Showing posts with label manchester vegan blog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label manchester vegan blog. Show all posts

Cheap, Quick and Easy Vegan Student Meals: Vegan Fajitas

When I used to eat meat, chicken fajitas was one of my favourite meals - it was salty, satisfying and was so quick to do. I've not really craved meat since I went vegan but I have been missing fajitas.

This is such a cheat recipe but I do have my own "marinade" if you don't want to buy premade mixes.

I use the Old El Paso Fajita mix in Smoky BBQ because it's actually vegan (it contains soy protein) so that's what I tend to use however if you're wanting to cut down salt, mix 2 tbsp paprika, 1/2 tbsp garlic powder, 1/2 tbsp onion powder and 1/2 tbsp Cajun Mixed spice for an equivalent version. It's surprising how many ready mixes and sauces are actually vegan (many don't want to label things vegan because they aren't made in vegan factories), just make sure you read the ingredients just to be sure. Often if things say they're vegetarian, they're also vegan just look out for egg and milk in the ingredients.

But I used the mix. As my filler, I went for mixed peppers and mushrooms to give a variety in texture. I'm not big on onion but that could also be a nice thing to chuck in.

The Recipe:
  • Coat your veg in your spice mix and let sit for five minutes
  • Cook in non stick pan (cut out that oil!)
  • Serve on a wrap with lettuce, cherry tomatoes and a sprinkle of vegan cheese.
  • Enjoy!
These took close to ten minutes to make and are such a hit - they're so yummy and cheap to make!

How are you liking my student meal series? Have you tried anything yet?

Melt-In-Mouth Vegan Chickpea Burgers

I hate chickpeas. With a passion. In fact I hate all sort of lentils and beans but the thing is, I try to eat them, I really do but the texture always puts me off. But I love hummus.

So when I somehow decided that buying a can of chickpeas was a good idea, I was stumped with what to do with them and I've come up with a recipe that I actually really like (thank goodness for seasoning).

These are the most incredible melt in your mouth chickpea burgers. They're unbelievably filling and so filled with goodness that makes them far nicer than any of those high fat burgers we've grown accustomed to. They're such an ideal summer lunch type meal as despite being filling, they're really light, but they're so quick and easy to make that they're going to be a staple in my diet. This recipe makes four large burger patties:

  • 250g can of drained chickpeas
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp dill
  • A sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • 3 small red onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
Pre-heat Oven to 200°C.
  1. Rinse the chickpeas in cold water. Then mash them up using the back of the fork. Don't worry about making sure they're all crushed, it gives them a bit of bite if they're not.
  2. Add in the tahini and herbs, making sure they're mixed well.
  3. Add in the lemon juice, a bit at a time - mix well.
  4. Finely chop the onions and garlic and leave them to sweat in either olive or coconut oil in a pan on a low heat.
  5. When the onions and garlic are almost transparent, mix them in with the chickpea mixture.
  6. Shape the mixture into burgers and bake each side for 15 minutes until nicely browned.

They're so wonderful and I really hope you enjoy them! I had mind with a load of hummus, smashed avocado, spinach, cucumber, tomato and a sprinkle of sesame. Have them with what you want but they go well with just about everything.  

Let me know if you plan on making these, anytime soon!

What I Eat in a Day: The Vegan Student Edition

So, I'm vegan! It's quite a new development but I had realised that I had been using primarily vegan recipes and as I'm pretty much lactose intolerant, I decided to make the jump to veganism. But we're talking a plant based diet so no vegan cheese or anything like that. Before I launch into the main purpose of this post, the reason I decided to go vegan was primarily for health reasons so I'm not going to be posting anything about animal cruelty and the ethics behind it because it'll just open a whole bag of worms that I don't know enough to talk about! I'm purely vegan when I'm cooking for myself so if I go out or go to a friend's house for dinner, I might eat meat or animal products - just not in my own home.

But as I was saying, veganism is quite a tricky thing to conquer as a student as a lot of base ingredients are quite pricey so I thought I would share the kind of food I eat on a daily basis that don't cost the earth (and are super easy to make).

