How to Veganize Any Recipe: Savory Edition
Dying to revamp a favorite family recipe, but don't know where to start? These expert tips will help you convert any recipe vegan.
The cooking geniuses behind The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions and Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites, Joni Marie Newman and Celine Steen, know a thing or two about taking traditionally meat and egg-heavy dishes and transforming them into veg-friendly wonders such as a Denver Quiche and Western Bacon Cheeseburgers. Naturally, Newman and Steen were our go-to expert chefs when we wanted to figure out how to take a classic non-vegan recipe and revamp it. Here are their top substitution tips for savory dishes.
There are a ton of vegan cheeses out including shreds, wedges, artisan blocks, and slices, but to achieve a cheesy flavor, nutritional yeast is the way to go. For a little more dimension, Newman and Steen add a little maca powder to the “nooch.” Maca powder is pricey so reserve this method for a special-occasion dish. Coconut milk or cream is great at mimicking a buttery, cheesy flavor when combined with nooch. Cashews are stellar for replicating cheese sauces. Crumbled tofu, flavored with spices and vinegar, are great ways to replace feta, ricotta, and cottage cheese, or make your own Parmesan by pulverizing walnuts and nooch together. To go gourmet with DIY cheeses, Newman and Steen highly recommend Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner.
Try This: VegNews Vegan Macaroni & Cheese
Tofu is a great replacement for egg-heavy dishes that call for at least six eggs such as quiches or fritattas. Newman suggests adding garbanzo bean flour to blended tofu to make a sturdy omelette. A pinch or two of black salt creates a sulfuric, egg-like taste.
Try This: Vegan Eggs Benedict
Fish Fake Out
Seaweed is a great addition to achieve a fishy flavor—marinating mushroom stems or tofu pieces in a nori broth is an easy way to infuse a briny taste and mimic seafood.
Try This: (Save the) Tuna Salad Sandwiches
There are plenty of faux meats in the market—even a vegan haggis—so you can easily substitute any meat with vegan chicken cutlets, shrimp, or “beef” burgers. If you’d rather steer clear of fake meat, Steen and Newman suggest mushrooms, chickpeas, or tofu flavored the way that you would prepare any other meat substitute. Marinating and pressing tofu overnight soaks up maximum flavor.
Try This: Vegan Ground Beef
When transforming savory dishes, Steen and Newman recommend keeping the following ingredients on hand: reduced-sodium soy sauce, nutritional yeast, cornstarch, tomato paste, silken tofu, veggie broth powder or bouillon, unsweetened plain vegan yogurt, milk alternatives (unsweetened almond milk is a favorite of theirs), applesauce, liquid smoke, beans and legumes, black salt, textured vegetable protein, and vital wheat gluten flour.
Try This: Vegan Pantry Makeover
While vegetable broth can substitute for a meat-based broth, you can season your veggie base to replicate a beef broth by adding soy sauce, vegan Worcestershire sauce, or steak sauce. Toss in a bay leaf, fresh thyme, onion powder, and a little nutritional yeast for a chicken-like flavor.
Try This: Vegan Vietnamese Noodle Soup
While these master veganizers are still hard at work—Newman is diligently trying to perfect a strip-style vegan bacon, while Steen cracked the code to baking a brioche—they turn to several blogs for inspiration. Meettheshannons.com, veganappetite.com, vegancrunk.blogspot.com, and everydaydish.tv are some of their go-to resources. Now that you’ve learned some secret tricks to substituting meat and dairy in savory dishes, it’s time to get in the kitchen. Peruse the VegNews Vegan Food Galore Pinterest board for even more drool-worthy recipes. Happy cooking!
Want the recipe for the gorgeous dish pictured above? Enjoy the Double Cheese Lasagna!
Photo: Hannah Kaminsky
Easy Vegan Blueberry-Nectarine Fruit Crisp
Made with rolled oats, Sucanat, vanilla, and spices, this topping sets off the sweet combination of blueberries and nectarines. For added crunch and nutrition, add some chopped nuts or sunflower seeds.
Read More »
7 Ways to Use Baileys' New Vegan Irish Cream
Smoothies, ice cream, and cookies are getting a boozy makeover thanks to vegan Irish cream.
Read More »
Ultimate Guide to a Great Memorial Day Vegan BBQ
Warm weather and a long weekend make Memorial Day the perfect opportunity to entertain al fresco.
Read More »
We love this vegan version of the traditionally meat- and seafood-packed Spanish rice dish.
Read More »
The Tofu Lover's Guide to Tofu
Think youve seen it all? Consider some novel variations of this soy-based staple.
Read More »
- Easy Vegan Apple-Raisin Fruit Crisp
- 34 Easy Vegan Meals
- 9 Vegan Ramen Options Across America
- 13 New Ways to Eat Peanut Butter & Jelly
- 10 Best Vegan Oreo Hacks on Instagram
- Disease-Fighting Superfoods You Should be Eating
- 5 Great Ways to Get More Calcium
- Vegan Lemon Glaze
- Vegan Blueberry-Orange Bundt Cake
- Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
- 10 (Mouthwatering) Vegan Frappuccinos at Starbucks
- Vegan Eggplant and Portabello Enchiladas with Paprika-Lime Cashew Cream
- Vegan Portabello Pot Roast
- Ultimate Guide to Nut Butters
- Vegan Blueberry Scones
- How to Make Incredible Vegan Cheesecake
- 12 Surprising Vegan Meals at Fast-Food Restaurants
- 32 Easy Vegan Weekday Meals
- Vegan Lemon Curd
- Vegan Thai Vegetable Curry