Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I hear her breathing – Arundhati Roy – Man Booker Prize Novelist
Most vegans are big “foodies”, and have become very creative along the way. There are literally thousands of great recipes online. Nowadays grocery stores hold an abundance of fruit, vegetables, and grains of all types, plant milks and even vegan burgers and mock meats. Change can be difficult, but the good news is that the difficulty is only in the mind and can easily be overcome.
This section has been written to assist you on your vegan cooking journey. As you get more confident and familiar with the ingredients and techniques, you will find out that the choices are much broader with plant foods. There are many recommended sites, you tube channels, authors and links. We have also created many cheat sheets to get your started.
In the following four sections we aim to address the main challenges you are likely to face:
Bon appetit – enjoy your cruelty free meals
Cravings are a common worry for transitioning and new vegans. In fact, one of the most usual one-liners for not transitioning is “but I can’t live without my cheese”. Feel good foods usually contain refined sugars, fats (meat) and salts (cheese) which are extremely addictive and cravings can feel overwhelming for some people. However, remembering that cravings are simply a mindset, in a short time they will disappear.
There are many cooking techniques that help overcome the cravings for different textures and tastes. These days, you are able to “veganise” a meal with mock meats and nut cheeses, and although processed foods are not really “health” food, they can be helpful in your transition. You will likely find that over time your body will start to crave good healthy plant wholefoods which is when you will start to experience the real health benefits of a plant based diet.
Also, some people believe in the myth that the human body requires meat, or that their plant based diet is deficient in protein. However, as discussed in the nutrition page, a plant based diet has ample protein and the leading dietetic associations confirm that we do not need animal products to be healthy. Remember humans and animals crave many addictive substances, such as cigarettes, refined sugar and fats, but that does not mean that your body actually needs them.
For an entertaining insight into the addictive properties of animal products, click here to listen to Dr Neal Barnard’s talk entitled Chocolate, Cheese, Meat, and Sugar – Physically Addictive.
For more on cheese addiction and overcoming it, click here to read Christy Morgan’s article on vegan health and fitness.
If you feel you are craving burgers, then you can easily replace the originals with a veggie or a lentil pattie, homemade or store bought. Same goes for sausages, sausage rolls and pies. Common brands on the supermarket shelves are Lynda McCartney vegan sausages, sausage rolls and pies. Fry’s foods also have a wide variety of mock chicken nuggets and sausages. Many Asian stores hold mock meats, inclusive of mock beef, mock pork, mock chicken and even mock duck.
Tips on “veganising” a recipe:
- List the ingredients that are not vegan in your recipe (example: meat, dairy, eggs).
- For egg substitution in baking, click here to upload our (pdf) egg substitution document
- For dairy substitutions, click here to upload our (pdf) dairy substitution document
- For meat alternatives, click here to upload our (pdf) meat alternatives document
- Find those that work best for your recipes. If you are unsure, then visit vegweb for a comprehensive list of over 1000 popular recipes which have been “veganised”.
Convenience is a common worry for people wanting to transition to a vegan diet. While there is some work to do the transition, the good news is that once done, it becomes easy. The diet is not the issue but some unlearning of eating habits is needed, along with the acquisition of some new knowledge which is readily available. In this initial period we encourage people to focus on the ultimate health benefits and the cruelty and injustice when we choose animal products. There are many resources and many thousands of great vegan recipes that will soon become second nature to you.
Here are some of EVER’s recommendations for making vegan cooking easier in the all important first few weeks.
We have devised a few Meal Mentor Plans to help you through simple and nutritious recipes for the first five days of the week. These can be reused, and made into staples, as they are complete and nutritious foods.
Click here to see EVER’s 5 days Vegan Meal Mentor (pdf)
Click here to see EVER’s 5 day Vegan Meal Mentor (Gluten free and soy free) (pdf)
Check out EVER’s quick cheat sheets:
Spices by cuisine (pdf) offers you basic instructions on creating a meal baseline from different world cuisines
Vegan Burger Builder (pdf) offers you a quick and easy way to put together a vegan burger
Vegan Buddha Bowls (pdf) is a list of easy to follow instructions on creating a healthy and nutritious vegan bowl that you can enjoy at any meal of the day.
Vegan Salad dressing builder (pdf) offers you basic instructions on easy to make salad dressings which you can use on the vegan Buddha bowls or any salads
Vegan Quick Snacks (pdf) will help you whip up some delicious daily snacks that are slightly out of the ordinary
Making your own nutmilks (pdf) will guide you step by step through making your own nut milks at home
Green Smoothie Builder (pdf) offers you a basic guide to building a green smoothie and what goes in it
Egg Substitution in baking (pdf) offers you basic instructions on how to substitute eggs in baking
Dairy substitution in baking (pdf) offers you basic instructions on how to substitute dairy in baking
Meat alternatives (pdf) introduces you to vegan meat substitutes and how best to use them
Aquafaba (pdf) is a small introduction to the wonders of aquafaba and how it is used in basic egg replacement
The vegan plate (pdf) is a reminder of how best to keep up with your macronutrients on a vegan diet
Vegan Pantry (pdf) are ideas on what to stock up on when transitioning to a vegan pantry.
