The Surviving Vegan Guide
What Is Veganism?
Why Should I Become Vegan?
How To Adapt
What Is Veganism?
Veganism is not a diet. It is a lifestyle.
Over the past few years, several celebrities from athletes to musicians have become vegan and vegan products have become more accessible. The movement has caused great attention - veganism has really become a trendy and cool marketing tool!
The word 'vegan' was first coined in 1944 by a small group of rebellious vegetarians who wanted to do more and broke away from the Leicester Vegetarian Society in England to form the Vegan Society. As well as meat, they decided not to consume dairy, eggs and products of animal origin. Just plant-based foods. They also made great lifestyle changes...
Being Vegan is more than having a plant-based diet, it is a way of living which excludes all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty - from food to clothing. Veganism and plant-based diets are often used as synonyms but there is a difference!
Why Should I Become Vegan?
Many scientists claim that becoming vegan is the “single biggest way” to reduce your impact on the planet. There are numerous benefits which being a vegan has on the environment and on your health.
The most apparent benefit of becoming vegan is preventing animal cruelty and exploitation as all of the food you consume will be plant-based and you’ll live an animal-cruelty-free life. If you want to show the animal world compassion, being vegan is the way forward!
Farming animals at mass also causes great negative environmental impact which includes greater emissions and the damaging of spaces.
Although vegan food is not always the healthiest option due to the growth in vegan fast food. However, a well-planned vegan diet is rich in nutrients and has great health benefits. Some research has linked vegan diets to lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and the chances of heart disease. There have also been links with veganism and maintaining type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer. Plant-based diets are rich in fibre, which aids digestion. Good vegan diets tend to include options like whole grains, fruit, nuts, seeds and vegetables, which are packed full of beneficial fibre, vitamins and minerals.
If you’d like to see the damage at full scale of consuming meat at mass, I’d advise watching ‘What The Health’, directed by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn. Please be warned this documentary is very graphic! There are also many controversial topics which are definitely up for debate so do have a look at the other side of the story as well.
How To Adapt
Before we dive deep into how to adapt, I’d like to clear up the myth that becoming a vegan is expensive! If you plan right it can be cheaper so increasing your food budget isn’t a change that you have to make!
You checking out this guide is the first step on your vegan journey! Based on many vegan converts, it is best to adapt at your own pace. On most occasions the full transition doesn’t happen overnight - it takes time so be open-minded and figure out what works best for you!
A good start could be making a small change everyday - easing into veganism, incrementally. Increasing the plant-based food you eat, whilst cutting out meat and dairy.
Maybe every week you could cut off a meat or dairy meal, one product at a time e.g. replacing cow milk with almond milk. Experiment and see what works!
Many vegan-newcomers complain that there are limited foods to eat but there are numerous resources online in which you can find scrumptious vegan recipes and lovely restaurants. I will be sharing some of my favourite recipes and restaurants further on in the guide.
At the start of your vegan excursion, it is important to monitor your nutrition intake as it is easy to miss out on essential nutrients. I will be sharing the nutrients that are most likely to be overlooked in the Vegan Nutrition section.
Remember to make your transition fun! At the start there is always great excitement. Be an explorer - it is a compelling new chapter in your life. Explore new foods, new flavours, voyage through new cuisines and step out of your comfort zone. There are many vegan-friendly options at UK restaurant chains you can enjoy (remember to bring a notepad and take notes to inspire what you cook!) If you are not into cooking, there are great meal prep options out there as well.
I’d advise that you actively research veganism as the diet (well, movement) is pretty new and only started off in 1944. There are numerous new vegan strands forming, have a look and see what resonates with you more.
Have any vegan friends? They could be vital on your first few months, ask them for advice - their favourite recipes. Places to eat. If you do not have anybody closeby who is vegan, there are many forums and vegan networks to join online. You can even check out Facebook groups, Twitter and other social media platforms. I advise the highly-rated 21-Day Vegan Kickstart app to help you transition.
We all have bad days and when you do, revert back to your why - reflect on your personal goals and why you want to be a vegan. Your why is vital and will keep you going. Watching uplifting videos and reading books on the positives of veganism will keep you motivated. Joining an online vegan community could also help - have a look at the Happy Cow Forum and Veggie Boards.
