When I was in my early teens I started learning about vegetarian food and healthy eating and I started making myself fresh banana milkshakes for breakfast each morning from a recipe found in a teen magazine (I think it may have been Mizz or Seventeen).
That recipe included honey for sweetness, an egg (presumably for protein), and obviously diary milk, plus bran for fibre. A number of years later I discovered that in the US this sort of thing was called a smoothie and they could contain loads of goodies. Of course smoothies are a staple of vegan food blogs now, especially smoothies full of highly nutrient dense foods like berries and greens.
Meanwhile I still regularly revert to my old breakfast of fresh banana milkshake, it now contains flax instead of egg, plant milk instead of skimmed cows milk and oat bran instead of wheat bran.
Needless to say, bananas in the UK, are incredibly cheap to buy and make a great easy start to the day. Most supermarkets stock their own low cost brand version of UHT soya milk, and although not always initially inexpensive to buy, a bag of flax seed kept in the fridge goes a long way; in fact depending on the brand, it can work out cheaper to use than the eggs it’s often used as a substitute for in various recipes.
Breakfast Banana Milkshake
- 1 x banana
- 350ml plain unsweetened soya milk
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp oat bran
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Chop banana.
- Put all ingredients into a blender and blend till smooth.
This fantastic tasting recipe comes via the Minimalist Baker here: Easy Chana Masala. Pretty much all I’ve done is adjust quantities to suit my batch cooking style; and it really is worth cooking up a large batch of this curry to store in the freezer.
I’d say this recipe serves around eight, depending on what you choose to serve it with; I quite like to have another vegetable based curry as a side dish, plus some kind of starch for the sauce (eg: rice, naan or chapati).
Needless to say the main ingredients of tinned tomatoes and dried chickpeas cost me very little indeed; at the time of writing the chickpeas were 75p for 500g bag and the tomatoes were just £1 for four tins!
The biggest expense in a recipe like this are the spices, both fresh and dried. I try to nab those 100g (or larger) bags of spice powder that you often find in the world food isle of larger supermarkets, which helps keeps costs down; especially if you go through them as quickly as I do!
I also buy fresh spices like root ginger, garlic and coriander in larger quantities as they inevitably work out cheaper the more you buy. Big bunches of green herbs, when intended for a cooked dish like this can also easily be frozen without any trouble or harm to flavour, ready to pull out of the freezer and used when needed.
Chana Masala – Vegan & Wholefood
- 500g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and cooked until tender
- 4 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes, blended to a puree in a food processor
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil (I use rapeseed)
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 bulbs of garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
- 4″ of fresh garlic root, roughly chopped
- 1 large bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
- 4 green chillies, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp chilli powder
- 1 tbsp ground turmeric
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- salt to taste
- Heat the oil in a large pan and add in the onions. Add a bit of salt to help them sweat and then stir in the cumin powder.
- Put the fresh coriander, fresh chillies, garlic and ginger in a food processor and process to a rough paste. Add the mixture to the pan and heat through, stirring.
- Add coriander powder, chilli powder and turmeric to the pan, stir.
- Add pureed tomatoes and cooked drained chickpeas to the pan. Stir through.
- Bring to the boil, reduced heat and simmer for about fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add salt and sugar to taste and stir through.
- Take off heat and add in garam masala and lemon juice.
- Serve with rice, naan or chapatis.
There are lots of chickpea ‘tuna’ mayonnaise recipes out there on the internet and this is my version. Featuring sweetcorn, capers, spring onions and celery seeds, I hope it’s a little bit different to many of them.
As well as making a great baguette filling for lunch, this ‘tuna’ makes an ideal baked potato topping for a quick supper. I also like to serve this ‘tuna’ alongside boiled new potatoes and a hearty green salad for a summery lunch.
While most of the ingredients here are relatively inexpensive, when shopping for what can be pricier items like capers, it pays to check the world foods isle in larger supermarkets. I often find the Turkish brand Alyena to be good value.
- 2 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained (equal to 480g)
- 3 tbsp capers, drained
- 1 tsp dried celery seeds
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 medium sized (3″) gherkins, finely diced
- 2 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Sea salt to taste
- 2 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
- Handful flat-leaf parsley (or dill), finely chopped
- 4 – 6 spring onions (scallions) finely sliced
- 1 x 198g tin sweetcorn, drained (equal to 160g)
- 3 tsp seaweed granules or flakes (optional)
- Mash the chickpeas in a bowl with a potato masher.
- Mash in all the other ingredients except sweetcorn and gherkins.
- Stir in the sweetcorn and chopped gherkins.
- Place in a pot with a lid and refrigerate until needed.
Hailing back to the 11thC and still a stalwart of British bakeries, this old fashioned bread pudding is an excellent way to use up stale bread that would otherwise go to waste.
Traditionally bread pudding contains animal ingredients such as eggs, milk or cream and butter or lard – I’ve removed the added fat, substituted the cream or milk for a basic unsweetened soya and the eggs for custard powder (cornflour would also serve).
As well as being easy peasy to make it’s also pretty frugal; I estimate that at the time of making this batch cost me about £2.69 or 22p per square.
Full of fibre and virtually fat free it also makes a healthy and filling breakfast. Alternatively tart it up for Christmas with the addition of ground ginger, a few tablespoons of thick cut marmalade and chopped figs.
Serve straight from the oven hot with custard or eat cold the next day (I prefer mine cold).
- Mix milk, brown sugar, custard powder and spices together.
- Cube bread and place in large bowl with dried fruit.
- Pour milk mixture over bread and leave to soak for 30mins.
- Mash lumps of bread with a fork or wooden spoon until broken down.
- Grease baking dish and pour in mixture.
- Smooth top and sprinkle demerara sugar evenly over.
- Bake at 180C for 1hr.
- Once cooled cut into 12 squares.
This classic American dish is good to serve either on its own as a light meal, or alongside other dishes for a main meal. I especially like it with tofu steaks or a bean burger and a big pile of spinach. I also think it would make a good stuffing for baked squash.
For ease and cheapness I’ve mainly used frozen vegetables here, principally sweetcorn (which I can get for about 99p a kilo from the supermarket’s ‘value’ range) and broad beans, but you could use fresh; especially at this time of year when a lot of people are harvesting lovely fresh produce from gardens and allotments.
A traditional recipe will typically use bacon for fat and flavour, I’ve subbed with what is perhaps my favourite spice for vegan cooking, smoked paprika.
Succotash with Rice
- Cook 8oz of brown basmati rice until tender (it usually takes me 22 minutes) then drain and set to one side.
- Simmer 8oz frozen baby broad beans in a large pan of hot water for about five minutes, add 8oz frozen sweetcorn kernels bring back up to a simmer and cook for a further five minutes. When vegetables are tender drain and put to one side.
- Heat 2 – 3 tblsp olive oil in a large pan and add 1 finely diced onion and half a bulb finely sliced garlic. Saute till tender then add two diced peppers. Saute until pepper is tender. Add 1 heaped tsp smoked paprika and 1 tsp chilli powder and cook for a couple more minutes.
- Toss the cooked beans and sweetcorn into the pan with the onions and pepper and stir through. Salt to taste.
- Then a) either serve the succotash over the rice, or b) add the rice into the pan with the vegetables and serve mixed together.