Are you thinking of going vegan? The benefits are all there – a plant-based diet tends to be healthier and offers numerous benefits compared with a diet centred on animal products. If you are thinking of making the change, you may find the substitutes I found useful. I have been looking closely at vegan substitutes and if you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ll have seen my attempts at converting some of my popular recipes into vegan versions.
Where Can You Find Good Vegan Recipes?
If you want to know a few of the best dishes then just look is at the recipes on my blog which are either vegetarian or vegan. Lately, I have been looking closely at vegan substitutes and suggesting options in my recipes.
Another good place to look for vegan recipes is online. Simply think of a dish you would like to try and make and then search for it’s vegan option. You will be surprised at just how much choice there is. Just don’t get digressed like me and start playing best online casino games. Stay focussed and do your research.
So, what are a few of the best vegan substitutes out there? Realistically, this isn’t all that difficult. For example:
Milk and Yogurt Substitutes
There are already quite a reasonable number of milk substitutes out there due to the fact that thanks to lactose-intolerant people, there has always been a demand for dairy-free products. There are a number of options out there, and the best depends on the dish that you are cooking; however, some of the most popular include the likes of oat milk, hazelnut, soy, cashew, hemp, and almond. I’ve really been enjoying Alpro Soya Unsweetened wholebean as a substitute to dairy milk. This has a very mild flavour which makes it perfect for cooking, as it avoids imparting unexpected sweetness and it doesn’t curdle unlike cheaper brands.
Dairy yoghurt (dahi) can be substituted for vegan yoghurt made from cultured soya milk, or coconut milk which adds an extra exotic depth to creamy curries.
Fats and Spreads
If you are looking for butter brands out there that are completely free of dairy, then you will be happy to know that there are a number of different options. Most supermarkets sell their very own types of dairy-free substitutes, but there are also large and small brands out there. The best thing you can do is experiment with a few different choices and then find out your favourite and keep using that one. I tend to substitute ghee (aka clarified or melted butter) with vegan margarine, such as Vitalite Sunflower for spreading, or Stork for baking.
While some substitutions are easy to live with (and sometimes even better), the one thing that many of you have said you can’t live without is cheese. And I know what you mean! In an Indian vegetarian diet, cheese is a key source of protein along with lentils.
But realistically, my ancestors in India would not have eaten the kinds of cheese that we have become used to in the Western world. More likely, they would have had paneer, a home made cottage cheese which is really easy to make at home.
Paneer is popular, as it’s very easy and quick to make into a tasty curry. For people who used to eat meat, I’m told it makes a good substitute.
The vegan substitute for paneer is tofu.
Now this is an ingredient that often divides people, as they’ve had experiences cooking with it at home or eating it out. I myself have often found it quite rubbery when ordering a Thai-style red curry and, at home, I haven’t really been confident enough to use it.
That’s where the help of my son has been invaluable. He was the one who encouraged me to try going vegan and we’ve been enjoying trying out a whole range of vegan alternatives, and his experience in cooking tofu really helped me develop a recipe for this delicious vegan mutter paneer – or mutter tofu.
With the rise of the number of people going vegan, Supermarkets have started stocking lots of vegan ingredients as well as ready meals. There is no better time to change to a vegan diet.
There are also lots of websites about vegan substitutes some of which are listed below:
In general, vegan substitutes are widely available, simple to use and delicious. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Until then, happy cooking – and eating!
What are your top tips for vegan substitutes?