Wellness Blog

Finding Tasty in Vegan

Posted by Ian D. Ravensdale

March 31, 2017 at 10:55 AM

There’s a widespread misconception out there that eating vegan means resigning yourself to a whole lot of tastelessness.That’s likely paired with visualizations and texture associations of eating nothing but kale leaves

Fact is, eating vegan is much like any other lifestyle-redefining choice you make – that is, that it will be what you make it, and with that understood there’s an extensive of array of paths you can go down when preparing tasty vegan foods and collecting vegan food cooking tips.

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We’ll get into a few specific recipes here shortly, but let’s talk first about the principles behind delicious vegan food recipes for beginners. The first of them is that many vegan dishes that are classified as ’tasty’ are, in fact, no more tasty per se than ones that are judged to be ‘bland.’ The plant-based nature of the meal’s constituency is likely much the same, but the ones that you’re bound to deem tastier are:

  • Seasoned more selectively, and
  • Prepared with a vegan ‘filler’ ingredient

 

 

Seasoning

The first one there is fairly self-explanatory. The right dressing (and yes, choosing vegan places limitations on these as well) or a sprinkling of spices can go a long way to making vegan food more tasty.

Herbs and spices can add vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and protein to your dishes, and as such they’re even more highly recommended. Try to obtain a wide variety of spices for more interesting flavour combos and nutrition benefits. Be open to experimentation and incorporate, say, cardamom, cloves, or paprika. A good rule of thumb is to start with sparse seasoning, taste, and add more as need be.

Here’s a tip to incorporate herbs and spices to make vegan food more delicious but still keep with the main taste of the dish and not alter it too much:

  • Infuse them into a dish with fat (whole food fats like nuts, seeds, and avocados are best)
  • Use them in a thick puree of beans or starchy vegetables like squash
  • Choose whole spices (cumin seeds, cinnamon stick etc.) for adding to cooking bases (liquids) for soups or the water used for boiling grains or beans
  • Try dry toasting your spices before using them, and that goes for both whole or ground spices

Here’s a pair of recommendations for good seasoning combinations for vegan food:

  • Salty Asian seasonings like tamari (soy sauce), toasted sesame oil and ginger added to broccoli, mushrooms, and dark green leafy vegetables like kale or bok choy
  • Dill, onion powder, and nutritional yeast mixed as a dressing with fresh garlic for topping brown rice and / or steamed veggies.

Fillers

As regards the second point there, there’s an inherent predisposition for us to associate foods that are more filling with being tastier. Yes, the taste buds and stomach are two entirely different parts of the bodies, but they both answer to the samebrain and central nervous system. And those ‘overseers’ are going to come to the conclusion that a dish was tastier (although not necessarily tasty) if it’s left you feeling satiated.

Two of the most common vegan meal filler ingredients are rice (brown, always – white rice is just so much less nutritious in comparison), couscous, or quinoa. Tofu, tempeh, and seitan are good choices too. Mashed potatoes can be an option as well, but potatoes are very carb heavy and won’t be in line with the approach of those of who are trying to eat healthy AND light. Rice in anything more than a smaller serving can be a suspect here too though.

Another secret for improving the taste of vegan food is to get more of this filling quality we’re talking about by choosing recipes with chewy foods, or incorporating chewy foods into existing recipes. Good examples are firm tofu (seared is particularly tasty!) grilled mushrooms, and any type of nuts. By needing to chew more extensively, you actually convince your brain you’ve eaten more.

Like Meat?

Alright, this is for any of who are eating clean and without meat, but really miss the taste experience of eating like a carnivore. Apparently the question of how to make vegan food tastes like meat is a common one. Adding any of these three seasonings is a great place to start:

Another very effective way of making your vegan dish taste like meat is to make your own ‘vegan’ chicken or beef broth. Wait a moment, you say – how can a chicken or beef broth be vegan? Well, the answer to that is that it’s not exactly a chicken or beef broth, rather it’s a vegetable broth that’s flavoured.

The majority of poultry and beef seasonings DON’T contain any actual chicken or beef material or byproduct. Yep, they’re categorically vegan despite their names.

So here’s what you do. Find a brand of organic vegetable broth you like and tastes good, and then add whatever you deem to be the right amount of poultry or beef seasoning to it. Voila, vegan-friendly chicken or beef broth.

Recipes

Here’s a number of vegan recipes that are the very definition of tasty, and we’re sure you’ll love

Chickpea, Potato, and Spinach Jalfrezi with Cilantro Chutney

Vegan Frito Pie

Vegan Dim Sum Buns (have to get some Asian flavours in here!)

Braised Seitan Short Ribs in Spicy Chile Sauce

And last but not least, a very tasty vegan dessert that should disprove once and for all that vegan food isn’t tasty enough.

Hopefully this is helpful for those of you who don’t need to be convinced of the way eating vegan is supremely healthy for your body, but have been struggling to resolve the ‘taste’ quandary for some time. You can eat clean and have your taste buds be in approval, you’ve just go to apply yourself a little more.

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Topics: Nutrition, Body, Recipes

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