As previously mentioned, on your transition to veganism, it can be dangerous as it is easy to miss out on vital nutrients. Make sure to substitute essentials from meat and dairy options. Here are the top nutrients that are often easily missed and how to ensure you get them:
Protein is an essential part of everybody’s nutrition as it makes 17% of the body's weight and is the main component in muscles, skin and internal organs. It is also important to the function of the immune system - protein is required to fight infections. Many gym-goers fascinate about protein shakes and heavily monitor their protein intake as not getting enough protein leads to muscle loss. If you want to be a vegan and want to maintain your muscles there’s no need to worry! There are many great vegan protein sources. The top choices of protein are:
- Quinoa (100g serving) - 4g (7 - 9% NRV)
- Pulses (100g serving) - 5 - 10g (9 - 22% NRV)
- Tofu (100g serving) - 8g (15 - 18% NRV)
- Nuts and seeds (100g serving) - 20 - 40g (36 - 89% NRV)
- Buckwheat (100g serving) - 5g (9 - 11% NRV)
- Oats (100g serving) - 10g (18 - 22% NRV)
- Brown and wild rice (100g serving) - 4g (7 - 9% NRV)
- Other grains (100g serving) - 4 - 8g (7 - 18% NRV)
- Vegetables (100g serving) - 1 - 4g (2 - 7% NRV)
Vitamin B12 is another mineral to look out for - low Vitamin B12 can cause anemia and damage nervous system. This vitamin is one of the hardest essentials to get in a vegan diet. The recommended vitamin B12 is 2.4μg. There are few sources of B12 which include:
- Plant Milks (per 16oz Glass) - Up to.6 µgv (249% DV)
- Some soy products (100g serving) - 1.5μg (60% DV)
- Some breakfast cereals e.g. Multi Grain Cheerios (serving) - 2.4μg (100% DV)
Vitamin D is another vitamin which can be easily missed as a vegan. It is often found in non-vegan foods such salmon, egg yolks and shellfish. The general public as a whole appear to have an issue with getting enough Vitamin D - 1 in 5 people have low vitamin D levels. This is an issue as Vitamin D is required to absorb calcium and phosphorus foods to ensure that you have strong bones. Vitamin D also supports the immune system and reduces the risk of depression. It is advised to consume 10 micrograms of Vitamin D on a daily basis. Here are the top vegan sources of vitamin D for vegans:
- Fortified soy milk (1 serving) - 2 mcg (29%)
- Mushroom 100g - 11.25 mcg (112.5%)
- Fortified cereals (1 serving) - 0.2 to 2.5 mcg (2 - 25%)
- Fortified Orange Juice (1 serving) - 2.5 mcg (25%)
- Fortified almond milk (1 serving) - 2.4 mcg (24%)
- Fortified rice milk (1 serving) - 2.4 mcg (24%)
...And finally, the most natural approach is to get a good amount of sunshine. 10 - 30 minutes three times a week is enough for most people to get enough Vitamin D. People with darker skin need more exposure to reap similar Vitamin D intake. Please also be weary with time in the sunshine as too much sun can lead to sunburn and skin cancer.
Calcium plays a crucial role in your body’s operation, it is well-known that it is needed to build and maintain your bones. Other important roles of calcium include supporting muscle contractions, blood pressure regulation, nerve transmission and blood clotting. For non-vegans it is generally obtained through milk and dairy. It is recommended to get 1,000mg per day for adults, 1,200 mg for those over 50 and 1,300mg for children (4 - 8 years). Here’s how vegan’s ensure they get enough calcium:
- Milk Alternatives (1 serving) - 240mg (24%)
- Plant-based yogurt alternatives (1 serving) - 150mg (15%)
- Green leaf vegetables e.g. Kale, Spinach and Okra (1 serving) - 21 - 185mg (2.1% - 18.5% NRV)
- Fresh fruit (1 serving) - 3mg - 26mg (0.3% - 2.6% NRV)
- Dried fruit (30g serving) - 17 - 75mg (1.7% - 7.5% NRV)
- Beans and pulses (1 serving) - 17 - 66mg (1.7% - 6.6% NRV)
- Nuts and seeds (1 serving) - 3mg - 201mg (0.3% - 20.1% NRV)
- Bread product servings (1 serving) - 85 - 167mg (8.5% - 16.7% NRV)
- Dried herbs (1 tsp serving) - 80mg - 105mg (8% - 10.5%)
Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency worldwide, however, there are many good sources of iron in the vegan diet. Iron is important for maintaining red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body. A lack of iron can lead to iron deficiency anaemia. Most adults require an iron intake of 8.7mg per day, however, those who menstruate should aim for a higher intake - 14.8mg per day. Here’s how you can reach your iron goals:
- Flaxseeds 100g - 5.73mg (66% NRV)
- Raisins 100g - 1.9mg (22% NRV)
- Broccoli - 1mg (11% NRV)
- Tofu 100g - 5.4mg (62% NRV)
- Lentils 100g - 3.3mg (38% NRV)
- Chickpeas 100g - 6.2mg (71% NRV)
- Beans 100g - 5.1mg (59% NRV)
- Cashew nuts 100g - 6.7 mg (77% NRV)
- Chia seeds 100g - 7.7 mg (89% NRV)
- Spinach 100g - 2.7mg (31% NRV)
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
We all need a form of fat in our diet as our bodies cannot make them. Omega-3 Fatty Acids is an essential fat as it supports your immune system, brain, nerves and eyes. This fat is often found in fish and other seafood. There are 3 types of Omega-3 Fatty Acids which are ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). The only Omega-3 Fatty Acid found in plants is ALA, however, your body can convert ALA into EPA and DHA. 5% of ALA converted EPA and 0.5% converted DHA. If you don't supplement it is important good amount ALA-rich foods as a vegan it is recommended that a woman gets 1100mg and a man gets 1600mg. Here best sources:
- Chia Seeds 28g - 4,915mg (307 - 447% NRV)
- Cooked Brussel Sprouts 78g serving - 135mg (8 - 12% NRV)
- Hemp Seed 28g - 6,000mg (375 - 545% NRV)
- Walnuts 28g - 2,542mg (159 - 231% NRV)
- Flaxseeds 28g - 6,388mg (400 - 581% NRV)
...Don’t forget that there are many vegan supplements which can help you get the right nutrition.
