My Vegan Favourites

Welcome back to the Friday blog! 

During the 2020 lock down I made the decision to become vegetarian, I won’t go into the details and reasons behind that as I discussed all this in a previous blog post (https://awip.blog/2020/06/16/isolation-helped-me-become-vegetarian/). I am happy to report that 2 years and 3 Months later I am still very much sticking to this lifestyle change and loving it, with absolutely no intention of going back! Since then, I have progressed a little further and have been taking steps to becoming vegan…This is a something I am determined to implement full time. I will be honest though I’m not 100% there yet but every day I do my best and get closer to living this new lifestyle.

What I eat in a day as a newly converted vegan has changed drastically and I’m not mad about it! (There will be a what I eat in a day blog post coming soon). It’s taken me a little while to figure out what is good and what’s just not for me…this is still very much an ongoing process with the plant-based diet becoming more and more popular, new things are being added to the shelves all the time… which is great to see! The selection of plant based/vegan alternatives have increased so much even since I started on my journey just 15 months ago! The only thing I will say is that the vegan/Plant based alternatives do tend to be more expensive, and with the cost of living continuing to rise it does make it a little less appealing and affordable to switch over to a completely plant-based diet.

Despite that I thought it might be useful as a “beginner vegan” to share some vegan/plant-based favourites that have been tried and tested by yours truly. This is in no way a complete guide or list of all the best options it’s just a personal opinion based on what I’ve found and tried so far.

If you have any recommendations, please feel free to share them in the comments, I am always looking for new products to try!

Any way let’s get to it…

Meat Alternatives

  • The Tofoo co. Tempeh. I have to be honest it took me a while to try tofu as for some reason it scared me a little. I haven’t tried many, but the few I have tried haven’t had the best texture to them, they’ve been quite rubbery and what I can only describe as squeaky when you chew it… But just last week I picked up The Tofoo co Tempeh at my local Tesco’s and I am pleased to report that it tastes great, and isn’t at all chewy or squeaky. They do a whole range of different ones but this at the moment is the only one I have had chance to try.  Let me know your Tofu recommendations.
  • Plant Chef Meat Free Burger. Plant Chef is the plant-based brand for Tesco’s super market in the UK and I have to say at just £1.30 for a pack of 2 you simply can’t go wrong, not only are they extremely affordable they are also delicious and my go to burger alternative… my husband is neither vegetarian or vegan but has also been converted to these delicious tasting burgers. I have eaten many times the beyond meat burgers and they too are really good, but at £4 for a pack of 2 it’s a no brainer when you are trying to keep the costs down… I actually prefer the plant chef burgers anyway so it’s a win, win situation.
  • Linda McCartney Red Onion and Rosemary sausages. These are so good and there are plenty more flavour options available in this range including Chorizo and Red pepper which are also delicious and great paired with pasta and a tomato-based sauce for an easy and delicious meal.
  • Birdseye Green Cuisine Chicken Free Dippers. The one thing I have noticed when trying to find Chicken alternative’s Is they are sometime slimy or grainy texture, but these are fab, taste just like the real thing.
  • Tesco Plant Chef Garlic Kiev’s. 
  • M&S Plant Kitchen No Chicken Kiev’s. Both of these options if you are looking for a classic garlic Kiev are delicious, I would highly recommend!

Dairy Alternatives 

  • Alpro Almond unsweetened milk.
  • Alpro Barista Almond milk. These are my go-to milks of choice, I love them both, I especially like to use the Barista milk in my iced matcha lattes, it enables me to drink the matcha without having to add any additional sweeteners or sugars and is great if like me you like a little more at home luxury and froth your milk. Either way frothed or not still tastes great in any hot drink.
  • M&S Plant kitchen Sunflower spread. This is my absolute favourite butter, it’s a Marks and Spencer’s own brand, it is so good in fact that my husband who once again is neither vegetarian nor vegan actually prefers it to the regular butter we used to buy. 
  • Violife original flavour grated. I have never really eaten much cheese so it’s not something that I have really done much research into, but on the occasions that I have needed/wanted cheese, out of the few I have tried this is the one I like the most. This brand does a range of options, mozzarella, Epic cheddar, Tex Mex and a Mediterranean style Grill me, which if I’m not mistaken looks to be a Halloumi alternative, I haven’t tried any of these but if you have, please let me know if they are any good. Also, most vegan cheeses don’t melt too well if at all, but this one actually does. if you have come across any other nice tasting vegan cheese’s that also melt, please let me know in the comments.
  • Alpro yoghurts. I have tried so many of their flavours and have loved them all, Mango, blueberry, coconut, vanilla, they are honestly all great, I love the Alpro range!

My go to easy or ready meal options

  • Dr Oetka Ristorante Margherita pomodori Vegan Pizza. Not only is this pizza delicious it is also only £3 making it extremely affordable now making it a household favourite!
  • BOL Posh Noodles Malaysian Laksa Ramen. 
  • BOL Posh Noodles Sweet and Sticky Teriyaki Udon.  Both of these are delicious but honestly as a brand their entire range is amazing!  most are quick and easy meals that you just stick in the microwave for 3 minutes. The things they do is just insane, they have soups, which I’ve tried and are also delicious, shakes, curries, stews, pasta pots and veg pots, if you’re looking for something quick and easy but also delicious and nutritious these are definitely worth a try. 
  • Plant Chef Meat Free Spaghetti Bolognese. Plant chef is Tesco’s plant-based range, I do really enjoy this as a quick 5-minute meal, it’s a great alternative to the classic Bolognese made even better if you’re short of time.
  • Plant Menu Coronation Chickpea Curry with Rice. This is a favourite of mine from Aldi, if you like Coronation Chicken you are sure to love Aldi’s Vegan take on it.

