Must-Have Vegan Foods In Your Diet — And How You Can Prepare Them

It’s a common misconception that a vegan diet is bland and restrictive, but this couldn’t be more wrong. Vegan dishes are colourful and full of variety. This is part of why the global vegan food market continues to expand with a cumulative annual growth rate of 10.5%. With so many options available, however, it can be difficult to figure out what the essentials should be in your diet, especially for beginners. Here are some must-have vegan foods you should try and how you can prepare them:

Plant-Based Milk


CREDIT: Chicago Tribune

One of the more challenging aspects of becoming vegan is having to give up dairy, especially since it’s included in so many dishes and desserts. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be a struggle for milk lovers. There are many milk options that are perfectly suitable for vegans, some of which are featured on our Pep Kitchen post.

Several plant-based milk varieties taste delicious and can be used to prep recipes that call for dairy milk. The most popular is soy milk, but there are also options like almond, hazelnut, rice, and coconut milk. Simply enjoy on its own, mix with your coffees and teas, and prepare in desserts. One thing to watch out for, however, is that some of these can curdle in hot beverages.

Tempeh

 

CREDIT: BBC Good Food

Tempeh, like its cousin tofu, is made from soybeans and is a power food. It is often mixed with various beans, whole grains, and flavourings. Tempeh is made by cooking and fermenting soybeans, which are then packed tightly into a brick-like cake. While it is similar to tofu, the two are quite different in flavour and texture.

Preparing tempeh is quite simple. One of the easiest ways is to marinade and bake or grill them, or you can also chop and stir fry them in a sauce of your choice. Our Chorizo Tempeh and Red Pepper Stew is an excellent way to get started with this protein. Try serving this with steamed rice or bread for a savoury and hearty meal.

Rice

 

CREDIT: We Know Rice

Having a good source of carbohydrates is important for anybody on a vegan diet, and rice is one of the world’s favourite staples. You may choose from a range of different rice grains, depending on how you will prepare them. Rice is a versatile grain that can be used in savoury and sweet dishes alike, and it can even be fermented.

One of the best things about rice is how easy it is to prepare. While past methods called for a pot of boiling water and careful timing, today some of the best rice cookers can produce perfectly cooked, fluffy rice with the touch of a button. Try putting your favourite savoury vegan ingredients on top of rice for a healthy rice bowl. For dessert, you can cook rice with some sweetener and your favourite nut milk to create a rice pudding. Remember that you can also use your rice cooker for ingredients besides rice — the choices are endless if you have a reliable device.


Fermented Plant Foods


CREDIT: Makafood


Fermented plant foods are excellent sources of probiotics, which aid in digestive health and improve immune function. One such example is kimchi, which is also called Chinese cabbage. Fermented in spices, it contains vitamins A and C, over 34 amino acids, and 10 minerals.

Kimchi’s nutritional profile will vary depending on the brand and batch, but every cup is densely packed with nutrients. You can pair this with any dish to give it some spice and complex flavour. You can even make kimchi fried rice. And if you’re not a fan of this fermented food, you can find many others such as miso, pickles, kombucha, and Ezekiel bread.
Article was specially written for www.pepkitchen.co.uk by Aileen Conner

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