...There are many tastes which you are bound to miss once you’ve cut off the meat, however, there are a growing amount of direct plant-based alternatives. We have rounded up the top product substitutions which will allow you to ease yourself into a vegan diet.
This is a versatile and affordable ingredient which is a great substitute for chicken - it works great in a lovely stir fry. Many have used Jackfruit to replace other meats such as tacos and crab cakes. This meat-like fruit has been eaten widespread throughout Asia for decades and is becoming a more popular and accessible in the UK. They can be bought at many local greengrocers and can be found easily in tins in supermarkets.
Aquafaba is the water from canned chickpeas - you can either buy a can of chickpeas which is easily accessible or buy aquafaba, separately. It works great as a substitute for egg whites and is often used to make bakery products, sponge cakes and brownies. You can add chickpea water to dairy-free buttercream to make a beautiful light frosting. Or try mixing it with icing sugar and lemon juice to make a royal vegan icing. You can even make vegan mayonnaise!
Also known as wheat gluten, Seitan is made from wheat protein and has been eaten in China for centuries. This wheat-substitute is easily located in supermarkets. Seitan is a perfect replacement for fried chicken - just add batter and fry. There are healthier cooking options for Seitan, including roasting, grilling and cooking in the oven. It is also a good substitute for duck, beef, bacon and sausage.
Probably the most accessible substitute… There are a great range of alternative milk options. Coconut, almond, cashew, hazelnut, hemp, oat, soy - you name it! Experiment with the wide range of milk variations and find out which one you love most! Some milk substitutes are said to work better with cereals, others work better with frothy coffee. It is also easy to make a DIY milk alternative by blending nuts and adding water. Find out how to make almond milk:
Alternative cheese is a working progress - make sure to check out reviews before you purchase! Some vegan cheeses do not melt and some taste even more cheesier than cheese - be careful! It really depends on your personal tastes. Vegan cheeses are often made with the likes of coconut, aquafaba, nuts and solidified vegetable oil. It is best to opt for cheeses fortified with vitamin B12 and calcium to boost intake of these essential nutrients. Options for vegan cheese are growing, you can get alternatives from mozzarella-style to creamy cheese.
Cheat or mock meats
From chicken nuggets, burgers to sausages - there are many vegan alternatives for the processed foods that you may miss. There is constant development of meat alternatives from big brands, supermarkets and small startups. You may have heard of Beyond Meat which is a bleeding-style plant-based burger - it is available in Tesco and some restaurants around the UK. There has also been a growth in ‘vegan butchers’ across the UK too that imitate standard butchers but with plant-based meat substitutes.
Tofu and tempeh
Another option which is popular in supermarket shelves, tofu is made from soybeans and is a less-processed substitute for meat with complete protein. The firm variety of tofu is best with savoury dishes and the softer type makes an amazing scrambled egg alternative, it is also great for puddings and bakes. Tempeh is a fermented soybeans which has a firmer in texture, compared to tofu. It is a great substitute for Asian recipes and forms good bacon when sliced thinly and brushed with marmite, maple syrup and hickory smoke.
'Spreads' and Fats
There are plenty dairy-free butter brands in the supermarket, you may already consume Flora - many don't realise that it is plant-based! Flora makes a nice spread and is splendid for baking. For pastries and crispier bakes, try a vegetable shortening substitute like Stork and Cookeen.
Whole egg substitutes
Powdered egg substitutes are popular in health stores and are becoming more available supermarkets. These substitutes are often used to for baked and breakfast meals. Egg substitutes includes flax meal mixed with hot water and chia seeds.
Although vegan options are available in major supermarkets - few stores are completely dedicated to veganism and miss out on the special meat-free feel which you should definitely experience. We recommend:
Cooking new foods is one of the most challenging elements of becoming vegan but don't worry! There are new vegan recipes being devised everyday! We have put together our top wholesome breakfasts, lovely lunches, nutritious dinners, sweet-tooth-soothing snacks and delightful beverage recipes:
Whole Wheat Vegan Waffles
"A squeeze of lemon gives these whole wheat vegan waffles a lovely buttermilk flavor and light texture. A great healthy weekend brunch!"
