A vegan diet is free from animal products. Obvious examples are meat, fish, chicken, dairy (animal milk, yogurt, cheese, butter …), eggs, honey, gelatine and animal stock. “What are you still eating ?!” is the most frequently heard spontaneously rising question. Well … seitan thigh with fries, vegetable stews, tofu scramble, pancakes, lasagna, risotto, pizza … From fast food to whole foods, something for everyone. The range of vegan cuisine is varied and immense: vegetables, fruit, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and herbs. They exist in a huge variety and can be combined endlessly in delicious dishes. If you immerse yourself in the vegan kitchen, you will notice that you have absolutely nothing to lose!
But there’s more. Many foods from the typical Western diet can now be found in a completely vegetable variety or can easily be made yourself.
The vegan pantry:
Cereals : there is a huge variety of grains, think of wheat in the form of bread, pasta and rice. You can also go the macrobiotic tour with cooked grains such as millet, barley and rye.
Legumes : lentils and beans are cheap and an ideal source of protein. With lentils you can make a delicious dahl or lentil burger. With beans you prepare delicious burgers and spreads and they fit very well in stews and chillies. You can find them very cheap in the supermarket.
Nuts and seeds : nuts can be a bit more expensive, but fortunately you never need large quantities of them. Seeds are a lot cheaper. With sunflower seeds you make eg a delicious “cheese sauce”. Or you sprinkle them in your salad, good for some extra protein.
Seitan, tofu, tempeh : three classic protein sources. Seitan is regularly used to replace meat in classic dishes such as beef stew, marinated on brochettes or minced in a vegan kebab wrap. If you are more adventurous, you can experiment with homemade seitan yourself. You can then completely adapt it to your own preference.
Not everyone is immediately won for the taste of tempeh, although the smoked version can appeal to many.
With tofu you can go all the way again: marinated fried tofu cubes, as quiche filling, roertofu, fried tofu deco … you name it. There is the regular solid tofu and the slightly more liquid “silken” or silk tofu. Tofu is versatile and has the unique property that it absorbs the taste of other foods.
Egg replacers : you can make any cakes without egg. Possible substitutes are silken tofu, ground line or chia seed, applesauce, egg replacer, vegetable yoghurt, ripe banana … Instead of starting a vegan recipe yourself, you better opt for an existing vegan version. Be sure to try our delicious vegan brownie .
Dairy substitutes : vegetable milk, yogurt, pudding and cream are available in every store. There are variants based on soy, oats, rice, almonds, hazelnuts, cashew nuts and so on. Some organic shops and specialty stores have ready-to-use vegan whipped cream and Alpro “soy cream to beat” you find with some luck in the supermarket.
Nowadays you can find vegan cheese in many supermarkets and organic shops. One is tasty as a slice on the sandwich, the other is ideal on pizza. There are many different types, try as much as possible to discover your favorite. The real kitchen heroes can experiment with making vegan cheese on the basis of cashew nuts and tofu, for example.
Also vegan ice cream is on an unstoppable advance.
Noble yeast flakes : the panacea for vegans. Does not only taste like cheese, but also provides extra vitamins. Sprinkle them over your spaghetti or process them into parmesan, cheese sauce, pesto … everything you want to give a cheese flavor. Also read our blog post about noble yeast.
Black salt or kala namak : thanks to the light sulfur flavor, it is perfect to give dishes an eismaak. Use it for example in tofus cramble, vegan egg salad or even in veganaise.
Soy sauce : provides an extra savory taste. Variants such as tamari, shoyu or ketjap manis are readily available.
Broth : useful to flavor dishes. Make them yourself or buy 100% vegetable broth powders and cubes.
Coconut (milk) : use it in your favorite curry, to make ice cream or as a whipped cream. With coconut you can go many ways.
Condiments : like ketchup and mustard are fortunately mostly vegan.
Sweeteners : in vegan desserts liquid sweeteners such as agave or maple syrup are often used. In Europe, most sugars are almost always vegan.
Cocoa and chocolate : fondant chocolate is not always vegan at the moment. To reduce the cost price, manufacturers often put milk products into it. To be on the safe side, check the ingredient list. Certain brands sell vegan milk chocolate and even white chocolate.
Baking powder, baking soda, corn starch, arrowroot : necessary ingredients for baking and / or binding sauces.
Unfortunately, animal products are often processed in foods that you would not expect immediately. For example, many vegetarian burgers contain cheese or egg (Quorn bv.).
In addition, misleading labeling can cause problems. For example, the packaging of many frying and roasting products is largely “vegetable” or “plant product”, but they still contain animal fats or milk components. The only reliable indication is the VEGAN logo. For products without vegan mention it is advisable to read the ingredient list. Useful to know is that milk whey, milk powder, butterfat and whey powder are ingredients of animal origin. Cocoa butter and lactic acid are vegan.
Some additives, listed in the ingredient list with name or E number, are of animal origin. An example is the flour and bread improver L-cysteine (e-920), made from chicken plums, pork and sometimes even human hair. More info can be found here.
If animal substances were used during the food production process, vegans will also try to avoid them. For example, gelatin and protein are used to clear certain beverages – such as some beers, wines and fruit juices. On the website Barnivoreand with the app Vege tipple you can look up lots of drinks to see if they are vegan.