Viva!’s Top Vegan Cooking Tips to Get You Through the Coronavirus

| 20 March 2020
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Viva!'s Top Vegan Cooking Tips to Get You Through the Coronavirus

Understandably, at a time like this, food, recipes and shopping are at the forefront of everyone’s mind and on the positive side, we have the opportunity to get creative and spend some time experimenting in the kitchen (even if it is using tin cans!). For others, it will feel a lot more daunting knowing what to make. When looking into our store cupboard recipes, we found so many delicious dishes that were suitable for this time, we were really blown away. We’ve put together some tips, shopping lists and top store cupboard recipes to help out during this challenging time.

See our full list of store cupboard/freezer adaptable Vegan Recipe Club recipes here.

1. Try not to panic-buy

Of course it’s very difficult not to get drawn into the fear of scarcity, but there is enough to go around if we all just buy what we need. There are so many amazing vegan recipes which can be made using the most basic of ingredients. Try to support local veg shops and independents as they will be struggling the most during this time. Everyone has been heading to the supermarkets so these local shops have actually been much better stocked. We’ve found here that the zero waste shops also have plenty.

The Vegan Kind online supermarket has increased their own orders from suppliers as well as extending staffing to ensure they can meet increasing demands both for new and existing customers. They’re continually monitoring their stock levels to safeguard supply so they can help more people have access to their extensive range of vegan products.

Here is The Big List of Vegan Businesses you can still order food from (Thanks to Vegan Card).

2. Keep your immune system tip top

Eat lots of fresh fruit and veg wherever possible. Otherwise frozen veg, frozen fruit for smoothies and tinned fruit and veg are a good option. Try to use brown or wholemeal versions of bread, pasta, rice, couscous, flour… but don’t worry if this isn’t possible right now.

Fermented foods contain lots of beneficial bacteria which help boost immunity. Things like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kombucha and water kefir are all really good. You can make your own sauerkraut. It’s really cheap and easy and it will last for around 6 months if kept in the fridge. Try and also eat ‘prebiotics‘ (they feed the bacteria in your gut) such as garlic, onion, leeks, oats, bananas.

For more advice, Viva!Health has put together 8 ways to help your immune system fight Coronavirus.

3. Variety and flavour

Many people are worried about getting variety and flavour when using more basic ingredients but having a good supply of dried herbs and spices will ensure that you can create depth of flavour and diversity.

4. Don’t be afraid to experiment

Adapt recipes and get creative with your ingredients. Many people are afraid to deviate from a list of ingredients or method but now is the time to switch, swap and not worry about getting a perfect result.

If the recipes call for fresh veg or herbs and you can’t get hold of them then adapt them with frozen and tinned or just stick to onion, garlic and root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes and squash as they’ll last for months. You can also buy frozen herbs if you want to keep that as an option.

Miss out the non-essential ingredients as most of the recipes on our store cupboard list are easily adaptable. For example, if the recipe calls for a fresh red pepper and you can’t get hold of one then just leave it out or swap it for any veg that you have (fresh or frozen). If the recipe calls for fresh tomatoes then use tinned instead… simple swaps like that. If the recipe asks for lemon juice, just leave it out or use bottled.

Vegan Recipe Club has a very useful search tool. You can type any ingredient (eg ‘carrot’) into the search bar and it will list all of the recipes containing that item, providing you with lots more inspiration.

5. Get Baking

You’ll be pleased to hear that lots of vegan desserts, cakes, breads and biscuits rely on store cupboard ingredients so you’ll become a whizz in no time!

6. Check-in with your neighbours (of course follow the safety guidelines)

Try to make sure that your neighbours have three easy recipes they can create during this time. For some people, not being able to find their weekly shopping items or being in self-isolation is very worrying. Being able to offer a bit of support and ingredient/recipe advice can be incredibly helpful and reassuring. For other ways to help your local community, visit NHS Volunteers (GoodSAM) and COVID-19 UK Mutual Aid.

