Now that you’ve decided to go vegan, you’re probably wondering where you can find recipes for healthy vegan meals that are also delicious and easy to prepare. Before you buy dozens of brand new cookbooks, you may want to figure out where you can buy the necessities that make living vegan a whole lot easier. Once you know what to buy and where to shop, it’s incredibly easy to adapt your lifestyle to one that’s defined by healthier dietary habits and compassionate, ecologically responsible choices.
Finding Healthy Ingredients for Vegan Recipes for Beginners
Beginners always ask: How do you get enough protein? Don’t you need calcium from milk? The good news is that wholesome plant foods provide an abundance of nutrients that you will need to thrive. There are lots of high protein vegan recipes that also include other necessary nutrients, such as iron, calcium and B vitamins. Make sure that you have a source of B-12. It can be a vitamin supplement or fortified in some of the prepared foods that you buy, check the label to be sure.
Just because you’ve decided to become a vegan doesn’t mean you have to give up the pleasures of the non-vegan foods you love. Vegans eat pizza — topped with meat substitutes and or non-dairy cheese. There are vegan versions of milk, ice cream, chocolate and even cheesecake! The fact is that there are numerous compassionate options to substitute for the ingredients you’ve grown up with. And although it’s true that you can’t always find these substitutes in every corner grocery store, demand for these products grows every year. Large supermarkets, specialty and natural foods stores are usually your best bet for finding the ingredients you need on hand to make going vegan a viable lifestyle choice.
Your First Grocery List
NAVS provides the following information to assist you in making your first grocery list as a vegan. Unless you have a household member who is not at vegan, start by giving away all the animal products and by-products in your fridge and cupboards. Don’t forget to read every label for ingredients such as whey, gelatin or other animal by products. Salad dressings and snack foods are other foods you’ll need to check carefully.
Now that you’ve made plenty of room on your shelves, it’s time to pick up:
- Milk, egg, butter, yogurt and cheese substitutes: Almond, rice, hemp, coconut, cashew and non-GMO soy milk are popular dairy alternatives. Earth Balance makes a tasty butter substitute that’s free from hydrogenated oils. Daiya, Miyoko’s Creamery and others make nondairy cheeses, and Ener-G Egg Replacer and Vegan Egg are common egg replacers. There are number of vegan yogurts made from soy, coconut and other vegan milks. Veganaise and Just Mayo are two brands of vegan mayonnaise on the market. You might use these ingredients regularly, so make sure to keep them stocked in your vegan pantry.
- Protein sources: Beans! Tofu! Tempeh! Greens! Wait — greens? Yes. You probably already know that soy-based tofu and tempeh are high in protein, but surprisingly calorie for calorie so are spinach and broccoli. Even a medium-sized baked potato contains four grams of protein! Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) and seitan are common alternatives too. Ready made meat substitutes from burgers, hot dogs to sandwich slices are available in most supermarkets. Not much of a cook? Try heat-and-serve meals from a favorite vegan brand such as Tofurky or Daiya. Amy’s also has a line of vegan frozen meals.
- All the produce you want: The best part of going vegan is reacquainting yourself with all your favorite fruits and vegetables. It’s also a great opportunity to buy that weird-looking fruit you’ve always wanted to try — or to figure out what to do with bok choy. Buy on sale, because when fruits and veggies cost less, they’re usually in season — and that means they’ll be more flavorful. Vegetables and fruits provide vitamins and minerals as well as health protective compounds such as phytochemicals and should be eaten daily in recommended amounts.
- Dessert: Vegans love dessert! It’s a common misconception that vegans can’t eat chocolate, but actually there are a lot of dairy-free options on the market. Just read the label before you buy. There are countless vegan-friendly recipes for fruit pies and tarts, cookies, brownies and cakes — even cheesecake and mousse. Also, there are an abundance of delicious pre-made treats including a number of brands of vegan ice creams.
Finding Healthy Recipes for Vegan Cooking
Thanks to the Internet, finding recipes for healthy vegan cooking has never been easier. There are many websites that have a variety of delicious recipes. Explore online to find ones that fit your taste preferences. NAVS is pleased to provide you with a wonderful collection of delicious vegan recipes from leading cookbook authors. Check out our recipe directory to find a recipe that will suit your taste buds!
New vegan cookbooks are being published almost weekly. Check your local library or bookstore. NAVS has a wide selection of cookbooks available at our Bookshop Plus webstore. You’ll not only find recipe books, but an array of other books to support your new vegan lifestyle.
Let’s face it — no one would go vegan if it meant eating yucky or flavorless food. Once you discover how tasty, filling, nutritious and colorful eating vegan is — and how much better you feel when you practice mindful dietary habits — you’ll never go back.
Join NAVS Today
When you become a member of the North American Vegetarian Society, you’ll receive a subscription to our bi-annual magazine, Vegetarian Voice. You’ll also have access to our exclusive member video site. Members also receive a 10% discount on NAVS merchandise and a discount off of Vegetarian Summerfest costs.
New members will receive our FREE 40 recipe card set featuring favorite recipes from seven popular cookbook authors. This collection (not available for purchase) includes entrées, salads, soups, side dishes, desserts and more. Join Now!
Welcome to a healthier, more compassionate you!