The vegan diet isn’t really all that difficult but of course like all lifestyle changes, especially food-centric ones, it’s a learning curve. It’s great when you discover new tips and tricks along the way, and with the vegan diet, there are many. Learn to adapt with these simple ideas, substitutions, and suggestions to keep your food tasting it’s best, and your eating on point.

1. Bananas Make Ice Cream

Yep, you read that right. Bananas can make ice cream. The best part is – it’s made with overripened bananas, so you’re actually probably saving yourself from tossing the brown ones!

By slicing the bananas before freezing, you then simply blend up the banana chunks until smooth and add your flavorings. There are many options and recipes for different flavors of this “nice” cream, but we’re digging this mint chip.

2. Vinegar Makes Buttermilk

Ever come across a delicious pancake recipe only to be turned away by the need for buttermilk? Well, as it turns out, simply adding some vinegar to a non-dairy milk will create a buttermilk alternative that’s completely ok for vegans.

Don’t have vinegar in the house? Some claim that lemon or lime juice works just the same. Your ratio of either vinegar or lemon/lime juice is 1 tablespoon into a 1cup measuring cup, then add your non-dairy milk alternative until the cup is filled. Voila! Buttermilk!

3. Canned Coconut Milk Makes Whipped Cream

Thankfully, you can even buy this in a spray can in the store now, but for a cost-effective, and more natural option that will serve up more elegantly, try making this little hack.

For this to be successful, you’ll need a can of full-fat coconut milk. Then, simply refrigerate the coconut milk overnight and the next day, carefully scoop off the hardened layer at the top of the can, leaving the coconut watery bits at the bottom. Then grab your beaters, and whip it up until it forms into whipped cream. That’s it!

4. Avocados Can Substitute Butter

Baking up a vegan cake? Try using an avocado for your creamy fat in the recipe instead of a dairy-laden butter. No wonder they call avocados “nature’s butter”.

To do this, simply substitute half the amount of butter a recipe calls for in a baking recipe with a ripened and mashed avocado. This works best with cakes, muffins, bread, and cookies.

5. You Can Make Meringues With Chickpeas

Ok, so not the chickpeas themselves, but the liquid surrounding them in a can of chickpeas. Officially this thick watery substance is called “aquafaba” and it has some seriously cool things it can do.

Mainly? It can make a meringue! Since a common meringue is made with whipped egg whites, the use of aquafaba takes a favorite treat and makes it vegan. It can also be used to create a vegan royal icing (again as a substitute for egg whites).

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6. Heat Your Non-Dairy Milk Before Adding To Coffee

How many have tried non-dairy milk in a coffee only to have it curdle a few moments later? Even if it’s not harmful, it’s just unappetizing and can often have you dumping that much craved-for coffee.

The solution to this is to warm up your non-dairy beverage before adding it to your coffee to prevent the curdling.

7. Nutritional Yeast Will Make Your Food Cheesy

From soups to sauces, pasta and tofu scrambles, when you’re craving that cheesy taste, grab yourself some nutritional yeast.

These little flakes of goodness have some major nutritional rewards in them as well. They not only enhance the flavor of everything you put them in, but they pack protein and b12 which are essential on the vegan diet. For more great recipes with nutritional yeast, read more HERE.

8. Soda Replaces Egg In A Cake Mix

Find yourself a cake mix that’s “accidentally vegan” (meaning there’s no eggs, powdered milk, gelatin or unnatural food dyes) in you can do this food hack.

Simply add soda or soda water instead of eggs to the cake mix, then mix and bake as you normally would. The result is a light fluffy cake that actually holds up.

9. Raw Cashews Can Make Cheese

Raw cashews can actually make a lot of things for vegans. Cheese, sauces, sour creams. Keep raw cashews on hand and get ready to create with them.

There’s just one important step, you have to soak them in hot water first. Once soaked, they soften and when processed in a food processor or blender make a creamy sauce that is out of this world. If you’re ready to dive into making your own cheese, there are some amazing recipes from cream “cheese” to sliced “cheese” that you can try.

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10. Oats Can Make Dairy-Free Milk

Ever needed a non-dairy milk and need it fast? Grab some oats out of the cupboard and get making your own!

With just one cup of oats and a high-speed blender, you can make a creamy milk from oats that are completely nut-free as well. You can optionally add in some maple syrup and vanilla for a really enhanced flavor in this recipe.

11. Agar Agar Replaces Gelatin

The moment you discover what gelatin is actually made of (animal skin and bones) you’ll be saddened by the loss of your favorite things like gummies and marshmallows.

However, you can use a cool ingredient called Agar Agar which is derived from algae to create a plethora of recipes from gummy bears to sliceable vegan cheeses and even pannacotta!

12. Not All Vegan Foods Are Labeled “Vegan”

There are so many natural foods either storebought or on restaurant menus that are vegan by accident, or they’ve just never needed to be advertised as such.

Common restaurant foods include: Japanese sushi rolls such as bean curd, sweet potato, avocado & cucumber, Indian cuisines such as pakoras and chana masala, and Thai dishes such as yellow curry and fresh rolls are also almost always vegan. Not sure? Just ask! And when it comes to storebought items, everything from Oreos to Sour Patch Kids is “accidentally vegan” along with all of these foods HERE.

13. You Can Press Tofu Without A Press

This may seem common knowledge, but can you remember the first time you ever read “pressed tofu” on a recipe and wondered how the heck to do that?

Well, if that’s you right now there’s good news. You can press tofu simply and easily by wrapping the block of tofu in paper towels and placing a plate on top, stacked with heavier canned items. You can also use a towel and some books. Pressing tofu can make the difference between a bland bite of tofu and a delicious one. This picture perfectly depicts the difference in marinating a regular block of tofu and a pressed one.

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14. There Are Sneaky Non-Vegan Ingredients

I can remember the day I got excited when I read the ingredients of a mint chocolate treat and there was no eggs and no dairy in the ingredients. “Awesome, it’s vegan” I thought. Wrong. There was a sneaky ingredient that I had NO clue wasn’t vegan until it was pointed out to me. Since then, I’ve been learning the lingo and reading labels like a champ.

But as it turns out there are some sneaky ingredient names that aren’t vegan at all. Get to know your lingo and you’re on the path to success. Here are some common ones: Gelatin; made of animal skin and bones, Shellac, Confectioner’s Glaze & Food Dyes, all made from insects; made from bugs, Honey; from bees (not vegan), CaseinWhey; made from dairy, and a few more.

15. A Great Plan For Failure

We’ve all struggled at least once ending up with a group of friends eating somewhere that offers you no options but a side salad and french fries. Don’t panic, just plan.

While the world is adapting to the growth of those on a plant-based diet, not every menu is there yet. You can ask for some options, but if you’re stuck, just try and enjoy yourself and make sure you have a vegan protein bar in your purse at all times. I almost always have one in my car or in my purse for this exact scenario. It keeps your head in the game and removes the need for hangry frustrated outbursts in the name of food.

 

Sarah Nicole

Since successfully losing 100lbs by changing her relationship with food and her body, Sarah has taken her passion for food and balanced it between cucumbers and cupcakes. When she's not bustling her way around a kitchen, you can find her working out or winding down at home with her 3 kids and pug. Follow Sarah's journey on Instagram @TheBirdsPapaya.

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Recipes
Easy DIY Oat Milk