5 easy quick vegan meals

Here are my top five easy family-friendly vegan meals. Whether you are newly vegan, panicking because one is coming to dinner (OMG – what do they eat?!) or just want some healthy dairy/meat-free feelgood food, give these a try. I’d love to know how you get on – you can email or share your upload using #littlevbigv

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Gnocchi with homemade tomato sauce (soya free)

Not all shop-bought gnocchi is egg and milk-free, so do check. I use Essential Waitrose gnocchi. They take just three minutes to cook, so save them until your sauce is ready.

You can add in the amount of veg you like depending on how many you are feeding. I go with a handful of diced veg per person (but only one can of tomatoes regardless).

  • Gnocchi
  • 1 teaspoon of oil (olive or whatever you have to hand)
  • Clove of garlic
  • Onion (white or red)
  • Diced veg – small cubes cook faster (carrots and celery used this time)
  • Can of chopped tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Teaspoon oil (olive or whatever you have to hand)
  • Clove garlic
  • Onion (white or purple)
  • Diced veg – small cubes cook faster (carrots and celery used this time)
  • Can of chopped tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Takes 15 minutes including prep.

For the sauce: chop up the garlic and onions and fry in a splash of oil until soft but translucent. Add any veg you have hanging around, diced. I used carrots and celery this time but often pop in courgette, aubergine, fennel or butternut squash – use up those odds and ends in the fridge. Fry for a few further minutes and add the can of tomatoes, season and leave to simmer. Pop on your gnocchi following the packet cooking guide and dish up together when ready.

Great with vegan parmasan such as Good Karma  from Waitrose and some Coop stores.

Note: if cooking for kids who are a little fussier, you can put the sauce in a blender to disguise the various vegetables and make a smooth sauce. This also goes perfectly with spaghetti.

Left over sauce and be added to pasta for tomorrow’s dinner, when cooled use to dip in nacho crisps or breadsticks or spread on toast with a mashed advocate for breakfast.


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Fry’s ‘chicken’ nugget sandwich

Fry’s nuggets are amazing, hands down. So much so, my daughter wouldn’t eat them at first as she didn’t believe they were vegan! Now there is no stopping her!

  • Fry’s Family Food nuggets (available from Morrisons, Ocado, Nisa, Holland & Barrett and good local health food stores)
  • Mayonnaise (I use Follow Your Heart brand – it’s the best – plain or sriracha)
  • Salad leaves
  • Avocado
  • Bread roll, sliced loaf or pitta

Prep time 10 mins.

Heat oven and cook the nuggets for 8–10 mins. Meanwhile, prep your fillings using whatever salad you have in the fridge. In mine this time I used 1/3 avocado, 3 x halved baby tomatoes, some leaves and some leftover homemade coleslaw (grated carrot, cabbage, squeeze of lemon and a spoonful of plain mayo).

I prefer using a pitta as it holds everything in making it easier to devour, but use up what you have. Let the nuggets cool for a moment or two and layer up all your ingredients in whichever way you wish and eat. Enjoy!

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Chickpea veg mix (soya free)

There are lots of versions of this floating about specifying certain ingredients and quantities but I often make this when I’m in a hurry with whatever I happen to have in the fridge, as long as its raw veg – add whatever takes your fancy. This kind of meal is perfect for avoiding food waste.

You can use the finished mix as a sandwich filler, side salad, dip or just as it is straight from the bowl. I always make more than I need as it keeps nicely in the fridge for a few days. This will make enough filling for four sandwiches:

  • Can of chickpeas (drained and washed)
  • Clove garlic – crushed
  • Diced veg – I used:
    Cherry tomatoes
  • Stick of celery
  • ¼ pepper
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 carrot
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon of mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of Follow Your Heart mayo (or any dairy-free)

Mash up the chickpeas with a potato masher, and add a dollop of mayo, lemon juice and crushed garlic. Dice the veg and add to the mix stirring well enough to evening mix everything and its ready! Taste as you go along to make it your own.

 Note: For kids you can omit the stronger flavours of mustard and garlic and add their favorite veg only if they like plainer food – get them involved by helping by mashing the chickpeas!

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Avocado mix (soya free)

This can be used to add into any type of pasta or spaghetti / spiralized veg as a fresh pesto mix, spread on toast for breakfast, a sandwich filler for lunch or as a side dip.

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 3 basil leaves
  • 1 crushed garlic clove (use less or more depending on your current snogging situation!)
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Squeeze of lemon juice

Blend all ingredients to a paste either with a fork, handheld blender or I pop mine in a nutribullet – and that’s it! I tend to do double quantities as it disappears quickly.

Picture show the mix on toast with harissa paste. I also like to add in protein powder such as Pulsin’ Hemp Powder or a teaspoon of chai seeds.

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Vegan Spag Bol

This is my Husband’s recipe, he recently cooked it for a friend who was a little nervous about eating vegan food. It went down very well and the lot was scoffed! We served it up with homemade coleslaw, salad leaves and a mango, avocado coriander salad – delicious!

  • Fry’s vegan mince (available from Morrisons, Ocado, Nisa, Holland & Barrett and good local health food stores)
  • Garlic
  • Can of chopped tomatoes
  • Teaspoon of olive oil
  • Tablespoon tomato puree
  • Onion, chopped
  • Celery, chopped
  • Thyme – handful dried or fresh
  • Splash of red wine – optional – see note

Fry’s mince and vegan gravy is my favourite mince and 100% vegan. You cook from frozen in less than 10 minutes and it comes with a sachet of gravy.

Heat the oil and add in the onion, carrot, celery and garlic, and sweat until they are softened but not browned. Add the frozen mince and, when it has defrosted and brown, deglaze the pan with a splash of red wine (or water) – it sticks a bit! Add the puree, more wine (if using) and stir before adding the can of tomatoes.

Follow the packet instructions for the gravy (dissolve in cold water, add to pot and top up with more water), then simmer on a low heat while you cook up your pasta. Drain pasta and mix with the mince before serving with some vegan parmesan.

Dish up on its own or with your favorites salads.

Note: Most booze is not labelled if it uses animal products such as honey, isinglass (from fish bladder,) gelatin, egg whites, and sea shells, among other things. I use Barnivore to check. Ocado have the best vegan filter for booze I know of when shopping online. 

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