Since the start of Veganuary in 2014, a growing number of people in the UK turn to a plant-based, vegan diet throughout January to support the planet and their health. What started as a January challenge has now become an annual routine for numerous people, with many never turning back from their vegan lifestyle at all.
As well as the countless health and environmental benefits of turning to a plant-based diet, it’s now easier than ever to find tasty vegan alternatives to your favourite products - you may even already have some in your kitchen cupboards!
At our Wellness Retreat, we understand the importance of a well-balanced, plant-based diet, which is why we use vegan alternatives in our cooking - giving you the benefits of a vegan diet to complement your wellness retreat stay. Here are just a few vegan alternatives we use in our kitchens year-round at The Glass House Retreat that you can try at home:
Let’s start with a common cupboard staple, a can of chickpeas. These power peas are a great source of protein and can be found in a huge range of vegan recipes, but next time you open a tin, make sure to utilise your chickpea water too! One of the most underrated vegan alternatives out there!
Chickpea water is a great neutral substitute for eggs whites. It can be whipped up to make meringues and mousses and added into bakes such as sponges and brownies.
Chickpea water, or Aquafaba, is an excellent vessel for flavour, making it perfect for both savoury and sweet recipes, making it one of the most diverse vegan alternatives too! Try experimenting with aquafaba as an egg white substitute in your favourite recipes - it’s a great excuse to roll your sleeves up and get baking!
Gone are the days of making separate trips to your nearest health food shop to pick up your non-dairy milk substitute. Now you can walk into any supermarket or high street food store and find the milk aisle brimming with various milk substitutes made from oats, soy and almost any kind of nut you can think of. When it comes to milk substitutes, you certainly don’t have to settle for boring! And as far as vegan alternatives go, Milk substitutes very likely have the largest selection.
This is why the uses of milk alternatives go way beyond making your morning tea or coffee. They make great substitutes in cooking and baking too. Certain milk alternatives work better for different recipes, so if you’re new to plant-based milks we recommend experimenting with small batches before making the final product.
Our chefs at The Glass House Retreat have perfected their recipes with complimenting milk substitutes, so whatever you choose on the menu, you know it’ll come out looking and tasting delicious.
Out of all the wonderful vegan alternatives available, vegan cheese can seem the most daunting, as it’s one of the trickier foods to replicate. Cheese is also one of the hardest foods to give up which is why vegan cheese has always been one of the most anticipated vegan alternatives. This is why vegan cheese is definitely improving. Fast!
There are a lot of vegan cheese brands that supply a range of cheese styles such as mozzarella, cheddar, cream cheese and Edam. As well as these brands, most supermarkets are coming out with their own ranges, so we’re sure you’ll find your favourite cheese substitute in no time.
Cheese alternatives are made using a variety of ingredients such as coconuts, aquafaba, nuts and solidified vegetable oil. We recommend opting for a substitute that’s fortified with vitamin B12 and calcium to ensure you’re getting enough in your diet to encourage healthily living.
Creams and yoghurts alternatives
Similarly to milk alternatives, when it comes to plant-based yoghurts you really are spoilt for choice. In the last few years, yoghurts have become a staple breakfast and snack go-to for many people, thanks to their customisability.
You can really let your imagination run wild when it comes to making a yoghurt based breakfast or snack - Like a lot of vegan alternatives, you can add compliment them with whole foods, in this case adding your favourite fruit! And the best part? Dairy-free yoghurt alternatives are fortified with vitamins and probiotic bacteria, so you can have all the health benefits of dairy yoghurt, without the dairy.
Tofu - The King of Vegan Alternatives
Ask any non-vegan to name a vegan food and they’ll most likely say tofu. As tofu can be dated back to the Chinese Han Dynasty over 2000 years ago, it’s the most well-known plant-based food alternative that’s been around a lot longer than many of the newer substitutes we’re so used to today.
Similarly to vegan cheese, tofu sometimes gets a bad rep for being bland and hard to cook with however, with the right ingredients and recipe, you can make endless flavoursome tofu-based meals.
So why choose tofu? Firstly, tofu is very adaptable and makes a great meat substitute, which is why, when you know what you're doing, tofu is one of the most popular vegan alternatives. Firm tofu is best for cooking savoury dishes, and the softer type can be scrambled as a substitute for eggs. Secondly, tofu is made from soybeans making it a superb meat alternative for anyone craving a less-processed substitute.
Our tofu-savvy chefs work their magic with tofu to create a variety of plant-based dishes and desserts throughout the year.
Whole egg substitutes
There are some foods that would seem impossible to replicate in a plant-based dish. However, with the ever-expanding vegan food market, there are now substitutes for whole eggs that can be used in both cooking and baking.
For baking, making a simple flax egg by mixing hot water with flax meal will create the necessary alternative for your recipe. Chia seeds, another vegan favourite, also work well.
Just like with aquafaba, finding a whole egg substitute that works for you is a great excuse to experiment with recipes and find your new favourite dish!
With so many accessible plant-based alternatives available in your local supermarket, there’s never been a better time to swap out some of your dairy and meat products for substitutes that are good for both you and the planet.
Want to see how good vegan alternatives can really be? Visit The Glass House Retreat for plant-based meals that’ll make you wonder why you haven’t gone vegan sooner.