For all my vegan (and vegetarian) friends out there, here is Vegan V-ednesday! For those of you who have never eaten this way, a vegan diet consists of non-animal products; veggies, grains, fruits, and non-meat proteins. No dairy, meat, eggs or anything derived from animals, even honey! Here is a quick substitution list, along with a yummy recipe to get you started.
Agave – agave nectar, or syrup, is a sweetener derived from the Agave plant. It is a good substitution for honey, but use a bit less – it’s way sweeter than honey.
Tofu – made from soybeans, tofu is versatile and a good source of protein. The texture is fluffy, kind of like eggs. Tofu can be grilled, marinated, blended and used in place of dairy or meat. It comes in different levels of firmness, depending on what you want to do with it. The less firm versions are better for smoothies or making salad dressings while the firm and extra firm varieties are great for meat substitutions, like “beef” in tacos or scrambled eggs.
Seitan – pronounced SAY-tan, this is made from wheat gluten, so gluten-free-ers, beware! You can find GF seitan, but check the labels carefully. It has a dense, chewy texture, and comes in a ton of different varieties, which makes it an excellent meat substitute. You can buy it ready made in the form of ‘chicken’ strips, ‘beef’ (ground, sliced, cubed), pork, anything really! It’s the highest in protein of the meat substitutes, but also contains gluten and carbs.
Tempeh – pronounced tem-pay, this guy is made through a fermentation process that binds soybeans in cake form, like a veggie burger. It has even more protein than tofu, is easily digestible and has a slightly nutty flavor. It’s great for fillings for sandwiches, grilling or tacos.
Daiya Cheese – or should I say cheeze! This dairy substitute is the closest thing to the texture, taste and melt-ability of real cheese. It is made from cassava and arrowroot and contains no trace of milk proteins. It comes in just about every form you could ever want; cheddar, Swiss, havarti; sliced, wedges, shredded, cream cheese… the list goes on and on. And, hey, the company is from Canada, so you know it’s good! Check them out here.
These guys are available at most Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and local grocery stores, although if you live in a small town you may have to order them online.
Southwest Tofu Scramble
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 4 green onions, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 package medium tofu, drained and crumbled
- ½ teaspoon hot sauce
- 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
- salsa, for garnish
Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Add bell pepper and carrot, and cook 7 minutes, or until just tender. Stir in green onions, garlic, cumin, and turmeric, and cook 1 minute more. Add tofu and hot sauce, and cook 5 minutes, or until heated through and all liquid has cooked off. Stir in cilantro, and serve with salsa.
Looking for a fun evening with the family? Try a blind taste test and see if they can taste the difference between these and the real deals. Let me know the results!
Photo credit: CookbookAficionado