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Your favourite vegan recipes – by Ben Martin

During this year’s Great Vegan Challenge we ran a competition amongst participants to win one of three copies of the brand new vegan recipe book Bit Of The Good Stuff, kindly donated by author Sharon Collins. To be in with a chance, they had to send us a link to their favourite vegan recipe and tell us why they liked it in no more than 50 words.

Thank you to everyone who submitted an entry, we received many, but we could only pick three to win a copy of the book, which you can find below.

If you would like to a buy a copy of Bit Of The Good Stuff for yourself, you can do so here, and by using the discount code ‘ANIMAL AID’ you can get 15% off both the book and delivery! How good is that?

Cous Cous with Spicy Baked Aubergine and Chickpea Stew

Submitted by Pearline from Greater Manchester

‘The combination of spicy chunky aubergines, flavoursome chickpea stew and cooling fruit sweetened cous cous, created a nasal waking, colourful, mouth watering, tongue enlivening, tasty, culinary experience.’

‘Memories of my carnivorous family, devouring the enhanced flavoursome left overs, whilst reminiscing about past sunny holidays, warms my heart.’

The Ultimate Vegan Chocolate Cake

Submitted by Sam from Berkshire

‘This tastes better than many non-vegan cakes I have made. My colleagues thought it was delicious and were amazed to learn it was vegan.’

‘As a new vegan I love recipes like this when we are lead to believe that you can’t bake tasty food without dairy and eggs.’

Macaroni ‘Cheese’ with Roasted Tomatoes

Submitted by Becca from Cambridgeshire

‘This is my favorite vegan recipe because it uses butternut squash that I had home grown in the garden.’

‘The taste of homegrown produce and the creamy cheesy texture from the cashews (high in protein) and the national yeast makes this one of my go to comfort foods.’

Daily Vegan 14: The gluten-free vegan – By Kate Fowler

One in a hundred people have coeliac disease, and suffer digestive and other problems if they eat gluten, but it is thought that there could be many more people who are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Certainly lots of people report that they feel better in themselves if they reduce or eliminate gluten from their diets.

The trouble is gluten seems to sneak in everywhere. It is found in wheat, barley and rye and those products, or derivatives of them, are used in many different foods. Most of us would know to avoid pasta, biscuits and bread, but gluten can be found in seasonings and spice mixes, salad dressings and soy sauce. For those eliminating gluten from their diet, whilst also avoiding all animal products, it can be something of a challenge… at least to start with.

The good news is that supermarkets have responded to their customers, and the range of Free From products that work for gluten-free vegans is ever growing. Here is a taster of what is out there…

Unfortunately, when companies remove gluten from bread, they often put in egg. But try Schär’s gluten free white rolls, brown rolls, white ciabatta rolls, panini rolls and pizza bases, found at Morrisons and elsewhere. B-Free makes Multigrain Wraps and Quinoa & Chia Seed Wraps (Morrisons), as well as Pitta Breads (Asda). Waitrose stocks Biona’s Rice & Sunflower Bread, while Tescos’ Free From Dough Mix is great for pizza bases or dough balls. And if you prefer to make your own, you’ll find gluten-free flour in all supermarkets, as well as some fancier flours in select shops (notably Morrisons and Waitrose), including coconut, millet, quinoa, chickpea, chestnut and almond.

Every supermarket sells vegan gluten-free pasta, and you’ll find many types including tagliatelle and lasagne sheets. Try Explore Asian’s Soy Bean Spaghetti (Morrisons and Asda), Red Lentil Penne and Green Lentil Lasagne (Asda) and Black Bean Spaghetti (Sainsbury’s). Or look for Bare Naked’s Noodles and Rice, which are made with konjac flour.

Of course, you’ll want a jar of sauce to go with that. Tesco and Asda have a Free From Bolognese Sauce, and both have a Free From White Sauce for lasagnes, too. If you are looking for other sauces, try Tikka Masala or Red Thai (Tesco), Merdian’s Korma and Tikka Masala (Morrisons) or Sweet and Sour (Asda). Meridian’s Free From White Wine and Mushroom Cooking Sauce can be found in Holland & Barrett. Free and Easy’s curry pastes are stocked by Morrisons and Holland & Barrett.

All the supermarkets stock breakfast cereals that are vegan and gluten-free, from cornflakes to frosted flaked and Choco Snaps (Asda) to Tesco’s Free From Instant Porridge sachets. Nature’s Path products can be found in Morrisons and Waitrose – try the Nice & Nobbly Granola, or the Mesa Sunrise and Maple Sunrise. Dove’s Farm makes Fibre Flakes and Cocoa Rise that can be found in Morrisons, while Asda has a Free From Muesli. Nutribrex comes in various flavours, including Coconut and Crispy Rice (Asda, Morrisons), but also in Morrisons look out for Alchemy Rice Flakes and Porridge, Kallo Wholegrain Breakfast Puffs and Kelkin Organic Buckwheat Flakes.

If you need a quick snack, try the range from Great Food’s that can be found at Morrisons, including Mediterranean Falafel, Chunky Broad Bean and Quinoa Bites and Sweet Potato Pakora. Or Pure’s Butternut Squash Risotto at Asda. If you’re a fan of noodle pots, try Ilumi Sweet Chilli Noodle Pot from Morrisons or Itsu Noodle Cup Vegetable Festival from Sainsbury’s.

As for soups, the range from Amy’s Kitchen includes some that are both vegan and gluten-free, including Split Pea, Spanish Rice and French Country Vegetable. The entire Soupologie range is vegan and gluten-free. Try Three Mushroom Broth (Ocado), Spinach and Kale (Asda) or Sweet Potato and Coconut (Waitrose). If you’re a Cuppa Soup fan, try Nature’s Store Creamy Vegetable Soup Powder from Asda. (This product – and some others mentioned here, including most of the cakes and biscuits – contains palm oil. Please check labels.)

Other quick meals include the tinned Amy’s Kitchen Chilli (Asda), and the Organic Chick Pea & Vegetable Curry or the Chick Pea & Bean Tagine (Holland & Barrett). You can also buy Gluten-free Spaghetti in Tomato Sauce at Holland & Barrett. (Baked Beans are usually gluten-free anyway.) Asda and Tesco stock both a Gluten-free Fajita Kit, with wraps, salsa and seasoning. In health food shops, look out for Fry’s Quinoa & Cilantro Falafel Burgers and Rice Protein & Chia Nuggets.

In the freezer section, Tescos’ sells Free From Southern Fried Crispy Potato Skins, and most supermarkets will also stock Birds Eye Potato Waffles, McCain Oven Chips and Hash Browns, Aunt Bessie’s Chips and Crinkle Cut Chips. The Free From Spicy Bean Bakes at Asda are gluten-free, while Amy’s Kitchen makes Manhattan Veggie Burgers (Waitrose, Ocado) and Gluten Free Chinese Noodles & Vegetables (Morrisons, Waitrose).

To accompany your meal, Gordon Rhodes Sage & Onion Stuffing at Waitrose is gluten-free, and team it up with Free & Easy’s Gluten-free Vegetable Gravy from Holland & Barrett.

Most supermarkets stock Free From Ketchup, Brown Sauce and Salad cream. Sacla also makes a Free From Basil Pesto and Kikkoman makes a Gluten-Free Soy Sauce (both in Morrisons and Waitrose). Morrisons also stocks Chippa Gluten Free Worcester Sauce. In Holland & Barrett, you’ll find Plamil’s Egg-Free Mayonnaise in various flavours, as well as Granovita’s Mayola.

Granovita’s pâtés are also all vegan and gluten-free apart from the chickpea pâté. Vitalite and Pure margarines are suitable (available in most supermarkets), and most peanut butters are gluten-free as well, while most yeast extracts are not (although the gluten is in such small quantities that some with only mild gluten intolerance don’t react to it). Merdian’s yeast extracts are all gluten-free, however, and can be found in health food shops. Those who prefer something a little sweeter on their bread can check out the Free From Hazelnut and Cocoa Spread from Asda.

Violife cheese (most supermarkets and health food shops) is suitable, as are the hard and soft cheeses in the ever-growing Tesco Free From range. There are Schär’s crispbreads (Morrisons), Amisa Gluten Free Buckwheat Crispbread (Asda) and Rude Health Multigrain Crackers (Morrisons) to go with your cheese.

In the mood to snack? From the basic Nairns Oat Cakes and Free From Rice Cakes that are stocked in lots of outlets to the more exotic Eat Real range, the choice is growing. Eat Real’s vegan flavours include Tomato and Roasted Garlic Quinoa Chips, and Cream and Chives Quinoa Chips, both available in Tesco.

