There’s no doubt that eating a plant-based diet has many health benefits. Studies have shown that including more plant-based foods in your daily eating plan has a positive effect on preventing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease (PDF) as well as lowering high blood pressure. Whether you’ve already fully committed to a vegan diet or you’re curious about incorporating more plant-based ingredients into your diet, one of easiest things you can do is to swap non-vegan ingredients for their plant-based counterparts. If you think creamy desserts, breakfast scrambles, and some of your beloved egg white based cocktails are off the menu this article will leave you excited to try these vegan-friendly versions of your favourite ingredients.
Silken tofu is nothing like firm or extra firm tofu, its texture is custard-like and creamy which makes it a perfect base for all your favourite soft desserts and mayo-based dressings. Silken tofu is also known as Japanese or soft tofu and can be found packaged in shelf-stable aseptic packages (as well as refrigerated in plastic tubs with other types of tofu). Silken tofu can be added to smoothies in place of yogourt or as the base for mousses and puddings. In fact, you may find some types of silken tofu are flavoured and are meant to be eaten on their own as a dessert (mango, banana, and almond are all popular flavours). Use silken tofu in Caesar or ranch salad dressing, it’s mild taste will complement any ingredients that you would normally use in these recipes.
Firm or extra firm tofu
You’ve probably tried firm or extra firm tofu in stir-fries or curries where it’s used for its ability to soak up marinades and sauces and for its impressive protein content. What you may not have tried is using crumbled firm or extra firm tofu in place of eggs when you’re making your favourite breakfast scramble recipe. Crumble up the tofu so that its texture resembles that of scrambled eggs, adding in all of the veggies you would normally use. Scramble the ingredients in a skillet using a small amount of olive oil, generously seasoning with herbs, spices, salt and pepper. If you love the colour of scrambled eggs try adding a generous pinch of brightly coloured turmeric for an authentic looking scramble.
If you love cocktails that traditionally rely on egg whites to achieve their signature frothy topping you’ll love the magic of aquafaba. Aquafaba is the liquid found inside cans of chickpeas and it does an excellent job at mimicking egg whites. Next time you’re in the mood for a veganized sour, flip or fizz try adding a couple of tablespoons of this incredible liquid to your cocktail shaker in place of the egg whites. Shake vigourously for 20-30 seconds and pour, you’ll be amazed at how authentic the cocktail will taste.
Not to be confused with the type of yeast used as a leavener when baking bread, nutritional yeast is a type of deactivated yeast that is beloved by vegans for its cheesy flavour. Rich in vitamin B12 (an important nutrient that isn’t readily available in many plant-based foods) nutritional yeast can be used in vegan macaroni and cheese recipes, mashed in potatoes and cauliflower as well as sprinkled into tofu scrambles. One of the easiest ways to enjoy nutritional yeast (or “nooch” as it is sometimes called) is to sprinkle it on your popcorn in place of Parmesan cheese.