According to a recent Dalhousie University survey ( 2020 ), there are currently nearly 600,000 vegans in Canada. Only between the months of February and July of the year 2020, the rate of adherence to a vegan diet has increased by 0.7%. More and more Canadians are adopting a vegan diet for various reasons, such as animal welfare, reducing their carbon footprint or their health. Switching from a Western diet, very focused on animal products, to an all-plant diet can be quite intimidating, at least at first. Learning about the basic ingredients to have in your kitchen not only facilitates the transition to a plant-based diet, but also allows you to discover new culinary horizons!
Ahhh the tofu. This white block made from soya beans sometimes has a bad reputation, especially because of its neutral taste and texture. The quality of its defect is precisely its versatility which allows it to complement any spice / sauce / marinade / cooking method, in order to give it the flavor you want. Whether it is sautéed in a pad thai, baked in the marinade of our choice, grilled Greek style on the barbecue, simmered in chili, mixed in a soup to thicken it, fried in a general tao, incorporated in a fauxmage cakeor in a chocolate mousse… The possibilities are endless! With a little research on the Internet or by leafing through our new vegan cookbook, we can find a new way to prepare it every day. Plus, it’s a great source of protein, calcium, iron, and dietary fiber, while being low in cholesterol and saturated fat.
Still little known in Quebec, seitan finds its origins in Buddhist and Asian culinary traditions. This wheat gluten-based food is very interesting for those who are not very fond of tofu, tempeh or who are allergic to soy. Its texture is more “meaty” and its umami taste. Seitan is sold today in most grocery stores and supermarkets, in the form of sausages and toast. These products are already prepared and come in several seasonings. Mexican style, kebab / shawarma style, pepperoni, forestière, pesto, German, Italian, Spanish, Montreal style… There is something for everyone. You can also make your own homemade seitan with all-purpose flour (following the Tik Tok viral method)or with gluten flour. Obviously, this food is not recommended for people suffering from celiac disease or being allergic to wheat. Seitan is very rich in protein and iron.
Tempeh is the fermented cousin of tofu. Very popular in Indonesia, where it was invented, tempeh tastes more assertive than tofu. With a flavor reminiscent of hazelnuts or mushrooms, it is the ideal food for those who have explored all avenues of tofu and want to discover a unique and different flavor. It can be cooked the same way as tofu and can be purchased pre-prepared and seasoned in grocery stores, for example in the form of burgers, blocks or slices of bacon. It is particularly appreciated in the form of satay skewers with a creamy peanut sauce! Like tofu, tempeh is an excellent source of protein, but it is also rich in vitamins and minerals thanks to the fermentation process it has undergone.
Plant-based milks and yogurts
Plant-based milks and yogurts have never been so popular. Anyone can find their favorite kind of plant milk, whether it’s vanilla flavored, sweet, unsweetened, chocolate or plain. You can choose between oat milk (my favorite), soy, almonds, cashews, coconut, peas, flax, rice, hemp, hazelnuts and even chickpeas. . We only have to use vegetable milks in the same way as cow’s milk in our recipes, our smoothies, our milkshakes, in the coffee, to soak cookies or just for a drink at the end of the evening. As for plant-based yogurts, the offer is becoming more and more diversified with yogurts made from oats, soy or coconut. Plain, they are perfect for creating a sauce base, making marinades, thickening soups or to enjoy as is. They are also available in small snack size containers with fruity flavors. You can make your own vegetable milk using a blender and a filter bag. On the other hand, vegetable milks sold in the grocery store often have the advantage of being enriched with vitamins and minerals, in particular vitamin B12, vitamin D and calcium.