Between the difficult to pronounce and the straight up bizarre options floating about, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Whether you are thinking about going vegan or you’re just looking to experiment, here are a few must-try vegan alternatives that won’t cause you any stress in the kitchen.
Substituting meat with a fruit may seem like an odd concept but the jackfruit, native to South India, is a traditional ingredient in many Asian curries and has recently become popular in Australia as an alternative to pulled pork. Be sure to buy it while it’s premature. You can pick up cans of young, green jackfruit at Asian grocers or The Cruelty Free Shop.
Vegan reusable food wraps
A big reason for ditching meat, dairy and eggs for many vegans is sustainability. Therefore, wrapping leftovers in non-reusable plastic isn’t a viable option. While the reusable beeswax wraps serving as an eco-friendly cling wrap replacement are a no-go for those opting to forgo animal products, you can now find vegan-friendly food wraps made from organic cotton, plant-based wax, tree resin and jojoba oil at a number of online vegan retailers.
Admittedly, cheese is a tough food to replicate. This substitute isn’t one you’d mistake for the real deal, but it is delicious in its own right. You can pick up premade cashew cheese from most health food stores or make your own. All you need to do is soak some cashews overnight, pop them in a food processor with some water, garlic, nutritional yeast and lemon juice and blend. Perfect paired with wine and crackers.
Let’s be honest. Giving up cheese is the hardest part about going vegan for a lot of people. Luckily for us, nutritional yeast is another cheese alternative. Not only because it’s packed with B vitamins such as B12 – which are otherwise difficult for vegans to attain without supplements – but because its punchy, cheese-like taste makes it perfect for sprinkling over anything from nachos to popcorn, or adding to sauces.
Rice paper bacon
Faux meats can be pretty hit and miss, especially those aiming to imitate the texture of bacon, but rice paper bacon is a simple DIY way to curb your bacon cravings. It’s as easy as marinating rice paper sheets in a mixture of liquid smoke, maple syrup and soy sauce and popping them in a pan or oven until crispy. This option is much healthier than real bacon or other overly processed alternatives, so you can enjoy it guilt free.
While there are a number of vegan-friendly egg substitutes for baking, none are quite as versatile as aquafaba – otherwise known as the liquid you’ll find your canned chickpeas swimming around in. The key is to whip the aquafaba until it turns white and fluffy, at which stage it becomes the perfect base for vegan meringues or mousse as well as serving as an egg replacement in anything from pancakes to brownies.
Thanks to the recent coconut craze there’s no shortage of dairy-free yogurt on the market. Not only is it easy to get your hands on, it’s also very simple to make at home. Just pour canned coconut milk into a jar, add a few probiotic capsules, cover with a cheesecloth and leave to thicken.