More and more people are interested in adopting a vegan diet for health, ethical or environmental reasons. Vegan cooking can seem overwhelming at first, especially if you are used to eating meat and dairy products in your daily diet. However, it’s not as difficult as it seems. In this post, I’ll guide you through the first steps to start cooking delicious and nutritious vegan meals.
Do Your Research & Learn
The first step to cooking vegan meals is to do your research. Spend time researching recipes, ingredients, and cooking techniques. There are many online sources for information about vegan cooking, including blogs, websites and YouTube channels. Be sure to check out various resources and read recipe reviews before you start cooking. You can try cooking vegan versions of dishes you are already familiar with. For example you can try with this vegan meatloaf at this link: successrice.com/recipes/vegan-brown-rice-bbq-meatloaf/
Purchase Pantry Essentials
The pantry is an important place in the vegan kitchen. This is where you will store your basic ingredients to use in your recipes. Here is a list of some of the basic ingredients you should consider having in your pantry:
- Legumes: Beans, lentils, chickpeas.
- Whole grains: Brown rice, quinoa, bulgur, barley
- Fresh vegetables and fruits: Lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, onions, carrots, bell peppers, avocados, apples, bananas, oranges
- Spices and herbs: Cumin, curry, oregano, coriander, rosemary, thyme, ginger, garlic
- Oils: Olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, sunflower oil
- Sauces and seasonings: Soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, ketchup, mustard, tahini, nutritional yeast
- Non-dairy milk and yogurt: Almond milk, soy milk, coconut yogurt, soy yogurt
Practice Basic Vegan Cooking Techniques
Vegan cooking can seem overwhelming at first, especially if you are used to cooking with meat and dairy products. However, many basic cooking techniques can be easily adapted to vegan cooking. Here are some basic techniques you should consider practicing:
- Sautéing: This technique involves cooking ingredients in a hot pan with oil for a few minutes until tender and browned.
- Oven roasting: This technique involves cooking ingredients in the oven at a high temperature until tender and browned.
- Boiling: This technique refers to cooking ingredients in hot water until tender.
- Braising: This technique involves simmering ingredients in liquid until tender and flavorful.
- Baking: This technique involves cooking a mixture of ingredients in a gas or electric oven for a certain amount of time until it has achieved its cooking time and some additional browning.
Plan Your Meals
Planning your meals is key to maintaining a healthy and balanced vegan diet. Start by making a list of your favorite meals and snacks and find vegan versions of them. Make a shopping list of the ingredients you’ll need and prepare your meals in batches to save time.
Look For Simple Vegan Recipes
There are many simple and delicious vegan recipes available online and in cookbooks. Look for recipes that require only a few ingredients and are not too complicated to prepare. At first, it is best to start with simple recipes and then move on to more elaborate meals once you are familiar with the ingredients and cooking techniques.
Experiment With Spices & Seasonings
Spices and seasonings can transform a simple meal into a delicious meal. Make sure you have a variety of spices and seasonings in your pantry, such as cumin, paprika, turmeric, garlic powder, pepper and soy sauce. You can also experiment with different types of oils and vinegars to flavor your foods.
Prepare Your Own Staples
Preparing your own staples can save you money and help you avoid processed foods. For example, you can make your own almond milk, peanut butter, hummus and granola at home. Also, you can prepare your own plant-based proteins like tofu and seitan at home to give you more control over ingredients.
Experiment & Have Fun
Vegan cooking doesn’t have to be boring or monotonous. In fact, it can be an opportunity to experiment with new flavors, ingredients and cooking techniques. Don’t be afraid to try new recipes and blends of ingredients to create tasty and nutritious meals.
Plus, vegan cooking can be a fun activity to do with friends and family. Invite your friends over for a vegan dinner and prepare it together. Try different ingredients and share your favorite recipes.
Vegan cooking doesn’t have to be intimidating. With a little knowledge about vegan nutrition, basic pantry ingredients, cooking techniques and simple recipes, you can start enjoying delicious and healthy meals in no time. Plus, don’t forget to have fun and experiment with new ingredients and techniques to discover your own vegan cooking style.