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Vegan Alternatives for Animal Products – This Guide will make Cooking & Baking so much Easier

This blog post also is available in German.

good vegan alternatives for dairy

This blogpost cites brand names, which are personal recommendations. I didn`t get paid or sponsored in any kind of way to list these brands. As well most of them are Swiss/German or European brands.

Well, the day has come, you finally decided to become vegan. Veganuary 2019 is almost over and you made it through the whole month. But how to substitute all the animal products in a vegan diet is still a huge question mark for you? No worries, most of us have been through this, especially when we started our vegan journey. We got where we are today, by constantly informing ourselves about veganism, by experimenting in the kitchen and frequent interchange with other like-minded people. One year ago I found myself in the same position you are today. Being on a vegan diet a few weeks, discovering that it`s not that easy anymore in the kitchen as some of the ingredients I was used to weren`t an option anymore. Like eggs for example. How I solved that problem? Well, I read a lot about the vegan diet and went on social media, lie Instagram or Pinterest, to get inspired. Within a short amount of time I was able to obtain the knowledge I have right now. I will ease you through this process by sharing this guide. It`s going to help you a lot in terms of what vegan alternatives you can use in the kitchen to substitute animal products you were used to. Ultimately I want you to stay vegans forever.

Dairy

Actually the biggest one under the animal food group, but also the easiest to substitute on my opinion.

milk, cream & co.

  • milk:  super easy to substitute, as there are tons of plantbased drinks out there. For example soy, coconut, oat, rice, almond, quinoa, cashew or hemp, just to mention few of them. I highly recommend a plantbased milk which is enriched in calcium.
  • cream, crème fraîche or sour cream: Same like for the milk alternatives, there are a lot of possibilities available,  soy sour cream, soy or almond cream, there are products made out of oats and coconut. In terms of consistency and neutral flavor I prefer soy cream, but most of them work out quite good. If using soy products make sure to buy them in organic quality and GMO. Great products from Alnatura, Soyananda and Alpro are available out there.
  • cream cheese: soy beans, almonds, lupins or cashews make great vegan cream cheese alternatives and you they taste so good you won`t even miss the animal ones. I absolutely love brands like New Roots, Soyananda and Simply V. The ones with neutral flavor actually are great for cupcake frosting or cheesecakes.
  • cheese: Probably the main reason why people don`t become vegans. At least this is what I hear the most. Of course cheese is cheese and it will stay cheese, there are still great alternatives out there that will make you forget about the real thing slowly slowly. It`s even kind of scary how some of them look and taste almost identical to real cheese. There`s vegan soft cheese, grated cheese, parmesan, cheddar, feta, camembert, brie, even raclette and fondue available. Incredible isn`t it? I f you like it more natural use nutritional yeast, melts too and works great for pasta, sauces and lasagna.
  • butter: margarine, but when buying margarine, always take a quick look at the label. Not every margarine is vegan. Some brands used to add butter or cream to their products. Margarine is the easiest way to go when substituting butter in recipes, but there are a few down sides to it. First of all, lot`s of companies use palm oil for their margarine, which fell into disrepute as the production of palm oil often involves illegal deforestation. Second it became clear the last few years, that margarine isn`t that healthy as some food companies used to make us believe. In the end it`s nothing else than spreadable fat. Other alternatives are plant oils, especially when you need to melt the butter anyway. Or you can use coconut oil. Just don`t confuse it with coconut fat. Both products are made out of coconut but the aren`t the same. Coconut oil is cold-pressed, remains natural and keeps it`s characteristic coconut flavor. Coconut fat often is refined and deodorized, respectively underwent a chemical procedure. Coconut oil still contains it`s original vitamines, coconut fat doesn`t.
  • yoghurt: Nowadays yoghurt is super easy to substitute. There are many alternatives out there, like cashew, soy, almond, lupines or coconut yogurt. Only thing to consider might be the addition of sugar. Personally I love the ones made out of cashew or coconut.  Alpro, Alnatura, Jocos or Harvest Moon sell amazing products.

tofu as the perfect egg substitute

Eggs

With vegan egg alternatives it all depends on what`s the purpose or what kind of dish you want to create.

