Whether you’ve decided to go vegan for health or ethical reasons, you probably don’t want to live off vegetable salads for the rest of your life. Contrary to popular beliefs, vegan food doesn’t have to be boring.
While it is true that you may have to give up some of your favourite ingredients such as cheese and beef, adding a variety of vegan ingredients to your diet will ensure that you never have to miss a delicious and fulfilling meal.
So, if you’ve been worrying about going vegan because you feel that you would have to give up on taste, think again and consider trying the following vegan ingredients to make cooking easier and more delicious for yourself.
This weird yet delicious fruit is one of the most popular vegan ingredients today, and for a good reason. Although it is 100% fruit that is harvested from trees, a jackfruit’s texture closely mimics pulled pork. That means you can easily substitute it for pork, chicken, beef, or any other meat in your burgers, sandwiches, tacos, barbecue, etc. This one is certainly a must-try for all vegans!
Tofu is commonly used as a substitute for meat and cheese. However, it is definitely a delicious food by its own measure as well. It is made from soybeans and is processed to form a uniform and solid texture. Since tofu is available in a wide range of textures – from solid extra firm to pudding-like silken – you can use it for a variety of culinary applications. It has a mild flavour, so you can season, marinade, and prepare it according to your taste preferences.
Giving up meat means that you’ll have to increase the intake of other foods groups in your diet. For vegans, grains are an excellent nutritional building block that can be consumed in a variety of ways. Opting for whole wheat grains, such as brown rice instead of white rice, can further increase the nutritional value of your food. Whole wheat grains are rich in fibre and protein, both of which are crucial for a healthy and energetic lifestyle.
You’ve probably heard of or even had miso soup at some point in your life. But did you know that miso comes as a separate ingredient as well? Miso is a fermented seasoning that traditionally comes from Japan that you can add to your recipes for a little extra flavour and kick to your meals. It is a thick paste with a weird yet deliciously sweet and salty flavour.
It mixes in deliciously well with stir-fries, pasta, marinades, and dressings. Also, it can last for ages in the fridge. So, you can just get a big batch at once and continue using it for a long time.
Hemp is one of the very few vegan ingredients that can be counted as a complete protein with all 9 amino acids. It is the only known plant source of an amino acid known as edestin, which is an integral part of our DNA, making hemp the closest plant source to the human amino acid profile.
It is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which further add to its nutritional profile. In fact, hemp has even been referred to as the most nutritious yet easily digestible food on the planet. Hemp is available in various forms, including hemp milk, hemp seed, etc., making it an easy ingredient to add to your diet.
Tempeh is another popular vegan ingredient that comes for soybeans. However, unlike tofu, tempeh is made by fermenting and pressing soybeans together so that they create a solid mass of smaller pieces that can be sliced, cubed, and crumbled as required.
With 20 grams of protein in just a 4-ounce serving, tempeh is an excellent vegan source of protein. It has a slightly nutty flavour but makes for a perfect meat substitute, depending on how you prepare it. It takes a little time to get used to cooking tempeh. However, once you get the knack of it, you’ll never want to stop cooking with it.
An excellent vegan pantry is incomplete without some extremely weird ingredients, and nutritional yeast is a great example of that. This simple ingredient can add a saltiness, richness, and creaminess to just about any meal you want.
Most of the recipes that replicate a cheese-based mixture for vegans call for nutritional yeast to be added in varying quantities. While you will likely never have nutritional yeast by itself (unless you’re super adventurous), it is certainly a must-have ingredient for vegans.
You’re probably already aware that oats are a healthy meal that should be added to any healthy dietary lifestyle. The great news is that oats are also 100% vegan. They come in various forms, and some are more nutritious than others, depending on the ingredients.
Ideally, you should be opting for raw unrolled oats that do not contain any added sugar, as these will be a lot healthier for you. However, if you do want to have those sugary counterparts now and then, it won’t put you off your vegan lifestyle.
Not only is following a vegan lifestyle healthy for you, but it is also healthy for our planet. The carbon footprint that meat industries are leaving on the planet isn’t one that can be easily undone. Even if you don’t want to completely give up meat, it is a good idea to lower its consumption and add more vegan ingredients to your diet. And with these ingredients, doing so is more delicious than ever.