Snacks 

  • Kallo Belgian dark chocolate rice cake minis. These are a great on the go/travel snack that you can grab when you’re heading out the door. I love these they are one of my favourite snacks because they are a great low cal option when I’m in the mood for something sweet.
  • Quorn Sweet Chilli Mini Fillets. These are a yummy alternative to chicken, they are a delicious ready to eat snack, sandwich filler or go great in a salad, whatever suits you best they are fab!
  • The Foodie Market Lentil Bites, Sea Salt Flavour. This specific brand I think is only available at Aldi, but most supermarkets I have been to do sell a version of these crisps, and honestly all the ones I have tried are delicious. Straight from the bag or paired with a dip like sweet chilli/red pepper houmous they make a great snack.
  • Misfits Protein bars. I was on the hunt for a good protein bar that tasted good, was not full of sugar and had a decent amount of protein in it without that nasty protein taste and these absolutely tick all the boxes… they are delicious! They have a fab range of flavours and are adding new ones all the time. My personal favourite is Banoffee it contains 15g of protein, only 1g of sugar and is both vegan and Gluten free! They are a UK based company but I think they ship all over the world. They are available online and I think are now starting to stock in some stores but I think this is currently only in the UK. If you are looking for a vegan protein bar these are by far the best I’ve found! I’m aware that this sounds like an AD and I wish it was but definitely isn’t, I just really love them.
  • M&S Roasted Moroccan Style Coated Chickpea and Broad beans. These are a great on the go snack. They are high in fibre and a good source of protein and so delicious. If you haven’t got a Marks and Spencer’s local to you Graze also do lots options very similar to this.

Sweet treats/deserts 

  • Alpro Custard Vanilla. I have to say it’s not something I have very often but the first time I tried it I struggled to believe that it was vegan, it literally tastes no different to “normal” custard.
  • Halo Top Salted Caramel Pretzel Plant based Ice Cream. If I am honest I’ve tried many vegan ice creams and none of them have disappointed, but this specific one is my favourite because not only is it a combination of the most delicious flavours it is also only 380 calories for the entire tub, which quite honestly is a dream because I often sit down with my ice cream with the intention of only eating some or even half, but somehow it just never happens… at £5.25/£5.50 it’s by no means the cheapest but if like me you have a sweet tooth but also like to watch the calorie intake it definitely makes it worth the price.
  • Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough Non – Dairy Ice Cream. Not so kind on the calorie’s but definitely a delicious treat, that tastes just as good if not better than dairy cookie dough ice cream.
  • Magnum Vegan classic Ice Cream. Another ice cream fav of mine is these, honestly, I couldn’t tell the difference, they taste like the original dairy ones…so good!
  • GRO Plant Based Dark Choc Chunk Cookies. These cookies I stumbled across when I was on holiday, I was in the Welsh town of Bala and was looking for snacks in their local co-op shop, unfortunately I don’t think they are available in all co-op stores just the larger ones as I live local to one that is much smaller and doesn’t sell them, but if you can find them, they are dangerously delicious!
  • GU Chocolate and Vanilla Cheesecake. These are not only vegan but also gluten free and taste great!
  • BOSH Classic Carrot Cake. If like me you are a massive carrot cake lover then you are going to absolutely love this vegan alternative that BOSH have come out with… it is so soft and creamy I would choose it over any other carrot cake whether I was vegan or not!

This is by no means all of my favourites, but if I had included them all this blog post would have been double the length! I will do an updated version of this post in the near future, with some new products I’ve tried and tested.

Please feel free to Comment any of your plant-based/Vegan favourites below, I’m always looking for new things to try. 

What ever your food preference I hope you enjoyed this post.❤️

Published by A Work In Progress

My name is Natalie, I am a 30 something year old wife and mum of two children and one cheeky dachshund called Winston. I am a Mental Health Blogger and aspiring motivational speaker. It was May of 2019 that I decided to set up my website A Work in Progress, to create a blog based primarily on the subject of Mental Health. I chose to call myself and my website A work in Progress because after so many years of trying to seek perfection, living with extreme Anxiety and Depression has really helped me to realise that the something I was looking for simply didn’t exist. No one is perfect nor will they ever be, we continuously evolve and grow through the different experiences we have and the hurdles we encounter, thus making perfect versions of exactly who we are at that time in our lives. The intention with my blog is to inspire other’s and help them through the tough times, whilst drawing awareness to a subject that still does not get enough attention. Over the last few years I myself have struggled with Mental Health illnesses, specifically Anxiety and Depression. I first began writing as a way of helping myself to deal with my illness. It allowed me to express how I felt in detail and in turn allowed me to process my thoughts and figure out how best to manage and deal with them. I hope to spread a little more kindness into a world that doesn’t always feel very kind. I believe it is so important to recognise the colossal impact kind words can have and remove the perception that we should aspire to be like someone else rather than be happy with who we are. I want to share my experiences with others, to show that although tough and a journey that takes time, it is possible to reach the lowest point in your life and come out the other side.

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