Batch cooking: this is an excellent way to get ahead in your first few weeks as a vegan. Grains, legumes and vegetables can be cooked in batches and frozen. Those can be used very efficiently when creating Buddha bowls (pdf) or burgers (pdf). A useful website for beginners on batch cooking is PlantPlate.com where you will find step by step instructions on how to batch cook legumes, grains along with sample whole food recipes.
Vegan challenges: Vegan challenges are available online for free from a range of organisations. Many have been written by cooks and health professionals. All you need to do is register your email, and you are sent a link to a meal, from ingredients to cooking instructions, nutritional tips and more. Those are a great way to start off a transitioning vegan journey. They are all different, so we recommend you register with as many as possible, and receive a variety of recipes each day to choose from. Our favourites are:
Plan ahead: if you are heading off to a place where you will likely not encounter too many vegan choices, then it is worth planning ahead. Vegan options are widely available these days, especially in big towns and cities. However if you would rather always eat healthy, then we recommend you pack your own snacks or for convenience use ideas from EVER’s snack cheat sheet.
Revisit your grocery store: take a new trip down the aisles of your local grocery store. Discover the abundance of vegan produce. You will soon discover “diversity through restriction”.
Vegan take-away: For those extremely lazy days, get to know your takeaways and cafes and what vegan options they offer. For example many would do a vegetarian pizza with no cheese which are delicious.
There is an abundance of information online, and we have selected a few practical links for you that will make your culinary journey fun and easy:
Facebook vegan cooking/ baking groups:
Whole Food Plant Based Aussies
Plant Based on a budget
Vegan meringue – hits and misses
Australian complete vegan product list
Cheap easy and green vegan recipes
EVER’s top 15 Vegan cooking sites
Many of these sites will have an email subscription, which we recommend you join for inspirational recipes sent straight to your inbox. Or simply join them via social media
#1 Vegan Richa
Richa delivers incredibly impressive vegan meals. They are often inspired by her Indian roots. Flavourful with many Gluten-free, Soy-free and low oil options.
A fabulous, fun and artistic recipe site for the whole family. This site includes raw and cooked recipes. Dreena’s recipes will never disappoint. Her sweet potato chocolate cake is out of this world.
A comprehensive fun and happy site for everything vegan and recipes that will astound you.
This site has a number of recipes and a sample free meal mentor with grocery lists and plans.
Delicious plant based recipes, including a recipe list for allergies and oil free cooking.
This site is by the former triathlete and firefighter Rip Esselstyn; son of Dr Esselsytn (author of Prevent and Reverse Heart disease). This site has a number of healthy recipes.
#7 The Raw Chef
Free recipes and online courses on how to cook raw vegan food (gluten free included)
Tantalising heart party foods is what you will find in this site.
Based on the documentary with the same name; it is a low fat, plant based cooking site for health
Healthy and delicious recipes; written by a health nutrition specialist.
#11 Animal Place
A sanctuary initiative, delivering you vegan breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert recipes each week by email to help you eat with kindness!
#12 The vegan 8
Simple 8 ingredient plant based recipes that are allergy friendly
This site focuses on plant based healthy eating and exercise; from running to weight lifting. It includes tips for athletes on a plant based diet.
#14 Bed and broccoli
An all Vegan B&B in Victoria sharing every family’s favourite feel good foods made vegan.
If you haven’t heard of Esther, then please visit her site. A rescued pig that has made the world fall in love with her. The sanctuary kitchen is run by a vegan chef that delivers very comforting vegan foods
EVER’s top 10 Vegan YouTube cooking Channels
#1 Hot for food
Cooking up vegan love with over 50000 subscribers, a very popular vegan cooking channel
Easy, cost efficient and so delicious run by Italians. They cover it all, from raw combinations to lasagnes.
An entertaining channel with no talking. It is based on a black metal theme with lyrics in the background written by the chef himself. Recipes include all from Pad Thai to Buffalo Seitan bites.
A follower of Dr. McDougall’s Starch solution. Most of these recipes are starch based. The creations are low fat, oil free plant based. They range from Lentil shepherd pies to Easy curry fries.
#5 Brown Vegan
A recipe channel to help transitioning vegans and families. Recipes include simple macaroni and cheese and Buffalo cauliflower. Included in the site are helpful tips on vegan school lunches.
A channel based on a bit of everything, from simple, to oil and gluten free. From Stews to pancakes.
In keeping with the name, many of the recipes on this channel are based on sweet potato, a very important staple in the vegan diet. Recipes range from Southern Sweet potato biscuits to sweet potato falafel.
A vegan cooking channel with a sense of humour. From stuffed crusted pizzas to blueberry vegan cheesecake.
Anja creates healthy, oil-free vegan recipes. Her whole family is vegan, so you will find some children friendly recipes in this channel.
The clue is in the title. Decadent recipe repertoire; from pancakes to veganised Mcdonald’s fast food vegan recipes. Brought to you by a culinary vegan pastry chef.
Free Vegan cooking ebooks
Who could say no to free cooking ebooks, especially when the recipes are so delicious.
- Benbella publishers:
We hope you enjoy your new cruelty free cooking journey!