Being vegan can force you to get pretty inventive while cooking, and things don’t always go as planned. To save you from kitchen disasters, we’ve listed eleven of the best vegan cooking hacks. Get ready to learn clever tricks for making everything from vegan omelette and egg-free quiche, to dairy-free whipped cream and tofu chocolate mousse.
1. Use chickpea water to make meringues.
It might sound crazy, but the liquid that’s leftover from a can of chickpeas, also known as ‘aquafaba’, makes delicious, fluffy meringues – and they don’t taste like chickpeas. All you need to do is whisk the liquid along with sugar and cream of tartare, then bake.
Check out our recipe for the cute galaxy meringues shown above.
2. Make vegan cheese from almonds.
Shop-bought vegan cheese can be a little hit and miss, but you can’t go wrong with this homemade almond cheese. It’s simple to make (especially if you use ground almonds rather than soaking and blending your own) and you can alter the seasoning according to your taste – check out our favourite Basic Almond Cheese recipe for full details.
3. Blend courgettes to make a creamy sauce.
There’s a growing range of non-dairy creams available, but sometimes they aren’t as filling/nutritious/flavourful as you’d like. We got the idea of using courgette to make a creamy sauce from this Vegan Carbonara Recipe. All you need to do is roast or fry courgettes until soft, then blend with garlic, salt, pepper and a splash of non-dairy milk. Adding nutritional yeast, paprika or mustard can create a nice cheese flavour – don’t be afraid to experiment.
4. Make whipped cream using tinned coconut milk.
Leave a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight, scrape the thickened coconut cream from the top of the can, then use an electric beater to mix with icing sugar until peaks form. This whipped cream is ideal for desserts, or just to top a fancy hot chocolate. Get full details from Minimalist Baker.
5. Replace eggs in baking with flax/chia seeds.
Mix 1 tablespoon of flax/chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and allow to thicken, and you’ve got the perfect egg replacer for most recipes. You can buy flax/chia seeds in Holland and Barrett, some supermarkets and most health food shops. If you’re struggling to track them down, try one of the other substitutions above.
6. Bake using ‘accidentally vegan’ cake mixes.
Most cake mixes are suitable for vegans, and it’s easy to make a few changes to the ingredients you add. In the video above, we used a powdered egg replacer, but it’s also possible use a can of fizzy drink. Check out our list of vegan cake mixes sold in UK supermarkets for inspiration. As an added bonus, loads of icing and decorations are also vegan.
7. Use liquid smoke for a ‘meaty’ flavour.
Available on Amazon or in the World Foods aisle at Tesco, liquid smoke is a great way to add extra flavour to vegan dishes. Brush onto tofu before baking, mix into homemade bean burgers, or add while frying sliced mushrooms to make vegan bacon. A little goes a long way with this product, so don’t go too wild.
8. Blend silken tofu to make desserts.
Tofu doesn’t have much flavour, making it great for both sweet and savoury recipes. Blending silken tofu (which is much softer than regular tofu) with melted dark chocolate makes a delicious vegan chocolate mousse, and you can add other flavours as you wish. If you don’t believe us, check out this recipe from Jamie Oliver.
9. Make omelettes using chickpea flour.
If you don’t fancy splashing out on the Follow Your Heart Vegan Egg, you can make vegan omelettes cheaply and easily using chickpea flour. Mix chickpea flour with seasoning of your choice (turmeric creates a nice yellow colour), then add water and chopped vegetables. Fry in a hot pan until medium brown on both sides. We like this chickpea omelette recipe from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.
10. Blend frozen banana to make ice cream.
If you haven’t tried this trick, you’re missing out. Simply freeze a banana, then blend with whatever you’d like your ice cream to taste like. We recommend trying:
- Cocoa powder
- Frozen berries
- Vanilla essence
- Peanut butter
If your blender isn’t very strong, add a splash of dairy-free milk or allow your bananas to defrost a little before blending. Your ice cream won’t be quite as thick, but it will still be delicious.
11. Use silken tofu to make realistic vegan quiche.
This vegan quiche from Deerly Beloved Bakery tastes so realistic that we reckon it could easily fool non-vegans. Instead of egg, you’ll used mashed silken tofu to create the filling. The recipe can be used for large or individual quiches, and you can change the vegetables and seasoning according to your taste.
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