How to Cook Vegan

Everyone should have a couple of vegan recipes in their repertoire. Here are some that don't require any exotic ingredients or techniques.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
4-minute read
Episode #305

Although vegans may be relatively few in number, everyone - even meat eaters - should have a few good vegan recipes in their repertoire. You may have a vegan friend or family member coming for dinner.

Or, you might decide to join the millions of American families and institutions that now observe Meatless Monday.

Or, perhaps you're following Mark Bittman's advice and eating vegan for breakfast and lunch.

Fortunately, vegan cooking is not as daunting as you may think.>

What Do Vegans Eat?

Vegans do not eat any animal products whatsoever - eschewing not just meat, poultry, and fish but also eggs, dairy, and even honey. Full-time vegans (and vegan restaurants) often make extensive use of what I think of as analogues - vegan versions of non-vegan foods. At most well-stocked grocery stores, you can buy chorizo made out of tofu, canned "tuna" made from pea protein, a dozen different nondairy milks, yogurts, and cheeses, and egg replacers made from potato and tapioca starch.

There are also a few tricks you can use at home: You can blend raw cashews with ice water to make something that looks like whipped cream. Nutritional yeast can substitute for parmesan cheese. You can use chia seeds to make vegan pudding and jello

Click here to watch a video of some easy chia pudding recipes.

But you can also produce delicious vegan meals without using any exotic ingredients or techniques - familiar dishes that don't require any substitutions or imposters. In fact, you probably already have a few favorite vegan recipes without even realizing it! 

For example, although it wasn't really intentional, about a third of the recipes included in my book, Nutrition Diva's Secrets for a Healthy Diet, turn out to be vegan. Another quarter could be made vegan by swapping out a single ingredient, such as using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock or agave nectar instead of honey. My point is that cooking for vegans needn't be daunting or intimidating. 


About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.