Here is our store cupboard/freezer shopping list

Please don’t feel you have to buy everything on here but we wanted to give you lots of ideas of items that can be useful to have during this time:


Shopping list:
Antipasti: jarred sun dried tomatoes, artichokes, olives, peppers, capers
Apple sauce
Baked beans
Baking powder and bicarbonate of soda
Bananas (super ripe – frozen for smoothies)
BBQ sauce, brown sauce, tomato ketchup
Bottled lemon juice
Bread and wraps (freeze them)
Bread flour
Chestnuts (vacuum packed)
Chia seeds
Chips and hash browns
Cocoa or cacao powder
Coconut oil
Curry paste or ready-made sauce
Dairy-free cheese sauce mix
Dark chocolate
Desiccated coconut
Dried fruit and raisins
Dried yeast
Fajita sauce
Flour (plain, self-raising, gram/chickpea, vital gluten flour)
Fresh fruit and vegetables wherever possible
Frozen burgers, sausages, pies, pizza, mince
Frozen fruit for smoothies
Frozen parsley and coriander
Frozen pastry (shortcrust and puff)
Frozen peas, spinach, broccoli and avocado
Frozen tofu puffs (buy from Asian supermarkets and shops)
Garlic (fresh or frozen)
Ginger (fresh or frozen)
Ginger and turmeric
Ground almonds
Ground flaxseed
Ice cream
Icing sugar
Jam and/or marmalade
Jar of salsa
Katsu sauce (or Sainsbury’s Chinese Chip Shop Curry Sauce is a very good, cheap alternative)
Microwave meals
Miso paste
Mixed herbs and spices
Nutritional yeast
Nuts (selection)
Olive oil
Pancake mix
Panko breadcrumbs
Pasta and spaghetti
Pasta sauce
Peanut butter (and/or other nut butters)
Plant milk
Pumpkin seeds
Quinoa, couscous and other grains of your choice (you can also buy instant packets of all of these things)
Rapeseed oil (for cooking)
Ready-made polenta
Red lentils
Rice (brown, risotto, Thai Jasmine, paella)
Root vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, beetroot)
Salt and pepper
Satay sauce in a jar (eg Sainsbury’s, Thai Taste, Yeo’s)
Seaweed (sprinkles and sheets)
Soy sauce
Soya cream
Stir fry sauce
Sugar (used sparingly of course)
Sunflower seeds
Syrup (eg agave or maple)
Taco cases
Thai curry paste
Tinned banana blossom
Tinned black beans, cannellini, butter beans, kidney beans
Tinned chickpeas
Tinned coconut milk
Tinned fruit
Tinned jackfruit
Tinned lentils
Tinned mock meats (eg Granovita)
Tinned potatoes
Tinned sweetcorn
Tinned tomatoes
Tinned vegetable chilli
Tofu (firm and silken… silken will last longer)
Tomato puree
Vegan butter/spread
Vegan egg replacer powder
Vegan mayo
Vegan pesto (if you can’t find Sacla or supermarket free-from then most of the health food shops will have a selection)
Vegan white sauce
Vegan wine (for cooking of course!)
Vegetable stock
Vinegar (cider and balsamic)
Yeast extract

Here are some of our top store cupboard recipes:

Tin Can Spaghetti Bolognese

Tin Can Spaghetti Bolognese

One of the nation’s favourite dishes but tin can style. Using a combination of tinned green lentils, chopped tomatoes, red wine (optional), onions, garlic and tomato purée, it’s actually delicious (and very cheap!). Again, don’t be afraid to switch up the veg depending on what you have in the cupboard or what you can get hold of.


Vegan Farinata

So what is it!? It’s a Mediterranean street food (a bit like a Spanish tortilla) made from a gram (chickpea) flour batter that can be adapted in a variety of different ways. In our recipe, we’ve filled it with jarred olives, artichokes, sundried tomatoes and capers but you can fill it with pretty much any combination of veg that you have… also think breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Store Cupboard Nut Roast

Store Cupboard Nut Roast

Yes you can have your weekly Sunday roast (or a roast any day for that matter)! This recipe is cheap, easy and surprisingly rich and delicious!

Quick & Easy Chana Masala 

Viva!'s Top Vegan Cooking Tips to Get You Through the Coronavirus

Such a brilliant weekly staple and made using a variety of cheap ingredients including tinned chickpeas, tinned (or fresh if you can get them) tomatoes, spices, onion and garlic.

Bean Burgers

Bean Burgers

Well we couldn’t leave these off the list! Consistently one of the most popular recipes on our website and yes… all from the store cupboard 🙂

Super-fast Scrambled Tofu

Quick Silken Tofu Scramble

Use long life silken tofu or firm (if you can find it) and mix with all the best vegan ingredients… tahini, nutritional yeast, turmeric, soy sauce and garlic… oh and it only takes 5 minutes! Dress it up with salad for lunch or have it with fried brekkie items. Enjoy!

See our full list of store cupboard/freezer adaptable recipes here.

See our list of budget recipes here. 

About the author
Maryanne is Viva!’s Food and Cookery Manager, helping spread the word that vegan food is delicious, accessible and affordable! Maryanne is a former vegan chef. Click here for more info.

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