If you're considering going vegan, thinking of new and exciting recipe ideas can be pretty tricky; especially if you're used to building a dish around meat or dairy products like cheese. But following a plant-based diet is easier and simpler than you think.
Especially when award-winning cook and writer Katy Beskow, of Little Miss Meat-Free, who has been vegan for more than 10 years, is on hand to help. She has given us her top 7 products she couldn't live without.
1. Dairy-Free Milks
"If you’re considering a vegan diet, choosing a dairy-free milk, like this Alpro Coconut Original is a great place to start. You can simply switch cow’s milk for a plant-based alternative in hot drinks, smoothies, everyday cooking and over cereal. You’ll find a large selection of dairy-free alternatives to milk available in the chiller section, including soya, almond, oat, hazelnut, rice, coconut and cashew. For a decadent mug of hot chocolate, simmer coconut milk with some melted dark chocolate and whisk until combined and frothy."
Love it or hate it, yeast extract is a magical ingredient when added to vegan recipes. Marmite gives a dark, deep flavour to savoury dishes including a three-bean chilli, simply add a teaspoon to the sauce for intense richness. Marmite lasts in the store cupboard for ages, so even if you don’t fancy it on toast, it will keep for the next time you stir it through a hearty casserole.
3. Canned chickpeas (including the water!)
Chickpeas from a can are a fast and cheap way to add protein and bite to curries, or to create a rustic houmous in seconds. Before you even think about draining the water from the can down the sink, pour it into a bowl and you have aquafaba- a vegan alternative to egg whites, which can be whipped up to make fail-safe meringues. Simply whisk the aquafaba with cream of tartar, vanilla extract and icing sugar until doubled in size, then pipe onto a clean baking tray and bake on low in the oven for 45 minutes.
4. Antipasti vegetables
Keep a few jars of antipasti vegetables in your store cupboard for when you don’t have time to prepare vegetables. These vegetables are often chargrilled for extra flavour, then preserved in oil. Try topping a pizza with sundried tomatoes, grilled mixed peppers and black olives, for a fuss-free dinner that avoids you reaching for any meat products. Or for a quick lunch, create a vegan mezze board with antipasti vegetables, crusty bread and a dipping bowl of balsamic vinegar.
5. Vegan cheese
Dairy-free cheese is a thing and it’s fabulous! Switch your usual type of cheese for a vegan variety, whether it’s pre-sliced, in a block or cream cheese. Many brands use coconut oil and soya as a base for the cheese, but manage to keep a familiar cheesy flavour. Finely chop some chives, flat-leaf parsley and garlic and stir through a pot of vegan cream cheese, then load onto hot bagels for a breakfast worth waking up for.
6. Frozen edamame beans
Perfect in stir-fries or as a snack, edamame beans freeze perfectly meaning you’ll get the freshest flavour whenever you want it, without any waste. These beans are powerhouses of protein as well as being low fat and high fibre, and what’s more, they taste great. Simply stir-fry in a hot pan for 2-3 minutes with some crisp vegetables, sprinkle over some soy sauce, coriander and sliced red chilli, then serve with rice noodles.
7. Dried Pasta
If you’re a pasta lover, opt to choose your pasta in the ambient aisle rather than the chillers. Most of Asda’s own brand dried pastas are skillfully created with durum wheat semolina and no eggs, making it vegan-friendly, but do check the ingredients on the pack before purchasing. Cook dried pasta in boiling water for 8-10 minutes until al dente, then pour into a feisty arrabiata sauce, before topping with toasted pine nuts.