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The Ultimate Guide to vegan eating for students in London

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Living in London as a vegan is a luxury, but for students, it can be a strain on our bank accounts. Here’s our Ultimate Guide to vegan eating for students in London.

London is an expensive city to live in, and while it is a paradise for vegans it can raise questions about affordability. For those trying to stay plant-based under a budget, here’s our Ultimate Guide to eating vegan for students in London.

Pantry essentials

vegan student shopping listPantries aren’t really a thing for students, but we can pretend. These ingredients have been particularly handy during deadline weeks and nights of cramming.

Nutritional Yeast

Unless you are taking supplements, or eat marmite by the spoonful, nutritional yeast should be part of every vegan’s pantry. As a student, it might seem daunting to ensure every nutritional box in your diet is ticked, but vitamin B12 is something to take particular care over.

Investing in a kilo of nutritional yeast will get you through a year’s worth of B12-rich meals. It can be sprinkled on top like cheese, baked into your falafels, or served as a base ingredient for a hearty soup. ‘Nooch’ is highly versatile, and while it does taste good, you won’t even notice it’s there most of the time.

Canned tomatoes

This has saved so many meals from being a disaster. From pasta sauces to curry bases, canned tomatoes are an essential ingredient in every household. Because of its incredibly low price, and ability to thicken up just about any dish, this is especially handy for students on a low budget and a short time restraint. Tomatoes also provide a good source of fibre for the gut, and vitamin C to boost your immune system.

Soybeans

If your bank account isn’t loving the new plant-based meats, and is struggling even to accept packaged tofu — soybeans are your next best bet. Protein is a key element in everyone’s diet, but as students, we don’t want to have to worry about where our next source of protein will come from, or how we’re going to have to make it taste good.

Simply making your own tofu doesn’t take too long, and you can work on your coursework in the background. It’ll do wonders for your spending, and tofu can be implemented into breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Check out our recipe for traditional Chinese sweetened soy milk.

Oats

A very popular breakfast option at the moment, oats are a cheap and highly nutritious ingredient that can be incorporated into your baking, cooked for porridge, or even turned into homemade oat milk. Oats are also a good source of fibre and protein, and because they can be grown biannually in the UK, they are very sustainable too.

Frozen spinach

This final ingredient is to keep your levels of iron up and your levels of fatigue down. Green leafy vegetables also contain calcium and vitamin K, which are important for your bone strength. Frozen spinach is particularly helpful on days when you want to make a soup or a curry and might have run out of fresh vegetables. It’s also a lot cheaper to invest in for the long term and will typically get you through a couple months’ worth of meals.

Our go-to supermarkets include Aldi, which has been offering a spectacular array of new vegan products lately, and Asda, which is trialling its own vegan butcher counter soon. Holland and Barrett, Whole Foods or Planet Organic are for when you’re feeling like spending a little more.

Exam necessities

vegan student meal planDuring exam season, students are in need of comfort and stability, but mainly the former. If you’re living away from home for the first time, and don’t have your parents’ watchful eye ensuring you’re fueled up, here are some products that will maintain your energy levels.

Eat Real Quinoa chips

These are a great pick-me-up for when that 3pm afternoon low hits and you don’t have the time to take a nap (although you should always make time for those during exams). With assessments being online for the foreseeable future, a lot of students are having to power through 24-hour exams and having a packet of this, containing almost 30% quinoa flour, will give you a little protein and carb boost.

Unlike regular crisps, Eat Real’s chips won’t leave you feeling hungry within half an hour of consumption. They’re available at Tesco for £1.80 per 80g packet.

Foodologie’s Bountiful Burrito Bowl

Homemade bowls are always going to be cheaper and more nutritious, but we don’t always have the time for them, so Foodologie’s Plant Pots are the perfect answer. In particular, its Bountiful Burrito Bowl won’t leave you disappointed.

Filled with black beans and sweet potato, the pot is rich in protein, and will leave you feeling ready to take on any essay. It’s quick too, ready in a matter of minutes on the stovetop or in the microwave. This is also available at Tesco for £2.40 per 400g pot.

