The Root Kitchen Guide to Vegan Ingredient Replacements
Back in the day, switching to a plant-based diet meant waving goodbye to loads of delicious (and naughty) foods like ice cream, cheesy pizza, and hamburgers. However these days you can wave goodbye to your food FOMO instead —because supermarket shelves are packed with the some amazing plant-based products that will make sure you don't miss anything. You can replace practically every animal component with a vegan alternative.
To support you in your Veganuary efforts we've pulled together a list of alternatives that will make cooking and eating plant-based a breeze if you're new to it (or looking to start), lactose intolerant, or just health conscious and looking to reduce your reliance on meat and dairy.
If you walk down to your'e local supermarket chiller you'll see an encouraging number of milk alternatives, each with their own characteristics, Almond milk is a great choice for those looking to cut calories, soy for high protein or my personal favourite, Oat Milk which is ideal for using in your Nespresso as it frites really well. These are the most common but other milks include, Coconut, Rice and even pea so our advice is to give them all a try as it'll be a it'll end up coming down personal preference when choosing which one you go for.
Like milk, there are loads of dairy-free yoghurt alternatives made from coconut, almond and oat milk. However if you look hard enough there are also some really interesting yoghurts made out of soy and even cashew, which as you may expect is quite creamy with a sweet, nutty taste. The good thing about vegan yoghurt alternatives is that they all include a generous serving of probiotics, vitamins, and minerals, so you're not missing out on the nutrients found in real yoghurt.
Ever heard one of your friends say "I could be vegan if it wasn't for missing cheese". Well now you can tell them that there are several brands that sell all types of delicious cheeses, including grated, blocks, slices, and even spreadable cream cheeses. We use Violife grated cheeses in a number or our dishes including as a finishing sprinkle on our vegan lasagne and vegan moussaka.
Depending on what you are cooking there are a few really good substitutes for eggs. Starting off with scrambled eggs, we've found that crumbled tofu will provide a similar texture and serve as a good neutral base to which you can add peppers, onions, tomatoes, and other flavourings. All you need to do is crumble a block of firm tofu into pieces and season with your favourite spices!
Whilst If you only need egg whites, you'll surprised to learn that the water from a can of chickpeas, known as aquafaba, can be used to make meringues, mousses, and other baked goods such as macarons and brownies. Or if you are feeling lazy and want guaranteed results there is a company called Cracks who make a bangin' alternative to liquid egg.
To be honest I could go on all day talking about vegan alternatives to meat and in fact I've put a note in my diary to do a complete new blog post about vegan meat substitutes so this time around I'll just keep it simple.
The most common meat substitute is tofu, we personally love tofu and use it as a use it in a couple of our dishes such as the Korean Tofu Noodles and our popular Tofu Tikka Masala. soy protein, seitan, and tempeh, which can be found in sausage, burger, bacon and chicken form. There are some awesome brands that have mastered the meat texture if that is your thing. One thing I would say here though is just make sure to read the labels and keep an open mind as while many meat substitutes sound good for you because they're plant-based, the saturated fat and calorie content is sometimes much higher than eating regular meat.
Right, that's enough from me for one day, I think I'm going to split this blog post in two so keep your eyes peeled for the follow up where I'll go through some vegan alternatives to other popular foods including butter, chicken/beef stock, mayonnaise, honey, sugar, ice cream and last but not least, chocolate.
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