It can be frustrating to be a vegan; people picking on you because of your way of eating, the same recurring questions, and the automatic stereotype that comes with the tag, it’s a constant war against the sceptics.

One thing is clear, like every diet out there, in order to stick with it we have to enjoy the food we eat. Sometimes a little flavoring goes a long way. I get asked all the time how I do it, life without cheese or bacon? I could never do it! To those of you who think this way, this article is for you. I’m about to let you in on a little secret, so take notes: it’s all about substitution and seasoning. Follow my 5 easy hacks and you’ll be able to make any dish taste like whatever your heart desires, without any animals products.

 

Cheesy: Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is a staple in every vegan’s cabinet. Nooch, another name for this yeast, is inactive, which means it doesn’t have the expanding proprieties that traditional baking yeast has. It is especially known for its great source of B12, the only vitamin that can’t be found in plant foods. Sprinkle it on top of salads and popcorn or use it as a base in your next pasta sauce for a creamy and rich mac and cheese dupe.

 

 

Eggy: Black Salt

Indian black salt, also called Kala Namak, is the key to fake any egg-less dish. Basically, this light purple mixture is the result of Pink Himalayan salt being heated and then mixed with different Indian spices. The chemicals contained release a strong smell that might throw you off at first, but I promise it disappears once cooked. This indian miracle contains less sodium than table salt and is known to be good for your digestion, so shake that shaker away!

 

 

Smokey: Liquid Smoke

This my friend, is how vegans survive without bacon. A little bit of this magic potion can turn coconut or tempeh into the most realistic tasting bacon look-a-like. It’s perfect in homemade barbecue sauce, on smoked tofu, and in a stew or a chili. Liquid smoke is literally what the name suggests; it’s particles of smoke coming from burning hardwoods that are caught and mixed with water. Even though the carcinogens remaining from the smoke are barely existent, you still want to use it sparingly. With an incredibly intense flavour, a few drops is enough.

 

 

Creamy: Coconut Cream

No surprise here, coconut cream comes from the coconut. Just like coconut water and coconut milk, coconut cream is simply more concentrated, resulting in it being more thick and, well, creamy. You can use coconut cream the way you use dairy cream, in soups or coffee for instance, and it’s always a winner in curry dishes.

Fishy: Seaweed

There’s a lot of minerals found in the sea, and you don’t need to eat the living creatures in it to benefit from them. Nori, dulse and wakame are the most common seaweeds that can be added to your food for a taste of the ocean. Make yourself a sushi bowl with rice, marinated tofu, avocado, and with a few nori strips around the edge. You can also make a wrap out of it for one giant sushi-to-go. Dulse flakes are great to sprinkle on salads, use it instead of salt for a calcium-rich alternative. Taste the fish, don’t eat the fish!

 

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