By Samantha Jean
Hello Vegan Zine!
I’m here today with my very first article – not quite the introductory and classic “Why I Went Vegan” story we might all expect – but given the circumstances I hope this article hits home with some of you and makes you feel seen in this challenging time. Recently, I stocked up on vegan goodies in preparation for working from home and social distancing during COVID-19.
Now when I say “stocked up,” I mean I bought more than I usually would at one time, but I do not condone panic buying out entire sections of the store – this is a time for sharing and community building. That being said, if you have extra food or household necessities in this time, I encourage you to share with some of the places linked on this site so everyone can have access to items they need.
I’m also open about living on a budget and wrote this article including the real cost of items. Veganism can be accessible and not overly complicated, even now. So here are my Top 10 Vegan Items I Stocked Up On For COVID-19:
Good As Grains
1. Pasta and 2. a good Marinara: I’m Italian-American, so my blood is basically a red sauce made on a Sunday. Since going vegan I’ve had to distance myself from a lot of the foods I ate growing up – Italians put cheese in everything! Pasta with a good marinara, a little bit of red pepper flakes, and nutritional yeast is as close to mia Nonna’s cooking as I can get right now, so I eat it quite frequently. I did not stock up on any vegan meatballs because I like to make them myself out of eggplant, chickpeas, breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, oats and spices. It’s a bit of an intensive process, but it’s hardly a price to pay for eating food so close to my heart. I usually double the chickpeas from this recipe if I’m spending the time to make them.
3. Oats and Oat milk: It took me a very long time to find MY vegan milk, and I have officially settled on oat milk. I tried almond milk when it was first becoming popular, but the unsweetened version was still far too sweet for me. I then tried cashew milk, but found it to be grainy. Planet Oat’s milk was what turned me onto oat milk initially, and recently I’ve been buying Chobani’s Oat Milk for it’s creamy texture! I stocked up on raw oats as well because they are so versatile. They can be made into oatmeal (obviously) with peanut butter and fruit, sprinkled on top of a hearty bread, or when the reality comes that I run out of oat milk, I’ll have the option to make my own.
4. Pita and Corn Chips: Pita and hummus, as well as corn chips and salsa are my original accidentally vegan loves. Both of these snacks are healthy and filling, require approximately no prep time, and a minimal amount of clean up! Hummus and salsa are both super easy to make on your own and customizable to your tastes. I usually add some paprika or roasted garlic into my hummus for an added flavor.
5. Almost every single kind of bean: Like I said, ya girl on a budget. Many of the processed vegan proteins cost $1-2.50US per serving, whereas beans – even the organic ones – are $1US for seven servings. Beans are the most common protein in my diet, so I stocked up on: chickpeas to make my own hummus, cannellini beans to make pasta fazol, and black beans for vegan tacos. My vegan tacos are usually con tortillas, portabella or white mushrooms, homemade guac, black beans, nutritional yeast, and tomato. I also bought cans of lentil soup for a quick and easy – and cheap! – meal.
6. Nutritional yeast: Enough said? If you’re new to vegetarian/vegan foods, nutritional yeast will quickly become a staple of your pantry. One tablespoon has 5G of protein, making it a simple protein boost to any meal. It’s also free of most common allergens. Easily sprinkle it into pasta and sauce or over popcorn for a bit of added creaminess!
7. Processed proteins: While I love beans, I cannot eat them for every meal. I splurged and also bought: Boca turk’y burgers and veggie crumbles, vegan nuggets, and vegan chick’n from various brands. All of these proteins easily swap out the meat part of any meal, but I usually season them after they’re cooked.
8. Nuts: I eat a fair bit of nuts for their healthy fats and proteins. Walnuts are my go to, especially with a little agave nectar and cinnamon all warmed up! This snack gives me cozy vibes for a very uncozy time. In addition, I stocked up on pistachios and peanut butter for PB&J. Storing peanut butter in the fridge makes it last for as long as possible which is helpful when trying to reduce how often you are going to the market.
9. At this time, I was more focused on buying non-perishables than veggies, so this list is shockingly short:
- Potatoes and onions specifically for latkes!
- Mushrooms which can easily be added to almost any meal. I like to dice them up finely and add them to pasta, in a taco, or on top of a Boca burger.
- Eggplant for vegan meatballs
- Tomatoes for my marinara, in guac, a taco, or on top of a Boca burger.
- Avocados for avocado toast, on top of Boca burgers, and guac!
- I was really hoping to find canned tomatoes, but the market was sold out at the time.
- Canned veggies are not as fresh as fresh produce, however they will not spoil as quickly. In this uncertain time when going to the market seems like a huge task – at least to me – I’ll be relying much more on canned veggies.
- I personally have not signed up for any veggie delivery services, but Misfits Market and Imperfect Foods are reputable companies providing this service. I’m unsure how COVID-19 is impacting their delivery service, so check out their websites for information on your location!
- Toiletries weren’t an area I had to stock up on much. I usually make my own toothpaste out of baking soda and coconut oil, but my budget was getting hit hard this month stocking up on everything else. I ended up buying a tube of Dr. Bronner’s peppermint toothpaste. I don’t love it as much as the homemade stuff but it was good in a pinch! My roommates and I recently subscribed to Grove Collective, a certified B corporation that makes household paper products (and more!) out of sustainable materials such as bamboo. This supplied our every precious toilet paper and paper towels. Again I’m unsure how COVID-19 is impacting their deliveries, so check them out for information on your area.
I’m looking forward to getting more creative with vegan cooking as some items I typically eat become less available to me. It’ll be like vegan chopped, with much lower stakes! (Or no stakes at all because I’m vegan! Ha! Okay sorry back to the content now) I’m not saying that COVID-19 has a silver lining, and I’m not pushing myself or anyone else to find one.
I’m trying to cope with this just as much as everyone else, and I truly find so much joy in cooking.
Also, if your favorite vegan foods are sold out, I encourage you to try some of the less popular and less expensive brands before becoming frustrated and potentially eating animal products again! Reach out to your vegan community for support. We are here and we see you!
Veg love, Sam
Samantha Jean is a Boston based feminist activist and vegan enthusiast interested in social change via the arts. She loves vegan cooking and trying new recipes – even if they fail! She loves being outside, enveloped by the power of Mother Nature, and sunshine. Follow her on instagram @pb_and_sammyj for vegan and LGBTQ+ content!