I love to cook and bake, so when I went vegan, the first thing I did was veganize some of my favorite family recipes. It’s really not as hard as you might think, and you’ll actually find that your favorite foods taste better with vegan ingredients.
Mac and cheese is a great example. My mom made it with butter, milk, and cheese. It’s hard to believe that I was able to even get on my bike after a meal like that. Now I make my “cheesy” sauce with soy milk and nutritional yeast. For my recipe, see my blog post Yummy Vegan Mac and “Cheese.” How about meatloaf—another staple meal in my home when I was growing up? Why use ground-up animal parts when you can go online or consult vegan cookbooks to find numerous faux-meatloaf recipes that use tofu, tempeh, beans, and grains?
I make a delicious lasagne using tofu in place of the ricotta cheese and Tofurky Italian Sausage cut into small chunks in place of the meat. To make tofu ricotta, mix together 1 lb. firm tofu, 1 lb. soft tofu (not silken), 1 tsp. dried basil, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 cup nutritional yeast. Mash with a potato masher or mix in your food processor. Use the tofu ricotta instead of dairy ricotta between the pasta layers, add the faux meat along with some tomato sauce, spinach or other vegetables, top with vegan mozzarella, and voilà—a tasty vegan lasagne that I guarantee will please everyone.
Baking is another no-brainer. Earth Balance and a variety of oils can stand in for butter. Rice, soy, and almond milk taste much better than cow’s milk, and egg substitutes and ground flaxseeds can replace chicken eggs—and they bake up just as well. You can even find vegan cream cheeses to use in your favorite cream cheese frosting recipe. I suggest consulting some vegan baking recipes to get you started, as baking can be tricky. You can find many recipes online, in bookstores, or even at your local library.
By substituting vegan ingredients for animal ingredients, you won’t have the greasy meats or slimy dairy products weighing down your recipes or your body. PETA.org features hundreds of delicious vegan recipes, and bookstore shelves are packed with vegan cookbooks because vegan diets have become very hip and people are starting to recognize how healthy they are.
What are some of your favorite vegan recipe substitutions?