  • yellow color: You want your vegan egg to look like the real thing, then color it with turmeric or curry powder. You can either add the powder directly to your vegan egg or first dissolve it in water and then add it.
  • egg taste: black salt or Kala Namak creates the perfect egg taste.
  • scrambled eggs, egg sandwich, egg salad & co.: Best to use for this purpose if firm neutral flavored tofu. Crumble it and mix with the above mentioned yellow powders to get the egg color.
  • egg whites: the magic word here is aquafaba, which helps you create the perfect vegan egg white foam. What is aquafaba? The water you can find in your chickpeas can or glass. You whip it the same way as regular egg whites or first reduce and then whip it and it will behave the same way like egg white foam. You can use it to create meringue.
  • tart & quiche fillings: some liquid fillings for quiches or tarts require eggs to thicken up. Just take silken tofu instead and you`re good to go. Actually also works gread for cheesecakes. Instead of eggs you might as well consider mixing plantbased milk with starch.
  • Creams, puddings & co. :Again silken tofu is a perfect choice as well as starch. Just make sure there aren`t any clumps forming in the liquid batter when using starch.
  • patties, fritters & co.: The main goal of the egg in these preparations is to glue everything together. Oats, tomato puree, flax- or chia-eggs will work perfectly as well and are vegan.
  • batters for pies, cakes, cookies & co.: Most of the time the eggs in these recipes is supposed to bind the batter together. You can use ripe bananas, apple sauce or vinegar instead. If the egg`s only purpose is to add more liquid, just use a plantbased milk or yogurt instead. A good alternative that works out most of the time is using a flax- or chia-egg. That`s actually a mixture of 2 tbsp flax or chia seeds mixed with 5 tbsp of tap water, left to soak for a few minutes. These literally work like normal eggs in recipes.
  • egg-substitution powder: These products are available in every big supermarket or whole food store. It`s a powder that has to be mixed with water and then works like an egg. I usually rather go for natural ingredients as these powders sometimes have additional substances added which I find unnecessary. But that`s everyones one choice and surely there are natural egg substitution powders out there as well.
  • lupines/lupin flour: A raising star on the market. Lupines are getting more and more popular. On short terms they literally have the same characteristics like soy, but their a more sustainable choice due to shorter hauls.

Meat

Meat is a food that provides us with proteins, in case of red meat iron as well. But there are plenty of plantbased proteins out there that work great. And if you want to prevent an iron insufficiency at all costs you can always take a spirulina supplement and check your leves regularly.

  • protein alternatives: beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, tempeh and any other soy product.
  • ground meat: besides soy granule you can use lentils or smoked tofu as well. Pea protein works great for meatballs. If not you can always buy convenience products made out of quorn, soy or lupines.
  • patties, fritters & burgers: These can be easily made out of mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils or quinoa, just to name a few.
  • schnitzel, steak, nuggets, ragout & co.: Bigger supermarkets have convenient products for everything nowadays, like the brands Vivera or Délicorn. These products mostly contain lupines, soy or quorn. Perfect for ragout is soy ragout, I like the one from Veganz.
  • bacon: There`s a great way to make vegan bacon with coconut flakes and liquid smoke. There`s actually a recipe on the blog. You also have the possibility to use smoked tofu for some dishes.
  • pulled pork: vegan convenience products or jackfruit, the best choice on my opinion. You can find a yummy pulled jackfruit Burger recipe here.
  • cold meat cuts: convenience products made out of soy or quorn.
  • sausages: How about a tofu sausage? There are plenty different flavors out there, I especially love the ones from Taifun.
  • gelatine: Just use agar-agar, you`ll get the same result.

what vegan alternatives you can use to substitute animal produce

Fish

That`s a tough one for vegans, as there aren`t too many alternatives out there. Here just a few…

  • smoked salmon: Can be imitated easily with steamed carrots and liquid smoke, recipe here.
  • fish finger: there are vegan convenience products out there, for example from Vivera or Veganz.
  • fish alternatives in general: algae, they are pretty healthy as well.
  • vegan omega-3 fatty acid sources: plantbased options are chia seeds, hemp seeds, canola oil, flaxseed oil, flaxseeds or walnuts.

Honey

There are so many sweeteners out there, that work just as great as honey. If you want to know more about sugar alternatives, check out this blogpost.

  • maple syrup
  • rice syrup
  • date syrup
  • agave syrup
  • yacon syrup
  • coconut blossom syrup

Other products:

Besides the above mentioned well-known non-vegan products, there are a few more out there you`ll have to take a closer look at, maybe even read some labels.

  • chocolate: there are tons of vegan chocolate brands out there. When buying chocolate check the ingredients and look out for a vegan seal. Dark chocolate or chocolate with a high amount of cocoa lot`s of times is vegan.
  • broth/stock & spices: Attention guys, vegetable broth or stock doesn`t always mean it`s vegan. It can actually contain animal produce. So make sure to read the label carefully or make your own stock at home. Same goes for spices, especially spice mixtures.
  • curry-Pastes: traditionally curry pastes contain fish sauce, thus for aren`t vegan. So look out for some vegan brands in your supermarket or make your own paste at home. Here`s a delicious red curry paste recipe.
  • Sauces & dressings: These products might contain animal produce as well, like gravy or rémoulade. Veganz offers great alternatives or just read the labels.
  • vinegar, Wines & juices: Often these products are filtered and clarified with the help of gelatine or fish bladders, although there`s active carbon as a vegan alternative out there. You might not find that information on the labels, so make sure to double-check with the producer if there`s no vegan seal.
  • candy & fruit gums: Check for gelatine as an ingredient.
  • convenience dough, bread & pastries: Might contain eggs, butter and/or milk.
  • pasta: Yup, sad but true, some companies add eggs to their pasta.
  • chips: animal produces are used to fry the chips.
  • E-numbers, food colors included: Non-natural red food color often gets it`s red color from cochenille, which literally are a lice species. To completely list all the ingredients would go beyond the constrains of this blog post, you can find a list on this site (it`s in German though).

This article became longer than expected. In case I didn`t answer all your questions or you have some further remarks, please let me know. Also if you`re struggeling using some of these vegan alternatives in the kitchen. I promise that I will answer all your questions.

 

read you soon,

Sarah

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