Some people are scared off by the word vegan. It doesn’t help that some celebrity chefs are fairly vocal about not liking them. But the fact is, that it’s just not that hard to make vegan food that tastes good. After all it’s just food with no meat, fish, eggs, dairy, or honey. In the depression people created plenty of recipes for vegan baked goods. You may have already eaten some yourself and not even known it.
1) You can use many of your regular recipes by substituting olive oil or Earth Balance for butter. Olive oil works surprising well in cookies. Try a few non-dairy ‘milks’ to see which one you prefer.
2) Try a few non-dairy ‘milks’ to see which one you prefer. For a thick milk, try Coconut Milk, it’s amazing in mashed potatoes. If you’re looking for low calorie, unsweetened almond milk is one of the best, try the vanilla flavor in your favorite baked goods and I bet you get as hooked on it as I am. You might find your favorite among oat, soy, rice, or some of the new nut milks.
3) Egg substitutions aren’t as hard as you imagine. I’m not suggesting you start off trying to make vegan quiche, but vegan baked goods can be amazing.
Try using 1/2 medium banana mashed in your favorite cookie recipe. If you’ve been looking for a way to incorporate more flax into your diet you’ve found it! For each egg add 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds to 3 tablespoons of warm water and mix together. It does look slimy, but really so does egg. If you are using egg to bind a croquette or casserole try putting in some mashed white beans instead. You can find great recipes on the internet, you just need to look for them.
4) For your entree, start with recipes that you are already familiar with like risotto or pasta. Check for eggs in the pasta and you won’t notice that cheese is missing in the risotto. Simple but elegant dishes include butternut squash sage risotto, veggie lasagna, and tofu red curry with jasmine rice. To make a yummy fake ricotta, try blending 1 package tofu with 1 can of pumpkin puree. Then you can easily add season mixtures that fit in with your dish.
5) To busy to bake? Wow your friends with the easiest mousse ever. Take 1 package silken tofu and process with 1 cup melted vegan dark chocolate chips and a few tablespoons Hazelnut (Frangelico). No one will guess it’s vegan or that it not even bad for you. Serve it in your best cups to make your guests enjoy the mousse even more.
Who knows, after the holidays you might find yourself sneaking in a few vegan dishes in your regular routine. Let me know if your doctor notices a difference.