When I first went vegan I had no idea what vegan alternatives were good, or to be honest just how much there was out there at all. Turns out there was so much more than I expected but sadly, to me, lots of it just is not great. When I first went veggie (25 years ago, yes I am old) the “meat” alternatives were pretty crap and I have to say I now feel the same about a lot of the vegan alternatives for dairy, milk and meat. When you first choose to go vegan this can make the whole thing feel quite painful, especially if like me, you love food! I am sure this will change over time too, but in the meantime all is not lost there are plenty of good things out there too you just need to know where to get them. I have tried everything (and I probably actually do mean everything as I like to eat….a lot!!!) and have put together this handy list of the best things to try!
I can’t say you will agree with me on everything but, my findings are:
Milk for Tea
Look no further than Soya Milk. Sweetened or unsweetened, normal or lighter it makes no difference, but soya milk is the must for tea. None of the other options have quite the same “milkyness” about them as soya!
Milk in General
Now the important one is out the way, as tea is clearly the most important use for milk, other milks all have their uses too! I like almond milk in my cereal or protein shakes, hazelnut milk in my porridge (see here for my fave recipe) and oat milk works when the others are not available! Basically take from this pretty much all vegan milk is totally fine, sure its different, generally a more watery, but it is fine and can be used in all the ways you would have used dairy milk.
Ok so you are maybe thinking cheese spread, essential, really? I didn’t actually touch the stuff when I ate dairy. But now that I am vegan, very different story, whenever I need a quick lunch or something easy and tasty I do crackers with cheese spread and some cucumber slices. It has also become my quick go to junk food on a bagel or whatever too, yum! The best I have found is Sheese Original, they make other kinds too but the smell puts me off a bit so for me the Original is the way to go.
Love them or hate them, personally I need such a thing in my fridge! I tried loads after quorn was off limits, but most were really lacking in flavour and texture. Then I found Mheat from Sgaia Foods. Game changer, love it, can’t get enough, give me it all!!! They do bacon, burgers, salami and a steak alternative and do a monthly box delivered straight to your door. I can sadly admit, it is one of the highlights of my month when it arrives! I gushed over them here the other week if you want to know more.
The other meat substitute I like, new to the market, is Quorn’s vegan pieces. They are really good to chuck in whatever sauce if you can’t be bothered having a battle with tofu (love it but the prep can be a killer!!). It works the exact same way as non-vegan Quorn or chicken.
Nutcrafter!!!! It will be the most expensive cheese you will ever buy but beyond worth it. The Ancient is totally amazing……..I love it on a burger with some salad, yum! For a melty cheese look no further than Sheese (again!). I have tried a number of their cheeses and am yet to find one I don’t like. A nice cheap every day alternative! I have found that most health food shops sell some of their flavours too so it is also easy to get your hands on.
They are all totally fine! My husband even says he will have the vegan butter over real butter now! I have tried 5 or 6 of them now and they are all an easy substitute so whatever you can get by it.
I have never liked dark chocolate and turning vegan I assumed no eating chocolate ever again as it is all dark. No big deal, I would rather eat crisps, but I have been quite pleasantly surprised. I really like Moo Free chocolate, in particular the Bunnycomb bars. They are relatively cheap and available pretty much anywhere. I have also found a small company called ConsiderIT. They are based in Fife so you have to order online if you cant get them at a market in Edinburgh, but the chocolate bars are amazing. I have tried them all, ooops, and none have disappointed! Finally, Booja Booja make the most amazing truffles, like totally amazing, although I can’t ever buy them again as I ate the whole box!!!
And that is my list, I am sure there are loads of other things out there but having tried various versions of all of the above I am confident you will love my faves too. Hopefully I can make someones transition just that little bit easier!
What are your favourites??