An A - Z of Vegan Foods (Part 1 - A - M)
A - Agave syrup. A sweetener produced from the Agave Americana and tequiliana plants. Agave is often used in vegan recipes instead of sugar or honey.
It dissolves quickly so is suitable for use in drinks as well as cooking.
Agave is available in light, dark, amber and raw varieties, each with its own flavour and qualities.
B - Banana. Long curved fruit of the Musaplants. Although often regarded as a tree, these plants is in fact a giant herb due to the fact that it does not have a woody stem.
Banana can be eaten raw or used in a large variety of recipes such as breads, cakes, muffins, ice creams, as a sandwich filling, desserts, smoothies and jams.
Bananas are high in potassium and also contain many other vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, riboflavin, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, thiamin, niacin, copper, pantothenic acid and zinc.
C - Carrots. Carrots are a versatile root vegetable that can be eaten cooked or raw. The most common carrots are orange but they are also available in purple, red, white, and yellow varieties.
Carrots can be chopped and grated and used in salads raw or cooked in stews, stir fries, casseroles, curries and dahls. They are also often served as a side vegetable in meals such as a traditional English Sunday roast.
Other uses for carrots include using them in carrot cake or juicing them to use in smoothies and fruit or vegetable juice drinks.
Carrots contain a good range of vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin C, iron and calcium.
D - Dairy free cheeses. There are several brands of non dairy cheese available to buy and also many recipes to create your own using various methods.
Cheeses can be bought in health food and specialist shops as well as in some supermarkets and include Tesco own brand, Daiya, Totutti, Cheezly, Redwood, Parmazano Dairy Free and Scheese. Each brand comes in various varieties and also hard and soft cheeses. Some are better in some applications that others for example some melt better than others.
These cheeses can be used just as you would dairy cheese and the spreads can also be used to make delicious cheesecakes.
E - Egg Replacer. This is a powder that is mixed with water and then used in cooking in the place of eggs. It is easy to use and can be used in baking items such as vegan, breads, cakes and cookies. Recipes that require lots of eggs are generally harder to replicate than those that only need one or two.
Egg replacement powders are generally other available from health and specialist food shops.
Other foods that can be used to replace eggs in cooking are mashed bananas, apple sauce, tofu and flaxseed.
F - Flaxseed. Flaxseeds are available in yellow and brown varieties. They are high in fibre, micronutrients and omega 3 fatty acids. These seeds can be eaten as they are sprinkled on salads, stir fries or cereals, in granola or trail mixes or ground and mixed into baked goods. It is also possible to buy flaxseed oil.
Ground flaxseed can be used as a replacement for eggs in baked goods by mixing 2 ½ tbsps of ground flaxseed with 3 tbsps of warm water for each egg you wish to replace.
Flaxseeds are also often used to make raw crackers such as the Spicy BBQ Flax Crackers, Mexican Flax Crackers and Veggie Flax Cracker recipes posted on Nouveau Raw.
G - Gelatine. Gelatine is an animal by product created by boiling cow or pig skins, skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones in water. It is used as a thickener and also to 'set' liquids such as jellies and sweets.
Agar(sea vegetable), carrageenan (seaweed), fruit pectin and locust bean gum can all be used as vegan friendly replacements for gelatine.
Agar is used almost exactly like gelatine and is colour and flavour less. It can be used to make jellies and other similar textured puddings with good results.
Carrageenan is used as a thickener. It is first soaked in water and then boiled in the liquid to b thickened until the desired consistency is reached. 28g of carageenan thickens approximately 1 cup of liquid.
Fruit pectin is the substance that causes jams to set and is present in some fruits in varying levels. It can also be used in place of gelatine in some recipes.
Locust bean gum is also sometimes known as carob gum and is used as a thickener.
H - Hummus. Hummus is a Middle Eastern dip/spread made using chickpeas. The chickpeas are cooked, mashed and then mixed with olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Many flavour variations are available to buy and if making your own the possibilities are endless. Ingredients such as chillies, peppers, onion or other flavourings such as BBQ sauce can be added to the chickpea mixture.
Hummus is often served with salads or as a dip with flat breads, tortilla chips, crackers and vegetable sticks. It can be used as a spread in sandwiches.
I – Isinglass. Isinglass is a substance obtained from the dried swim bladders of fish and is used in clarifying beer and wine. Because isinglass is not an ingredient in the finished product it is not always mentioned on labels.
J – Jacket Potatoes. Jacket (baked) potatoes are a really versatile food. They can be cooked in a normal oven or a microwave and then served with other foods or topped with a wide range of fillings. Popular fillings included baked beans, chilli con-carne, vegan cheese or curry.
K – Kale. Kale is a form of cabbage. It can be eaten raw or cooked and is also used in green smoothies. Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and rich in calcium. It contains the carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin and the chemical sulforaphane that has strong anti-cancer properties. Kale can also be dried using a cool oven or dehydrator and made into chips that can be eaten like potato chips or used with dips.
L - Legumes. Legumes are seeds that are used as foods and include navy, broad, butter, northern, pinto, red, and black beans, as well as chick peas and soybeans. Legumes are a good source of protein for vegans as well as fibre and iron. There are many varieties of legumes available and a huge range of ways to cook them from stews and casseroles to dried as a snack or even used in cakes.
Tinned legumes can be used as they are but most dried varieties need to be soaked before use.
M – Milks. There are many alternatives to animal milks available now that can be bought in long life and chilled versions. Some are available in single servings and even flavoured. Some examples to try are soya, almond, hemp, coconut, oat and rice milk.
Most can be substituted in many cooking applications and it is possible to use soya milk to make yoghurt and vegan mayonnaise.
While drafting this hub I decided that it was going to be long written as one and so have split it into two halves. The second part can be found at An A - Z of Vegan Foods (Part 2).
Hope you enjoyed reading and found this hub useful.
© 2013 Claire