Quick Tips on How to ‘Veganise’ Your Favourite Dishes

By William Angus

22nd April 2022

(The vegetarian/vegan diet is something we will have to partly adopt in the future. Photograph: Pixabay)

As meat-eaters reach upwards of two and a half times the daily dietary greenhouse gas emissions of vegetarians and vegans, it is time to start making the transition towards a more sustainable diet.

However, it can be quite daunting to change your diet overnight. As a result, we have spoken to The Vegan Society who offer some quick tips on how to aid in the transition to a ‘flexitarian’ diet.

‘Veganising’ dishes has become all the rage, where people are finding they do not have to lose out on their favourite dishes by substituting key ingredients for a vegan alternative, maintaining the concept of the dish all while reducing the carbon impact of your cooking.

Quick Tips for Veganising Your Favourite Dishes

Easy Cheese – Swap the cheese on pizza for vegan cheese.

Now available in most major supermarkets, certain vegan cheese melts in the same way as the regular stuff. Cheeses to look out for are Cheddar, Swiss Cheese and Fontina if you can find it.

(Technological advancements in the cheese industry mean vegan cheese melts much the same now. Photograph: Pixabay)

Curry Club – Swap meat, fish or paneer in a curry for chickpeas or lentils.

An easy switch, a curry made using a paste base has much the same flavour with or without the meat. Adding chickpeas or lentils is healthier and you won’t lose out on any of the flavour.

(Curries are simple dishes that have been cooked for centuries in most parts of Asia. Photograph: Tim Samuels)

Luscious Mash – Dairy-free spread (such as Flora Dairy-free, Pure or Vitalite) and soya milk can be used to make creamy mashed potatoes.

Everyone has or will experience dry mashed potato, souring the experience of an otherwise lovely meal. A vegan alternative to the typical butter and cream, it gives a similarly creamy product and actually gives better potato flavour.

(Potatoes can add a multitude of dimensions to a dish depending on how you use it. Photograph: Pexels)

Giga-Garlic Bread – Garlic bread can be created using dairy-free spread or olive oil.

Another use for your vegan spread, garlic bread does not lose out with an alternative product. Using a good quality olive oil gives you more flavour than typical butters, a similar crispy texture and the garlic will be absorbed by the oil for a powerful garlic punch.

(Olive oil on garlic bread makes the flavour more natural to what would have been found in Italy. Photograph Pixabay)

Sumptuous Soup – Vegetable soup can be served with a swirl of soya cream, or you can create a homemade cream using coconut milk.

For the café/restaurant touch, the famous swirl of cream in soup can be replicated not just at home, but in a vegan way that proves sustainability does not mean sacrificing even those indulgent touches.

(Restuarant quality soup is so easy to make at home. Use whatever you have in the fridge! Photograph: Delphine Hourlay)

Tasty Treats – Dairy-free spread and other vegetable fats can be used in baking, and there are many foods that can replace eggs, including banana, jam, apple sauce and tofu.

Baking is a sensitive area of cooking. Without the proper ingredients and ratios, the delicate balance between an airy bake and a soggy bottom is a difficult skill to master. Veteran bakers can broaden their baking horizons by attempting some new vegan bakes. While you must adjust your methods from typical recipes, it is easy to adapt to and start producing bakes of a similar quality to the tried and tested recipes. New bakers should not be scared off either!

(A number of cafes are now offering vegan alternatives in their shops to accommodate customers. Photograph: Lina Kivaka)

Wonderous Wellington – A lot of ready-made roll-out pastry is accidentally vegan. If you glaze it using soya milk, the dish can easily be turned vegan.

Store bought pastry is an easy way to produce some fantastic dishes in a fraction of the time. Weekend or even weekday meals are much more manageable, and being a vegan product is just a bonus. Typically, store bought pastry uses vegetable-based oils instead of butter to make it more shelf stable and easier to work with. This is why it is ‘accidentally’ vegan not intentionally vegan. Therefore, it is worth checking the packaging to make sure it is suitable for vegans before purchase if vegan baking is your intention.

(‘Accidently’ vegan opens up a world of possibilities for vegan bakers to explore new recipes. Photograph: flickr)

These tips point out the easy switches you can make on some traditional favourites. The overuse of meat in curries is a clear switch, where chickpeas and lentils can bring those same flavours of Asian cuisine without the increased carbon emissions. Hopefully, you can look to adopt some of these into your cooking routine to aid in reducing emissions, dish by dish.

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