The well-kept secrets of vegan cooking 5248 1b0f92d1-26c9-427c-978a-f8ca074f5aa7 article Crazy Leeks Crazy Leeks /media/3nellgzq/les_secrets_bien_gar.jpg Découvertes 3/9/2021 2:03:55 p.m. Spring

Have you ever wondered how vegans don’t bother eating tofu? How do they make egg-free cakes rise? What do they put in their shepherd’s pie instead of meat? And above all, how can they live without cheese?

The answer: it’s because vegans have more than one trick up their sleeve. They use clever subterfuges that you could learn to master, too! No, but it’s true: why should they be the only ones to benefit from these culinary innovations? We, too, can afford to replace eggs in our cakes in case of shortage!

So, without further ado, here’s a list of well-kept secrets of vegan cooking 😊

In need of protein?

Une sélection de protéines végétales incluant : tofu, noix, graines et pois chiches

It’s a myth that’s been disproved many times over. Today, it’s well known that vegans are not lacking in protein. But are they short of inspiration? Well, no. As it happens, they’ve got options galore, and we’re happily taking inspiration from them for our meatless Mondays to eat less fat or to save a little money!

Adore seitan

We’ve already dedicated an entire article to seitan, but in short, you can make it chicken or beef style (white or dark). Made from gluten flour, it’s the highest-protein meat replacement on the market today.

Tofu that tastes like nothing

Tofu may have a bad reputation, but a well-seasoned or marinated block makes all the difference. The secret? Spices! Or, in some cases, sauces. If you’d like to tame this food, we suggest these recipes for General Tao tofu (feel free to replace green onions with leeks đŸ€— ) and magic tofu (in French). Your opinion of tofu will change forever.

Discover tempeh (and learn to love it)

Ahhh, tempeh! That misunderstood food.

If tofu doesn’t taste like anything when it’s unseasoned, we sometimes wish tempeh was a little more like it. Think again if you thought you could put it raw in your salad.

Tempeh is prepared from fermented soybeans and, adequately prepared, it’s more nutritious and as delicious as tofu. We’ve also dedicated our own article to tempeh (in French), with 10 recipes to discover. So go on, let tempeh do the work for you 😉

TVP (textured vegetable protein)

TVP is another soy protein that can take on a ground meat texture when rehydrated. Our article on discovering TVP and its recipes explains the whole process, but this food has the advantage of being almost fat-free and garrottes well in a quick spaghetti sauce.

Chickpeas, seeds, nuts, cereals, vegetables and the end of beans

We could go on about ALL the other plant proteins, but we don’t feel like staying here for the next 8 years. You know, even leeks contain protein!

I could never live without cheese

Un fromage végétalien fait à base de noix de cajou

No hard feelings; we understand the noble intentions of vegans, but... a pizza without cheese? Really?

Vegan cheeses

Vegan cheeses (commonly known as fauxmages) of all kinds can now be purchased in grocery stores. Made from coconut, tapioca, cashews, almonds and more, the options are almost endless.

We recently discovered the Nafsika’s Garden brand, which offers fauxmages that taste great and melt in the cheese. Moreover, they provide endless varieties, including poutine, pizza and even Swiss!

You can even decide to make your own fauxmage if you’re brave. We’re crazy about this sunflower-seed-based spreadable cheese (in French) (cheap, cheap!) that looks suspiciously like Boursin.

Nutritional yeast

Okay, nutritional yeast (or food yeast) doesn’t behave like cheese in the kitchen, but some say it tastes cheesy. Vegans commonly use it to replace Parmesan in salads and pastas. It also dissolves very well in sauces and dressings, enhancing the taste incredibly and making everything much more nutritious.

Rich in vitamin B12, it should not be confused with bread yeast! Nutritional yeast looks like yellow flakes and can be found in most grocery stores.

Making omelettes without breaking eggs

Une assiette de tofu brouillé végane.

It’s okay to live without cheese, but what about eggs? You can’t replace scrambled eggs, can you? And what about omelettes? I can’t get enough of my ham cheese asparagus omelette! Yes, it’s starting to get complicated, but you can replace eggs with other foods.

Chickpeas are back in force

The secret trick for vegans is making a pancake with chickpea flour. The result has the colour and texture of an omelette.

On the other hand, it can sometimes be a little dry. To avoid this inconvenience, add the cooking water from the chickpeas to the omelette (the water found in a can of chickpeas). Garnishing your omelette with a ton of tender vegetables, such as asparagus, is also an excellent way to make the omelette juicier.

Here’s a simple chickpea and aquafaba omelette recipe to try if you fancy a perfect cholesterol-free omelette.

Scrambled tofu

The texture is fantastic if you take a block of tofu and remove the seeds before sautéing. And with leeks, it tastes like heaven! Our recipe for tortillas with scrambled tofu is perfect for trying out the combination.

Never without my black salt (kala namak)

If the previous two options imitate the texture of eggs, what about the taste? Himalayan black salt is rich in sulfur and instantly gives an eggy taste to any dish! It can be found on Amazon but used sparingly.

Desserts with a twist

Un gùteau végétalien au chocolat et à l'orange sans oeufs et sans lait.

Regarding desserts and pastries, there are plenty of options for replacing eggs. You can follow an existing vegan dessert recipe to keep things simple.

If you want to replace eggs in one of your favourite recipes, here are some options for replacing 1 egg:

  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup mashed bananas
  • 1 chia egg: 1 tablespoon chia seeds + 3 tablespoons water (let stand a few minutes)
  • 1 egg substitute sold in grocery stores
  • 3 tablespoons aquafaba (liquid in a can of chickpeas)

In any case, some options work better than others, depending on the recipe. That’s because the best alternatives vary depending on whether the egg acts as a binder, leavener or humectant. Combining several methods can also be an excellent idea if the recipe contains more than one egg.

Are you hooked on vegan cooking? Discover 10 new vegan recipes (in French), or explore our site for several.