Don’t let social distancing convince you that cooking has to be boring. Try out these vegan cooking tips and add a dash of flavour to lockdown.

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.

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

Original source: https://www.viva.org.uk