Eating plant-based is much easier than you think. You don’t need to give up on dishes that you love, or spend tons of money on fancy ingredients: all you need is a few new additions to your skillset and some easily available ingredients in your pantry.
Here are a few simple tips for making delicious food that is good for your health, animals, and our planet.
Plant-based egg alternatives
Newcomers to a plant-based diet often ask themselves how to replace eggs. Eggs’ versatility in the kitchen adds complexity to the question, as there are many different plant-based replacements depending on usage – but replacing them is simpler than it seems.
For example, if your mission is to bake the perfect cake but you don’t know how to replace egg whites, don’t worry! Try using applesauce, aquafaba, flaxseed, ripe bananas, silken tofu, chickpea flour, or pre-made egg-substitutes. On the other hand, if you need to mimic the flavour of eggs, kala namak (the black salt used in Ayurvedic cuisine) is a perfect staple for your spice rack. Its mildly sulphuric taste and aroma make up for the absence of egg yolks, and can easily add that missing magic to a meal of vegan carbonara.
Here’s a great recipe for beginners and experts alike: a rich tofu scramble instead of scrambled eggs. Not only is tofu scramble super easy to prepare, but it’s packed with flavour and protein.
Crumble a block of medium-firm tofu into a hot pan with some cooking oil or vegan butter, add diced onions, season with spices – we recommend cumin for flavour, a little turmeric for colour, and freshly ground black pepper for aroma – and then spoon in some soft, silken tofu (or, alternatively, oat milk) for creaminess, if desired. Finish with a good sprinkle of kala namak and serve with bread.
Plant-based meat alternatives
Old-school vegans and vegetarians probably remember how difficult it used to be to find meat alternatives in grocery stores. That is no longer the case – the plant-based meat sector is exploding, and finding plant-based mince, burger patties, and vegan chicken in your local supermarket is easier than ever. Such products are often much closer to the taste and texture of their conventional counterparts than they used to be, which makes transitioning to a plant-based diet almost effortless.
Although all these new commercial products are amazing, never forget the classics! Staple ingredients such as tofu, tempeh, seitan, beans, and mushrooms have provided delicious protein for centuries and are widely available in most parts of the world. For example, even if you don’t have plant-based mince in your fridge, you can whip up a rich, umami-packed spaghetti bolognese using soya protein or lentils.
Plant-based dairy alternatives
If you’re wondering how to make a nice (non-scrambled!) breakfast without dairy, don’t worry – it couldn’t be easier. Vegan butter and plant-based milk have gotten better and better over the years, so making your perfect frothy cappuccino with buttered toast isn’t a problem. Ditto for cereal: almond and oat milk go perfectly with granola!
And if you’re missing the dairy cream in a savoury sauce, oat cream or coconut milk will do the job just as well, and also work super-well for replacing dairy cream in cakes and pies. In fact, baked goods made with plant-based ingredients stay fresher for longer, so you don’t have to lose sleep over having made too much dough for your teatime cake. See here for a more comprehensive guide on how to veganise your baking treats.
Using these little tweaks to your recipes you can create delicious plant-based meals without compromising on taste, nutrition, or your time. Don’t give up on your favourite recipes – just make them better!
Are you looking for plant-based recipes? ProVeg has created a recipe collection with the most delicious dishes. In our collection, you can find plant-based inspirations for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Get started here!