Vegans don’t eat grass: Making recipes vegan

We know that a lot of people are reluctant to go vegan as they feel like they will miss out on some of the meals they currently enjoy. Well, we’re here to tell you that’s not the case, as you can make a (delicious) vegan version of almost all of your favourites! Before we start on three recipes that are vegan alternatives of usually dairy heavy foods, we want to accentuate how easy it can be to replace dairy with vegan alternatives. Here are our basic guidelines:

  • If a recipe asks for milk, simply replacing it with non-dairy milk will work fine; soya milk tends to behave most like normal milk, for example if you need it to thicken in a sauce.
  • Eggs can be replaced with aquafaba (chickpea water), which gives a fluffy ‘whipped’ egg consistency (as in meringues) or ‘flax’ eggs (flaxseed mixed with water to make a gloopy paste).
  • Like milk, dairy spread or vegetable oil works equally fine as a butter replacement, even in baking.
  • Search out ‘accidentally vegan’ foods that can stand in as replacements for your usual brands – for example, we’ve found a brand of gnocchi that is incidentally dairy free, so we use this rather than the fresh stuff.

Now, for some recipes:

 

Mac ‘n’ Cheeze

This is Olivia’s signature recipe, and we have been told by faithful (cheese-loving!) sources that it is just as good as the real thing – in fact you can barely taste the difference. The key to this is the Dijon mustard in our opinion – definitely the saviour of the meal. Also, its key to make sure you keep tasting as you make your sauce, as everyone likes it slightly different.

This (rough) recipe is for one serving

  • 30 g Vegan Butter
  • 15 g Flour
  • 355 ml Soya milk (We’ve found nut/oat milks don’t thicken very well)
  • 15 g Nutritional yeast (This gives the sauce its cheesy taste so you may need quite a bit more if you like it very cheesy)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • Dijon mustard to taste – Start with a large teaspoon and work up
  • Black pepper to taste
  1. Melt the butter, as you would in a usual white sauce, and then whisk in the flour to make a paste.
  2. Add the soya milk gradually, and keep mixing to combine it thoroughly and to check that it is beginning to thicken.
  3. Mix in the nutritional yeast.
  4. Add the salt, lemon juice, and tomato puree.
  5. Mix in the ‘to taste ingredients’ - keep tasting and refining until it’s perfect.
  6. Stir into cooked pasta.

If you’re feeling lazy, our favourite vegan haunt in Exeter, The Rabbit, does an amazing mac ‘n’ cheeze – it’s even better served on top of a hot dog!

 

Pumpkin Pie

We had to throw in a seasonal one. This American Thanksgiving staple is perfect to replace an afternoon slice of cake with a cup of tea. We used this recipe, and while Zoe thinks she was a bit heavy-handed with the spicing, Olivia adores it. We used Sainsbury’s own ready-rolled shortcrust, which is vegan, and served it with some pourable Alpro soya cream (easily available in supermarkets) rather than the whipped coconut cream it recommends.

Pancakes

Most vegan pancake recipes are pretty simple and not any fussier than your average recipe. Here’s a good recipe; the only ingredient you might not have in your cupboard is apple cider vinegar. ACV is a pretty common ingredient in vegan recipes, and the large bottle tends to really last, so it might be worth getting one from Holland and Barrett. It’s also a cult health and beauty ingredient; it’s especially good to remove shampoo build up from your hair, so maybe give this a try too!

However, there’s a good range of vegan pancake recipes available online – some with just three ingredients (mashed bananas, flour and chia seeds to bind them). Why not have a look and find your new favourite vegan pancake recipe?!