1. Fruit. It’s easy, it’s healthy, it’s a winner.
2. Crisps. Plain ones are potatoes, oil and salt. No animal products. Some slightly panicky people in sandwich shops have told me they have nothing for me, with a display full of crisps right there.
3. Biscuits. Check the packaging, but some are unintentionally vegan: Bourbon biscuits, Hobnobs, ginger nuts and Oreo cookies. Wahey!
4. Oatcakes, rice cakes, Ryvita, crumpets, hot cross buns. A little jam or peanut butter can enliven them if required (omit the margarine, most conventional brands contain buttermilk).
5. Dried fruit and nuts. If you provided me with a little bowl of raisins and cashew nuts I would tuck in quite happily. Did you buy a particular dried fruit or nut for a baking proj then forget about the rest of the packet? Feed them to a hungry vegan!
6. All of the above – if your visitor stays for ages, this lot would sustain them for a good while!
I will give you three basics to start with:
1. Baked beans – with toast (most bread is vegan) or a jacket potato if you have advance notice of their arrival.
2. Houmous – a vegan classic. If you haven’t got any in your fridge, it is easy to buy.
3. Peanut butter – depending on the consistency of your peanut butter, you can put it on toast or bread. Or, buy a jar of cashew nut butter or almond butter and see if you get addicted yourself. Or if you’re not into your nut butters at all, offer a banana sandwich. Mmmmm.
If you have a bit of notice that your vegan friend is arriving, here are some suggestions.
1. Soup. Check the packaging if it’s bought soup, but there are milk-free soups out there. If you are making soup (hurray!), lots of recipes don’t actually need stock. If you wanted, though, you could invest in some vegan boullion or stock cubes – the Kallo organic low salt ones are a good cupboard-space-saver.
2. Falafel. You can buy them ready made, or buy a mix and fry them yourself. I have had some super tasty lunches at my friends’ houses where they have provided a feast of falafel, pitta bread, houmous and a selection of salad items.
3. Bean burger. Check the packaging, but some of these could live in your freezer for those spontaneous BBQs or fry ups. I made an eye-catchingly yumptious lunch with a ripe avocado mashed into a jacket potato instead of butter, topped with raw tomatoes and red pepper and a bean burger balanced on top.
4. Simple pasta. Some tomato-based pasta sauces are vegan. Alternatively, you can create a nice and nutritious dish in about 15 minutes by cooking pasta with a few frozen peas chucked in then adding a few walnuts, some avocado (if you have it), and a drizzle of olive oil.
And three miscellaneous pieces of extra info:
1. New food labelling regulations put allergens in bold, so read the ingredients and if milk/milk product or egg jumps out at you, save that food for yourself! If it says it may contain traces of milk from the manufacturing process, that is generally a legal disclaimer rather than a promise, so it is probably alright for a non-allergic vegan.
2. There is usually a FreeFrom section in supermarkets, so if you feel indulgent, you can invest a quid in a bar of pretend choc and stash it at the back of your cupboard to delight your guest. There are all sorts of cake-y type things in those aisles too, if you like feeding guests things like that and aren’t sure about doing your own vegan baking.
3. Ask your vegan friend what they like or can eat if you’re not sure!
I hope this demystifies things for you!
Have you got any tasty and hasty suggestions to add?