Ready-made Foods - Bread; Breakfast Cereal; Canned Savouries;Pastry; Pasta & Noodles;Pies & Pasties; Ready Meals; Salad; Savoury Snacks and Soup
Vegan and gluten-free?
Not as difficult as it might sound, now that every supermarket has an ever-expanding free-from section. Obviously, not all free-from products are vegan (so check for added egg, honey, dairy by-products and the like) but there is a fair bit of choice out there. Ocado and independent health food shops carry the largest ranges but most large branches of supermarkets and even the smaller branches will surprise you! We've listed some of the most common brands but new ones are coming out all the time so keep looking. The difference between allergen labelling and vegan labelling is particularly relevant to bread and cereal production. Click here for a reminder.
Most standard bread is suitable for vegans but there are some exceptions. Sometimes dairy and egg derivatives are added, especially to commerical breads made from flour mixes (often used in in-house supermarket bakeries). If you are lucky enough to have a traditional baker near you, use it!
Many breads from the Co-op, Hovis and Warburton are vegan and are labelled if so. See the note about allergens here
- Pitta bread is always vegan
- Wraps – some are fine, including Lidl; MissionDeli (28.9.2016) but again, check! Warburton's do a GF and vegan wrap too, check free-from shelves
- Naan bread – see below
- When buying fresh products from a bakery – independent, high street or in-store – always ask. They will carry an allergens list
- Things to avoid
- Added products like milk, yoghurt (often in naan bread), buttermilk, milk powder, whey, butter, Amino L-cysteine (an animal derivative) and honey
- Butter-based bread like brioche and croissants (although JusRol Croissant Mix and Pain au Chocolate are both vegan, as is most of their range)
- 'Luxury’ breads which might contain non-vegan extras
- Naan bread – usually contains yoghurt or milk powder. But these are vegan:
- Newbury Philips Bakery (distributed by Essential)
- Tesco Light Choices 6 Mini Naan Bread
- Also, some ethnic grocers sell vegan naan, so it’s worth checking!
This isn’t a definitive list – the range of cereals continues to expand, including lots of ancient grains/wheat and/or gluten-free – but it will get you started. When in doubt, check a company’s website or give them a call. If you are concerned about sugar intake, bear in mind that many commercial cereals contain very high amounts - even some brands of muesli and other 'natural' cereals. The more sugar included, the nearer it is to the top of the ingredients list! Go for a sugar-free or low-sugar content - or make your own, using unsweetened oat and wheat flakes, nuts, seeds and dried fruit. And see our granola recipe
- Alara: mostly, if not all, vegan and usually gluten-free too
- Asda: Asda Cranberry Wheats; Asda Organic Bran Flakes; Asda Organic Muesli; Asda Whole Wheat Bisks; Asda Malted Wheaties; Asda Smartprice Cornflakes; Asda 55% Fruit Muesli
- Co-op: Co-operative Farms Porridge Oats; Cornflakes; Easy Oats; Fruit & Nut Muesli; Mixed Fruit Muesli; Porridge Oats; Wholewheat Biscuits
- Dorset Cereals: many of their muesli and some of the granola ranges are vegan
- Doves Farm: Chewy Rice Pop & Chocolate Cakes; Cornflakes; Wholewheat Cereal Biscuits
- Essential Wholefoods: lots of their mueslis and also two lovely sugar and honey-free granolas – Hazelnut Crunch and Sultana Crunch
- Glebe Farm: certified GF porridge and some mueslis are both vegan and GF
- Jordans: Organic Flakes & Berries; Organic Fruit & Fibre; Superfoods Breakfast Flakes; Country Crisp – Four Nut Combo; Luxury Raisin and more, including many of their mueslis
- Kellogg’s: Fruit & Fibre; Raisin Wheat; Just Right; Rice Krispies Multigrain; Frosties
- Liz's Low Sugar Granola
- M&S: Count on Us Fruit & Nut Muesli; Organic Crunchy Sultana Granola; Exotic Fruit & Nut Muesli; Organic Luxury Fruit & Nut Muesli
- Nature’s Path: Crispy Rice; Mesa Sunrise; Millet Rice etc. They say ‘Most of our products are suitable for vegans, but if they contain milk-containing ingredients such as milk chocolate or honey
then they are not.' Fair enough! They also carry a vegan and GF range so get reading those labels!
- Orgran: Gluten-free Muesli; Rice Porridge
- Quaker: Oat Crisp; Oat Crunch; Oat Hoops; Puffed Wheat; all their basic porridges and also the Simple (quick cook) range – Golden Syrup; Original; Fruit Muesli Flavour Readybrek: Original; Date & Coconut Muesli;Nuts & Seeds Muesli
- Rude Health: natural breakfast cereals. Many are suitable but check packets!
- Sainsbury’s: Wholewheat Biscuits; Wholegrain Apricot Wheats; Wholegrain Raisin Wheats; Malties; Be Good To Yourself less than 3% Fat High Fruit Muesli; Pecan & Maple Crisp Cereal; Fruit & Nut Muesli; Wholegrain Blueberry Wheats; Breakfast Wholewheat Biscuits; Express Porridge Original, Golden Syrup, Apple & Cinnamon, Butterscotch; SO Organic Express Porridge Original Waitrose: Wholewheat Biscuits; Fruit & Nut Muesli
- Weetabix: Crunchy Bran; Mini Crunch Fruit & Nut Weetabix; Organic Weetabix; Original
Canned savoury food (not soup)
Baked beans and spaghetti hoops – most brands are fine but always check ingredients.
