6 Simple Vegan Cooking Swaps

Tempeh Bacon BLT

By Allison Stowell, M.S., RD, CDN, and dietitian for Guiding Stars

There are many reasons people choose to become vegan, but the one thing they all have in common is the desire for great tasting food that avoids animal products, yet still offers all the creaminess and texture of foods made with milk, cheese and eggs. Luckily there are simple swaps to create vegan dishes that are full of flavor and packed with nutrition.

#1 Replace saturated fat-rich, dairy ingredients with heart healthy substitutes that provide the creamy texture you’re looking for:

Nut Butters: Use nut butters to create smooth, creamy sauces, dressings and more as was done in this recipe for Vegan Caesar Salad.

Avocados: Use avocados to make everything from frosting to pasta sauce.

#2 Create thick sauces using pureed vegetables and beans. You won’t miss the cream that is usually used to thicken sauces, and you’ll be sneaking in an extra serving of veggies!

Pureed carrots make this rich Carrot Ginger Dressing a versatile addition to salads and more. Similarly, pureed beans can thicken a sauce or be used as a filler in a fritter or savory pancake.

#3 Use nutritional yeast to add a “cheesy” taste to a variety of dishes, add a nutrient “boost”, and to create unexpected flavor.

Vegan sour cream: Soak cashews overnight before combining with nutritional yeast and lemon juice to make a simple sour cream

Cheesy Chick Peas: Create a perfect protein-rich snack made with chickpeas, nutritional yeast, and a bit of seasoning.

Tofu Quiche: Vegan quiche is possible! This recipe comes together in under 30 minutes and is full of veggies and protein.

#4 Creamy coconut brings decadence to both savory and sweet dishes and fills in when regular dairy can’t

With just two ingredients (ripe peaches and coconut), this Peach Ice Cream is the vegan dessert you’ve been looking for.

#5 Tempting Tempeh

If vegan life is new to you then maybe tempeh doesn’t seem so tempting, but with recipes like these you won’t be missing meat. Not so sure what tempeh is? It’s a fermented soy product – tempeh is fiber and protein-rich, and similar to tofu, but less processed.

Try these Tempeh Sloppy Joes or this recipe for Tempeh Bacon (yup, you read that right!).

#6 Pea Protein

Pea protein has hit supermarket shelves with a super splash over the past few years and is making its way to your kitchen too. Pea protein offers a vegan protein alternative to soy or nut based options. Look for it at the supermarket in dairy alternatives and vegan “meat-alternatives”.

With a little time at the store and in the kitchen, you can create vegan dishes that you’re excited to enjoy and even share with guests. When you can use substitutions like creamy cashew butter and coconut milk to complete a dish, what’s not to love?

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