For people who are only new to the scene when it comes to being a vegan vegetarian there are a few hurdles to overcome before this lifestyle choice becomes second nature. The first of these is to know what foods are vegan friendly and how to cook them to make great tasting vegan dishes. To help you recognise vegan foods the following is some information on the more commonly available vegan foods and how to prepare them.
Many of the vegan friendly foods fall into the Soya category and feature products such as tofu, tempeh and TVP (textured vegetable protein) which are very versatile foods. These products are great to cook with as they pick up the flavour of what they are cooked in and provide texture in the dish. These products are also a good source of iron and calcium which is very important to people who are on a vegan vegetarian diet. Soy milk and soya yoghurt are also popular ingredients for vegan recipes as a replacement for milk and regular yoghurt. These products do taste different to the products that they are replacing however they are good to cook with, especially soy milk when used for baking.
The next big group of vegan recipe ingredients include chickpeas, split peas, lentils, peas, soya beans, peanuts, kidney beans and mung beans. As with the foods in the soya group these ingredients contain high levels of protein, iron and soluble fibre. Many of these items can be cooked into dishes such as a spicy curry or they can be added to a simple salad recipe.
Nuts and seeds are also important ingredients when it comes to cooking great vegan recipes. This group of foods includes all the common nut types such as cashews, hazelnut and almond and also seeds such as sesame, sunflower, pumpkin and flaxseed. These foods provide a large amount of protein in a vegan diet as well as calcium and magnesium. Many vegan recipes use these ingredients in dishes such as stir-fry or mixed into a salad or pasta dish.
Other important ingredients in vegan recipes include oils that are a substitute for butter and cream. These oils include olive oil, toasted sesame oil, hazelnut oil and coconut oils which are great for their aroma as well as the flavour they bring to the dish.
The vegan diet also includes fruit and vegetables, grains, herbs and spices and seaweed which are the more commonly recognised vegan foods.