So you’ve decided to vegan-or at least to get more vegan options into your life. You probably already know about the potential health benefits of a vegan diet-after all, a vegan lunch of Christophe’s Roasted Vegetables paired with Oven-Roasted Sweet Potatoes is filled with protein, and packed with fiber!
You probably also know there will be a lot of changes in store during your transition into the world of Vegan. Whether it’s learning how to shop properly, or how to cook Vegan meals using unfamiliar ingredients, we’re here to help you get started.
Let’s Cover Some of the Basics First**Meat Protein Alternatives:**
Tofu: Sometimes referred to as “bean curd”, this is a food made from soybeans, and has been very widely used going back a long time in many Asian cuisines. It is a cholesterol-free food, a good source of iron, and it is also much more versatile than a lot of people realize. The “Extra Firm” variety can be great in stir-fries or for grilling. The “Firm” kind is good for pan-frying, whereas the “Silken” tofu can be used in place of dairy products in things like vegan versions of popular smoothies or puddings, as well as in soups and stews. Once you get the hang of working with this staple of vegan meals the notion of the vegan diet consisting of nothing but celery and cucumber will be a bygone thought!
Tempeh: This is made from whole fermented soybeans; cut into strips, it can make an excellent addition to sandwiches, breakfast-style dishes, and more.
Beans/Legumes: Just about everyone is familiar with this category of food, but many don’t realize how wide-ranging the variety is within it, or the variety of ways to use food from this group to get more texture, taste and nutrition into their diets!
Versions of beans and rice are dietary staples the world over. Throw in some savory seasonings and serve some beans as a side dish, drain & rinse them to use in a veggie or pasta salad, break out the slow cooker and make a stew, or go Italian with some minestrone soup! Lentils are often found in Indian and French dishes and can go a long way toward making a meal more substantial. These days, you can even find edamame-yes, soybeans-right there in the grocery store, which are delicious when heated and eaten with a touch of sea salt. This family of foods is a nutritional powerhouse, providing fiber and protein into the diet with low fat content.
Honorable Mentions: Grocery-store veggie burgers, vegetarian frozen meals, and so forth. Hey, everybody needs a break once in a while, but buyer beware: some of these diet substitutes are not 100% vegan, and can contain fairly high levels of sodium as well.**Dairy Alternatives:** In the world of vegan food substitutes, this category contains a surprising amount of choices!
Vegan substitutes for dairy milk: With all the talk of soy, soy milk might immediately spring to mind, but there are so many others to choose from! There’s rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk, just to name a few. Since they vary in consistency and flavor, some may be more suitable for certain dishes than others, but almost all of them go well with some fruit for a quick, refreshing post-workout snack, or combined in a bowl with your favorite all-natural cereal.
Vegan substitutes for cheese: One item to consider trying is called nutritional yeast. Since it does not come in a block or slice form, but rather is a flaky kind of food sold mainly in health food stores, you can’t quite make a mock grilled “cheese” sandwich with this. However, it can make a nice, nutritious addition to pasta, casseroles, or even be used as a popcorn topping! There are other offerings out there in block, slice, or shred form meant to take the place of cheese in various recipes (Daiya brand is a popular recent entry into this market). There can be a lot of trial and error in finding one that’s right for your recipe, but as long as you’re learning and having fun, that’s all part of the road of discovery!
Honorable mentions: With vegan options going increasingly mainstream, vegan substitutes for dairy yogurt, sandwich spreads, and sour cream can now be found in many grocery stores around the country! If a less-processed option is more your style, try spreading a little avocado on your bread or crackers in place of butter or cheese.
Choosing Christophe’s To Go
Of course, there are going to be those occasions when you’re too pressed for time to go home and press the tofu, or you just want to skip the label-reading and dishwashing for a night. When you want the convenience without the questionable ingredients, come give Christophe’s To Go a try! We have tasty, vegan-suitable dishes such as Oven-Roasted Sweet Potatoes, or Green Bean Sichuan, packed up and ready to go! They’re never frozen, contain no artificial additives or preservatives, and always made with care for your enjoyment! While you’re here, you can even pick up some vegan-friendly snacks like Primal Strips Vegan Jerky for when you’re hungry on the go.
The process of integrating vegan meals and snacks into your life can be enjoyable and educational! If you have any questions or recommendations, feel free to email us here at firstname.lastname@example.org! We look forward to helping you make vegan choices easy!
Written By: KiKi Morris – Christophe’s To Go Foodie at the Sandy Springs location