What's All This Talk About Vegan Foods?
Are you a vegan or about to become one and looking for some reasons to solidify why you have chosen this philosophy? Are you looking to find tasty vegan recipes, including some eaten or even created by celebrities? Are you keen to discover more about the health benefits of consuming vegan foods and reasons to follow a strict vegan diet plan?
Keep reading to find out everything there is to know about following a vegan diet plan, including some of the best vegan recipes and vegan baking ideas!
What Is Vegan Food?
First of all, it is important to understand what veganism entails: what food is vegan, vegan health benefits, the principles behind veganism, etc… Once you have all of the knowledge you need about what is essentially a completely different way of living as well as eating, then you can make an informed decision on whether veganism is right for you.
Veganism is not to be confused with vegetarianism.
While vegetarians abstain from eating meat, vegans neither eat meat or use any products that are made from animals. Some strict vegetarians may also refrain from consuming animal-derived products like milk or eggs too. Instead, vegans get their nutrition requirements from vegetables and other plant based foods.
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So, to recap, here are some useful facts about vegetarianism and veganism:
|Does not eat meat, poultry, game, fish or by-products of slaughter||Does not eat meat, dairy, eggs or honey|
|Strict vegetarians avoid eating honey or foods with traces of animal products||Is against the use of animal-derived products like leather|
|The FSA reported that one of their studies conducted across 2008-2011 found that 2% of both adults and children stated they were vegetarian||At least 542,000 Britons are now following a vegan diet plan|
|Vegetarians are said to suffer less heart disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, cancers, bowel disorders and ball and kidney stones||Veganism reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, hypothyroidism and some cancers|
You can find out more about vegan foods by reading the blog What Is Vegan Food And Where Do I Get It?
Vegan Health Benefits
Vegans have, in the past, had some bad press. For some reason, a lot of people talk of a 'dislike' for vegans, but in reality these people just don't understand their mindset.
The term ‘vegan bore’ has even been used to describe individuals following a vegan diet, as it is stereotypically thought that vegans bore others with their philosophy on animal cruelty. As I (and many others out there) know, this is rarely the case.
But why should vegans be treated any differently to vegetarians, pescetarians or any other group of beings in actual fact? Is it because those non-vegans around them feel that they are just being overly tricky and selfishly inconveniencing others? Or could those easily offended by vegans be feeling threatened by a concern that they will be made to feel guilty about their own food choices?
For sure, being a vegan during the last decade can’t have been easy in a country that is typically quite mixed when it comes to diet, known for its fish and chips, English breakfasts, Sunday roasts, pies, pasties and high tea.
It would have, for a long time, limited where you ate, where you shopped and, to some extent, how you lived your daily life (i.e. the way you performed chores around the house). Nowadays, however, veganism is more widely accepted as a dietary choice and is generally perceived as adopting a healthier way of life rather than being a particularly attention-seeking act.
A broad collection of evidence suggests that following a vegan diet could improve blood pressure, lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and healthy weight loss.
By reducing our consumption of meat and increasing the amount of fibre and plant matter we at, we could be faced better health prospects likes much smaller risk of life threatening or life altering conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, hypothyroidism and some cancers (in addition to those listed above).
As previously mentioned, you don’t have to commit to a lifetime of vegan eating.
The Vegan Society itself knows that there would need to be some hugely influential environmental changes to convince everybody in the UK to adopt a vegan diet, but it is still adamant that it wants the country to know about the benefits of a vegan diet.
As such, a few years ago it launched Veganuary, a campaign to get as many people as possible eating vegan for January alone, in the hope that they experience first-hand the health benefits of vegan food, feel better in themselves as a result and then choose to stay vegan.
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In 2015, the campaign counted 12,800 participants (almost quadruple the amount from the year of the launch) of which more than half decided to continue with the philosophy throughout the remainder of the year.
If you are interested in learning more about vegan health benefits, take a look at the blog Vegan Health Benefits: Things You Should Know.
The 5 Best Supermarkets For Buying Vegan Foods
Though you won’t find any mainstream supermarkets selling only vegan produce, you will find many popular UK stores offering a dedicated section or aisle specialising in vegan foods such as nutritional yeast.
