Whether you’re turning over a new leaf in your own diet or accommodating a loved one’s dietary preferences, here’s what you really need to know to cook up delicious dishes that just happen to be vegan.
But first things first, what is a vegan diet? Vegan diets are plant-based emphasizing fruits, vegetables, grains, soy beans, legumes, nuts and seeds. This type of diet is rich in fiber, vitamins and other important nutrients. Protein-rich foods like beans and legumes, tofu and soy can replace meat and other animal products. Vegan diets typically don’t include: eggs, dairy products, fish and seafood, meat and poultry.
If you are cooking for a person following a vegan diet, be sure to check that each ingredient is free from animal products. And keep in mind the substitutes below.
- Butter: Substitute olive or other vegetable oils for this cooking fat.
- Milk: Nut milks are more widely available than ever before, look for: coconut, almond, cashew – even hemp!
- Cheese: Soy cheeses are available in a variety of flavors and are available at some conventional grocery stores, health-foods stores and natural foods co-ops.
- Meat: Tofu and soy, which are made of soybeans, are great substitutes for meat. As are beans, legumes, nuts and even seeds.
Although more and more alternatives to animal products are becoming available, using these types of ingredients in vegan translations of traditional recipes, isn’t the only way to make delicious vegan-friendly food. There are many are fabulously flavorful dishes that are naturally vegan, like: guacamole, roasted potatoes, certain curries and more.
To discover recipes like these, global cuisines emphasizing vegetables are a great place to start!