- Amy’s Kitchen: Chilli – medium or spicy
- Supermarkets: Many pulse and vegetable-based tinned meals are suitable, eg
- Asda: Vegetable Ravioli; Chickpea Dahl; Vegetable Balti; Vegetable Chilli
- Sainsbury’s: Vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognese; Vegetable Chilli
- M&S: Mixed Vegetable Curry; Three Bean Chilli
- Tesco: Vegetable Chilli; Tesco Ratatouille
Pastry is sold in frozen blocks (defrost first then roll out) or in chilled, ready-rolled sheets.
- JusRol – all their range is vegan (except for All Butter and Sweet Shortcrust). That means the rest of their range – puff, shortcrust and filo – is OK! Their vol-au-vent cases make good buffet food with a vegan creamy mushroom filling – and their pain au chocolate is vegan too
- Sainsbury’s and Tesco each sell their own vegan range – ready-rolled shortcrust pastry (regular and light) and the same for puff. Check with other supermarkets’ vegan lists
- Filo pastry of all brands is nearly always vegan. Instead of using butter in a recipe, use vegan margarine, olive oil or oil spray
Pasta and noodles
- Dried pasta is usually vegan. The exceptions are some noodles such as Chinese
egg noodles or Italian tagliatelle (although not all tagliatelle contains egg so check the label).
- Fresh pasta usually contains egg
- Rice noodles - dried or fresh - are nearly always vegan. As always, read the labels
- Blue Dragon Wholemeal Noodles are vegan but the white ones are not (contain egg)
- Clearspring - all noodles are vegan, eg Udon and Soba
Pies and Pasties
- Clive’s Pies: most of their range is vegan and includes
Chestnut Cassoulet and Arabian Chickpea. Sold in health food shops and online
- Forest Foods: Vegetarian Thai Wrap; Vegetarian Smokey Vegetable
Burrito – Goodness Direct mail order and some Manchester outlets
- Holland & Barrett: Vegetarian Jumbo Sos Roll; H&B Porkless Pie
- Linda McCartney: Country Pies; Mushroom & Ale Pies
- V-Bites: Beef-style Pasties
- VegOut: slices (Holland & Barrett)
- Fry’s: Veg Express Cottage Pie
- Innocent Veg or Noodle Pots. Most of these are vegan and widely
available in major supermarkets
- Linda McCartney: Vegetarian Sausage & Bean Stew; Chilli Non Carne with Rice
- Simply Organic: Pure & Pronto: Vegetable Casserole
- Supermarkets: most sell a small range of vegan own-brand ready meals or side
dishes – these are often Indian. Just watch out for added butter, yoghurt and cream etc
There are too many types to list individually. However:
- mixed leaf bags are usually vegan, although sachets of dressing might not be
- mixed salads – eg grain or pulse-based are delicious and there are quite a few
to choose from. Just check there is no added feta, parmesan, honey and such
- avoid coleslaw/mayo - see Salad Dressings.
However, it takes only a few minutes to make your own coleslaw – grate a bit of white cabbage and carrot, add some chopped spring onion and mix thoroughly with vegan mayo (thinned down with a little soya or rice milk) plus salt and pepper. Or a different slaw recipe here!
- Indian vegetarian snacks – pakoras, samosas, onion bhajis
- Chinese vegetarian spring rolls
All these are usually fine and make a great standby for parties and celebrations. Just check that nothing odd like milk has been added! A vegan-suitable range is available in just about every supermarket, as well as some health food shops.
Soup is usually sold as fresh or tinned. Either way you will find plenty of vegan flavours to
choose from. Beware anything that says ‘cream of’ as it often contains – surprise! – cream or milk.
Fresh soup – supermarket own brands tend to be the best overall. They do change them regularly however, so keep checking the labels. This isn't a complete list either...
Asda: Chunky Vegetable Goulash; Extra Special Miso & Vegetable; Good For You Roasted Red Pepper & Haricot Bean; GFY Spicy Lentil & Vegetable
Co-op: Garden Veg with Barley; Pea & Mint; Three Bean & Italian Tomato; Limited Edition Moroccan Spiced Chickpea; Tomato & Lentil
Covent Garden: Tomato Cannellini & Kale, Slow Roast Tomato, Vegetable & Soupergrain, Skinny Tomato & Vegetables, Skinny Minestrone, Skinny Tomato & Vegetables
M&S: Tomato & Basil; Super Green; Summer Minestrone; Super Beetroot
Sainsbury’s: Minestrone; Tomato & Basil; Tomato, Lentil & Red Pepper; Tomato, Roasted Vegetable & Olive; Spicy Mexican Bean & Chipotle Chilli; Organic Vegetable & Barley; Organic Red Lentil; Mexican Tomato Salsa
Tesco: Tomato & Basil; Minestrone; Tesco Finest Puy Lentil & Vine Ripened Tomato; Chilli Bean; Lentil, Bean & Barley; Tesco Finest Bean, Corn & Chipotle Soup
Waitrose: Tomato & Fresh Basil; Gazpacho; Red Lentil & Chilli; Italian Bean; Tomato, Red Pepper & Chipotle Chilli; Vegetable & Lentil; Spiced Chickpea & Lentil.
The same rules as fresh soups apply so check the label. Amy’s Kitchen range
is particularly good and tastes much fresher than most tins. However, all ranges are improving
and each supermarket sells increasingly more interesting and tasty vegan soups in its tinned range.