Thanks to the increase in supply of vegan food, shopping for a vegan diet doesn’t have to be a struggle. And if your local shop doesn’t have a vegan food section, you might be pleased to hear that there a few hidden treasures among the better known brands that are safe for vegans.
Take, for example, Oreos, Ritz crackers, Kellogg’s (unfrosted) Pop-Tarts and Lindt Excellence Cocoa Bars in 70%, 80% and 90%... so, you might not have all of the ingredients to make a delicious, healthy meal there but you can certainly find yourself a tasty treat to chew on!
Take note of my top 5 list of supermarkets stocking vegan-friendly food options.
1. The Co-Operative
The Co-Op, or The Co-Operative as it is now known, stocks a range of vegan-labelled products to choose from. From samosas to hot cross buns, you’ll find a variety of options for any weeknight through to the weekend. They even sell their own branded vegan alcohol.
2. Marks and Spencer
With a nice selection of sweets and a collection of chocolate all suitable for vegans, the trusty old M&S delivers once again. They also offer dairy-free ice creams and vegan sandwich lunch options. This is a blessing for those who forget their lunch box on their way to work!
Sainsbury’s offer their customers a fair few vegan ingredients and dishes. Their Freefrom line offers vegan-labelled products, including vegan-friendly crispier bars, Turkish delights and ice creams. In their frozen section, you will find meat-free meatballs and burgers alongside Quorn and Linda McCartney products.
Just like its previous competitor, Tesco stocks an array of products suitable for vegans, including cheeses, margarine, yoghurts, and ice cream. Their frozen foods section comprises of soya mince, kale and butternut squash roasts and falafels.
As you might expect, Waitrose delivers the goods when it comes to a specific diet like veganism. Their extensive range of healthy foods includes basil tofu, hotdogs, ice cream, curries, crisps and crumbles. Big name brands include Quorn and Cauldron.
Morrisons, Aldi and Asda do offer some vegan foods too, but this seems to be more ‘by accident’ than a well thought out plan to stock healthy vegan goods.
Likewise, Lidl don’t have a great range of vegan foods but they do label their foods clearly and are cooperative when you ask them questions in store or by email.
You can discover more about the vegan food ranges stocked by the above stores in the blog The Best Shops For Vegan Food.
10 Quick And Simple Vegan Recipes
Are you looking for some vegan recipes which will look good as well as fill you up but that won’t take hours to prepare?
Look no further than our list below of ten quick and simple recipes. Whether you like to get your dinner preparation over and done with as quickly or possible, or you like to make your dinner-making a drawn out affair, each of these recipes can feasibly be ready in around half an hour.
That gives you a few extra minutes to pour yourself a nice cold glass of vegan-friendly wine while you wait for your culinary masterpiece to be ready!
1. Vegan pizza: Okay, it takes 40 mins but is worth the extra 10!
For the full list of ingredients and cooking method, visit
2. Mediterranean baked sweet potatoes: A savoury, sweet, fresh and comforting Mediterranean-inspired dish.
In summary, this fast recipe consists of:
Baked sweet potatoes – cut in half to shorten cooking time
Seasoned, roasted chickpeas
Parsley-tomato salad for garnish
The result is a quick and easy lunch or dinner that’s both satisfying and healthy. For the full list of ingredients and cooking method, visit
3. Coconut curry: A flavoursome dish that lets you use up your leftover vegetables.
Here is a flexible recipe that allows you to use whichever vegetables and spices you feel like. Although the the recipe uses broccoli, carrot, onion, snow peas and tomato, you could go with whatever veggies you wish! The same goes for the spices: this method keeps it simple with curry powder and a pinch of cayenne but you could also add turmeric, cinnamon or cumin to add even more flavour.
For the full list of ingredients and cooking method, visit
4. Poblano and portobello fajitas: an alternative to the Mexican favourite.
• 1 Tbsp (15 ml) olive or coconut oil
• 1 poblano pepper, seeds removed and thinly sliced
• 2 bell peppers, seeds removed and thinly sliced
• 1 jalapeño, seeds removed and thinly sliced
• 1 yellow or white onion, cut into thin rounds
• 2 large or 4 baby portobello mushrooms, stems removed, wiped clean and thinly sliced
• 2 ripe avocados
• juice of 1/2 lime
• sea salt, cumin, & garlic powder
• optional: 1 tsp A1 steak sauce (for mushrooms)
• 6 small flour or corn tortillas
• optional: fresh red onion, hot sauce, cilantro, salsa
1. Heat a large skillet and a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot add a dash of olive or coconut oil to the large skillet, then the onion and peppers. Season generously with salt, cumin and garlic powder.
