Trying to food shop for all the winter festivities in one go is a mad idea – it’s too much stress and it just can’t be done! You want to spread it out as much as possible, so you don’t wind up in the sea of last-minute shoppers that’ll infest every single supermarket in those final days leading up to Christmas, with the inevitable disappointment of the very thing you needed being totally sold out. Of course, the issue with shopping in advance is that things will start to spoil, so you need to be strategic. As if all that isn’t challenging enough, but these days people have lots of different dietary requirements that need to be catered for as well. So how can you shop in a sane, timely fashion and be able to cover lots of different diets, all on a budget? Well, we have a few ideas.
Mushrooms are your friends
Specifically, King Oyster Mushrooms. Don’t worry, this isn’t anything too outlandish – Tesco and Sainsburys stock these full-bodied meaty mushrooms. Not only are they great for a wide variety of recipes – arancini, risotto, noodles, tostadas, pies, bonbons, soup – but these mushrooms can last for a very long time! Their thick bodies don’t succumb to spoiling fast, so you can easily stock up on them over a week in advance. If you’re still worried about freshness though, mushroom recipes are still a great option because you can order dehydrated mushrooms – no less delicious and they can lie in wait for months, if not years – simply soak them in hot water for half an hour or so and get cooking!
Frozen “meat” and plant-based sauces
Clear some space in your freezer because brands like Green Cuisine are your number one ally for vegan party food supplies! Chicken nuggets, meatballs, sausages, burgers and mince. You can buy and freeze these ages in advance and making them is a piece of cake, since they can all be cooked fast from frozen. Simple and satisfying is the order of the day! Likewise, until they are opened, vegan-friendly pasta sauces are perfect dip alternatives that’ll keep for a long time, as well as vegan mayo – which you can jazz up with things like paprika or chilli.
Chips n Dip
Avocado is a miracle fruit. Not only is it healthy, so you don’t even need to feel guilty about eating it, but it’s vegan by default – no need for alterations and everybody loves it! Most tortilla chips are also vegan so it’s the easiest snack to put out that suits absolutely everybody and you can easily make it in bulk for large parties!
A staple for carnivores, omnivores and plant-based eaters alike, roast vegetables are yummy and satisfying and root veggies, like potatoes, carrots and parsnips can last a good long while before you need to cook them. A handy tip – keep an apple with your potatoes! The chemicals released by the apple’s skin stop potatoes from sprouting. Instead of honey, you can glaze the veggies with agave syrup and there are lots of vegan-friendly gravies available in most supermarkets too.
Pastries and Desserts
There’s no shortage of vegan chocolate and puddings these days, you can even get Oat based custard and cream! These can wait a while, as long as they’re not opened. But if you want to get two birds with one stone, then why not load up on frozen vegan-friendly pastry. If you’re more hands-on and prefer to cook things from scratch, then you’ll have the perfect base that you can buy in advance and will be easily prepped while you can get creative with a variety of fillings – which can be both savoury and sweet! You can use the pastry for lots of things – from volovants and pasties to cinnamon rolls and turnovers!