Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Beginners Guide to Eating Vegan

When I started out on my Vego/Vegan journey I made some horrible dishes, I still make horrible things from time to time due to experimenting but a lot less frequently now and you know what I actually make things I really love eating :) 

I'm still finding my feet but this guide is for those who are complete newbies and wouldn’t have a clue where to start – that was me a few months ago!

I've also learned along this journey that there’s a lot of smart vegan bloggers out there so if you're ever missing a certain type of food, a google will probably come up with something amazing :) For now though I'm going to write the main things I miss and what I did to overcome them :) 

The Beginners Guide for Eating Vegan

Can't live with out cheese? Neither could I until I found Nutritional yeast, I first bough it online (it comes in flakes) and then I found that my local food store stocks it (I live in a small town too!). The cost is about equivalent to a block of cheese, it unfortunately doesn't have the same texture but has a lovely taste and I obsessively sprinkle it onto nearly everything! (I call it my MSG). There's also non-dairy cheese available.  At the moment I'm loving Bio Cheese, whose main ingredient is coconut oil.  It looks like a regular block of cheese and even though the taste isn't 100% it's pretty damn close and it melts - woohoo!

Need that awesome salty cheese like feta? I found that substituting olives usually does the trick. I have a fridge full of delicious pickled/marinated things :)

Missing Bacon? Semi dried tomatoes or liquid smoke have been filling that bacon void for myself. I won't lie they're not the same but I haven't missed bacon as much as I probably thought I would.

Craving that heartiness of meat? I've been loving those Portobello mushrooms of late, they're great at absorbing flavour! I'm also on a roast veggie stint too, especially roast pumpkin – so creamy and hearty. There's heaps of fake meats too, haven't completely explored that World but Ben and I get our vegie hotdog fix once in a while, we also visited a Chinese restaurant with fake meat and apart from the shape and slight texture I honestly couldn't tell the difference - you can see my "chicken" dish above!

What do I put on my bread now I can't have butter? AVOCADOS! I've also recently got into making my own butter bean spread (I pop in some balsamic vinegar too) and thickly spreading that onto fresh bought bread – soooo good! In Australia we also have stuff like Nuttelex, a nut based margarine which is also good substitute, especially for baking.

BUT I LOVE MY COW'S MILK! Milk subs are easy, supermarkets should stock a whole range of alternatives or you can even make your own milks by grinding up your source (like almonds) and simply adding water :)

But I can't have chocolate :( but you can! Most chocolate over 70% will just be made up of soy milk and cocoa butter – which isn’t butter, which I mistook when I first started this journey *face palm*

Accidentally vegan – This list is by PETA and is a list of items you can buy at the supermarket that ARE vegan but aren’t advertised as vegan, I was linked to the Aussie one but I'm sure there would be other versions too :) The aussie list is around 5 pages long and I get a bit overwhelmed looking atAlso on my journey I found this website, the Vegan Mentor Program, since I'm now almost over the finish line I think it's a resource better put to use by others. Had I known about this from the outset though I totally would of signed up!

Okay, now the fun bit!


Below is a list of my favourite recipes at the moment but it may come down to you having to do your own googling to find recipes that are more in line with your tastes and craving :) Just don't get discouraged if you make something and you hate it, keep going! 

I grew up eating, meat, noodles and gravy (wasn't so fussed on the meat part but loved loved love the noodles and gravy) and the other day I found this recipe above the, Creamy Butternut Squash linguine totally fulfilling my gravy missing! (you do need a blender but you only need a simple one because the ingredients to blend are soft and liquidy! Also I know butternut squash as butternut pumpkin (here in Australia) just to avoid confusion. Recipe edits: I never have fresh sage on hand so I get away with using the dried variety and I also add 1/8 teaspoon of liquid smoke and a good shake of nutritional yeast when I blend it all up - super yum! I also add a bunch of silver beat to the mix as well :)

  The funny thing is I've been making this risotto long before I went off dairy and meat. So it's been meat eater approved, it does take a while to cook (damn you risotto stirring!) but it's one of my favourite things to cook because Ben volunteers to stir (he says it's therapeutic :P) and we (well probably more so me) get to drink wine in the kitchen!