2. Cook until softened and slightly caramelised, stirring often. Set aside and cover to keep warm.
3. At the same time, add a dash of oil to the medium pan. Then add the mushrooms. Season with a bit of salt and once softened and brown (see photo), add a dash of A1 (vegan-friendly) for more flavour (optional). Remove from heat, set aside and cover.
4. Prepare guacamole by adding two avocados to a bowl then adding the juice of half a lime and a generous pinch of salt. Fresh cilantro and onion are optional.
5. Warm tortillas in the microwave or oven and you’re ready to go. Serve tortillas with peppers and onions, mushrooms, guacamole, and any other toppings you desire such as salsa, hot sauce, and cheese or sour cream (for non-vegan).
Serving size: 1/3 recipe Calories: 427 Fat: 27.8g Saturated fat: 5.7g Carbohydrates: 43.1g Sugar: 7.1g Sodium: 215mg Fiber: 14.8g Protein: 6.7g
*Nutritional information roughly calculated based on 1/3 recipe without toppings.
Recipe courtesy of
5. Vegan green chilli mac’n’cheese: a simple alternative to the original cheese-fest.
This is an unprocessed, wholesome, dairy-free recipe to help satisfy those cravings for childhood favourites. It is creamy, cheesy, spicy and absolutely delicious. Plus, it offers just under 20 grass of protein with every serving – what more could you want?
For the full list of ingredients and cooking method, visit
Note: You will need to soak your cashews overnight!
6. Vegan mushroom stroganoff
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 yellow onion, chopped
• 3 tablespoons whole wheat flour, divided
• 2 cups beefless beef broth or vegetable broth
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon tomato paste
• 1 1/2 pounds mushrooms (half Portobello and half White Button mushrooms), cut into large 2-inch chunks
• 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
• 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
• 1/4 cup vegan sour cream (optional)
• 10 turns of fresh ground, black pepper
• 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, minced
1. Cook the noodles per the direction on the package. Under cook them a bit because they will be cooked again once incorporated into the sauce.
2. Drain and set aside.
3. In a large saucepan, add the olive oil and sauté the onions for 3 minutes over medium heat.
4. Add the flour and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
5. Gradually add the broth, soy sauce, lemon juice, and tomato paste, while stirring at the same time. Stir until mixture becomes thick and bubbly, about a minute.
6. Add the mushrooms, thyme, sage, and salt. Stir to combine.
7. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently until mushrooms have shrunk in size.
8. Add the vinegar and simmer for 4 more minutes.
9. Add the noodles, sour cream, 1 tablespoon of flour, black pepper, and parsley and cook on low for an additional 5 minutes.
10. Garnish with parsley.
Total Calories: 795 | Total Carbs: 104 g | Total Fat: 21 g | Total Protein: 50 g | Total Sodium: 1,548 g | Total Sugar: 13 g
Recipe courtesy of One Green Planet.
For more head turning vegan recipes, take a look at the blog 10 Vegan Recipes That Will Turn Heads.
10 Vegan Baking Recipes
If you are a devout vegan, you’ll be all too aware of the products you can and can’t use when baking vegan puddings. However, if you are trying out a vegan recipe or want to put in that extra effort and cook a completely vegan three-course meal for a vegan friend, then you might like to find some recipes that won’t require you to go out an buy a shop-full of alternatives to your kitchen cupboard basics.
Here are ten recipes that use straightforward ingredients, suitable for a vegan diet.
1. Vegan tiffin
Using ingredients from your larder, like coconut oil, golden syrup, cranberries and pistachios, you can make this tasty dessert. It is great for parties, and with some vegan dark chocolate and ginger nut biscuits thrown in, no one would suspect it’s vegan it tastes so good!
For the full list of ingredients and cooking method, visit BBC Good Food.
