4 Secret-Weapon Ingredients That Make Vegan Food Tasty, Easy, and Affordable, According to the Bosh! Team

Who needs cheese when you've got nooch?

bosh vegan chefs
Photo: Photo by Nicky Johnston / Courtesy of HQ, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

Henry Firth and Ian Theasby are making plant-based cooking easy, delicious, and fun. Best known for their viral vegan cooking videos, the two guys behind BOSH! are a social media phenomenon. They have a new cookbook out, their sixth, called Bosh! on a Budget, at a time when a lot of people are trying to find ways to save money on their grocery bill and others are trying to eat. It's full of comfort food recipes, quick yet filling weeknight dinners, and even desserts.

The British vegan cooks spent the early days of the pandemic working on the cookbook designed to save people money. "Some of the desserts are the cheapest things in the book," says Firth. "It was surprising for us to learn just how cheap they can be if you do them right."

Theasby and Firth say we're in a golden age of plant-based ingredients, and they want us all to take advantage of that by looking for and experimenting with alternatives. "When we started doing this five or six years ago you couldn't find plant-based cream, you couldn't find plant-based egg alternatives. You couldn't find plant-based ground meat. But now anything you want to cook with you can find a plant-based version of. Go hunting in your shop and see what swaps you can find," says Firth.

Here, the vegan enthusiasts share four of their favorite ingredients for making meatless food tasty, easy, and cheap. All are available at supermarkets and are reasonably priced if you're looking to add more plant-based meals to your weekly rotation.


"One of the best things that somebody could cook with if they're looking to eat more plant-based food is mushrooms," says Theasby. "They're a wonderfully versatile ingredient." He suggests taking basic button or cremini mushrooms and mincing them in a food processor, then sautéing them in a pan, what he calls sweating them down. "It gives you the same experience, the same mouthfeel, the same texture as ground beef," he says.

Some of their other favorite ways to use mushrooms are to bread and fry oyster mushrooms, essentially turning them into chicken wings, or using king oyster mushrooms as a substitute for bacon, pork, or pulled chicken.

Dried Beans and Lentils

The BOSH! guys are big fans of stocking up on dried beans and lentils. Theasby says these legumes "are super cheap, they're really healthy, they last absolutely ages, and they're really versatile." If you've got a couple of types of dried lentils or beans plus rice or pasta in your pantry, he says you've got a really great place to start as the foundation for so many meals.

Firth is a big fan of dried chickpeas, cooking chickpeas from scratch rather than buying canned ones is a great way to take your vegan cooking to the next level, he says. "Get your dried chickpeas game on, they'll make an incredibly simple curry or the best hummus."

Nutritional Yeast

Step away from the Parmesan, nutritional yeast, also known as "nooch," is the vegan superfood you should be reaching for instead. "It's such an amazing ingredient because obviously you can make anything taste cheesy, but you can also make things more meaty and umami with that kind of miso flavor," says Firth.

"My absolute favorite hack is adding a little bit of nooch and a little bit of lemon juice on top of pasta and you get the wonderful, zippy acidity from the lemon but you also get the cheesiness and umami, kind of a parmesan flavor from the nooch," says Firth.

The flaky, deactivated yeast is full of vitamin B12, and if you happen to be in the U.K., you can pick up the BOSH! guys' own nutritional yeast, part of their line of food products.


One of their all-time favorite vegan ingredients is jackfruit. "We cook with it all the time," says Theasby. According to the Boshi! guys, the secret to using jackfruit is to buy young green tinned jackfruit. Make sure you rinse the jackfruit and then break it up to make sure all the little seeds are popped out.

"Then you can roast it with any kind of flavor profile you like. You can do a jerk seasoning or a Moroccan type seasoning or a barbecue seasoning, roast it in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes. And it's basically like having pulled lamb or pulled pork," says Theasby.

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