Try Ten Acre’s amazing popcorn and crisps in unusual flavours, such as Chicken Soup or Pastrami & Rye crisps, and Wasabi or Fennel & Lemon Popcorn (Holland & Barrett, and other health food shops). Or Tyrrells Sweet Chilli & Red Pepper Crisps, or Crinkly Mixed Root Veg Crisps, available in most supermarkets. If you’re after pretzels, Waitrose stocks Schär’s gluten free version.

The dairy-fee milks are almost all gluten-free, and Alpro’s whole range apart from the oat drink is gluten-free. (If you want oat milk, try Rude Health’s version which is gluten-free.) Alpro’s yoghurts, custard and desserts are all suitable, as are the yoghurts from Co Yo and the Coconut Collaborative but this post is already turning into an epic, so we’ll have to end here and save the sweet vegan gluten-free foods for another day.

There are loads of vegan gluten-free recipes available freely online. Check out these websites for inspiration:

* All the information here is correct to the best of our knowledge. Please do check labels as ingredients change and websites make mistakes.

Daily Vegan 12: My favourite recipe sites – by Ben Martin

I’m sure that by now you’re probably doing great and getting the hang of things, but we all need some culinary inspiration some times. There’s a whole world of vegan recipe blogs and websites out there, and a quick Google will throw out instructions on how to veganise just about any dish you can think of, but here’s a selection of my favourite recipe websites…

The Buddhist Chef

Whilst not all Buddhists are vegan, this one clearly is and has put together a wonderfully simple website with a range of recipes that are not only delicious, but also healthy and straightforward to prepare. Each recipe comes with clear instructions, as well as a step-by-step video, meaning you can’t go wrong. If you want professional looking, nutritious meals that are dead easy to prepare, this is the website for you.

Minimalist Baker

Despite the name, this site is not all about cakes, but includes savoury and gluten-free recipes too. However it is about simple cooking, with all recipes using no more than ten ingredients and generally being made in a single bowl or pot, so saving on the washing up too. There are both healthy and indulgent recipes, as well as dishes for all meals and occasions, so Minimalist Baker should have something for everyone.

Cooking on a Boot Strap

I already mentioned this one in my Budget Veganism post, but it’s worth mentioning again. Jack Monroe shot to fame a couple of years ago for creating a series of ultra-cheap recipes for those affected by cuts to welfare budgets, particularly the ‘9p burger’, which was widely reported on in the press at the time. Now a Guardian columnist and anti-poverty campaigner, Jack continues to create low-cost recipes, including an extensive selection of vegan ones.

Parsley Soup

Don’t be fooled by the slightly amateur look of this website; it’s a real hidden gem full of recipes for good, honest, every-day food, made with good, honest, every-day ingredients. There’s no weird sounding seeds or beans you’ve never heard of that you’ll spend days trying to order online. You should be able to find most, if not all, of the ingredients for these recipes in your local supermarket or high street shops. And they’re super-reliable. I’ve used Parsley Soup for years and I’ve never had a recipe go wrong yet. I can especially recommend the cake section.

Not one for the easily offended, Thug Kitchen has become infamous for combining innovative vegan cookery with swearing to humorous effect. But bad language aside, the recipes on here are really good and so varied that there should be something for everyone.

BBC Good Food

Yes, before you say it, I know BBC Good Food is not a vegan website. But it does have a great vegan section and even some of the recipes that aren’t in this section are vegan or easily veganised. I must have used this apple crumble recipe a hundred times, for example, and just swapped the butter for margarine – easy. With simple instructions, nutritional info and print-friendly versions, I can see why people fought so hard to keep this website alive.

Oh She Glows

Leaning towards the healthy, ‘superfood’ side of vegan cooking, Oh She Glows is a wholefood-lovers dream and great if you are trying to up your nutrient intake or detox after a heavy one. That’s not to say it’s all completely wholesome; there’s a selection of dessert, cake and cookie recipes, but these tend to incorporate fresh fruit, nut butters and natural syrups. Expect to make a trip to your local health food shop for ingredients.