Breakfast is such an important meal and I often find if I skip brekkie, I find I'm starving by about eleven o'clock and find myself snacking. If I'm at uni, I love almond milk porridge loaded with flaxseeds, chia seeds and berries (I use frozen as they're cheaper - just get them out to thaw the night before). Because I'm also gluten free, I use gluten free oats but normal oats are so cheap they're an essential! But if I have a bit more time in the morning, I love smashed avocado with lemon on sourdough bread and an Alpro soy yoghurt. So filling but so good.

Lunch is always a tricky meal for me as usually I used to reach for a bag of crisps and a ham sandwich of sorts but I've been really into sushi bowls lately. The name makes them sound so much more complicated than they actually are but they're just made up of rice (I prefer brown rice as it will keep you full for longer), chopped up veg or fruit (I tend to go for tomatoes, cucumber, occasionally avocado and spinach) and then a drizzle of tamari (gluten free soy sauce) and then I mix it all together and it's so good! I've been having this almost daily and it's also really great as a packed lunch (sans avocado) as it keeps me going till dinner. I tend to bulk cook brown rice and then leave it in the fridge to make this easy to do on a daily basis.

Snacks are definitely the easiest part of the day. I reach for fruit or carrots and hummus because hummus is incredible. Let's be honest, I've been tempted to spoon it straight from the container.

Dinner as a typical student tends to consist of pasta or frozen meals partially because it's cheaper and far easier than making a meal from scratch so this was probably the trickiest meal to conquer but I think I've just about sorted it. Roasted vegetables will be your new best friend. They take about an hour in the oven at around 200 degrees but they're otherwise so simple! I buy bags of chopped up sweet potato, courgettes, cherry tomatoes, red onions and any other vegetables I have in the fridge. They're really filling because of the sweet potato and so good for you because they're all vegetables! I have this so much because I love it and it's easy to take to work with me in the evenings.

So I hope you've enjoyed my first What I Eat in a Day. Let me know if you'd like more of them and generally what you think!

A Student Food Shop: Vegan Edition

I can see some of you rolling your eyes right now but one of the hardest parts about being a student on a plant based diet is the budget. I've just finished my first year of university and one of the trickiest parts is getting the food shop right to the extent where you aren't having to keep popping to tesco during the week (because it gets expensive).

I mentioned in my post about First Year that Aldi and Lidl are my lifesavers and believe me they are. Fresh fruit and veg is so expensive and to be honest, the first half of uni I didn't tend to bother (frozen peas were enough for me) but it's amazing what you can get in Aldi and Lidl so I decided to do my weekly shop and show you guys what I tend to buy on a regular basis.

Things I buy on bulk at the beginning of the year are brown rice, oats, spelt pasta and things like canned goods (eg, chopped tomatoes, sweetcorn etc). Try and get these in one go so you don't have to worry about them for the rest of the year! It's also cheaper to buy in bulk especially with regard to pasta!

So above is a picture of some of what I tend to buy and because I love all my followers very much, I went around Aldi and recorded the price for each item because Aldi does not have an online shop where you can suss it out.

Here we go, Ellie's average weekly shop:

  • 4 x Avocados £1.14 for 2. (Aldi does the best avocados. They're always ripe and so much cheaper than tesco!)
  • 3 pack of Peppers 95p
  • 3xcourgetts 79p
  • Cherry tomatoes on the vine 85p
  • Pre-prepared butternut squash and sweet potato £1.14
  • Cucumber 50p
  • Red onions £1.14
  • 3 x canned sweetcorn in water £1.00
  • 3x canned chopped tomato 31p each
  • 1 x canned chickpeas 45p
  • 1kg of spinach £1
  • 250g blueberries 75p
  • 500g mushrooms 80p
All for... less than £13.

And that is essentially the raw basics of my weekly shop. What I tend to do is head to Aldi in the morning on a Tuesday when they get their fresh stuff in and then if there is anything they don't have, I get from Tesco. This honestly saves me ridiculous amounts of money! 