PREP: 10 MINS
COOK: 10 MINS
- 1½ cups Original Almond Breeze Almond Milk, at room temp
- 1½ tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 cups loose-packed whole wheat pastry flour (or white/wheat mix)
- 2½ teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons ground flax meal
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons cane sugar
- Teeny pinch of sea salt
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- Maple syrup & butter (vegan butter)
- Seasonal fruit
- Preheat your waffle iron (I use setting #5 on mine - the second to highest setting)
- In a small bowl, combine Almond Breeze and lemon juice. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, flax meal, cinnamon, sugar, and salt).
- To your small bowl (with the almond milk), add the melted coconut oil and vanilla and whisk together. Then pour your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined (don't over mix).
- Spray your waffle iron with a little cooking spray and scoop in the batter. I let my waffles cook for about a minute after the beep for an ideal crispy-on-the-outside texture.
- Serve waffles immediately (while they're piping hot!), with butter, maple syrup and fruit.
- Let leftover waffles cool and freeze for easy weekday waffles later.
These freeze and toast well - if you have a Belgian waffle maker with deep squares, you may want to let them thaw a bit before toasting so they toast evenly.
Roasted Sweet Potato & Kale Breakfast Hash
"A hearty, 10-ingredient breakfast hash with roasted sweet potatoes, red onion, kale, and tandoori masala-spiced tofu! A protein- and fiber-packed plant-based meal."
PREP: 10 MINS
COOK: 35 MINS
- 8 ounces extra-firm tofu (organic when possible)
- 2 small sweet potatoes (or sub 1 large per 2 small // chopped into large bites, skin on // organic when possible)
- 2 Tbsp melted coconut oil (divided)
- 3 1/4 tsp tandoori masala spice (divided)
- 1 tsp coconut sugar
- 1/2 tsp each sea salt + black pepper (divided)
- 1 red onion (skin and tops removed // then sliced into wedges lengthwise // see photo)
- 2 Tbsp fresh parsley (plus more for serving)
- 1/8 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 large bundle kale (chopped, large stems removed // ~10 ounces or 283 g per 1 large bundle // organic when possible)
FOR SERVING optional
- Hummus (store bought or this recipe)
- Hot sauce (tapatio is my favorite!)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C), and wrap tofu in a clean towel and set something heavy on top (such as a cast-iron skillet) to press out excess moisture.
- In the meantime, season sweet potatoes with 1/2 Tbsp oil, 1 tsp tandoori masala spice, coconut sugar, and a pinch each salt and pepper (amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). Toss to coat.
- Season onion with 1/2 Tbsp oil, 1/4 tsp tandoori spice, and a pinch each salt and pepper (amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). Toss to coat.
- Bake onions and potatoes for a total of 25-35 minutes, flipping once near the halfway point to ensure even cooking. You’ll know they’re done when the onions are brown and caramelized, and the sweet potatoes are fork tender. Remove from oven and set aside.
- While vegetables are roasting, place pressed tofu in a bowl and use two forks to crumble into small pieces (see photo). Season with fresh parsley, turmeric, and a healthy pinch each salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Once the potatoes and onions are almost done cooking, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 1/2 Tbsp oil, tofu, and 1 tsp tandoori masala spice (amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, to dry and brown the tofu. Then remove from skillet and set aside.
- Add remaining 1/2 Tbsp oil to the skillet and add kale (amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). Season with a healthy pinch each salt and pepper, 1 tsp tandoori masala spice blend, and toss to coat (amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). Sauté, stirring frequently, to brown and wilt the kale – about 3-4 minutes.
- Push kale to one side of the pan and add tofu back in to warm (see photo). Turn off heat but keep over burner.
- To serve, divide the kale between 2 (or 3 // amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size)) serving plates, top with roasted sweet potatoes and onion, then tofu. Sprinkle with remaining chopped parsley and enjoy. For extra flavor, season with hot sauce and serve with a generous spoonful of hummus (optional).
- Best when fresh, though leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on a baking sheet in a 350-degree F (174 C) oven for 15-20 minutes or until warmed through.
*I buy my Tandoori Masala Spice blend at Whole Foods and it’s delicious (see a photo here)! If you can’t find it there, try this DIY Tandoori Masala Blend: 3 Tbsp cumin, 2 Tbsp garlic powder, 2 Tbsp paprika, 3 tsp ginger, 2 tsp coriander, 2 tsp cardamom. Multiply as needed.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.
Cinnamon Sugar Vegan Donuts
“Donuts...that are delicious and vegan?! Believe it.”
