Not keen on giving up meat and dairy to try out a vegan diet? Giving up all food products that come from animals may seem challenging, especially when you've heard vegan options for meat and dairy are questionable at best. But forget what you've heard about vegan meat and cheese alternatives because there are more tasty options than ever that are gaining popularity in the vegan and vegetarian community and beyond! Take a look at these healthy options to try.
Soy: Soy products like tofu and tempeh have been on the market for a long time and are well known for containing lots of protein and being easy to cook into flavorful dishes. Tofu is made of soybean milk and comes in two varieties: firm and silken. Firm tofu is great a non-meat option for baking, grilling, sautéing, and frying. Silken tofu is better used as a diary alternative in creamy sauces, desserts, and dressings. Tempeh is a little trickier to cook with. It's firmer and made out of fermented soybeans. It's best to marinate it for an hour or so before use, but it will soak in delicious flavor.
Nuts: Cashews, almonds, and walnuts are commonly used to make vegan cheeses. When ground, these nuts have a creamy texture that takes in flavor from other ingredients. Nuts have great protein and healthy fat content. You can make your own vegan cheese or try one of the many options available at the grocery store.
Whole Grains and Legumes: Beans, lentils and peas may not be meant for use as a substitute for meat in a dish, but they add protein and other nutrients to dishes that would otherwise be lacking substance. Whole grains, while necessary in any diet, provide the hearty addition of fiber and other essential nutrients to a vegan diet. Use whole grains and legumes in soups, stews, and salads as a source of protein.
Prepared Products: There are so many fresh and frozen prepared vegan-friendly products on the market now that have great taste and texture. If you are looking for a meat alternative to trick your tastebuds, many brands have faux chicken, pork, and beef options to suit your palate.
Need some shopping help for more vegan food options? Check out this vegan shopping guide with lists of snacks, beverages, baked goods, and more!