Updated: Feb 11
This week I discuss some key vegan frozen food staples that are great to have on hand during busy weeks.
By: Allegra Pearl
With the Ontario provincial stay at home order in full swing, I have been making weekly grocery lists to ensure I get everything I need in one go. This week, I'm going to highlight a few key vegan staples to always have stored away in your freezer. This way, no matter what yummy vegan meal you’re craving, you always have the right ingredients on hand to chef it up!
First and foremost, a classic freezer staple is frozen fruit. Whether you’re a strawberry, banana, mango, blueberry, cherry, cranberry, peaches or apple lover, there's a bag of frozen fruit with your name on it. Did you know that produce is frozen at its peak ripeness? So you'll be getting the same nutritional content, for a lower price.
Frozen fruit can be eaten as a snack, or used as an ingredient in a variety of delicious recipes for smoothies or as a topping in breakfast foods like oatmeal or cream of wheat. You'll never need to worry about your frozen fruit going to waste, since unopened packages keep for 8-10 months in the freezer, while opened bags last 6-9 months. Need I say more?
Now that we have our frozen fruit, another key staple to be added to the list is frozen veggies. There are a plethora of different packages of frozen veggies sold in grocery stores, from broccoli , green beans, corn, peas, spinach, cauliflower florets, kale, edamame, brussel sprouts and butternut squash, they've got it all.
Frozen veggies can be used for so many mouth watering vegan recipes like curries, smoothies, pasta dishes, etc. Keeping a bag of veggies in the freezer will ensure that even when you've ran out of fresh food in the fridge and the grocery store is closed, that you can still whip up a nutritious, rainbow, plant-based recipe for dinner! Even if it's something a easy as a stir fy.
Mock meat is another great thing to have in your freezer for easy access - especially if you're new to the plant-based lifestyle. We're so lucky to be vegan in a time where most grocery stores have some kind of plant-based food section, where you can stock up on a variety of alternatives. There are a few brands I'd recommend for people living here in Canada.
The first is Yves. I am a big fan of their Veggie Ground Round, which acts as an easy and affordable ground beef replacement. It's something make sure I have in my freezer, since these affordable packages are a good base for a huge variety of dishes, including tacos, Shepard’s pie, meaty pasta dishes, chilis and much more. Their veggie burgers are also a an easy thing to have on hand as well.
The second brand I'd recommend is Beyond Meat, which now has a few products available at most grocery stores in Canada. They make some of the most amazing burgers, sausages and a ground beef alternatives, however these products are definitely some of the pricer alternatives on the market today. Hot tip: If you've got a Costco card, you can find some Beyond Burgers and sausages for way cheaper in the freezer section.
The third brand is Gardein, which sells delicious mock meat in a variety of forms including: crispy tenders, fishless fillet, meatless meatballs, porkless sweet and sour bites, mandarine orange chicken, etc. I would personally recommend their mock chicken strips and tenders.
It's great to stick to a predominantly whole foods, but making those meals can be time consuming and may not be in the cards for you 7 days a week. Having quick access to a burger or a ground beef alternative can be a huge life saver on a busy evening. These mock meats are sometimes how vegan lifestyles can be seen as "expensive," but they are exceptionally convenient so this finding a good balance is something you'll have to decide for yourself. The important thing is to know that they're out there if you need or want them.
I hope this blog post inspires you to add some of my key vegan freezer staples to your grocery list. I promise these items will make excellent additions to your freezer and help you along your plant-based journey - wherever you may be. Stay tuned for my next blog, where we'll go over vegan fridge staples.