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The Quick & Easy Vegan Swaps That You Can Make This Year | AD

…thanks to good ol’ Waitrose & Partners

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One thing that I love about the new year is the kick up the butt it gives me when it comes to cooking healthy and hearty food in the kitchen. After a season of eating out and eating mostly Quality Streets, it’s something that I genuinely look forward to. Greens! Vitamins and Minerals! Something that isn’t a roll stuffed with leftovers! Mark and I don’t eat too much meat these days anyway, but this year I’d like to cut my meat and animal-products consumption down even further. So why not have a day of vegan eating once a week? Or even once a month? Perhaps you’re giving Veganuary a go, or you’d just like to give it a go once to see what it’s like?

Whatever boat you’re in Waitrose & Partners have got you covered, thanks to their recent addition of 40 new chilled and frozen products to their vegan and vegetarian range. Available to buy in-store and online at waitrose.com now, all new items in the range are currently 20% off (RUN – DON’T WALK!), and features both quick and convenient ready meals if you aren’t ready to step fully back into the kitchen just yet, and cooking ingredients if you’re rustling something up from scratch too. Fancy giving it a go? Here are four tips you can incorporate right this minute and my favourite newbies to the line…

Find your favourite meat substitute. This is something that I’ve been sleeping on for a long time. Mark and I don’t eat much meat these days, but we also don’t eat that many meat substitutes either despite our mate’s protests to give faux-meat a go. So we’ve been experimenting and adding it to our diet has opened up a whole new category in our cooking, added more recipes to our repertoire and given us a much needed protein boost too. Our favourites so far? The Vegan Veggie Balls and the Vegan Streaky Slices (seriously – WHAT IS THIS MIRACLE!?).

Keep this sauce handy. I promise that I didn’t pick this up just for the name, but the Vegan Tomato & Mascarfone Sauce is something else. With meat I can take it or leave it, but where I slip up is with cheese, especially when it comes to pasta dishes. So when I spotted this brand new sauce on the shelves I picked up a tub and have been pleasantly surprised by just how creamy and like the real deal it is. Keep it on hand for days when you just want to cook up some veggies and pasta and stir this through for a dinner you can make in 12 minutes.

Discover some new recipes. When Mark and I first went (mostly) veggie in our household this was the most important step to take. We spent an afternoon trawling through websites to source new ideas, buying new recipe books and marking the pages from ones that we already had. Over the years we’ve grabbed many of the Waitrose & Partners recipe cards in-store that live in our kitchen all organised in a slippery-fish wallet, but there are tonnes of recipes online too. From their month-long vegan meal plan, to a whole part of their website that’s dedicated to vegan baking, it’s well worth a surf. Recipes that are on my to-make list currently? Their Vegan Frosted Lemon Cake and the Vegan Lasagne with Cashew Cream & Celeriac.

Keep some ready meals in the freezer. If you’re giving veganuary a go and are struggling with the Friday night takeaway itch, then pop a few Waitrose & Partners ready meals in the freezer, so they are ready to go at a moments notice. Their Vegan Potato Katsu Curry with Sticky Rice is OUTSTANDING, as is their Vegan No Egg Fried Rice, pop it with their Vegan No Chicken Samosa, some sweet chilli sauce and that’s a dreamy Friday night in for one right there.

MY FIVE NEW VEGAN FAVES FROM WAITROSE & PARTNERS

Vegan Soya Balls & Tagliatelle – I *adore* meatballs and pasta and it’s always been my ready meal of choice for days when I just want something quick and comforting (and just want to watch Succession episodes back to back). These no-meat meatballs are flavour-filled, juicy and don’t require two hours of me slowing cooking them. WIN.

Vegan Potato Katsu Curry with Sticky Rice – I mean, do I even need to explain this one?! Delicious fried breaded sweet potato in a coconut curry sauce with pickled ginger that cuts through the whole thing? My favourite new addition to the line up by a country mile. I already have three of these in the freezer.

Vegan No Egg Fried Rice – This one is blowing my mind just a little. The first of it’s kind, I was very happy to see a vegan egg fried rice available out there for my vegan pals because it’s honestly one of my favourite dishes to order whenever we have a takeaway. I just can’t not order it; mainly because the leftovers the next morning are a delight. Don’t @ me.

Vegan Mac & Greens – Already part of their existing line-up, this has rave reviews online and I can see why. With a creamy sauce, crunchy veg and more macaroni that you can shake a stick out, it’s the time of thing that you could roll out for your non-vegan parents and they’d be none the wiser that it was indeed diary-free.

Vegan No Chicken Crispy Slices – This is one of those things that you eat and wonder ‘WHAT IS THIS!?’/’HOW IS THIS NOT CHICKEN?!’. Turns out it is in fact seitan and jackfruit, breaded and dressed up in a way that if you popped it in a bun with some vegan mayo, lettuce and a slice of onion and tomato you’d be pretty darn chuffed with yourself.

Photos by Mark Newton

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