Obviously this is mostly fresh food, so I pick up my sourdough bread (vegan & GF) from Tesco as well as soy yoghurts, almond milk (the Alpro UHT unsweetened is my favourite because it's cheaper and brilliant), and any other essentials that Aldi doesn't have. I'd say that that's the downside of Aldi, that you can't guarantee what they'll have in stock but most of the time they're fairly regular with their products. I get my coconut oil from the world foods isle in Tesco because it's £2.99 compared to the standard £9.99 you can find in the oil section.

Aside from my weekly bits and bobs, once every couple of months I head to Holland and Barrett to pick up things like flaxseed, chia seeds, cacao powder and agave. Although my Tesco does stock these, H&B have really amazing penny sales which are worth keeping an eye on as it can save you loads of money. I buy a tub of chia seeds and I find those last me forever so although they're pricey, it's not like I'm buying them every week. H&B also stocks BoojaBooja which is a company that makes dairy free chocolate and ice cream which is definitely quite expensive but it's a nice treat.

I know this is such a long post but it can be helpful if you're starting university and aren't really sure of how to budget or just haven't had to buy your own food before so don't even know where to start!

Keep an eye out for my post next Thursday where I'm going to be talking about the kind of food I eat in a day using a lot of the ingredients from here!

The Most Incredible Raw Cashew Butter Cups

I'm so into my vegan and healthy foods at the moment and even though I haven't taken on the responsibility of going fully vegan (or even vegetarian), I'm definitely having the odd vegan meal but one thing I am doing, is developing my own vegan and clean snack recipes. The concept behind these cashew butter cups is nothing revolutionary - there are loads out there and believe me, I've tried my fair share of them but I sometimes find that they were too bitter and were nothing like my favourite Reese's Peanut Butter Cups; but these are.

This recipe is completely raw, gluten free, vegan, lactose free and refined sugar free. And there are several ingredients in there that are jam packed full of goodness like chia seeds (which I think is a little twist). And even better, these are made by putting the mixture in the freezer!

There are two components to the recipe, the "chocolate" and the cashew butter filling and then for decoration, the finely chopped nuts (I only had hazelnuts in the house so it really doesn't matter). Side note, although it makes six which doesn't sound like many, they're the size of cupcakes so they're really quite large (and very filling).

Cashew Butter Cups (Makes 6)

The "Chocolate":
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (make sure it's not maple flavoured syrup)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp cacao nibs
The Cashew Filling
  • 2 tbsp cashew butter
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
  • A pinch of himalayan salt
  • 2 tsp Agave Syrup
First off, line a muffin tin with 6 cupcake liners.

Now to make the chocolate filling, once you've melted the coconut oil, mix the cacao, oil and maple syrup and then add in the chia seeds and cacao nibs. The chocolate looks incredibly runny but don't worry because when it's put in the freezer, the coconut oil returns to solid and firms it all up. You should still have about half the chocolate mixture left when you're done, this is for the topping so don't throw it away! The reason that there are chia seeds and cacao nibs in the "chocolate" is because it adds a special crunch! Plus chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants, full of fibre and protein and omega 3 fatty acids.

Once you have your chocolate, fill about a third of the cups and then whack the tray in the freezer for about 10 minutes. The "chocolate" goes solid and actually then looks like chocolate!

Then make the cashew filling by mixing everything together. Then spoon about two tablespoons worth over the chocolate, spreading it to the edge. Once again, the cashew filling appears really liquidy but because the coconut oil goes solid at room temperature, the freezer firms the mixture up. Then put the tray in the freezer for about 10 minutes again.

And finally, divide the remaining chocolate mixture over the six cups and sprinkle some of your chopped nuts on top. 

"Freeze" the mixture for about 20 minutes and voila! Try them and let me know how amazing they are! If you do bake them, make sure you tag me on twitter or instagram (@elliegdickinson) in a picture so that I can see how yours turned out!

Sidenote, don't worry about the amount of coconut oil in here. Coconut oil is an amazing source of saturated fats (which are good for you!!!!) and lauric acids which are essential in your body so don't worry about it being an "oil".