Trying times might be the hardest to prepare for. But not if you know what to get, and for how long you would need to plan with them. The following, plant-based options will give you all the supplies you’d need. These are some of the foods to stock in any situation.
Let’s face it, this Covid outbreak got us where it hurts. People are not handling it well. The epidemic caused panic both in stores, and in our homes. In Ireland, where I’m residing, people bought all the flour, bread, and toilet paper they could find within a matter of days. Did it really make sense though? There are many more things you should rather have at home. And they all help your vegan journey as well! So, allow me to share what I think are the best foods to stock in such times!
To be honest, I’m a kind of a food hoarder. So for me, having enough stocks at home was no biggie since the beginning. It’s a strange habit I picked up at least a decade ago. Now I’ve found much use for it, and if you read on, hopefully you will too!
Also, if you prefer to order takeaways, when they are open, make sure to check out this post, and then this one. I’ve collected all the good places in Dublin for you to browse from. Flavorful moments guaranteed!
There are many things you should stock up at home that help you in the long run. Let’s cover some of them that actually make sense and have an incredibly long shelf life (and also, are super budget-friendly):
A basic staple food in all households. Rice, not only being versatile, is also super simple to make. I myself love to not care too much about it. I just add one full cup of rice, and two cups of water to a small pot. Then, all you have to do is to heat it up, and keep it on low simmer. When you see small bubbles forming on top, turn off the heat, and cover the pot for another 10-15 minutes. If you really want to be lazy, and have something tasty, add either one cardamom, or a teaspoonful of whole cumin. Magical, unforgettable, super healthy!
One cup of dry rice turns into 2-3 cups when cooked and can stay in your fridge for about 3-4 days.
Rice is one of the cheapest products you can buy, that has a crazy long shelf life. I usually get about 2kg of rice around 2€ from the Asian markets in town, but buying it in bigger bulks can be even better. You can get a big bag of 5 to 10kg for 15€ tops. You should not spend more on it though. There will be plenty of other foods to stock here.
My favorite type of complex carb, spuds (as the Irish call it) can be used in every kind of dish. They last out on your shelves in a cool, dry place for months even, if you’re lucky. This is of course a bit challenging in Ireland. Great side dish, amazing snack, hangover cure (best applied right after a party night, before the sun comes up and the chipper closes), and much more! I’ve recently started adding them to my chickpea curries for fun. They are, after all, very versatile indeed.
Also, super cheap! 5-10kg bags go for about 5€. You might even get a better deal at your local veg grocer. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for a good offer! Also don’t forget to share with your loved ones at home.
Fancy a burger? Maybe bolognese? How about some traditional curry? Lentils have got that covered for you. Especially in their split version, these legumes are the easiest to cook. You can sprinkle the desired amount in something already cooking, and voilá! Cooked lentils are part of the meal in 20 short minutes.
A perfect friend, amongst your general foods to stock! Besides being full on protein, they also contain important types of fiber. Lentils mostly pack complex carbohydrates, that take longer for your body to digest, and keep you going for a much longer time than simple foods.
A 2kg bag of lentils that lasts for about a month, if you actively eat it every day, usually sells at 6-8€.
Hummus, burgers (again… who knew!), falafel, curries… the list goes on. Chickpeas are amazing and ready to please. Another, brilliant variation from the legumes’ family. I usually boil up a big batch in my presure cooker in 40-45 minutes, and put half of it away in portions, to freeze. That way I always have them, ready to pop in for a swim in a flavorful soup.
In general, you can find two varieties in shops: canned, and dry. While the most budget-friendly, and environmentally conscious option is the dry one, don’t decide just yet. If you need a good protein source and have literally no time to wait for the water to boil, a tin can might be your friend. Also, remember to keep the water from the can (also known as aquafaba), for baking, making faux omlette, and the like.
Buy them in bulk as well. 2kg bags usually go around 6-8€ and last a month, if you eat them every day.