PREP: 20 MINS
COOK: 10 MINS
SERVES: 6 - 10
FOR THE DONUTS
- Cooking spray
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 2/3 c. unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- 1/4 c. melted vegan butter
- 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
FOR THE CINNAMON-SUGAR COATING
- 1 c. granulated sugar
- 4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Pinch kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 350° and grease a donut pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together almond milk, sugar, butter, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla. Pour into dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Transfer batter to a piping bag and pipe into prepared donut pan.
- Bake until edges are golden and middles are set, 10 minutes. Remove donuts from pan and let cool slightly on a cooling rack.
- In a medium bowl combine sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of kosher salt. Gently toss donuts in cinnamon sugar while still warm.
Kale Quinoa Salad
“This colorful kale quinoa salad is full of healthy ingredients and tastes incredible! Meal prep this easy plant-based lunch idea for meals all week.”
PREP: 10 MINS
COOK: 20 MINS
- 1 cup dry quinoa (3 cups cooked)
- 1 bunch Tuscan kale (also labeled as Lacinato kale, dinosaur kale, or cavolo nero)
- 15-ounce can chickpeas
- ¼ cup finely chopped shallot (or red onion or green onion)
- 1 bell pepper
- 2 carrots
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 small pinch curry powder*
- 1 large garlic clove, peeled and grated
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt plus fresh ground black pepper to taste**
- Make the quinoa: Go to Stovetop Quinoa or Instant Pot Quinoa. Make it in advance OR if serving immediately, bring the quinoa to room temperature: spread it in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze it for 2 to 3 minutes until it cools.
- Prep the kale: Chop the kale. Sprinkle the kale with 1 pinch kosher salt. Coat your hands with a few drops of olive oil and massage the kale leaves for 2 to 3 minutes until all pieces are tender.
- Prep the other veggies: Finely chop the onion or shallot. Dice the pepper. Peel and dice the carrots.
- Mix the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, curry powder, and grated garlic.
- Mix the salad: Mix the quinoa and vegetables together with the dressing and the ½ teaspoon kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Add more kosher salt to taste. Stores up to 3 days refrigerated (you may need to add a pinch of salt before serving since it looses saltiness over time).
*A small pinch adds complexity without the flavor of curry in the salad.
**Optional add-ins: Parmesan cheese, chopped almonds or other nuts, dried cherries, cranberries or raisins, chopped apples, chopped cucumber, etc.
Rice Paper Rolls With Mango And Mint
"These vegan rice paper rolls with mango, mint, and avocado with an easy peanut dipping sauce are just perfect for hot summer days."
PREP: 20 MINS
COOK: 0 MINS
For the rice paper rolls:
- 6 sheets Vietnamese rice paper
- 1 avocado
- 1 cucumber
- 3 small carrots
- 1 mango
- 3 green onions, cut into rings
- 1 cup purple cabbage, cut into thin stripes
- about 6 radishes, cut into thin slices
- 1 cup fresh mint
- 2-3 cups lettuce, cut into thin stripes
- 1 - 1 1/2 cups cooked glass noodles
For the fried sesame tofu (optional):
- 7 oz block firm tofu
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
For the peanut dipping sauce:
- 1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 3-4 tablespoons warm water
- 1/2 teaspoons sriracha sauce (optional)
- Cut the avocado, the carrots, the mango, the lettuce, and the purple cabbage into thing stripes.
- When you're done cutting the veggies, fill a shallow bowl with water and dip the rice papers in water so they get moderately wet on both sides. Don't let them soak too long, so they don't get too soft.
- First make the tofu (it's optional but really yummy): Cut the tofu into thin stripes (about 0.10 inches thick) and heat the sesame oil in a medium-sized pan. Add the tofu and the soy sauce and cook for about 4 minutes until the tofu is brown and crispy. Then add the sesame seeds and cook for another minute.
- When you soaked the rice papers, fill them with the veggies and the tofu (if using) and wrap them like a burrito. I think it's best to center the filling and then roll it up and fold in the two side flaps.
- Then make the peanut dipping sauce: In a medium bowl, combine the peanut butter with the soy sauce, the garlic, the warm water, and the sriracha sauce.
- Serve the rice paper rolls with the peanut dipping sauce.
- If you want the rice paper rolls to be soy-free, just leave out the tofu. The summer rolls will still be awesome without the tofu.
- The rice paper rolls are naturally gluten-free. However, I used soy sauce for the peanut butter dipping sauce. If you need the whole meal to be 100 % gluten-free, just use tamari instead of soy sauce for the peanut sauce and for frying the tofu.
- Make sure to cut up all of the vegetables first, so you have everything ready when you start dipping the rice paper into water.
- Don’t dip the rice paper for too long or they will become too soft, delicate, and hard to roll.
