbeginner #vegancommunity #vegetarians #veggielife #veggielove #veganhelp #vegansupport #dairyfree #plantbased #plantbaseddiet #meatfree #meatless #veganbuys #animallover #friendsnotfood #vegannewbie #goingvegan #beingvegan #almostvegan #veganuk #ukvegans #ukvegan #vegansofig #vegannutrition #veganhealth #govegan #healthyliving #veganhealth
  • How did Learner Vegan materialise?⠀
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I’ve met wonderfully supportive people along my vegan journey, but also a few judgemental folks that criticise and argue in a non-constructive way. There’s been masses of complex information to understand along the way, on a huge variety of vegan-related topics. Some of it can be a struggle to understand.⠀
Veganism doesn’t have to be as hard as I made it for myself! And that’s really why I wanted to create this site.⠀
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Firstly, to create a safe space. Somewhere you can come if you fall off the wagon. No judgement, no criticism. Just a friendly face and support to reach that vegan goal, whatever it may be or however slowly you are working towards it.⠀
Secondly, to help people who were like me 6 years ago. People with no clue about veganism, perhaps even with pre-conceptions and doubts about the whole lifestyle. But with a thirst to find out more, to make some kind of change, because supporting these violent industries doesn’t sit right with them anymore.⠀
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Does any of this sound like you?⠀
You may not know where to start. You’re probably overwhelmed by the masses of conflicting information out there. I was too!⠀
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Learner Vegan is a one-stop shop. It makes everything simple and easy to understand. I’ll talk you through ethics, shopping and cooking… plus everything else! I’m on hand as your vegan guide. To answer tricky questions, motivate you, and help you back on the wagon if you slip up.⠀
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Remember: reading this is your first step toward a compassionate lifestyle. I’m all for celebrating these small changes, because every change is an animal saved.⠀
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What do you need help with?⠀
Katy⠀
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