The LION Series 5: A Guide to Being Vegan/Veggie in 1st Year

by Grace Robinson

This post is part of The LION Series from the Freshers’ Magazine Takeover. Each post this week features a snippet from an article in The LION Magazine 2020/21 Issue 1. 

The LION magazine is written by third-year King’s students, all of whom have recently completed their BA English degrees.

The magazine helps first-year students in the English Department transition into university life.

This article is by Grace, a BA English graduate from King’s College London who loves learning new things and trying new foods.

Welcome to the veggie and vegan corner! Maintaining a plant-based diet or lifestyle while at university, especially in your first year, can be tricky. Between juggling your reading for each week, making new friends and balancing a budget for the first time there’s little room for thinking about meal prep or swapping to more plant-based foods. In the following pages, I have compiled a list of easy vegan food swaps to help you get started, a couple of simple, cheap vegan recipes and an interview with Bethan, President of the KCL Vegetarian and Vegan Society, with her tips on eating vegan while at university.

Quick Vegan Swaps

Thinking about going vegan or vegetarian, but not sure where to start? Here are some quick vegan swaps to help you get going:

If you’re switching to a vegan diet, make sure you’re getting enough vitamin B12 as it’s only found in animal products.

Go to the NHS website for advice on getting all the nutrients you need: 

Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese

This is a great recipe to cook in bulk and bring with you to uni for lunch, or to freeze. If you’re on a budget, swap out the fresh basil for dried basil and switch out the Naked Glory Mince for 400g tin of kidney beans. If you have a bigger budget, add a tbsp of tomato puree and a tbsp of balsamic glaze after adding the passata, and top with some vegan cheese and vegan garlic bread to serve. Serves 4.


  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, roughly chopped
  • 400g tinned tomato passata
  • Handful fresh basil
  • 260g Naked Glory mince
  • 200g mushrooms (add the leftover mushrooms to the stir fry recipe below)
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 250g spaghetti


  1. Put a pan of water to boil for the spaghetti.
  2. Fry the onion in a big frying pan in oil for 3 minutes. Then add the chopped garlic.
  3. After a couple of minutes, add the red pepper and fry for a further 4 minutes. Then add the mushrooms and the Naked Glory mince. Add the spaghetti to the water as soon as it’s boiled. Remember to season the water with salt!
  4. Once the mince has broken up and the vegetables are soft, add the tinned passata. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Add your tomato puree and balsamic glaze here). Let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes. Add your fresh basil and let the sauce simmer for another couple of minutes.
  5. Drain your pasta. Then serve the sauce with the pasta in a bowl. You can put the rest of the pasta and sauce in a Tupperware for lunches for the rest of the week, or leftover sauce can be put in the freezer.

Follow the KCL Vegetarian and Vegan Society on social media, or find out more about how to join on the KCL Students’ Union website.


INSTAGRAM: @kclvegsoc

Blog posts on King’s English represent the views of the individual authors and neither those of the English Department, the LION Magazine and its editor, nor of King’s College London.

You may also like to read other articles from the LION series: