5 ESSENTIAL CHEATS TO KNOW BEOFRE TURNING VEGAN
When switching to a vegan lifestyle it can seem daunting, especially with all the different meals to cook and new ingredients that you may not have heard of. But it doesn’t have to be daunting!
These are 5 cheats that you need to know before turning vegan, to help take away the overwhelm!
1. You’ll Need Fewer Ingredients!
It’s better to buy fewer ingredients that you can do a lot more with (and may already be familiar with), than to buy ready-made products that have only one use and are twice the price. This is something that’s particularly great about cooking from scratch with veganism – there are so many ingredients that have multiple uses, but three you absolutely need to know are flaxseeds, chickpeas and cashews. Flaxseeds are commonly used as egg replacements in baking, in fact it’s my go-to for pancakes! 1 tbsp of ground flaxseeds mixed with 3 tbsp of water equivalates to one egg and, once left aside for a couple of minutes, creates the uncooked egg-white texture ideal for binding. Flaxseeds can of course be used whole as well, either in a nut roast, granola or flapjack for example, as they’re full of nutrition. Chickpeas are one of those foods that everyone knows about, vegan or not! The chickpea itself can be used in savoury foods like curry, but can also be used in sweet foods, for example roasting them and coating them in chocolate. But it’s the ‘chickpea water’ that’s the hidden gem! This is called aquafaba and is the water in the tin of chickpeas, or the water you cook your dried chickpeas in. This is perfect for making vegan meringues and royal icing. Cashews are another useful ingredient – they can be eaten as they are, coated and then roasted, soaked and made into milk, or made into cream. This cream in particular can have syrup and vanilla added and used as a sweet cream, or can be used unsweetened in a pasta dish. It’s always worth looking at recipes before buying most of a meal already made, because chances are, making it from scratch will allow for other uses from leftover ingredients!
2. Nutritional Yeast is your New Friend!
Nutritional yeast is a must have in your cupboard! Not only does it contain high levels of B12, but it is perfect for a cheesy flavour. It’s the perfect addition when making Mac and ‘Cheese’ and adding to a pasta sauce for the cheesy flavour!
3. Marmite is the Secret to ‘Meaty’ Tasting Meals!
When using a vegan mince, homemade or shop bought, it may not be ‘meaty’ enough when you’re transitioning into veganism. To get that meaty flavour, adding some marmite along with tamari soy sauce is perfect! With marmite also containing high levels of B12, it’s a great ingredient to add.
4. Look out for Essential Supermarket Ranges!
Supermarket own brands are ones to look at for vegan versions of usual everyday foods, as they tend to contain plant-based ingredients as they’re cheaper, thus making the essential ranges cheaper than some brands. Essential ranges commonly use variations of veg and plant oil instead of butter in baked goods, bread and some sauces. It’s much the same with suet, using vegetable suet instead of beef suet. Preservatives and flavourings are in anything and everything. Whilst a lot of them are derived from animals, most can also be derived from or are solely from plants. These are often found in supermarket ranges, so check labels as you’re certain to spot them!
5.Not Everything needs to be made from Scratch!
There are so many ready-made meals and meat alternatives out there now, that it really is the time to make the switch to a vegan lifestyle! With so much on offer, you don’t have to worry about cooking from scratch. Whilst experimenting and trying new ingredients is definitely fun, we don’t always have the time to do it! There are also a lot of accidentally vegan products – some that you think shouldn’t be vegan, but are! Pasta sauces, baked goods, noodle pots, crisps; anything you can find a vegan alternative for, even egg and chicken nuggets! My most exciting find was JusRol Pastry, well I say find but my family had been using it for years, so more like my most exciting realisation! Among others, both the puff and shortcrust pastry are vegan friendly. You would think they contain butter, but no! It’s a general thought that when you choose veganism, you have to cook from scratch, but there is so much on offer, that it just isn’t true!