Harriet’s top vegan food buys for students

A portrait of Harriet, an IconInc student and passionate vegan
Harriet, from The Glassworks

Harriet, from The Glassworks, gives us the low-down on going vegan as a student...

Thinking of going vegan? What if I told you that it’s a lot easier, tastier and cheaper than you’d imagine (so basically the perfect student diet)?

When I first turned vegan I was definitely more influenced by animal rights activism and speciesism. If you haven’t come across speciesism before, it’s really interesting, it’s how humans treat some species of animals more morally than others. But the longer I’ve been vegan for, the more I’ve realised that this diet really is one of the simplest things you can do as an individual to help preserve the planet for future generations.

To inspire your plant-based journey, check out my top vegan food picks for students. This list should solve your snacking dilemmas and make meal prep totally hassle-free.

Up your vegan meal game with:

Strong Roots

I'm yet to try something from Strong Roots that I don't love. I always have their spinach bites with roast dinners and their vegetable fries with burgers as a healthy alternative to chips. You can pick them up in the freezer aisle of all major supermarkets and they're really affordable.

Obviously, in an ideal world, we would all tuck into amazing home cooked meals from scratch every night, but who really has the time for that? Definitely not us students! That's why I think these products are a real game changer for vegans.

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Violife Original Cheese

Who says you can't be vegan and enjoy cheese? Vegan cheese has come on leaps and bounds since I turned vegan, and this meal is a great way to use it. My cheesy potato bake is a favourite and is always requested when I offer to cook for everyone in our cluster of apartments.

To make my bake, I use the grated Violife Original Cheese and sprinkle on top about ten minutes before I take it out of the oven, for the perfect melted cheesy goodness. My top tip if you're going to whip this up, is to make sure your potatoes are really crispy before you add the sauce and bake again. Patience is key!

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Nutritional yeast

Nutritional yeast is deactivated yeast that has a strong cheesy flavour, you can add it to literally anything, and even eat it on top of pasta to replace cheese. If you ask me, it’s veganism's best kept secret and actually where the name of my Instagram comes from, nutritional becomes 'nooch' and @noochyvegan was born!

These past few months I've begun to see big retailers stocking it, which is amazing because I used to only be available at specialist shops but now I can just walk to my local Sainsbury's and pick some up. I use nutritional yeast to make carbonara, which was one of my favourite meals as a kid.

The Tofoo Co.

Tofu is such a versatile ingredient, it's so tasty and it's a great source of protein for vegans. The Tofoo Co. make the best tasting tofu that's so easy to cook with so this is great if you're new to the world of tofu.

I often make small crispy tofu cubes to have on top of pasta or stir-fry, but recently I decided to get my chef on and I made tofu steaks to add to a double stack burger, with burgers from Strong Roots (yes, I’m obsessed with that brand). Remember to squeeze most of the liquid out of the block before you cut it into steaks, then add whatever seasoning you like, a dash of soy sauce and coat with corn flour. After you've done this add to a frying pan and cook on medium heat till they're a bit crispy.

Sainsbury’s Vegan Cumberland Shroomdogs

I can't tell you how many times I've had these recommended to me – and for good reason too! The Shroomdogs from Sainsbury's are a staple within the vegan community. Yes, there are loads of great vegan sausages out there but move over Linda McCartney because these are really special and are made from mushrooms.

I like to have mine with mashed up crispy potatoes and salad, such a simple and quick meal that really hits the spot!

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Vivera Veggie Kebab

You can pick this up at any supermarket and it’s one of my all-time favourite vegan products (win-win!). Usually I'd just fry it up and have it with some pitta, hummus and salad but if you’re feeling creative you could try whipping up my kebab meat and veg stir-fry.

I use Udon noodles for every stir-fry I make because they’re vegan and they taste so good. Any combination of mixed veg will work fine for this recipe and I used teriyaki sauce but if you want to mix it up, that‘s up to you!

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Sort your snack situation out with:

Magnum Vegan Classic

The Glassworks actually sell these in the freezer in reception so you don't even need to leave IconInc to enjoy a vegan sweet treat. My non-vegan friends have even told me that these are better than the original!

Poundbakery’s sausage roll

You can't go wrong with two for £1 at Poundbakery during a stressful revision session (see I told you being vegan can be cheaper than you think!). These veggie sausage rolls are everything!

Texas BBQ Pringles

Not all Pringles are vegan so be sure to always check the back and look for ingredients in bold. However these ones definitely are and they're my favourite!

Vegan Subway

Over the past few months the amount of companies I've seen release vegan options is staggering, and Subway is no exception. If you live at The Glassworks, you're in luck because you live less than a minute away from the beauty that is the vegan Subway with all that amazingly creamy garlic aioli sauce.

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Golden Oreos

I’m going to let you in on a secret here. Everyone loves Oreos right? But I bet most people don't realise they're actually vegan! Golden Oreos are my winner.

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Jus-Rol Pains au Chocolat Dough

These little rolls of heaven are hands down the best sweet option out there for vegans right now. All you have to do is assemble the contents of the box (it's honestly not hard and the instructions are really clear) pop them in the oven and congratulations you've become a party chef! I promise you won't be disappointed!

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If you’re ready and raring to switch up your diet, make sure to check out Harriet’s Instagram which is full of vegan recipes, foodie buys and cooking tips. Want to surround yourself with passionate people like Harriet while you’re at university? Find out more about living at IconInc, here.

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