Vegetarian and vegan diets are becoming increasingly popular. However, many still struggle to find suitable alternatives to meat and other animal products when catering for a vegetarian or vegan diet. This article offers some hints, tips, and advice which will be useful to both vegetarians/ vegans and to anyone who needs to cater for them.
As vegetarian and vegan diets have grown more popular, manufacturers have released a growing number of meat substitutes. Quorn, for example, produce a range of products that includes chicken-style pieces (ideal for replacing chicken chunks in any recipe), mince (ideal as a minced meat substitute in meals such as bolognese or chili con carne), burgers, and many others. Many supermarkets also have own-brand alternatives.
Since many of these products contain egg, they aren't always suitable for vegans. However, there are vegan alternatives available from good health-food shops e.g. soya chunks and mince. A further substitute is tofu, which is suitable for vegans and goes well in most East-Asian dishes in place of chicken.
Pies, Quiches, Nut Loaves Etc.
If you aren’t planning to cook a meal from scratch, then there are many other options available. These include vegetarian pies, such as those from the Linda McCartney range, and vegan pies such as Clive’s Pies. It is also possible to buy a wide range of vegetarian quiches, scotch eggs, and nut loaves. Vegan options might be a little more difficult to find, but there are still options out there. Just check the ingredients listed on the packaging if you’re unsure.
A few vegetarians and vegans prefer not to eat substitute meat products at all. This can make catering more challenging, but there are some simple vegetable alternatives. Beans and pulses are the most common substitute as they are rich sources of protein. Try kidney beans or cannellini beans in place of minced meat in a chili, or lentils in a curry. Chickpeas, butter beans, soya beans, flageolet beans and most other kinds of beans are also suitable options. Mushrooms are another popular vegetable alternative.
If you’d really rather not have to cook at all, then there are a wide variety of ready meal options suitable for vegetarians. Many curries, pizzas, and pasta dishes are vegetarian, and some are also suitable for vegans. When looking for a ready meal that is suitable for vegans, curry is usually the best option, although simple pasta dishes that are made with tomato sauce are usually suitable too.
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