A fifth of ready meals sold by UK supermarkets are now plant-based or vegetarian, reflecting the huge increase in vegan and veggie-based eating in recent years.
The Eating Better alliance, which carried out the research, says plant-based meal options have gone up by 92% since its first survey in 2018. They’re also the cheapest option at the majority of retailers, according to the survey.
But while plant-based food is a healthy and tasty option, what’s even more delicious and healthy is plant-based food you make yourself – and while it’s not always cheaper to make your own (although it can be!) you know exactly what’s in it. Here are a few mouth-watering vegetarian and vegan dishes to try making at home…
1. Sweet and sour Thai fried rice
Made from leftover rice and any veg you have in your fridge or veg rack, this quick fried rice dish, created by young FullOfPlants food blogger Thomas, is “the kind of food that boosts your mood and cheers you up after just two spoonfuls”, he promises. It’s super-easy to make, and has the perfect balance of sweet, salty and spicy, with a subtle tart flavour, he says.
2. Creamy curry pasta
This unusual but tasty blend of Italian and Indian by @nourishingalex only takes a few minutes longer than the 10 minutes or so you need to boil a pan of pasta, and contains store-cupboard ingredients that can easily be swapped for other veggie items stashed in your cupboard or fridge.
3. Quick Turkish pizza
Another amalgam of two (or even three) different cuisines – this time Turkish and Italian/American – has made that most unusual of dishes – a healthy pizza! The Happy Pear, the dish’s creators, says that while Turkish flatbread is traditionally made with a yeast dough, their recipe has been adapted to use a quick and easy dough, so it only takes 25 minutes to make.
4. Pesto gnocchi
Whether you’re an omnivore, vegetarian or vegan, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of ‘cheating’ occasionally. This recipe by Lauren Toyota of the HotForFood blog uses shop-bought pesto on top of gnocchi made using leftover mashed potatoes. If you don’t want to buy pesto, a little olive oil and rosemary works a treat.
5. Easy potato cauliflower curry
This is a super-easy curry from @run2food that takes less than half-an-hour to make, and can use whatever veg you want to throw in!
6. Saucy vegetable stir-fry
There’s nothing better than a stir-fry to get loads of veg down you in a tasty manner – and they’re usually a dish that even veg-hating kids will eat! This recipe by @plantbasedtraveler includes a home-made sauce and home-prepared vegetables, but if you’re looking for an even quicker alternative, shop-bought stir-fry sauces are pretty cheap and tasty, and packets of fresh supermarket stir-fry veg will save lots of time.