Nowadays you can get at least 3 varieties of oats in big stores:
- Oat groats
- Steel-cut oats
- Steamed, rolled oats (oatmeal)
The order you see above also sorts them by cooking time, from longest, to shortest. But, if you’re really lazy in the mornings, like I am, you won’t even cook your rolled oats at all. They are perfectly safe to eat that way too. Plus, they add a great breakfast base to your foods to stock. Berries, a cup of oatmeal, coconut milk, a hint of cinnamon, and some grapes will start any day on the right foot!
You can use them for your breakfast or for a thicker smoothie. They are just the best cereal, as close to nature as they can be. Budget-wise they are also a dream come true. A kilogram of steamed, rolled oats cost 0.60€ – 1€ in the bigger supermarkets. You might even get lucky and get 1.5kg for that price. Holds for weeks, if not months.
6. Any, other kinds of legumes
Even though lentils and chickpeas are part of this category, it’s always good to have more variety. If you ever visited a Middle-Eastern store, or have a favorite Indian shop you go to, you’ll see colors, shapes, and sizes of all kinds. Their price vary greatly as well, but they all are worth a try.
Make sure to give the old chilli beans a swirl with black eyed beans, black turtle beans, or try something more colorful, like yellow split peas. Oh, right! Never forget peas! Even dried, they are an amazing source of food and nutrition!
7. Something green
Kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower (the only exception to “green” greens), your choice. If you can, make sure to get your fresh veggies in. They might not last that long (unless you use some tweaks), but they repay it by being extra nutritious and sustain us for longer. Even in these trying times, kale and broccoli are abundant everywhere. I have to admit, greens are not great foods to stock, so you might need to buy them more regularly, if you have the opportunity to do so.
If you’re into it, get a head of cabbage,. and ferment half of it, while the other half is cooked into some delicious main course. Your options are vast, the goal is only to keep your fiber, and vitamin K intake steady. Here’s why, if you are interested.
You could even be more adventurous and try asparagus, eat more cucumber, or make chana saag! Don’t let strange times reduce your options!
8. Some fruit, possibly
My preference is apples or bananas, but if I find some grapes, they are coming with me too. In general, I tend to be quite adventurous around my favorite ethnic stores. I even get to buy cherimoya sometimes, which reminds me of both a golf ball, and a really strange shaped pear. Don’t let its looks fool you though, the taste is worth every penny.
Fruits, if you still have the luxury to find some, are essential for our health. Make sure to always stock up on them as much as you can, and store them well. You can also get dried options, but make sure they don’t have any additional components, like processed sugars, and oils. They have the opposite effect on your health.
9. Tin cans of survival
It’s really useful to know what you can get out of a tin can, if all hell would break loose. Some might be just ingredients for your curry at some point, but many are a whole meal in one tiny metal container. Technology meets practicality, when you have these foods to stock your shelves. They are literally made for the future, in a safe way. Here are some things I’d highly recommend getting:
- Spaghetti Hoops, Baked Beans, and similar, premade meals
- Chopped Tomatoes
- Refried beans
- Precooked beans
- Corn cans
- Green Peas in a can
You might also consider getting tomato paste, in a tube. Extremely cheap (goes around 50c a tube), holds for incredibly long, and they are great for any soup starter. I admit, sometimes I also eat it on a slice of bread. They usually conserve it with salt and citric acid. So, not too many harmful things there.
Besides, when you buy a couple of these cans, they can turn into a quite solid meal within minutes. Try frying a small onion, and then add tomato paste, garlic, balsamic vinegar, and a can of chickpeas, and corn. Mix evenly, and done! You can modify this “recipe” to your liking of course.
Flavor is key for any long-term survivalist. So without further ado, here’s another, tiny list of vegan, tasty options you can store without a hassle:
- vinegar of any kind (I’d recommend apple cider, or balsamic, for awesomeness)
- ketchup / brown sauce
- mustard (most of them are vegan, make sure to check them before buying)
- chilli sauce (like Frank’s, or Sriracha!)
- premade sauces, like most of Lee Kum Kee‘s amazing products)
I hope this all makes sense to you and helps you all during these troubling times. Stay safe, and stay fed!
Would you like to know more about vegan protein? Click here!
Would you like to learn to eat healthier on a vegan diet? Click here!
Would you like to become a SMART vegan? Click here!