The Ultimate Guide on How to Cook Vegan (March 2021)
Veganism can no longer be dismissed as a trend; since Veganuary launched in 2014, over 1,000,000 people from 192 countries have signed up to participate in going vegan for 1 month.
In fact, according to Google, interest in ‘veganism’ increased 7 fold between the years 2014 and 2019!
You may have also noticed the increase in vegan food products available to buy. So, if there are so many ready-made meals and plant-based alternatives available in 2021, is learning how to cook vegan really worth your time?
The answer is a solid YES.
Improve Your Health
Having access to plant-based convenience and takeaway food is amazing but to go vegan sustainably, we must maintain our health and well-being. Learning how to cook vegan food will help you take control of your nutrition.
Cooking vegan food at home will help you save money by preventing the need to eat out to experience tasty plant-based meals.
Impress Friends & Family
Improving your cooking skills will enable you to cook delicious vegan food (and maybe even inspire a few more people to go vegan in the process).
Learn the cooking skills needed to be able to experiment with recipes and develop your own unique vegan dishes. Who knows, you could even use them to start your own plant-based food business!
Learning how to cook vegan food is beneficial for more than simply personal gain. It’s a valuable skill that allows us to spread awareness of vegan food to a wider audience, showcase delicious plant-based meals, share healthy and ethical food with the world, and inspire others to go vegan.
Equipped with the knowledge of how to cook vegan, you’ll understand how to use your diet to change the world for you, the animals, and the planet...one delicious vegan meal at a time.
Unsure how to get started? That’s why we’ve created this Ultimate Guide on How to Cook Vegan!
Get full access to 500+ structured vegan cooking lessons in video format and learn from professional vegan chefs from around the world.
P.S. You can earn yourself some shiny certificates too!
Excellent! Click on a section below to get started:
1. Essential Cooking Equipment for Vegans
Before you begin learning how to cook vegan, you’re going to need to kit out your kitchen!
If you’re a keen home chef, it’s likely that you’ll already have everything you need to cook vegan food but there are a few kitchen essentials you might want to add to your inventory.
From the basic tools every vegan should own to next level vegan cooking gadgets, we’ve delved into the best kitchen tools vegans need to cook like a pro.
Vegan Kitchen Knives
Those vegetables aren’t going to chop themselves!
Before learning how to cook, one of the first things professional chefs learn at culinary school is the importance of a good set of knives.
There are 5 main knives that vegan cooks should own:
1. Utility knife
Shorter than a chef’s knife but longer than a paring knife, a utility knife is an all-purpose tool, useful for cutting vegan sandwiches, chopping fruits and vegetables, and slicing herbs.
2. Paring knife
This small, short-bladed knife allows vegan cooks to peel, mince, dice, slice, and cut smaller and more delicate ingredients.
Paring knives are great for when precision is required.
3. Bread knife
Bread knives feature a serrated blade, which is designed to cut through crispy crusts. These knives are moved in a backward and forward motion to slice through bread like a saw.
4. Vegan cheese knife
Once you learn how to make vegan cheese, this nifty knife will definitely come in handy.
Designed to cut through sticky, soft, dense, and hard cheeses, the cheese knife is a great vegan kitchen tool and looks fancy enough to go on your next plant-based cheeseboard!
5. Chef’s knife
Probably the most useful and versatile tool in any vegan’s kitchen, the chef’s knife is the biggest knife out of the 5.
You can find these in nearly all commercial kitchens and for good reason; chef’s knives are perfect for all manner of prep work, including chopping, mincing, and slicing. They’re also big enough to cut into larger and tougher vegetables, like butternut squash.
Kitchen knife maintenance
For the best performance when cooking delicious vegan meals, we recommend keeping your knife sharp at all times!
Pots and Pans
Did you know that not all pots and pans are healthy or sustainable?
Some cookware can leach toxins and contaminants into your food, such as nickel, cadmium, and other heavy metals. Many nonstick coatings can flake off and let off toxic fumes when you cook at high temperatures.
What’s more, many modern pan linings and plastic handles are not recyclable, so getting eco-friendly pots and pans for your kitchen is something vegans should consider.
If your cookware is due an upgrade, try equipping your vegan kitchen with pots and pans that use the following sustainable materials:
4. Stainless steel
The Best Cooking Gadgets for Vegans
You now know the basics, but what about the more advanced kitchen gadgets?
If you’re committed to learning how to cook vegan food, then you’ll want to kit your kitchen out with the latest in cooking technology.
From avocado cutters to spice grinders, food processors, and high-speed blenders, check out our must-have list of the best cooking gadgets for vegans in 2021.
