Making the decision to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet can be both exciting and overwhelming. Learning to eat and cook with vegan staples can feel similar to the process of learning a new language — initially intimidating and confusing, but as time goes on it begins to make sense.
For people who are looking to go vegan, or just incorporate more plant-based foods to their diet, finding simple substitutions for familiar foods can help ease the transition, but navigating the options can often be a task unto itself.
We've taken the guesswork out of the grocery shopping, and compiled a list of some of our favourite vegan substitutes to make your move to a meatless diet that much easier.
Whether you love it as dessert, a snack, or as part of a breakfast parfait, switching to a comparable non-dairy yogurt is not without its challenges (ie. odd textures and unappealing tastes).
We've tried many different brands and while we'd agree not all are created equal, one of our faves is YOSO's Premium Creamy Cultured Coconut: high in fibre, calcium, and gut-friendly prebiotics, we go gaga for both their chocolate and vanilla flavours.
Before we get started with the naysayers, let's establish the fact that vegan bacon doesn't taste exactly the same as traditional bacon. But, we've discovered several salty, smoky, crisp and crunchy alternatives that give our salads and sandwiches a flavourful boost, and from a cruelty-free perspective, that's great in our books.
A particular favourite among us plant lovers is Phoney Baloney's Coconut Bacon, which comes bacon-bit ready and is perfect for the aforementioned dishes, as well as baked potatoes, pizza, and even ice cream.
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For meals where strips of crispy, protein-rich goodness are required, we turn to Turtle Island Foods' Smoky Maple Bacon Flavoured Tempeh for a pan-fry-able, non-GMO meat alternative.
Pre-marinated (and packaged in a recycled and recyclable box), all that's required is to sizzle and serve, side of waffles optional!
Stocking the freezer with quality, plant-based food means we're much more likely to go meatless on any given day of the week. One of our latest obsessions for meal planning is Sol Cuisine's Sunflower Beet Burger — say buh bye to bland, frozen burgers with this nutrient-rich twist on a traditional taste thanks to sunflower and hemp seeds, beets, and the brand's Signature Superfoods Blend.
Cauliflower is finally having its day thanks to its many essential nutrients, and we can't get enough of its latest incarnation as a healthy snackfood, thanks in part to Vegan Rob's Probiotic Cauliflower Puffs.
Made with organic and non-GMO ingredients, as well as vegan probiotics to support a healthy gut, this seasoned veggie puff makes the list as one of our must-have "cheesy" treats.
Whether used for baking, cooking, or simply spreading on toast, we are particularly fond of Earth Balance's Organic Coconut Spread in lieu of conventional butter.
Its creamy texture and recognizable taste make it a simple switch, and its non-GMO ingredients and organic coconut oils are a healthier choice.
Raw cacao butter
While cacao butter and conventional butter do not have the same nutritional components, we find the consistency and taste of the organic cacao butter works well in this blended coffee recipe, and is a healthy fat to boost.
Choosing vegan options shouldn't mean giving up taste; to the contrary, one of the things we love most about plant-based food is how delicious they've become.
Mayonnaise, for example, is a staple in sauces and dips, or for adding a little zest to our sandwiches and wraps, so we recommend Earth Island's Organic Veganaise for a creamy, plant-based spread.
Dairy-free chocolate chips
We're loyal consumers of Enjoy Life's range of allergy-friendly products, and we've tested their vegan chocolate chips in just about every recipe possible, to rave reviews and tasty results.
Whether baking in cookies, grilling in pancakes, or training your children to behave (hey, we're not past a little sweet bribery), these teeny bites are our go-to anytime we need a non-dairy chocolate chip.
Nutritional yeast parmesan
Within the vegan community, nutritional yeast like this one from Bragg is considered a staple seasoning.
Rich in B vitamins including B12, the cheesy taste of this nutritional powerhouse makes it ideal for adding to "cheese" sauces, or sprinkling on popcorn, salads and pastas.
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