What is vegan cooking?
Vegan cooking means creating dishes and recipes without meat, fish, dairy, and egg products.
It can also mean cooking in a space or area where no meat, fish, dairy, or egg products are consumed and/or cooked.
Cooking vegan food is very exciting. It means experimenting with natural ingredients and trying out new things! Be it creating a meat substitute with mushrooms, or baking a cake without egg. So, let’s have some fun with it and discover these handy vegan cooking tips.
1. Figure out what you can eat as a vegan
A vegan diet means eating food that hasn’t come from an animal.
Essentially, all vegan food comes from plants. This includes:
- Fruit and vegetables
- Legumes (beans, lentils, peas)
- Nuts and seeds
- Wheat products (bread, pasta)
- Seaweed and algae
Using these products we are able to make and eat:
- Plant milks (soy milk, rice milk, oat milk, etc.)
- Seitan (made using wheat)
- Tofu (made using soy)
- Fake meats (made using soy, pea protein, seitan)
- Vegetable oils
- Vegan cakes and cookies
- Nut butters, like peanut butter
- Plant butter
- & much more!
Anything you can do, we can do vegan 😉
2. Buy vegan foods that suit you
Most vegans will eat quite a natural, whole foods diet at home. This means lots of grains, vegetables and fruits. But, this can take up a lot more of your time. If you have the time to cook, then check out these recipes using fresh healthy ingredients.
Nowadays, there are many fake meat products available, and they are getting cheaper. So many vegans also use these products when they need to make a quick week-night dinner, or if they want to impress their friends with a home cooked vegan meal! This is okay to do, but be aware of your consumption of processed products. Maybe mix it up with some pre-made vegan soups, or vegan ready meals which are preservative-free thanks to freezing methods.
3. Fill your kitchen with the right equipment
Well, you probably won’t be needed steak knives anymore. Unless you are keen on Seitan and fake meats, in which case, that steak knife may make your fake meat dinner look that bit more realistic.
You may find that you will rely more heavily on certain kitchen equipment, like blenders, peelers, graters, spiralisers, a tofu press, etc.
And if you are a keen cook, vegan or not, it is always handy having equipment like standalone mixers, mortar & pestles, and spice grinders.
Discover my most-used vegan cooking equipment.
4. Keep your food shop costs low
One of the biggest complaints I hear from people who try out veganism is that it is too expensive.
If you enjoy eating vegetables and fruits, and supplementing these with grains, then you’ll be able to eat very cheaply.
However, if you also like to eat processed/ready-made products like fake meat, vegan ice cream, branded vegan milks, then you may end up spending more money.
Most supermarkets/stores have their own brand vegan products now that are much cheaper than the big brands.
5. Experiment with flavours
Is vegan food less tasty?
Of course not.
Food is only ever as tasty as the cook makes it. Vegan food is a much newer thing to many people so they may not understand at first how to flavour it. Some food may require more seasoning, but this is really quite simple to do.
It is about trialing new flavour combinations and finding things that work for you. That’s where I come in. I’ve done a lot of the inventing so you don’t have to! Discover some of my tasty vegan recipes here.
Oh and one of my biggest vegan flavour tips is to always have a pot of nutritional yeast (nooch) about in your kitchen. It adds a lovely cheesy umami flavour to your food.
6. Try out new recipes
One of the best bits about going vegan is trying out new foods and flavours. It was actually turning vegan back in 2015 that ignited my passion in cooking. I had to experiment and try out new things, and in doing so I really fell in love with food.
So make sure to keep trying out new recipes. Find styles of cooking that you love. Whether you are looking for quick and easy mains, more technical side dishes, or you want to try your hand at vegan baking, there are plenty of vegan recipes out there for you to discover.
You can get started by checking out my library of vegan recipes here:
7. Discover new vegan-friendly brands to cook with
Keeping veganism exciting is imperative, especially at the beginning. We live in a meat-centric world with lots of distractions. So make sure to keep an eye out for new and exciting vegan friendly brands that pop up on your local supermarket shelves. Or download the Vegan Friendly app. You can even keep an eye on my vegan reviews to see anything new and exciting pop up which you may want to try cook with.
8. Give vegan substitutes a go
Going vegan isn’t just about replicating non vegan foods, but it can help you to enjoy veganism more. Especially if you’ve just turned vegan and are looking to creates dishes that you are familiar with.
For instance, you may want to find a vegan scrambled egg alternative, or even a vegan burger substitute. There are plenty of options out there that mean you can take your favourite non-vegan dishes and veganise them.