Other Vegan Cooking Utensils/Kitchen Tools
Knives, pots and pans, and electrical cooking gadgets are all important vegan cooking equipment but what about all the unexciting stuff in between? For example, chopping boards, graters, zesters, etcetera etcetera.
These cooking utensils might not be as thrilling as a high-speed blender, but they’re still essential. Check out these 20 kitchen tools every vegan should own in order to cook amazing plant-based food.
2. Vegan Ingredients and Nutrition
I’ve equipped my kitchen with cooking tools and gadgets...now, what do vegans actually eat?
We’re glad you asked!
Non-vegans often think of a plant-based diet as restrictive but what you are about to discover is that it’s anything but. In fact, most vegans will tell you that, since making the transition, they have never eaten such diverse food.
Allow us to show you just how many vegan ingredients there are.
Oh, and go grab yourself a cup of tea or coffee and a bowl of your favorite vegan snacks because this is going to be an information-packed section 😉 ...
Plant-Based Nutrition (coming soon)
Sustainability, Nutrition, and Ethics: The Power of Vegan Ingredients
One of our favorite things about cooking vegan food from scratch is the power it gives us to choose what goes on our plates and in our bellies.
Not only does home cooking give you more control over the impact your vegan diet has on animal welfare and the environment, but it will also provide more awareness about the nutrient content of your meals.
By choosing your own vegan ingredients, you’ll gain a much better understanding of the impact your vegan food will have on your health and wellbeing.
To find out more about the carbon footprint of what you eat and drink, check out this Climate Change Food Calculator, based on the latest research from Oxford University
But if you’re new to cooking and you’re scratching your head over which vegetable to put in a stew and which one to blitz into a smoothie, then don’t panic - we’ve got your back!
From the best sources of plant-based protein to the difference between brown and red lentils, this section of our How to Cook Vegan Guide will reveal the best ingredients to include in your vegan diet, as well as information on what to do with them.
The Best Vegan Ingredients
Vegans cook so many amazing plant-based foods that it’s difficult to narrow them down to ‘the best' ingredients...but we’ll try!
1. The Best Source of Plant-Based Protein
From tempeh to seitan, lentils, tofu, and peas, there are plenty of vegan sources of protein.
But do they all contain significant amounts of all the essential amino acids, which ones are the easiest to digest, and are some tastier than others?
We answer all of these questions and more in our article: Tempeh, Tofu, Seitan...What's the Best Source of Protein?
2. The Best Vegetables to Eat on a Vegan Diet
Did you know that there are 300,000 edible plant species?
Of course, you won’t see all of these species lining the grocery store shelves, but walk down the vegetable aisle and you will probably still feel overwhelmed by the range of products on offer.
Want to know which varieties you should eat on a vegan diet and how to cook them into delicious plant-based dishes?
Read our article on Why You Should Be Buying Seasonal Vegetables (and what to do with them) to find out more.
3. The Best Fruit to Eat on a Vegan Diet
An apple a day keeps the doctor away but do you know why? Not only do they contain lots of pectin (prebiotic fiber that’s good for the gut), but they also provide plenty of vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin K.
And apples aren’t the only nutrient powerhouses in the fruit world. Click here to learn more about which fruits contain the most nutrients and how to include them in your vegan diet.
4. The Best Vegan Seasonings
Kala namak. Nooch. Sounds like a new language, right?
Well, they’re actually vegan seasonings - and super tasty ones at that! A vegan’s kitchen would not be complete without a well-stocked spice, herb, and seasoning rack, so make sure you check out our article on the Essential Vegan Seasonings Everyone Should Own.
5. The Best Vegan Substitutions/Alternatives
If you come across a recipe that calls for eggs but you really want to veganize it, you’ll be surprised at how easy it can be!
From aquafaba (garbanzo/chickpea water) to flaxseeds, mashed bananas, and silken tofu, there are loads of vegan egg alternatives.
And it doesn’t end with eggs, check out these 10 vegan substitutes for all sorts of ingredients!
How to Stock a Vegan Pantry
If you’d like a more general overview of the types of ingredients vegans can cook with, then we recommend reading our article on How to Stock a Vegan Pantry With Delicious Staples (no, we don’t mean the metal office supplies!) - we’ve even provided a FREE shopping list that you can download and printout the next time you go to a grocery store.
Ingredients to Avoid on a Vegan Diet
One of the first things you’ll learn while learning how to cook vegan is that there are some ingredients that can be deceptive. For example, did you know that ‘natural flavorings’ can sometimes include castoreum, which comes from the secretions of beavers’ anal scent glands?
Mistakes will very much be a part of your vegan journey and we all have to learn somehow. But you can get yourself off to a good start by reading up about these 37 ingredients to avoid as a vegan.