The Gentle Chef

Skye Michael Conroy, aka The Gentle Chef, has developed quite a cult following amongst vegans around the world thanks to his pioneering efforts to create realistic alternatives to meat and dairy products. But rather than selling them as finished items, he makes his recipes available for people to cook themselves. So if you’re missing bacon or craving egg salad, this is the website for you. Be sure to check out his cookbooks too.

Fat Gay Vegan

Okay, so this one isn’t really a recipe site, even if it has a small section on vegan Mexican dishes. But it’s still very much one to watch for news on what’s hot and what’s not in the vegan world. Fat Gay Vegan is the award-winning, light-hearted and often humorous blog of Sean O’Callaghan and covers everything from vegan cafes and restaurants, to cruelty-free clothing and travel. Basically if it’s new, vegan and worth knowing about, Fat Gay Vegan will have the details.

Daily Vegan 8: Jackfruit: the latest vegan craze – by Issie Hutchinson

I think it’s fair to say that jackfruit has been one of 2016’s trendiest vegan foods. At the last vegan festival I went to, every other food stall seemed to have involved it in their menus – from jackfruit curries to pasties.

But how can an obscure-sounding fruit have become such a big part of animal-free cooking? Jackfruits can be bought tinned, in syrup, just like any other sweet fruit. But before it is ripe, jackfruit can be slow-cooked and then pulled apart to create a faux meat. This makes it an ideal replacement for pork or chicken – in sandwiches, stews, curries and many other dishes.

Jackfruit is surprisingly easy to prepare, and a lot healthier than many meat substitutes (which, like any processed food, contain their fair share of salt and flavourings). If you’re tempted to give it a go, look out for tins of green, unripe jackfruit (right) in Asian grocery stores (but be sure to get the unripe version – not the sweet one), or order it online.

Once you’ve found your local source of jackfruit, it’s as easy as opening the tin and draining off the brine, then throwing the jackfruit into your casserole or curry to cook slowly. Some people prefer to get rid of the seeds before cooking the jackfruit, but I don’t bother with this.

Searching for ‘jackfruit recipes’ online brings up a multitude of results, but you might like to try some of these:

But if you’d prefer to try jackfruit in ready-to-eat form, then do keep an eye out for it at vegan fairs, where there should be plenty of opportunities.

Every year seems to bring new crazes in vegan food, with jackfruit and chickpea-based meringues (more on that to come) both becoming popular in recent times. With almost every kind of food now available in animal-free form, it’s exciting to think what 2017 will bring to cruelty-free cookery.

Daily Vegan 7: Budget Veganism – by Ben Martin

Because vegans are still quite a small minority, convenience foods like vegan burgers, sausages, cheese and pies can certainly be a bit pricey in comparison to their animal equivalents, but that doesn’t mean that going vegan has to break the bank.

Given that it means cutting out traditionally expensive food items – such as meat and cheese – going vegan can actually be a very cheap way to live. Earlier this year, my partner and I decided to put this to the ultimate test by feeding ourselves for just £1 each per day for five days. You can read about how we got on over days one, two, three, four and five. Now, I wouldn’t recommend such a restrictive diet longterm – although for some people this isn’t a choice – but it goes to show that feeding yourself on a vegan diet can be done very cheaply indeed.

One of the best ways to cut your food bill, whether vegan or not, is to avoid processed foods and do more cooking ‘from scratch’ and there are some great resources available online to help with this. For some years now Jack Monroe (right) has been posting ultra-cheap vegan recipes on their blog. Whilst Jack was not a vegan to start with, many of their recipes were vegan by virtue of the fact that animal products are expensive. I’m glad to say that as of this year Jack has now gone vegan.

Another great source of cheap vegan recipes is the website Frugal Living, all of which cost less than £1 per portion and are often much cheaper than that. Others include Full Bellies on a Budget and Pinterest. Animal Aid also has a handy booklet called Meat Free: Feed four for under a fiver that’s full of cheap recipes and money-saving tips. To request a printed copy, click here.

I could go all day about all the different things you can do to save money on a vegan diet, but here are just a few more quick tips to help you out:

  • Go to the supermarket at the end of the day to take advantage of reduced-price fruit, veg and bread
  • Grow your own, even if all you have is a few herbs in pots on your window sill
  • Compare prices at different shops – some are better than others on particular products
  • Bulk buy, if you can, to make the most of multi-buy deals and discounted larger packs

Veganism might help to save animals, but there’s no reason it can’t save you money too.