Read our full review of Foodologie’s snack and meal pots.

Deliciously Ella energy balls

While crisps and bowls can be nutritiously beneficial, energy balls will fill that sweet spot a lot of students might be struggling with. Energy balls are bursting with nutrition too, and if you don’t have the time to make your own from scratch (Medjool dates can be expensive), then check out Deliciously Ella’s snacks.

The company’s Cacao & Almond Energy Balls are especially popular, and the recipe is available on its website too. A mix of nuts, coconut oil, cacao and dates, they are perfectly sweet, and one pack of these will leave you full until dinner. Deliciously Ella’s snacks can be ordered straight from its website, with the energy balls priced at £20 per 12 packs.

Vanilla Swedish Glace

There will be times when dinner or lunch might not completely energise a day’s worth of work and dessert is calling your name. Ben and Jerry’s and Haagen-Dazs offer excellent choices, but Wall’s Vanilla Swedish Glace makes for a cheaper option. To make it more exciting, you can always add fresh berries, a spoonful of peanut butter, or some chocolate drops. This soy ice cream can be found in Asda for £2.50 per 750ml tub.

Learn how to meal prep

While all the above vegan products in the guide will save you time, they aren’t the most economical choices for every student. If you’re really looking to cut down your spending this year, your best bet is meal prep. A skill that has seen a recent increase since the beginning of the pandemic, it gives you the best health and financial results. Homemade meals can be exciting too — especially if you are cooking with your flatmates.

Takeaways to treat yourself

vegan student recipes

Here is a guide to some of the best vegan eateries in London you could get takeaway or delivery from that are affordable for students.

Purezza

 

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Pizza nights are a fundamental part of student life. Luckily for London students, vegan pizza can be found all over the city. Purezza is an especially popular choice, boasting an impressive menu ranging from a plain Margherita, to a truffle option, and gluten-free variants to a raw vegan alternative.

Go through Olivia’s experience of trying raw veganism for a week.

The restaurant has had a successful run since its opening in 2015 — and now has outlets in Camden, Bristol, Brighton and Hove. Purezza’s plant-based pizza can be ordered online for pick up from Camden starting from £8.95.

The Vurger Co.

The Vurger Co.’s Auburger, which comes in at £8.95 is packed full of nutrition, but it’s also stuffed with all the usual cravings: vegan cheese, pickled cabbage, gherkins, and the company’s signature mayonnaise. The Vurger Co. never disappoints and can be ordered on Deliveroo via the Shoreditch restaurant.

Temple of Seitan

 

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This is the closest any vegan will get to a KFC replicate, but without the environmental or animal worries. Students love the low prices here, where you can enjoy a bucket of 12 pieces for £14, or a serving of four BBQ-glazed vegan chicken wings for £5. Accessible for students local to Camden or Hackney, Temple of Seitan sells everything through its own website.

Read how London’s fast-food joints are giving popular chains a run for their money.

Rosa’s Thai Café

 

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Having recently launched its meatless green curry fried rice using THIS plant-based chicken, Rosa’s is possibly one of London’s most vegan-friendly Thai restaurants. A personal favourite is the pad thai, which can be ordered alongside many other vegan offerings on Deliveroo. A lot of Thai food is naturally plant-based, but the occasional use of chicken or fish sauce might sacrifice that.

Vida Bakery

 

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Looking to feed your sweet cravings again? Look no further. Vida Bakery, located in Brick Lane, includes everyone with its gluten-free, vegan menu full of cakes, cupcakes and cookies. Its sweet treats can also be replicated at home with its home kits and baking tubs. Vida’s Brownie box can feed your entire flat for £15, and it is currently offering all cookie doughs for £7 per pack.

For students based in Shoreditch, check out our guide for the best vegan restaurants there.

Olivia Rafferty
Olivia is the Assistant Editor of The Vegan Review. An aspiring Middle Eastern correspondent currently studying journalism at City, University of London, she is passionate about the planet, she believes veganism is the first step to solving the complexities of climate change.