The key to plant powered food preparation is to know your substitutes! Here are some basics that will help you turn any one of your favorite recipes VEGAN in an instant!
Daiya is by far the best – there are currently three flavors to choose from – Mozzarella, Cheddar, and Pepper Jack. If you can’t get Daiya the next best is Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet. Both melt and everything! You can also make homemade cheeses.
I’ve only found one that I like so far and it’s by Galaxy Foods. It’s called Vegan Grated Parmesan Flavor. Be careful with this brand though, because not all their products are vegan.
Sour Cream and Cream Cheese
Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream or Follow Your Heart brand are both really good sour creams. Choose the Tofutti brand in the blue container to avoid hydrogenated oils. Both brands have a great cream cheese as well. Tofutti has several flavors, and also offers a non-hydrogenated version (yellow container).
Earth Balance Buttery Spread! No contest! Spread, sauté, fry, bake, or cook – works PERFECTLY. We tend to use the Soy Free version since it has less fat and tastes just as fantastic. It is also great for those with soy allergies.
There are many healthier alternatives to choose from such as almond milk, rice milk, hemp milk, soy milk, hazelnut milk and more. Three regulars in our home are: Rice Dream, Original Almond Breeze Blue Diamond, and Earth Balance Chocolate Soy Milk. Many are fortified with B12, D and Calcium!
Cashew Cream (see recipe for Cashew Cream) is the best for anything requiring cream. You can make it as thick or thin as you like, add seasonings, flavors, use it in soups, create sauces, make cheeses, and so much more! If you can’t use cashew cream, you can purchase soy creamer in the dairy section at most health food grocery stores and many commercial grocers as well. Organic Valley is one brand that I know carries one.
Most recipes you can just eliminate egg – but there are times when an egg substitute is needed. I use Mila (ground chia seeds) mixed with water. You can also use ground flax with water. Just mix it in a little bowl and set it aside. It will start to turn the consistency of egg white. Works perfectly in all my recipes.
Vegenaise by Follow Your Heart is our favorite. They have several versions. We like the Reduced Fat that’s made with Flaxseed and Olive Oils. Tastes fantastic!
There are many meat substitutes. You can try them and you’re bound to find some you enjoy more than others. Here are some that helped make my transition easier – Gardein brand has several different meat substitutes that are really great since they really mimic the taste and texture of meat very well. This can be really helpful during a transition to a plant based diet for someone who is used to eating a lot of meat.