2. Sticky Toffee Pear Pudding
• 8 small firm pears
• 200g golden caster sugar
• 2 cinnamon sticks
• 1 star anise
• 6 cloves
• 1 lemon, zest pared
• 1 orange, zest pared
• vegan ice cream, to serve (optional)
For the sponge
• 250g pitted dates
• 2 tbsp linseeds
• 300ml unsweetened almond milk
• 200ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
• 175g dark muscovado sugar
• 200g self-raising flour
• 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
• 1 tsp ground mixed spice
1. Peel the pears and cut the bottom off each to give a flat base – cut them to a height that will fit snugly in your tin. Use a melon baller or small knife to cut out the pips from the base. Roughly chop the pear scraps, discarding the pips, and set aside. Tip the sugar, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, zests and 600ml water into a saucepan large enough to fit all the pears. Bring to the boil, then simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Add the pears, cover with a lid or a piece of baking parchment, and poach gently for 15 mins until a knife easily slides into a pear. Leave to cool in the liquid.
2. Now make the sponge. Put the dates and linseeds in a saucepan and add the almond milk. Bring to a gentle simmer, then cook for 2-3 mins until the dates are soft. Pour into a food processer and blitz until smooth. Add the oil and blend again, then scrape into a bowl and set aside to cool a little. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line a 20 x 30cm baking tin (a loose -bottomed one if possible) with a strip of baking parchment.
3. Put the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl with 1/ 2 tsp salt. Mix well, breaking up any lumps of sugar with your fingers, and shaking the bowl a few times to encourage any remaining lumps to come to the surface. Add the date and oil mixture, and stir well. Fold in the chopped pear scraps. Scrape the cake mixture into the tin, then nestle in the pears, standing straight up, so that the bottom halves are covered. Bake for 35-40 mins until the cake is cooked through. Insert a skewer to the centre to check – it should come out clean. If there is any wet cake mixture on the skewer, return the cake to the oven and bake for 10 mins more, then check again.
4. Meanwhile, bring the pear poaching liquid back to the boil and simmer until reduced to a glossy syrup. When the pudding is cooked, cool for 5-10 mins, then brush all over with the syrup, saving a little extra to serve alongside, with vegan ice cream, if you like.
Recipe courtesy of BBC Good Food.
If you’d like to make your own toffee sauce to go with the above, you can find a link to a vegan-friendly recipe when visiting the above recipe on the BBC Good Food site.
3. Avocado strawberry ices: a refreshing and fruity summer dessert.
For the full list of ingredients and cooking method, click here.
4. Banana bread: makes two flavour-packed loaves to go around!
Find the full list of ingredients and cooking method here.
5. Lemon cake
• 250g vegan margarine
• 200g sugar
• 2 tsp vanilla sugar
• 30g soya flour
• 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
• 200ml warm water including juice of 2 lemons
• Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
• 150g plain flour
• 100g corn flour
• 15g baking powder
• 50g ground almonds
For the icing
• 150g icing sugar
• 3 tbsp lemon juice
• 2 tsp lemon zest
1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees, line a 30cm cake loaf tin and lightly grease.
2. Place vegan margarine, sugar and vanilla sugar, soya flour, lemon zest and xanthan gum into a mixing bowl. Combine on low speed.
3. Top up the lemon juice with warm water to 200ml in total. Let liquid drizzle into mixture beating on medium speed for 3-4 minutes until creamy.
4. Sift flour, corn flour and baking powder and fold under mixture with a spatula.
5. Fill with loaf tin cake mixture and bake for 65-70 minutes.
To make the icing
Mix the icing sugar with zest and lemon juice. Spread over cake.
Recipe courtesy of Vegan Society.
Are You Ready To Go Vegan?
And there you have it! Everything you need to know about becoming or remaining vegan, including some really great recipes to try out.
For more vegan baking recipes to try your hand at, visit my blog 10 Amazing Vegan Baking Recipes.
So, even if you aren't sure that you can stick it out, why not try going vegan for Lent? Just like so many others out there, you will no doubt find yourself loving that feel-good sensation of ridding your body of some of the nasty, hidden things that you ingest as part of a traditional British diet. Why not get help with cooking classes at Superprof.
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