Vegan Zucchini Corn Fritters
“The most amazing vegan zucchini corn fritters you’ll ever have. Crispy, delicious and perfect with a salad or dipped into your favorite dip.”
PREP: 10 MINS
COOK: 20 MINS
- 1 cup all-purpose flour or whole grain
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 chia/flax egg 1 tbsp chia seeds/ground flax seeds + 3 tbsp water, see notes
- ½ cup almond milk or other nut milk
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 ½ cup zucchini grated, squeezed and drained (about 2 medium-sized zucchini)
- 1 ear corn kernels cut off the cob (about 1 cup corn kernels)
- ½ jalapeño pepper finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 scallions diced
- 1/3 cup parsley or cilantro, chopped
- 1 tbsp lime juice or lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or other frying oil, to fry
- Marinara sauce/vegan sour cream to serve
Prepare the zucchini
- Grate 2 medium-sized zucchini (about 1 ½ cups) into a bowl or colander that is prepared with a clean dish towel or cheese cloth that is laid into it. Add a pinch of salt, and leave for 10 minutes. Take the edges of the towel (like you would a garbage bag), twist the top of the cloth over a sink or bowl until it squeezes the zucchini and drains the excess liquid. Try to squeeze as much liquid as you can.
Make the chia egg
- Mix three tablespoons of water and one tablespoon of chia seeds or ground flax seeds in a small bowl. Let the mixture thicken for 5 minutes.
Mix the batter
- Mix the dry ingredients together. Add the chia egg, almond milk and olive oil and mix again with a whisk.
- Add grated zucchini, corn kernels, finely chopped jalapeño, minced garlic, diced scallions and chopped parsley. Sprinkle with lime juice. Mix it all together.
Fry the fritters
- Heat up a pan to medium heat and place one or two tablespoons of oil into the pan. Portion out one heaped tablespoon of batter per fritter and fry in batches over medium heat for about five minutes per side. Cover after flipping.
- Serve the fritters with your favorite dip or salad (more serving suggestions below).
- These vegan corn fritters are amazing if you need to add more vegetables into your diet or need another sneaky way to get kids to eat their veggies.
- To prepare the grated zucchini, you’ll need to get the excess liquid out of it (see instructions above).
- This recipe uses a "chia egg" or a "flax egg" as a replacement to normal eggs. Use three tablespoons of water and one tablespoon of chia seeds or ground flax seed. Let the mixture thicken for 5 minutes and it is ready to use.
- Serve the fritters with dipping sauces like marinara, sour cream or vegan equivalent, baba ghanoush, guacamole or avocado dressing, with your favorite salad (my recommendations are Grilled Corn and Black Bean Salad and Mexican Chopped Salad), with veggie sticks, as a side to a wrap, sandwich or bagel.
- These fritters keep well in the fridge for up to 4 days, so you can make a batch and bring it with you on an outing, a picnic, or take them with you for lunch.
- You can freeze them for up to three months. To reheat, bring them to a room temperature and fry again.
Spicy Miso Portobello Mushroom Burger (Vegan)
"This Asian-style, grilled, vegan portobello mushroom burger is full of delicious umami flavor! It’s lathered with Asian-style Guacamole, topped with a cool cucumber ribbon salad and crunchy carrot slaw."
PREP: 25 MINS
COOK: 10 MINS
- 2 large portobello mushrooms
- 1 Tablespoon Miso ( any color)
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- pinch of salt and pepper
Cucumber Ribbon Salad
- 2 turkish cucumbers, cut length-wise into ribbons ( use a mandolin– see notes)
- 1 scallion, sliced at diagonal
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
Carrot Slaw ( to simplify this, see notes)
- 1 1/2 cups matchstick carrots ( or grated)
- 1 scallion
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- 1 extra large avocado, cubed
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger ( or use ginger paste)
- 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper
- pinch chili flakes and sesame seeds
2 whole wheat buns, grilled
Optional additions- pickled ginger
- Preheat the grill. Using a fork or mini whisk, mix the miso, sriracha, and sesame oil ….& pinch salt and pepper together in a small bowl to make a paste. Brush liberally onto both sides of the portobello mushrooms.
- Using veggie peeler or mandolin, cut the cucumber into long thin ribbons. (You can always just slice them into very thin disks) Place them in a medium bowl along with scallions and add the dressing ingredients and gently toss.
- Make the carrot slaw the same way. Place in a small bowl, toss with dressing ingredients. To save time you can combine both the carrots and cucumber (and double the dressing) and serve them together in one bowl – but I prefer them separate, just for “prettiness”, but it’s not essential.
- Make the Asian Guacamole, by placing everything in a small bowl, mashing and stirring a bit until creamy and combined. It doesn’t have to be smooth. Sprinkle with sesame and chili flakes.
- Grill the portobellos, top sides down first, for 4-5 minutes over medium heat, until juicy and tender. Flip, grill a few more minutes. Grill the Buns.
