Quick Tips For Cooking Vegan
Whether you’re thinking of transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle, frequently cook for a vegan friend or family member, or are just looking for some new healthy dishes for your online chef courses, you’d be surprised at how many options don’t include animal products. However, it can be overwhelming if you’ve never had much experience in eliminating meat and dairy from your food. Here are some tips to liven up a vegan meal:
- Learn about your seasonings. Some herbs and good olive oil can make all the difference when cooking and can be all it takes for a dish to go from bland to crave-worthy.
- Give yourself some extra time to prepare your meals. Plan ahead if you can. If you’re just starting a plant-based diet, it can be difficult to even fathom the idea of a dinner without meat, and preparing vegetables takes a lot longer than throwing some chicken nuggets in the oven.
- If you’re going on a trip, bring along some food. If you’re starving on the road, the vending machine in rest stop isn’t going to have anything you’ll want to eat.
- Mixing vegetables and proteins together will be much more satisfying than just eating one or the other, because you’ll be mixing textures and flavors. Add some grains or legumes to your next vegetable dish.
If you’re substituting for meat…
- If you’re looking to center your meal around a protein, try adding beans. They’re incredibly filling and make for a good addition to a salad or burrito,and are even great on their own.
- If you want a meat alternative, there are some vegan “meats” that are healthy, but according to Your Daily vegan, many of them tend to be high in sodium. Look for organic or non-GMO substitute meats if you want to err on the healthier side.
- Tofu is the go-to meat substitute because it’s filling and, depending on how it’s prepared, has a similar consistency.
If you’re cooking vegetables…
- Invest in good knives and sharpen them regularly! A low-quality or dull knife will mush your vegetables, rather than cut through them cleanly. When adopting a vegan lifestyle, you’ll eat more veggies than ever before, so you want to make sure you have the tools necessary to make them well.
- Saute your veggies in vegetable oil and use vegetable stock for soups instead of using animal fat or animal-based stocks. Make up for whatever flavor you may be missing with some garlic.
- If you’re making a sauce for your veggie dish or pasta, thicken it up with cornstarch and cold water.
- Slow roasting your vegetables removes a lot of their water content, making their flavor much more apparent. If you’re bored with raw veggies, try making a stir fry in your slow cooker.
- If you’re tired of the same old vegetables, try preparing them differently. Sauteed peppers taste different from braised peppers, and roasted carrots taste different from grilled carrots.
- Try fermenting your vegetables to add some new flavor to the mix.