Your choice to go vegan could be due to health or ethical reasons. Whatever be the reason, it is hard to substitute the textures, flavors, and ingredients from your old diet. Items like milk, cream, cheese, and textures of protein can be challenging to work around. Check out these simple swaps to help replenish the lost nutrients from a normal diet.
Food Choices For A Vegan Diet
1. Coconut And Cashew Cream
Fresh cream is an ingredient found in several baked goods as well as in curries and dips. Depending on the purpose of using the cream, you can choose a plant-based substitute. Some of these alternatives include the following:1
- Coconut cream is good for whipped toppings.
- Unflavored vegan yogurt is best for cream-based dips.
- Cauliflower and herbs can be blitzed together in order to make pasta sauce or white sauce.
- A cream made of cashews soaked in water overnight can be added to curries.
2. Almond And Soy Milk
Milk is one of the easiest ingredients to substitute in a plant-based diet. Almond and soy milk are easy alternatives, and they can be used in baking and cooking just like regular milk. If you are allergic to nuts, go for oat milk or rice milk, both of which are easy to make.
Since plant-based milk does not contain vitmain B12 and calcium like animal milk, fortified plant milk is a better option for you.2
3. Essential Fats From Flaxseeds
Vegans risk not getting enough essential fatty acids like omega-3 that are exclusively available in seafood. However, flaxseeds are known to be an abundant source of these essential fatty acids.3
4. Tofu And Nutritional Yeast
Cheese is the hardest thing to substitute in a plant-based diet. Since it is a highly processed form of milk, it may be hard to replicate using plant derivatives. However, it is not impossible. Tofu serves as a good substitute for cottage cheese. Parmesan over pasta is a staple, but you can sprinkle nutritional yeast that has a similar flavor and is fortified with vitamins.
Cashew cream is often used as a substitute for most cheese. It goes well on pizza just as melted cheese would. Using raw cashews, xanthan gum, and/or agarose gels, it is possible to recreate the harder texture of cheeses like feta and mozzarella, which are used in salads.4
5. Nuts And Shiitake Mushrooms
Protein is the most important ingredient that a plant-based diet lacks. It is important not just for its ability to suppress hunger for longer but also because of the texture of the meat. Vegan meat alternatives are widely available in the market, such as the following:
- Tempeh (traditional soy product from Indonesia), which is a soy derivative, can be used in burgers and grills.
- Seitan (wheat gluten) is another good alternative, also derived from soy.
- Shiitake and Shimeji mushrooms, which have a distinct bite to them with a meaty texture, can be used in curries.
- Be sure to get enough actual protein from nuts and lentils, though.
For an interesting take on kabobs, grilled chicken, or other bases requiring the use of sauce, try raw jackfruit. The results are just like actual meat.
|↑1||How to Substitute Cream. Go Dairy free.|
|↑2||Weaver, Connie M., William R. Proulx, and Robert Heaney. “Choices for achieving adequate dietary calcium with a vegetarian diet.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 70, no. 3 (1999): 543s-548s.|
|↑3||Goyal, Ankit, Vivek Sharma, Neelam Upadhyay, Sandeep Gill, and Manvesh Sihag. “Flax and flaxseed oil: an ancient medicine & modern functional food.” Journal of food science and technology 51, no. 9 (2014): 1633-1653.|
|↑4||How to Substitute Cheese. Go Dairy Free.|