This is a quick round up of some useful info if you are newly vegan or thinking about being vegan

Store cupboard essentials:

Nutritional yeast – a by product of the brewing industry. They sell it in health food shops or online. Gives stuff a cheesey ish flavour. Some American recipes refer to it as ‘nooch’.

Liquid smoke –  Used in lots of vegan recipes. Hard to describe, basically the taste of BBQ, but add a ‘savoury’ flavour to things. Only need a tiny amount. They sell this in the ‘american’ section of some supermarkets or you can buy online

Soya milk – uht unsweetened value/basics/smart price is the best value and tastes ok. Sweetened will make everything taste vaguely of apple. Remember organic soya milk doesn’t have added vitamin D or calcium.

There are tons of other milk alternatives out there – enough to warrant a blog post all of their own.

Soya cream – the uht stuff is best, the fresh one is a bit thin.

Herbs and spices – your cupboards will never be so full of them. Asian grocers often have lots of interesting curry pastes and spice mixes, just watch out for fish in them.

Pesto – you can get special vegan ones, but Sacla do an aubergine one that doesn’t contain dairy and is tasty.

Vital wheat gluten – You’ll probably have to buy online, I buy in bulk (often sharing the order with friends). SSOV/VX in London and Bristol do stock it and I’m sure other health stores do too.
You use to make seitan, a vegan ‘meat’. Which is nicer than it sounds. There are lots of ways to prepare, but the best first recipe is for ‘ribs’ (recipe to be posted soon) or this recipe is good –  use where you would chicken (also I never use as much soy sauce as they say – far too salty)

Mock duck – can buy in tins in Holland & Barratt although it’s often cheaper in Asian grocery stores. It’s made with vital wheat gluten and is nice fried with soy sauce and added to stir fry or you can marinate and roast.
You can also get mock pork and mock chicken which are good. Do not try the mock abalone – it’s squidgy and weird.


There are lots of vegan cheeses. Some are better than others, the first one I tried put me off so much I waited 2 years before I tried another. I still wouldn’t want a ‘cheese’ sandwich.  Update – Violife is ok in a sandwich.

Cheesly supermelting are ok for pizza, pasta, tacos Tofutti Cheddar cheese slices are great for bbqs. And topping things. They are individually wrapped so have a longer bbe date. Most vegan cheese lasts 2-3 days one opened.

Violife pizza cheese or the mozzarella for pizza one is great for melting on pizza and in toasties – doesn’t work great ‘on top’ of stuff as goes a bit dry and crunchy, but under veg on a pizza goes super stringy and delicious.

Sheese is not great, but the smoked one is ok to add flavour. They have a bit of a ‘claggy’ texture

No moo (nu mug) pricey, but lasts longer (about a week) and v. tasty.

Soft cheese – I defy you to notice the difference between tofutti soft cheese and a dairy variety. Pricey though! The violife one is a bit of an odd consistency when melting and you probably could tell the difference, but it tastes great!


Smoked tofu – Thinly sliced its nice in sandwiches or fried it makes a bacon substitute. Do not get the cauldron one – it’s not very nice. Cubed it’s nice in pasta sauces or in a creamy sauce as pie filling. Its got a strong taste, but it’s much firmer than firm tofu. Lasts about a week to 10 days once open if kept in tuppaware in the fridge.

Basil tofu – also nice in sarnies and sauces, but a bit crumblier than smoked tofu.

Firm tofu – isn’t that firm, but pressed under some heavy tins and marinated is nice in stir fries etc. Doesn’t taste of much so needs a strong marinade and to be left for at least an hour. Jerk seasoning or satay works well.

Silken – a bit odd, but great for ‘cheesecake’ and other desserts.

Quick eats:

Most supermarkets do 2 for 3 quid on their meat free range. Not all stuff is vegan, but you can get nut cutlets, burgers, mince most places. Quorn do vegan chicken style pieces, all the supermarket own brands have egg in.  Sainsburys do 16 Vegetable fingers so 32 for £3 works out cheap for a quick snack.
Fry’s stuff isn’t bad – their stuff in morrisons is often on offer. Holland & Barret do a decent range too.

Bol and some of the innocent pot ready meals are vegan

Morrisons do a range (possibly called katies kitchen) which has a vegan thai curry – not cheap though

Packet mixes. Granovita (sold in Sainsburys and Morrisons) and Asda ‘own brand’ do packet mixes for meatfree sausage, burgers and nut roast. The sausage ones can be made into meatballs which are tasty. You can also get falafel packet mix.


This sweet potato stew is one of my favourite recipes

Pancakes (American style)

Cook books

Most are American. Isa Chandra does lots, some recipes are a bit mental, but give you ideas. Vegan with a Vengeance is most people’s first vegan book.

The Vegan guide to food substitutions is pretty handy, but some of the ingredients/ideas are a tad odd.

Also, stuff on the vegan society website is useful.


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