These 10 tips for the vegan kitchen will make your life easier when transitioning toward a more plant based lifestyle.
Whether you want to be vegan or just plan to eat vegan a few times a week, these tips will help you find your way around the vegan-maze quicker than you could think, leaving you free to discover new ways to create delicious foods.
For example, lots of people wonder how they would manage without cheese, and that’s is just one of the many things that actually isn’t difficult to solve when you know how.
There are 101 more questions like this one, but here I’ve put together 10 tips that I believe will make your life easier when first starting out on your vegan explorations.
One of the most important ways change your eating habits with ease, is to find new things to love to replace specific things you used to love.
By focussing on your new (tasty) food, you won’t miss your old food, or at least only on those occasions when you eat out for example and everyone is eating cheese (or whatever it is). That can take some time to get used to.
Other concerns, like what to eat instead of mayonnaise are doubts that are resolved quite easily, step by step, and just as with building any new habits, it takes time to consolidate. So don’t beat yourself up, don’t set hard and fast rules, just start creating change and feel good about every step you take in the learning curve.
If any of these questions sound like ones you might ask, I hope you’ll find this post helpful.
Table of Contents
So Here They are! 10 Must-Read Tips for the Vegan Kitchen:
And at the end, after tip 10, there are some other random tips too . . .
#1 Instant Parmesan Cheese
Make Instant parmesan cheese and keep it always handy.
This is such a simple trick that will make your life much easier because whenever you would normally add grated cheese, you can reach for your vegan parmesan and sprinkle it on top of your meal.
It goes great on pasta, in potatoes, on rice, in soups and anywhere you would add grated cheese.
How to Make Vegan Parmesan
Blend together raw unsalted cashews, nutritional yeast and salt. The percentage of each ingredient is largely a matter of personal preference, as is the choice of how fine to make the finished cheese. Start with 50% 50% with a pinch of salt and then adjust it to your taste.
#2 Vegan Cashew Sauce
Vegan cashew sauce goes with everything (and it’s scrumptious).
Vegan cashew sauce is so easy to make, so delicious and so versatile you can make it at any time and use it with all your foods. To mention a few, it goes great in your Buddha Bowl, in wraps, with vegetables, alongside a Nasi rice or a Bami noodles dish.
You can make it slightly more sour by adding extra lemon and use it in place of sour cream on nachos. Vegan cashew sauce also goes well on potatoes, chips and sweet potatoes. There isn’t much that this doesn’t complement.
How to Make Cashew Sauce
Simply take a hand blender and add to it 1 cup cashews, juice from 1/2 lemon, a dash of apple cider vinegar and a pinch of salt.
Use water to get a thin consistency and blend well until smooth and creamy and a bit thinner than you want it ultimately. Put it into the fridge and leave to chill and it will thicken.
#3 Tip for Making Vegan Mayonnaise
Vegan mayonnaise really isn’t difficult to make. It takes a couple of minutes, no more. It’s basically a blend between 1/2 measure plant milk, 1 measure oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar. There are a few optional additional ingredients but that’s really the basics of a vegan mayonnaise.
Make Your Vegan Mayonnaise Directly in the Jar Where You’re Going to Keep it
To take the only hassle out of this simple task, make vegan mayonnaise in the jar you’re going to keep it in.
Choose a jar with a large enough opening so that the hand blender fits directly into it and that has a tight fitting lid.
Blend the ingredients until they emulsify, remove the hand blender, replace the lid and put the mayonnaise straight into the fridge.
Et Voila! You can see the full recipe here.
#4 Vegetable Stock for Soups and Sauces
Every time you cook something, after washing the veggies, cut out any bits you don’t want to use and save them in a pot in the fridge or a bag in the freezer, ready to make stock
This time-saving trick means that you can always whip up a tasty vegan stock for making soups or adding to sauces.
How to make vegetable stock
Every time you prepare a meal, wash the vegetables and then cut out the parts you’re not going to use, but instead of throwing them in the compost, save them in a bag in the freezer, or in the fridge if you’re going to use them soon.
When you want to make a sauce or soup, simply empty your bag of collected vegetables cuttings into a pan of water, add a dash of olive oil, a whole garlic clove and some herbs and simmer for 30 minutes.
There’s nothing tastier than a stock made from veggies (not that I’ve tried any other type if I’m honest!) and this takes the hassle out of it.
You can also add a whole carrot, potato and any other veggies you like.
Strain the liquid from the veggie cuttings and use as a vegan stock. You can see the whole recipe here.
#5 Vegan Soups
Use soups in your weekly cooking. They’re so easy and they always turn out delicious. Get into the habit of making more quantity of food than you need. The next day, you can either create a second meal from the leftovers, or turn them into a soup.
Whether or not you use leftovers, soup can be a great way to create delicious nutritious meals that everyone will love.
Click to read our tasty vegetable soup recipe.
The making of a soup is not complicated and once you get the hang of it, you’ll be glad you tackled it. When you make a soup, you always have the options of various additions.
You can add rice, tofu, beans, chickpeas, peas to your finished soup half an hour before serving so that they have time to absorb the flavours of the soup (or in the case of the rice, to cook through).
