By Ghanim al-Sulaiti
In my previous columns, I’ve often spoken about switching different food products to vegan alternatives in a bid to improve health and quality of skin, while introducing more vitamins and minerals into your overall diet. Today in 2019 — declared as ‘The Year of the Vegan’ by major publications — the beauty of even ‘considering’ making the switch to Vegansim is that we have more substitute and alternative products than ever before. In fact, the vast supply of alternatives mean there’s virtually no excuse to eat animal products.
With the obvious alternatives to one side or a moment (mushroom burgers, or tofu instead of chicken) let’s take a closer look at the vegan alternatives that enable you to continue to eat your favourite dishes or desserts, this time in a plant-based, vegan way.
Canned coconut milk is nature’s substitute for cream. Chocolate mousse, ganache, and whipped cream can all be made vegan with this simple replacement. Similarly, pure dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and is a great milk chocolate replacement for non-dairy desserts.
In addition to this, avocados are incredibly versatile in their ability to act as a vegan alternative in several dishes. The nutrient-dense fruit can add a creamy body and boost of flavour to almost anything. Avocados can be added to favourites such as pesto sauce, and is great when whipped up as a spread.
Cashews, Almond, and Rice milk are the best alternatives to dairy milk. They are lower in fat and can be used interchangeably in any recipe, from chocolate milkshakes to creamy soups.
In the world of vegan baking, vinegar is a great egg replacement, especially for cakes. When combined with baking soda, vinegar acts as a binding agent and creates a moist texture — easily eliminating the ‘need’ for eggs.
The great thing about various Vegan alternatives is that traditional dishes are able to be transformed into healthier, vegan versions — and many a times they’re perceived as tastier than the original dish. At my 100% vegan restaurant in The Pearl (Doha, Qatar), we serve Shakshouka for breakfast — a signature Arab breakfast dish. However, our Shakshouka consists of chickpeas, cumin panisse, Sumac cream, Arabian Gomasio, Argula, Parsley and Cilantro. It’s light, fluffy and a modern, vegan twist on a traditional Arab family favourite.
Some parts of the world, specifically in Asia, are fast adopters of vegan alternatives. ‘Seitan’ in its natural form, this stuff is incredibly protein rich and low in carbohydrates and fats, making it a great high-protein substitute for meat. It’s similar to meat in its texture (and even taste) and due to the fact that seitan is pretty much entirely protein, it’s great to combine it with grains and vegetables that are rich in vitamins and minerals for a balanced, nutritional Vegan meal — all derived from alternatives.
* The author is an expert in vegan wellbeing and health. Instagram handle: @Ghanim92
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