- Assemble the burgers….spread buns with generous amount of Asian Guac, place the portobello- gills side up ( to catch all the flavorful juices) then mound with cucumber ribbon and carrot salad, a little squeeze of sriracha, optional pickled ginger. Use the remaining Asian Guac on the bun tops, and top the burgers.
- Eat immediately.
- For a lighter meal you could serve these open-faced, with knife and fork without the top bun.
- To save time you can combine the both the carrots and cucumber (and double the dressing) and serve them together in one bowl – but I prefer them separate, just for “prettiness”, but it’s not essential.
Best Vegan Pizza
"Even meat eaters will love this vegan pizza recipe! With creamy cashew sauce, summer veggies & sun-dried tomatoes, it's flavorful and fun to eat."
PREP: 20 MINS
COOK: 15 MINS
SERVES: 3 - 4
- 1 small head broccoli, florets chopped into small pieces, top of stalk diced (½ cup)
- ⅓ cup halved cherry tomatoes
- kernels from 1 ear fresh corn
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped red onion
- ½ jalapeño, thinly sliced
- 4 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, diced
- extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling and brushing
- 1 (16-ounce) ball of pizza dough
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- pinches of red pepper flakes
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cashew Cream
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- In a medium bowl, combine the broccoli, tomatoes, corn, onion, jalapeño, and sun-dried tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil and pinches of salt and pepper. Toss to coat and taste. The vegetables should be well-seasoned and well-coated with the olive oil so that the vegetables are flavorful throughout the pizza.
- Stretch the pizza dough onto a 14-inch pizza pan. Brush the outer edges of the dough lightly with olive oil and spoon a few scoops of cashew cream onto the center of the dough, just enough to spread it into a thin layer. Distribute the vegetables onto the dough.
- Bake 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden, cooked through, and the broccoli is tender and roasted. Remove from the oven and drizzle generously with the cashew cream (if your cashew cream is too thick to drizzle, stir in a little water). Top with the fresh basil, fresh thyme, and pinches of red pepper flakes.
Cauliflower Tacos With Cashew Crema
“Don’t worry if it shrinks a lot—the flavor will be that much more concentrated.”
PREP: 20 MINS
COOK: 30 - 40 MINS
- 1 green chile (such as serrano), finely grated
- 1 garlic clove, finely grated
- ¼ cup cashew or almond butter
- 3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
- Kosher salt
- 3 garlic cloves, finely grated
- ¼ cup grapeseed or vegetable oil
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 2 medium heads of cauliflower, cut into 1"–2" florets
- Kosher salt
- 12 6"-diameter corn tortillas
- 1 small white onion, thinly sliced
- Sliced avocado, sliced radishes, cilantro leaves with tender stems, and lime wedges (for serving)
- Using a fork, mix chile, garlic, cashew butter, lime juice, and 3 Tbsp. water in a small bowl to combine; season with salt. Set aside.
- Place a rack in lowest position; preheat oven to 450°. Stir garlic, oil, cumin, and paprika in a small bowl to combine. Arrange cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet and pour spiced oil over. Season with salt and toss to evenly coat cauliflower. Roast, undisturbed, until dark brown and crisp on the bottom, 15–20 minutes. Remove from oven and turn florets over. Continue to roast until second side is dark brown and crisp, 15–20 minutes longer.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Working in batches, toast tortillas in a single layer, turning halfway through, until warmed through, about 1 minute total. Transfer to plates.
- Spread each tortilla with some reserved sauce; top with cauliflower. Garnish with onion, avocado, radishes, and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over.
Pecan Energy Bar Recipe
"This homemade energy bar recipe is the perfect wholesome snack! It’s naturally sweet, featuring oats, chia seeds, and pecans."
PREP: 10 MINS
COOK: 30 MINS
- 15 Medjool dates (9 ounces)*
- 1 cup raw pecan halves
- ½ cup gluten free oats
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 200F.
- Remove the pits from the dates with your fingers (they come right out!). Place the dates in the food processor and process or pulse until they are mainly chopped and a rough texture forms. Then add the remaining ingredients and process for a minute or so until a crumbly dough forms.
- Line a baking sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Dump the dough into the center of the parchment paper and use a rolling pin to roll it into a rectangle that is 6” x 10.5”. Cut the dough into 14 bars that are 1.5” x 3”. (You don’t have to be as precise as we were, but we found it was easiest for cutting uniform bars!)
- Bake the bars for 30 minutes (this step helps to make the texture more dry and less sticky). Cool the bars to room temperature, then store refrigerated in a sealed container between sheets of wax paper. If you’d like to package them for on the go snacking, cut out 4” x 6” rectangles of wax paper, wrap them around the bars, and secure them with tape. Stays good for 1 month refrigerated (or more, but they may not last that long!).
