We’re a few days into lockdown and the initial buzz has died down slightly. Now we need to get on with it and make things as normal as possible. And what’s more normal (and mood-lifting) than cooking your favourite dishes? This collection of lockdown recipes mostly makes use of pantry staples, so you could already have many of the ingredients stocked up, and they’re all vegan, so you there’s no perishable meat or dairy that you need to worry about. There are a few luxurious items, like fresh coriander, but these can be substituted for whatever you have available — the recipes will let you know what you can try.
All these lockdown recipes are hearty and comforting — exactly what we all need at the moment. Enjoy and show us what you’re cooking by tagging @womenshealthmagsa on Instagram.
1/ Spicy Beans
These beans are Mexican inspired, but if you don’t have the necessary spices, you can use what you have. You can go for an Italian spin and use mixed herbs, origanum or thyme. Or you can keep it super simple by just adding some chilli flakes, so you get a spicy, garlicky tomato sauce – you can even leave out the chopped onion. You could also use curry spices, if you wanted to.
There are some recommended accompaniments, but again, it depends what you have. You could serve the beans on toast or simply eat them out the bowl with a chopped tomato on the side. If you don’t have fresh coriander, maybe you have some Pesto Princess Coriander Pesto hiding in the back of the fridge? Add a few dollops over the beans before serving.
2/ Easy Dhal
This dhal was built for a less-than-full pantry — it’s so versatile you can mix and match ingredients as you have them. If you only have fresh tomatoes and no tinned, chop a few up and let them cook down in the dhal. You could add some tomato paste, if you’re worried about tomato-iness (yup, we just said tomato-iness). Garlic is pretty important to this meal, but if you don’t have fresh ginger, you can add a teaspoon of powered or leave it out completely.
Yes, we know chickpeas are a bit of a luxury item at the moment (they seemed to be the first thing to disappear off shelves), but if you’re lucky enough to have a tin or two, this curry is the best way to use them. If you don’t have coconut milk, you can easily leave it out, you can just add a bit more water as the curry cooks down. Again, the ginger is lovely, but not essential so if you don’t have any, don’t worry. And if you don’t have any butter-chicken spice, you can use whatever curry powder you have.
4/ Lentil Bolognaise
This recipe is super simple and can be made with the bare minimum ingredients. You can easily leave out the carrot and celery, wine (with no wine on sale for the lockdown, every bit needs to be saved for drinking!), tomato paste and fresh basil (if you have some basil pesto kicking about, plop it on). Of course, all these ingredients make the bolognaise extra special, but if you don’t have them, you can still make a delicious meal. If you don’t have any spaghetti, any pasta will do or simply dollop the lentils on toast for a quick lunch the next day.
Almost all of the above recipes have a basic version of this tomato sauce as their base. If you don’t have onion, you can leave it out and if you’re not a fan of chilli (we can’t be friends, I’m afraid) leave it out as well. You don’t need to use balsamic vinegar specifically, any vinegar will do — its job is to balance out the bitterness of the tomatoes.
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