BEGINNER VEGAN HACKS & TIPS YOU HAVE TO KNOW!

If you’re new to the vegan scene and are feeling a little lost, or if you’re interested in finding out some new tips and tricks, then these hacks should give you some new ideas in and out of the kitchen!

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1. Egg replacement

My first vegan hack is how to replace eggs in certain recipes. My favourite way is with chia or flax seeds. Simply use the ratio of 1 part seeds to 3 parts water - so for 1 tbsp of chia seeds, use three tbsp of water. Mix together, refrigerate, and it should turn into a gooey eggy texture that you can use in a variety of recipes instead of eggs! Other common egg replacers are nut butters, like I use in my peanut choc breakfast bars, or oil, like in my utterly gooey vegan choc chip cookies.

2. Banana oat cookies

Bananas are another great alternative to eggs, and one of my favourite recipes using bananas as an egg substitute comes from my e-book. My banana oat cookies are a go-to when I’m craving cookies but don’t have any in the house, as they use just three ingredients that I always have in the the cupboard, and only take 15 minutes to make. Simply mash up two ripe bananas, pour in 2 cups of oats, and either 1/4 cup of raisins or a 1/4 cup of vegan choc chips (or cut up vegan choc), and 1 tsp of cinnamon. Mix everything together thoroughly, shape into 8-10 cookies and bake at 180C for 15 minutes. Enjoy as a snack with a cuppa!

3. heat your milk

Since switching to non-dairy milk, do you find it curdles in your hot drinks? Try heating the milk beforehand, and this should help everything to mix together nice and smoothly!

4. Silken tofu

Silken tofu is a magical ingredient that can be used as a creamy base for smoothies, chocolate mousse, vegan mayonnaise or a creamy dip.

5. Cashew cheese

I always keep cashews in my cupboard to make creamy and delicious cashew cheese. Pour it over some nachos, use them to make vegan mac and cheese, or as the base for a yummy vegan cheesecake.

6. Nutritional yeast

And to make the perfect vegan cheese, you must have nutritional yeast. It’s basically vegan gold dust. You can add it to everything for a cheesy taste, it works great as a parmesan substitute, and, as an added bonus, it is packed full of vitamin B12.

7. Happy Cow app

If you’re not already using the Happy Cow app, then I highly highly recommend you download it today. I use it every time I travel to scope out the local vegan scene. It shows you all the vegan, vegetarian, and vegan-friendly options nearby, so that you can enjoy the best dishes available to you when you visit a new city or place!

8. Frozen bananas

One of the quickest and easiest ways to make vegan ice cream (or nice cream), is to simply freeze some bananas! Put them in your freezer overnight and in the morning blend them up (in a powerful blender), with a dash of dairy-free milk and 1 tsp vanilla extract. You can make different flavours too by adding cocoa powder for chocolate nice cream, or strawberries for a yummy strawberry flavour!

9. own brand products

If you’re new on the vegan scene you may not know that many own-brand products at your local supermarket are accidentally vegan! I think this is because they’re trying to cut costs where they can, so they substitute ingredients such as milk and butter for other ingredients like oils. Foods such as plain chocolate, plain chocolate digestive biscuits, bourbons, frozen garlic bread and fizzy sweets are surprisingly often vegan! Just make sure to check the label and get to know what items happen to omit animal products at your local shop.

10. Meat flavouring

“Meat” flavoured products are often just seasoned with spices, and don’t actually involve any meat at all! Again, check the label and you may find that “prawn cocktail” or “BBQ rib” crisps (chips) are nothing more than a blend of different vegan-friendly spices.

11. Chickpea tuna

Did you know you can make tuna from chickpeas? It tastes incredibly convincing, and works great in a sandwich or on top of a jacket potato!

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12. Marmite stock

Most veggie stock sneaks cow’s milk into its ingredients. And while there are vegan stock powders out there, they can be pricey. An affordable vegan alternative is marmite! Just pop a tsp or two in boiling water, and add it to soups and other recipes as a vegan stock alternative!

13. MEAT SEASONING

When it comes to seasoning your vegan meat alternatives, it’s all down to the seasoning! I love to use soy sauce, maple syrup and paprika to give a meat-like taste to tofu and vegetables such as aubergines and mushrooms. You can also use an ingredient called ‘liquid smoke’ that mimics that smokey BBQ flavour, and is perfect for making vegan bacon!

14. TAHINI

Tahini is a magical ingredient that every vegan needs in their life. I use it almost daily as a base for creamy pasta sauces, salad dressings or stir fries.

15. Scrambled tofu

You don’t have to miss out on scrambled eggs, as you can make scrambled tofu instead! It tastes convincingly similar, is packed with protein, and is the perfect weekend breakfast or brunch.

16. Dates

Dates are another magical ingredient I always have in my cupboard. They are the perfect sweet and gooey caramel base for lots of raw treats such as energy balls, brownies, cheesecake cups and cereal bars. I also love to throw them into my morning porridge for added sweetness!

17. Eating out

International restaurants are often your best bet as a vegan, as lots of their traditional cuisines are either vegan/vegetarian, or easily made vegan. When eating Italian, opt for a vegetarian pizza minus the cheese, or pasta marinara or arrabiata. Thai places make the most delicious tofu curries, stir fries and noodles, but just check they don’t have fish sauce. Indian restaurants usually have a vegetarian section to their menu (they’re usually listed as side dishes but you can ask for them as a main), full of lots of delicious options - just check none of them have ghee or any creamy bases to them. Japanese is another great option, where you can order avocado or cucumber sushi and some miso soup!

18. Vegan meat options

If you’re new to veganism, then the world is your (vegan) oyster! You may feel initially that you’re missing out, but honestly there are so many new things you can try! In the UK we are spoilt for choice when it comes to vegan options. So get down to your local supermarket and scope out their free-from aisles, the vegetarian frozen section and everything in between! If you live somewhere where veganism isn’t quite as booming, then try a health food store or even look online! Have fun and make sure you try out the ever-improving selection of vegan meat, cheese, and dessert alternatives to satisfy those cravings.

19. tofu

As a vegan, I love tofu. But it is very misunderstood. Meat eaters think of it as a tasteless goopy soggy mess, and sometimes, they’re not wrong. You just have to learn how to cook with it properly! Luckily I made a video all about this recently which you can check out here. Or simply search tofu on my website and take your pick of one of my many tofu recipes.

20. no restrictions

Finally, I want to share a bit of advice. If you’ve recently gone vegan you may find yourself feeling hungry more often. And sadly lots of people give up on veganism because of this! The truth is, vegan food is mostly lower in calories, so your portion sizes are going to be a little bigger in order to satisfy your hunger. But that means you get to eat more food! And more food is never a bad thing. Also, please don’t restrict your diet. It’s already a big enough change switching from animal products to veganism, as you’re removing an entire group of foods from your plate. Unfortunately within the vegan community there is a lot of diet culture going around, as well as a hyper focus on health. This can lead to disordered eating habits among people going vegan for health reasons, and those who have previously suffered with eating disorders or dealt with disordered eating habits. Keep this in mind when changing you diet, and don’t fall for any fads within the movement where certain food groups are lowered or discouraged. Food is food, and you never need to feel like you should or shouldn’t be eating certain things (beyond choosing not to eat animal products as an ethical and personal decision). Your mental health is as important as your physical health, and so a bar of chocolate and some vegan cheese when you’re craving it is as important in your diet as your fruit and veg.

Those are all of my top tips, hacks and advice for all my newbie vegans out there! Let me know in the comments below your top tips for others who are new to the vegan world, and make sure to check out the full video if you haven’t already.