Let’s spin off from @kentkb 's awesome food thread and share specific tips, tricks, substitutions, warnings, etc. for people pursuing a more plant-based diet.
Being new to this stuff and a big fan of dairy, I have a lot of questions about the products out there and what people recommend.
One example: I like milk (cow’s milk up 'til now) in my coffee, but I also like how milk is so versatile and I can always find a way to use it up. Is there a similar plant-based milk, that will be good in coffee but also useful in other recipes so I can use it up if needed?
Oat milk is out family’s choice of milk analogue, and I really enjoy it in coffee and cereal, etc. The Aldi store brand is good enough, but Oatly is hashtag chefskiss.
Conversely, I have not yet found a plant milk that works for me in coffee/tea specifically, but many of them work great in shakes, cream soups, with cereal, etc. I definitely agree that Oatly is doing a good job!
I’ll have more to say in this thread, but right now I’m hosting a friend who is an extrovert who likes to be together 100% of the time!
For simple meals to take to work, I’m a huge fan of cooking lentils until they are cooked-but-firm, then mixing them with a bit of BBQ sauce, sauteed onions, bell peppers, jalapeños, and green chilies. I cook that mixture for about 30 minutes on 350.
Then for work-lunches I pour it over a grain of choice – rice, couscous, whatever. I can re-heat the stuff all week, and change it up a bit by topping with an avocado, or salsa, or some other flavor contrast.
Yum! That sounds delicious and pretty easy, too. Thanks!
I’m not really into meat substitutes, per se (at least, until our next cook out), but I am thinking I will miss the various qualities of cheese and other dairy. Like, your recipe makes me want to crumble some queso fresca over it, or drizzle it with some seasoned crema…
Ha, yeah, I was trying to keep in the spirit of “plant-based” but since this is your thread and you opened the door . . . the dish is great with a dollop of sour cream.
Much appreciated. I guess with my comment, I was more wondering about if there are substitutions for those dairy products. Like, I’ve never really cared about those “fake meat” burgers or chicken nuggets, but I wouldn’t mind exploring the world of “fake dairy.” I just don’t really know where to begin.There are so many products now.
I’ve seen vegan sour cream recipes, but I’ve never tried it.
I tried oat milk, and really wanted to like it, but couldn’t get past “this tastes like Play-doh.” Cashew milk is our go-to, but it’s pricey.
My wife is frequently asked to make vegan cakes (she is a well-known cake decorator) and does so, but the vegan sour cream, yogurt and butter products leave so much to be desired. I am of the opinion that vegetarian and vegan cuisine is much better standing on its own, rather than trying to “pretend” to be something it is not. Like most imitation anythings, it will suffer by comparison.
Oat milk isn’t for everyone, that’s for sure. As for cashew milk, I can’t recall even seeing it at a store, but it does sound awesome. Cashews are the foundations of the best vegan cheeses (imo), so the concept of milk from them makes so much sense!
A friend who is a former barista makes lattes with lavender-flavored oat milk. Best latte I’ve ever had in my life.
I’d have to try that. Floral with coffee is not something I would naturally combine, but hey…
Lavender and honey make for a divine combination in a latte, but we’re getting off topic.
Vegetarian since ‘83 and vegan for I don’t even know how long.
I don’t miss meat at all. I do a lot of stir fry so tofu FTW! Pad Thai, General Tso, whatever it’s all good with tofu. I don’t do the fake meat stuff much, but Pussycat loves the Aldi vegan chicken bites. We get the Beyond Meat stuff sometimes when it’s on sale but it’s really too expensive and processed.
I take my espresso black but Pussycat likes the oat milk for coffee. She also demands unsweetened vanilla almond milk for some reason. For cooking, baking and pouring on cereal I prefer soy milk. The store brands all suck though. So many additives and sweeteners! I order a case of either Pacific or WestSoy ingredients: soybeans and water.
Vegan dairy products have improved greatly but they still mostly suck. The butter is fine, but the cheeses are terrible. I think the problem is in trying to simulate finished, aged cheese instead of aging a vegan milk into cheese. I long for the day to have a traditional brie, or mozzarella or Irish cheddar, except from soy or cashew milk rather than cow milk. Instead we have this nasty orange fake “cheddar” crap.
Having made cheese (not vegan just regular) I’m not sure this would ever be possible without serious chemical manipulation. The casein is what agglutinates to make cheese, well, cheese. Nuts and grains lack the protein structure to do so. Now soy, in the form of firm tofu, can do the texture fairly well, but IMHO, lacks the depth of flavor. The only time I have heard of aging tofu was to make something called “stinky tofu,” and, well, I think I might pass on that.
My friend gets the cheese boxes from this place:
Have you ever tried them? She brought the “brie” to our get together last week. And while it wasn’t really much like brie, it was very good. I ate it on crackers with my salad.
So far what I’m sensing is that most of the store brands are kind of lacking, but there are good products out there if I’m willing to really look around and potentially order delivery.
I had some vegan tacos in Telluride that were delicious and came with a vegan “crema” drizzle, and now I’m wishing I’d asked how they made it.
I made tofu yakisoba last night for dinner. I put too much noodle in it, though. It needed a better ratio of vegetables to noodle. Something to work on for next time.
Start here, flavor to taste: How to Make Cashew Cream Recipe - Love and Lemons