Vegans have chosen to give up eating animal by products, no meat, eggs, or dairy. At first it might seem like a simple food switchover. However if you start baking your favorite cookie recipe, you will quickly find out that not eating eggs completely changes how we make our treats. No more traditional mayo, puddings, ice cream, or all those other tasty treats. No more bacon fat and cheese to doctor up those boring veggies.

So, what is a vegan to do? Are they destined for lettuce and tofu for the rest of their lives? Will treats and desserts be limited to some fruit minus the whipped cream? Thankfully, there are thousands of tested recipes to satisfy just about any food craving you can have.

The first tasty food secret

A vegan diet isn’t limited to just peanut butter and tofu as a protein source. Legumes are the answer. The name may not seem appetizing, but these protein rich little beauties can be used in a variety of ways that will give you an endless supply of go to recipes. The legume family includes beans, lentils, and peas. So make a pot of chili, spicy bean dip, or lentil and garlic stew. There is nothing like a creamy bowl of split pea soup on a cold winter day.

Legumes

Legumes Photo: Ulleo via Pixabay

And if you do happen to like those salads, throw in some black beans or chick peas for some additional color and texture to your food. Those little chick peas also make hummus dip. Just throw in some roasted peppers or garlic to switch things up a bit. Use for raw veggie or chip dip.

Hummus

Hummus Photo: Ajale via Pixabay

Work the peanut butter magic

If you happen to be a peanut butter fan, go for it. It isn’t just for sandwiches. Great added to baked goods, sauces, and frozen desserts. Grocery stores also carry a huge variety of nut butters. Try them all and choose the ones you like the best. Sun butter, (made from sunflower seeds), has a special flavor and you can substitute for any recipe that calls for traditional peanut butter. Maybe you like your nuts whole, again toss some on those boring salads, add to fruit and desserts.

Sowing the Seeds for creative food

When thinking seeds, don’t forget hemp seeds which they great in granola. Chia seeds can be thrown into any soup, cereal, or liquid foods. Tiny little seeds not only grow cute pets (yes those chia pets) they are pretty much flavorless, and can be used as a gel to replace eggs in baking. You can also make an endless array of puddings, jams, and jellies with these wonderful gems that can be used as a thickener. They give great texture to a batch of kombucha as well.

Smoothie Bowl with Chia

Smoothie Bowl with Chia. Photo: Foodista via Flickr

Alternatives to butter

Hate giving up your yogurt, milk, butter, and cheese? Don’t fret. Almond, cashew, soy, and coconut milk are all yummy alternatives. You can even find them in chocolate flavor. Plant based yogurt and cheese can also be found. Whip up a smoothie in the morning, or go ahead and make that milk gravy for your biscuits. While we are speaking of yogurt and smoothies, this is a great place to add those nut butters, whole nuts, and seeds. Coconut butter and coconut oil are both a healthy and rich alternative to traditional butter. Slather some on your toast, or melt on top of your favorite veggies.

Desserts – have your cake and eat it too

Maybe you have a sweet tooth and just don’t want to give up those rich desserts, creamy ice cream, or gooey brownies. No worries. You can find all of those in easy to follow recipes, including a milkshake made with ice, almond milk, cocoa powder, banana, and peanut butter. A lack of dairy and eggs doesn’t hinder the devoted baker. You can still have your cake and eat it too.

Icecream

Ice cream Photo: Veganbaking.net via Flickr

Are you still not convinced? Do an internet search for vegan recipes and you’ll be surprised and what you can find. Like some roasted carrots with garlic, thyme, and nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor. Or how some balsamic vinegar drizzled over Brussels sprouts can change even the biggest veggie hater into a fan. So, eat those veggies, and those salads, a vegan diet isn’t a deprived one.

Food Spread

Photo: Stephanie via Flickr

For more vegan food insights and recipes, visit Hamish McLaren’s website.

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