The original plan for yesterday's blog post was to look at vegan alternatives to popular ingredients that are used on a daily basis and whilst cooking. Yesterday was one of them 'good writing days' and the more vegan alternatives I started to write down, the more came to mind, so I thought we'd split this post in two so in today's part we'll pick up where we left off and look at vegan alternatives to other popular foods including butter, chicken/beef stock, mayonnaise, honey, sugar, ice cream and last but not least, chocolate.
There are many dairy-free butters available, and more recently, nut butters are another option if you want something spreadable ( I do and love Manilife deep roast peanut butter!). If you want that specific salty, butter-like flavour, Pure Dairy Free Vegan Olive Spread is a great find and vegan.
Beef & Chicken Stock
This is as simple as just swapping them out for vegetable broth or cubes of vegetable bouillon. In our experience Veggie broths often lack the depth of flavour found in meat broths, so a hack that has come from our kitchen is to roast them first for a more flavourful punch.
I was about 25 before I learned that regular mayonnaise is made from egg yolks and I've never really been a fan however I know there are some of you that just can't live without it. So you'll be pleased to hear that Hellman's recently launched a vegan substitute that is very similar to the traditional mayonnaise however if you are feeling creative, there are loads of vegan recipes online that you could try yourself, most of which tend to use aquafaba, sunflower oil, soymilk, or silken tofu.
When I first started out on my own plant based journey I didn't actually realise that honey wasn't vegan. This is the perfect of example of where it is better to have 100 people 99% following a plant based based diet than 10 people following it perfectly so don't beat yourself up if you make the off mistake when you are first starting out!
When we are looking to add little sweetness to our vegan meals we found both maple syrup and agave nectar are the ideal plant-based alternatives to honey. Maple syrup (the real stuff) has anti-inflammatory properties, whereas agave nectar has fewer carbs and calories than honey but is still a tasty and effective sweetener.
Another thing I didn't realise was sugar is also avoided by some vegans as it is filtered through animal bone char. Certified organic sugar, on the other hand, cannot be filtered through bone char, so avoid it that way — the label should say "unrefined." Alternatively, any type of beet or coconut sugar is suitable for vegans as it doesn't follow this process.
Fans of dark chocolate, rejoice! Milk chocolate and white chocolate contain cow's milk, but there are dairy-free alternatives made with rice, coconut, and almond milk.
These days there really is no need for you to have to skip dessert — If you are an ice cream lover oat milk ice cream is a delicious substitute that may be even creamier and more delicious than regular ice cream. We went on the Pro Veg incubator last year and one of the previous cohort was a vegan ice cream brand called Pink kAlbatross, who had developed an awesome product that used a mixture of coconut milk and cashew nuts to give an extra indulgent level of creaminess in their plant based ice cream. Even the bigger brands are getting no the plant based bandwagon nowadays with Magnum, for example, launching a dairy-free bar made from vanilla-flavoured pea protein ice cream and covered in chocolate made with coconut oil. Whilst we are on about desserts it's also worth giving a shout out to sorbets which are always a safe bet for fruity options because they are generally made from only water and fruit puree.
We couldn't do a post on vegan alternatives without talking about the booming category that is vegan chocolate.
Dark chocolate has always been made with little or no milk however there are also now vegan chocolates made with rice, coconut, and almond milk that replicate the taste and most feel of white and milk chocolates. Our favourite UK based plant based chocolate brand is called Love Raw, who have developed some awesome products that replicate popular chocolate treats including the popular festive round chocolate and nut covered balls and the chocolate wafer bar with hazelnut cream filling.
So, there you go, with so many awesome plant based alternatives now available there really has never been a better time to try a vegan diet. Whether you are cooking at home or looking for a convenient 3pm office snack you are never too far away from a delicious vegan alternative to ensure you won't miss any of your old meat or dairy staples.
We'd love to hear about your favourite vegan alternatives so please connect with us and send us a message on instagram @rootkitchen_uk