* We recommend using Medjool dates: they’re a large, tender and sweet variety of dates that create the perfect texture for these bars. They’re available at most grocery stores; many times they are in the bulk or produce section, or packaged in the dried fruit section.
Best Ever Edible Cookie Dough (vegan, gluten free)
PREP: 5 MINS
COOK: 5 MINS
- 115 g vegan butter can use standard butter
- 110 g light brown sugar *
- 3 tbsp white sugar *
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp milk of choice
- 125 g all-purpose flour gluten-free, if necessary
- 45 g chocolate chips of choice
- Start by heat treating your flour in either the microwave or oven (see post for instructions).
- In a mixer, cream your butter with sugars for 2-3 minutes, until combined. Add your milk and vanilla extract, and continue mixing. Slowly add in your flour and mix until just combined.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold through your chocolate chips. Transfer to a bowl and enjoy immediately.
Vegan Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread With Cinnamon Crumble
PREP: 10 MIN
COOK: 1 HOUR
SERVES: 5 - 10
- 250 g flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 60 ml oil
- 75 ml vegan milk*
- 50 g sugar*
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 ripe banana about 350-400 g
- 100 g sugar
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
- 60 g flour
- 20 g sugar
- 20 g brown sugar
- 45 g vegan butter cold
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 120 g powdered sugar
- 4-5 tbsp vegan milk or more
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- First prepare the cinnamon sugar for the swirl. Mix sugar and cinnamon.
- For the crumble, quickly knead all the ingredients into a dough and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees top and bottom heat. Lightly grease the baking pan.
- Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Pour into a large mixing bowl and mix. Mix the oil, vegetable milk, sugar, apple cider vinegar and vanilla extract well with a whisk and carefully stir into the dry ingredients. Finely mash the bananas with a fork and add. Mix briefly to form a dough.
- Pour about half of the batter into the baking pan. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar generously on the dough. Pour the remaining dough into the mold. For the strudel, pull a fork through the dough in a spiral. Finally, spread the crumble over the dough.
- Bake in the oven for about 50-70 minutes*. Then take it out of the oven and let it cool down.
- For the vanilla glaze, mix all ingredients with a hand mixer. Spread over the banana bread and serve.
- Vegan soy vanilla milk for more vanilla flavor and sweetness.
- If you replace the sugar, please note that the consistency of the dough may change. This also applies to the exchange of other ingredients.
- The baking time can vary depending on the oven.
- The best way to test whether the banana bread is ready is with a wooden skewer or a knife. Both should come out when stick in the banana bread without any liquid dough residue.
Matcha + Coconut Milkshake
“Matcha and coconut are a lovely flavor combination. This vegan milkshake is light, refreshing and will give you a boost of energy!”
PREP: 5 MIN
COOK: 5 MIN
- 1 cup Silk Nutchello Toasted Coconut & Cashew Milk or unsweetened coconut Milk
- 1 large frozen banana
- 2 teaspoons matcha
- a few ice cubes, optional
- toasted coconut flakes or shredded coconut
- dark chocolate shavings or cacao nibs
- Place ingredients in blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Serve topped with optional garnish.
- Enjoy and savor each sip!
If using unsweetened coconut milk, add 1 – 2 dates, chopped and seeds removed, to sweeten. Or add a drizzle of pure maple syrup, about 1 teaspoon, before blending.
Vegan Hot Chocolate
"Classic creamy, rich and chocolatey vegan hot coco!"
PREP: 1 MIN
COOK: 4 MIN
- 2 cups Vegan milk oat, almond, cashew
- 3 tbsp Maple syrup
- 2 tbsp Cocoa powder
- Combine all ingredients into a sauce pan till warm. Serve with coconut whipped cream or vegan marshmallows.
Vegan Turmeric Eggnog
"This easy recipe for Vegan Turmeric Eggnog reinvents a holiday classic with functional healthy ingredients and a special anti-inflammatory spice twist."
PREP: 2 MIN
COOK: 5 MIN
- 1 can light coconut milk (13.5 ounces/398ml)
- 1.5 cups water
- 3 pitted dates
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground allspice
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- Additional 1tbsp maple syrup or honey if you like it sweeter
- Fresh nutmeg for garnish
- Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend for 2-3 minutes, until well incorporated and hot. If you don't have a blender that will heat your beverage after blending warm on stovetop in a small pot over medium heat.
- Garnish with fresh nutmeg. I also garnished with a dollop of almond milk foam.
- You can easily sub any kind of milk for the coconut milk
- If you don't have a high-speed blender that will heat your eggnog, after blending heat lightly in a saucepan on the stove
Sometimes, rather than cook - you’d rather enjoy the quality experience at a highly-rated restaurant or maybe you just hate cooking full-stop! Not to worry, we have put together the most popular vegan restaurants nationwide. Have a look below:
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