These Black Bean and Butternut Burritos are one of my staples, I probably make them once a week and great for when people (who aren't vegan) visit for dinner :) Just recently I've been making them with mushrooms instead, I bought the burrito seasoning from the shops and fried the mushrooms up in a pan with onion, garlic, the seasoning and some drops of liquid smoke and hey presto - a mouth watering feast! Oh and I add spread some wasabi to give my burritos a bit of a kick!


I first learned this recipe off my friend Shane when we lived together, back then it was all about the chicken but just the other day I whipped it out to see if I could veganise it (or just remove the chicken and sub the fish sauce). It was so so yummy. Would you guys be interested in me blogging the actual recipe? Unfortunately it comes without a handy link as this one is old school recipe card style!

I used to make delicious chicken sushi with avo and cucumber. I cut out the chicken and my sushi suddenly tasted horrible. It wasn't until I found this recipe, Sesame Shiitake Sushi that I got excited about sushi again. Her instructions are so easy and the result amazing, so much flavour. I will say, the first time I made them adding the salt to the sushi rice water was too overpowering. The next time I didn't and they were perfect! I also didn't have shiitake mushrooms on hand so just used plain old regular

 Did I mention I'm a carb girl :P We have sandwiches quite often at our place, it's been fun experimenting with different toppings, at the moment I'm loving, avo, artichokes, red onion, capers and black pepper and it makes for an easy lunch or dinner when you're short on time.

I also love experimenting, so after a burrito night I use the left over ingredients blended up with some pumpernickel bread, tomato paste and seasonings and hey presto - sausage roll filling! I've had a few people (meat eaters included) remark that my sausage rolls taste pretty close to the original thing! As another bonus yay, most puff pastry is vegan friendly - just need to read the label.

The lucky last dish for today is something I make a lot, probably once a week (I'm a pasta lover). It's really simple, I roast whatever vegies I have on hand, cook some pasta and make sure I throw in some spinach and olives and avo + sprinkle on top loads of nutritional yeast!

I realise these recipes are super carb friendly fitting in with my indulgent taste buds but there is so much else out there to explore and experiment with. It probably does help, to own a blender and have some interest in cooking but it's not the end all if you don't either. Ben was one of those boys who could only "cook" steak. Now he's pretty much a bread eater, fee food stealer, eater-outerer and not super phased by the seemingly drastic change. Actually he has gone a step further than me and has cut his plastic buying down by 99% which in turn has encouraged me to be more mindful - I'm always amazed at the domino effect. You also don't have to rule out takeaway junk either, I still eat pizza I just ask for no cheese and when I get home put that Nutritional yeast on top (yup I'm addicted!)

I'll leave you guys with my Vegan Pin Boards for some final inspiration!

Also if you have some tips yourself you want to share, I'd love to hear them :)

My own journey: Quitting Dairy, Quitting Meat and Ethics


  1. I LOVE this!!! Thank you so much for sharing — so useful!

    1. Aww thanks Shoko - even though it's beginner and targeted to what I like I thought it might provide some basic ideas :)

  2. Yummo sounds and looks great! Will have to try out a few of these :)

    1. All are super yum! (in my humble opinion!) he he he he

  3. Nutritional yeast is so my jam. As are avocados & sweet potatoes. And chickpea flour! As long I have those at home I can be happy and well fed for ages.

    1. I think once you get your staples your set :) Back when I was eating everything I realised I also had my staples and wasn't really a huge adventurous eater, now I've just had to change those staples up!

      Just about to eat dinner and it's covered in nutritional yeast :P

  4. Great, I love it! Enjoy the week honey!

    Check my last post here!

    Follow each other? Let me know and I'll do the same:
    My blog | Bloglovin


  5. this is so great fee!!

  6. All these savory dishes are making me huuuungry!!
    I don't think I ever had a sushi chicken in my entire
    life before, thanks for the recipe links!


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