Eggs are slightly less obvious in how to replace them, though good alternatives are possible in most dishes, and vegan cakes are lovely, doing brilliantly without eggs or dairy.
Where to look:
Next to similar products, and in “Free From”, Asian and organic sections in supermarkets.
Allergan, Ener-G and Organ egg-replacer are available from most health food shops and some large supermarkets in the free from section. Or buy on line from shops like Goodness Direct. You can also make your own.
Dairy, egg, honey and meat alternatives
|egg||baking||egg replacer or 1tsp baking powder||buy on line, in big supermarkets or health food shop (hfs). See also cake conversion and notes above|
|egg||scrambled||mashed tofu||fry with herbs spices and chopped veg for extra taste|
|mayonnaise||sandwiches, salads and dips||egg-free mayonnaise, e.g. Plamil||big supermarkets and all hfs|
|salad cream||sandwiches, salads and dips||some low-calorie brands||supermarkets|
|honey||cold or cooking||maple syrup, agave syrup, other syrups||any supermarket or hfs|
|chocolate||as it is or in cooking||most high quality dark chocolate bars, such as Llindt Excellence, Green & Blacks||any supermarket or hfs. Avoid chocolate with milk products or unspecified lecithin. Cocoa butter is vegan|
Converting your own recipes and meals
Converting recipes is highly rewarding. It makes a great career expanding step, or simply a fun personal or school project. A deeper understanding of animal-free cooking broadens the horizons of both budding home cooks and caterers. With our help, cooking vegan, vegetarian and dairy and egg intolerant meals is daunting no longer.
We have found that by focusing on making dishes vegan you cater for the vast majority of special diets, be they religious, vegetarian, or dairy-intolerant. We also will include gluten-free ideas and links, as this is common, sometimes in conjunction with dairy-intolerance, so a vegan gluten-free recipe then becomes a great answer.
There are thousands of fantastic vegan and special diet recipes on the Internet, and many recipe books; but you don’t have to use them to make tasty animal-free food.
You can make dishes you’ve always made. Simply convert your old recipes. This page shows you how.
Where to buy the alternatives in the UK is indicated, and most are widely available. “hfs” stands for health food shop, and includes whole food shops and organic stores.
In cooking you often taste little difference if a vegan ingredient is swapped in for a non-vegan one. As stand alone items they may taste different, and whether they taste better or worse is down to conditioning and personal preference. I bet you can’t tell dairy-free ice cream from the real thing!
Dairy, egg, honey and meat alternatives
If you are new to vegan food, you’ll be surprised what else in a standard store cupboard is vegan. Some major examples are given here.
|item||context||vegan version||look out for|
|pasta||Italian dishes||most dry pasta is egg free||avoid egg pasta|
|bread products||sandwiches, toast, etc||most are vegan||avoid the few containing whey, buttermilk, lactose, honey or milk|
|rice, polenta, quinoa, cous cous, Ebly, potatoes||background to many dishes||always vegan||put olive/avocado oil rather than butter in as necessary|
|filo pastry and some other pastries||from samosas to strudel||often vegan||check oil/fat used is vegetable based|
Meat, poultry and fish alternatives
Making a dish meat-free is not simply about removing the animal products, it’s about replacing them. Focus on high-protein alternatives such as beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, fake meats, nuts and seeds, and be generous with these to please your hungry guests, especially if they’ve been exerting themselves.
In our conversion table here we give ideas for direct conversion to very similar items to meat, poultry and fish, but you can use any of the above substitutes too.
Where to look:
Next to similar non-vegan products, in the chiller, vegetarian sections of freezer cabinets, and in “Free From”, Asian and organic sections in supermarkets.
|roast meat||roast dinners||vegan roasts||health food shops and some supermarkets (NB Quorn is not vegan)|
|bacon||frying and cooking||Redwood’s rashers, sliced smoked tofu/tempeh||hfs, mail order, supermarkets|
|bacon bits||cooking and salads||“bacon bits”||check ingredients, but usually vegan anyway|
|sliced ham, pepperoni, chicken, turkey, beef||cold and hot dishes||Redwood’s Cheatin’ Ham etc||can be eaten out of the packet or heated; from hfs or mail order|
|sausages||cold or hot, BBQ-ed||vegan sausages, e.g. VegiDeli, Biona, Taifun, SosMix||supermarkets, mail order and hfs|
|meat chunks||kebabs, stews, curries and stir fries||TVP chunks, plain/smoked/braised/marinated/fried tofu, tempeh, gluten (mock duck) and seitan||supermarkets, hfs, east Asian stores|
|burgers||grilled, fried, BBQ-ed||vegan burgers, e.g. Goodlife, Beanies, Fry’s||hfs, and sometimes big supermarkets|
|mince||in chillies, shepherd’s pie, moussaka etc||TVP mince, VegeMince, Fry’s mince; or cooked/tinned lentils||supermarkets and hfs|
|fish fingers, scampi and fish cakes||quick meals||Making Waves and other brands of Fishless Fingers, Scampi-style pieces and Fishless steaks||hfs and mail order|
|tuna||quick meals, salads and sandwiches||Redwood’s Making Waves tuna-style||hfs and mail order|
|fish paste||sandwiches||Redwood’s Making Waves salmon-style pate||hfs and mail order|
|meat stock||cooking||vegetable stock, miso||anywhere|
NB Quorn and some Linda McCartney products are vegetarian but not vegan. Quorn contains eggs and the mince used in some L McC products is manufactured using dairy products – her sausage rolls are vegan and tasty, but the sausages are worth a miss anyway.
Many other easily available items are vegan, beyond the massive range of fruit and vegetables out there. Here are some commonly found even in the most unadventurous larder:
- peanut butter
- yeast extract (e.g. Marmite)
- nearly all tomato ketchup, BBQ sauces, mustard, pickles and chutneys
- herbs, spices and curry pastes – nearly always vegan
- baked beans
- chips (fried in vegetable oil)
To be wary of
There are a few things it is better to steer clear of without the help of a vegan friend or the Animal Free Shopper guide. The major ones are:
- wines and beers – many are clarified with bones, egg and fish products. The big supermarkets and off licence chains have lists of which ones are vegan if you ask
- sweets and jellies – many contain gelatine, which is made from animal bones. Health food shops and big supermarkets sell vegan alternatives which tend to be high quality.
- cakes – usually contain eggs, though they don’t need to.
Putting all this into practice
You can experiment by converting your favourite recipes. See how close you can make them to the real thing. They may taste a lot better too, and not be so hard on your stomach.