For busy vegans who struggle to find time to cook and/or cannot find a good choice of affordable, healthy pre-packaged foods, a minimal-preparation meal can be a lifesaver. Here are a few options which, due to not needing constant stirring and allowing me to get on with other things whilst they cook, have bailed me out on more than one occasion! All can be customised by changing the vegetables and seasoning used, as well as to make larger or smaller portions; all serve two at present.
The beauty of these is that you can mix and match the fillings to use of ingredients and cater to your own tastes. Combinations which I personally have found to work well include 1) vegan cheese, mushroom and onion, 2) vegan cheese and Marmite, and 3) spinach, garlic and mushroom.
*Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/420°F.
*Roll out a packet of ready-purchased vegan pastry, cut in half (to make two strudels), and lightly brush with olive oil.
*Chop up the fillings and place onto the pastry, leaving a gap around each edge. Add seasonings if desired.
*Roll up each piece of pastry and lightly pinch the edges and long side closed.
*Bake the strudels for twenty minutes.
Aubergine and Pasta Bake (Pictured)
*Soak two handfuls of some dry macaroni in cold water for 5 minutes, whilst pre-heating the oven to 250°C/480°F.
*Whilst the pasta is soaking, chop up a medium aubergine and open and drain a tin of kidney beans.
*Cover the bottom of a medium casserole dish with olive oil, then a layer of passata, then add the aubergine, beans, a shaking of oregano and cayenne pepper and cover again with a layer of oil and passata.
*Drain the macaroni and add to the dish, then stir until all ingredients are mixed.
*Optional - top with a layer of vegan cheese.
*Put the lid on the casserole dish and bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on how soft you like your pasta.
*Pre-heat the oven to 250°C/480°F.
*Chop up potatoes or sweet potatoes, plus any combination of carrots, parsnips, turnip, swede, onions, garlic, cauliflower and broccoli, so that all of the veg half-fills a medium-sized casserole dish.
*Add a drained tin of beans or chick peas, plus black pepper and oregano, and five tablespoons of olive oil. Mix well.
*Roast for 20 minutes, uncovered, then mix the veg and roast again for another 20-5 minutes.
*Serve with apple sauce or a creamy garlic dip.
Photograph: Author's own.