Rice in soup is something I hadn’t tried before coming to Spain but they do it a lot here and occasionally I like the added texture it gives.
#6 Vegan Mozzarella-Type Cheese
Make a batch of cashew nut sauce (see above) and blend it with 2-3 tablespoons of Tapioca flour.
Transfer the mix into a saucepan and heat through for 5 minutes until it goes solid and gooey.
Chill in the fridge and use as you would use mozzarella. Delicious on pizza! Yummy in salad! Tasty, just to eat!
For the full recipe click here.
#7 Quinoa and How to Get it Right
The Secret? Wash Quinoa Really Well!
I’ve heard the complaint so many times that someone finds quinoa has a horrible taste that I just had to include this in this list: the trick to great tasting quinoa.
If you’re wondering why you don’t like quinoa, chances are you just aren’t washing it well enough.
Quinoa has a bitter outer coating of saponins, which is a natural deterrent for pests. Most instructions say to ‘rinse’ quinoa but that’s misleading because when you first rinse it, nothing happens.
The water doesn’t instantly change colour, in fact it runs clear and you think you’ve done your job. But not at all.
What you actually have to do is put the quinoa into a container full of water and rub the quinoa between your hands until the water turns completely cloudy. Once it starts clouding, you’ll find there’s a lot to remove!
Drain the water, refill and repeat. You will need to do this about 6 times before the water runs clear. You can use warm water to speed things up a bit but it also works in cold.
Once it’s clean, cook in a rice cooker and you’ll find it tastes yummy. You can use quinoa for so many recipes, like this delicious stuffed eggplant recipe, or for accompanying a curry, like this eggplant curry, or coconut curry, with chilli beans, or in salad . . . the list is never ending. And quinoa is a great source of vegan protein.
# 8 Gluten-free, Vegan Pizza
Quick, Cheat’s-Way to Make a Gluten Free Vegan Pizza
A simple trick if you’re vegan and gluten free, and you fancy a pizza, is to use a gluten free wrap as the base.
Dry-fry the wrap in a tiny amount of olive oil on both sides until it goes lightly golden. The use leftovers or fresh veggies to create your toppings and put it in the oven as you would any other pizza.
For the tomato sauce, use a classic homemade tomato sauce for pasta or some tomato frito from the shop (but it’s got sugar in it).
Enjoy your gluten free vegan pizza!
#9 Instant Yet Tasty Sauce Trick
How to Make a Last Minute Sauce to Jazz Up Your Meal
When you’ve got some food that needs a sauce, or you’ve got some leftovers that need jazzing up; when you don’t feel like spending ages in the kitchen; when you don’t want to be worrying about hassle or time, then whip up this sauce with minimal effort and serve with your meal.
How to Make Simple Carrot Sauce
Peel and chop two carrots and a bit of onion and one small piece of zucchini. Or just add a bit of any vegetable you fancy, to deepen the flavours.
Put the chopped veggies into a saucepan and add water to just cover the veggies, or even less, depending on the size of the pan.
Salt the water and add a touch of turmeric and a sprinkling of oregano and parsley. Bring the water to the boil and then reduce the heat until it’s simmering.
Cover and leave to cook until the veggies are really soft through.
If there’s too much water in the pan, remove the lid while cooking, otherwise leave it covered.
Blend the whole lot and check the seasoning.
And that’s it! A simple yet yummy carrot sauce.
#10 How to Always Have Fresh Ginger to Hand
Buy some fresh ginger, chop it into small, thin slices and put it into a container with a good lid and straight into the freezer.
When you’re ready to cook, take out one of the slices and use a sharp knife to scrape off the skin.
It’s instant, it’s easy, and it means you’ll always have fresh ginger available for cooking.
Other Useful Tips for the Vegan Kitchen
- Omelette: If you love Spanish omelette, fear not – this recipe is actually extremely easy to make and absolutely delicious!
- Basic Spices: For starter spices when you’re just starting out, begin with some cumin, and chilli, for chilli-bean type recipe flavour, plus some oregano. For curries, use turmeric, cumin, coriander and garam masala. Your use of spice can grow but these are great flavours to start out with.
- Dried Herbs: If you’re not used to cooking with herbs, the top three to begin with would be oregano, basil and parsley. Oregano is quite pungent, and a classic in many sauces as well as in chilli-bean recipes. Dried basil (nothing like its fresh counterpart in flavour) can be used to substitute the fresh basil in tomato sauces and dried parsley is a very mild flavour that can be used safely without the worry of overpowering the flavour. The best way to get to know your herbs is to play around with them. For roasting vegetables you might like to try rosemary and thyme.
- Vegan Cheese: If you’re wondering how to cut down on cheese or give up dairy altogether, you may like to read our post on vegan cheese & how to give up dairy. Or if you’re brave enough to jump right in and start making vegan cheese, you may like the recipe for vegan cheese with jalapeños.
I hope you’ve found some of these tips useful. If you have any questions please leave them in the comments below. Are there any important tips you think I’ve left out? I’d love to hear them.
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