“Hi guys, long time no see!”
-me, because I haven’t written a post in over a month.
-also you, when you finally see your friends again when social distancing is over.
Jokes aside, many of us are now spending a lot more time at home, and most of us will self-isolate in the weeks and months to come. Without touching needlessly on the panic around this pandemic, I’d like to share a few super simple ideas for meals you can make during this time, using long-life ingredients from your cupboard and freezer.
So, without further ado: here’s what to eat when you don’t have much to do aside from… eat!
FROZEN BERRY SMOOTHIE
We’ll start, naturally, with breakfast: a mixed berry smoothie! You can whizz one up using frozen banana, frozen berries, and water, then voila: a healthy, filling breakfast. You can also sneak some vegan protein powder in there if you like, or create a smoothie bowl topped off with granola, oats, dried fruit, seeds and nuts!
Or, you might be more of a milk-and-cereal sort of person. Plant-based milk does have a long shelf-life, but if you can’t get your hands on any right now, oat milk (my personal favourite) is super easy to make at home. You essentially only need regular rolled oats, water, and something to strain it with, although this lovely recipe from Minimalist Baker calls for dates, too.
VEGGIE SATAY NOODLES
For lunch: some mixed veg noodles. Perhaps you can get your hands on some mixed frozen veggies, or you have some lying around in tins. Either way, stir fry those with some rice noodles, and then tart your meal up with an easy dressing made from soy sauce + peanut butter.
Probably the simplest recipe of all: cook up some couscous, then dress with olive oil, turmeric + your choice of other spices and salt, then add plenty of dried fruit, and some chopped nuts if you fancy. Done.
BEANS ON TOAST
A British institution! You can of course use a tin of baked beans, but if you’re running low, you can whip up your own using a tin of mixed beans (or any bean you like best), some tomato puree, salt and paprika. Cook down until soft then pour over defrosted, toasted bread, or a baked potato!
Another bean-based recipe: easy vegan chilli! You can follow my recipe for sweet potato + black bean chilli if you have the ingredients,or you can improvise fairly easily with whichever beans you have, some tinned tomatoes, and your choice of spices. Serve with rice.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP
Really, you can whizz any veggies you like into a soup using some water and a stock cube, but I’ll specify butternut soup, as squash is a fairly long-lasting veggie, and makes a really creamy soup when cooked with a can of coconut milk (or water), stock, curry powder, and onions & garlic if you have any. Boil away, then blitz with a blender, and enjoy right away or freeze for later!
Onto some dinner inspo, with dhal. Simply cook any lentils (red lentils cook fastest) in a sauce made from tinned tomatoes, curry powder, spices of your choice, stock and water. This is another recipe to start off with onions and garlic if you have them handy. Towards the end of cooking, throw in some frozen peas and frozen spinach, then serve up with rice!
Finally, we’ve come to pasta, and the mighty spag bol. For this, use either frozen soy mince or puy lentils to make the base, then cook down with onion, garlic, tinned tomatoes, mixed herbs, marmite (trust me!), and chopped tinned mushrooms for a meat-y pasta sauce.
BAKE, BAKE, BAKE
My final recommendation is to spend some time baking! It’s a great way to get your hands on some baked goods that haven’t already been cooked, frozen, defrosted and cooked again, but it’s also an excellent way to pass the time. I am going to be perfecting my vegan brownie recipe, and my boyfriend and I are going to get a sourdough starter… started. We’re actually pretty excited!
And that’s your lot. There are loads more recipes floating about the internet, of course, and I’m sure you’ve got a mental stock-pile of your own, but it’s always handy to have a few written down in one place.
Please do let me know if you make any of these meals, and especially if you bake anything exciting!
Be safe and take care.