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Vegan recipes and information

Trust BBC Food for vegan recipes bursting with flavour plus information on vegan ingredients and substitutions and foods to watch out for.

Vegan recipes

Main course

Light meals & snacks

Brunch

Starters & nibbles

Side dishes

Desserts

Cakes and baking

Drinks and cocktails

Other

See all vegan recipes (1091)

Challenges for a vegan diet

A vegan excludes all products derived wholly or partly from animals. This means that a vegan will not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, dairy, eggs, shellfish or crustacea, or any slaughter by-products.

Anchovies: beware of anchovies in Worcestershire sauce and shrimp paste or fish sauce in Thai curry pastes.

Animal fats: sometimes found in biscuits and cakes, in the form of lard in pastry or suet in puddings and mincemeat. Animal fats can also be found in margarines, spreads and ice creams. Watch out for chips fried in animal fats.

Gelatine: used in sweets, (particularly chewy ones), nutritional supplements in capsule form and jellies.

Meat stocks: can turn up in soups, risottos and gravies.

Honey: This is another ingredient that non-vegans seem to forget is animal-derived. There are good substitutes, though, such as golden syrup. Or, for a completely different flavour sensation that won’t ruin your recipes, try maple syrup.

Alcohol and other drinks: most wines, many spirits and some beers are 'fined' (clarified) or filtered using animal products such as egg white or isinglass, which is derived from the swim bladder of a fish. Some drinks, such as Campari and some soft drinks, use cochineal (derived from a type of beetle) as a colouring agent. Read the labels carefully and choose drinks that state that they’re suitable for vegans. The good news is that there's a wider range of good-quality drinks than ever.

For more information have a look at the Vegan Society - drinks page

A number of ingredients can be used as egg replacements. Try cocoa butter, xantham gum, agar agar, arrowroot, locust bean gum, carob, vegetarian gelatine, vegan egg replacer, soya flour, banana, potato flour or chocolate.

For egg-free baking, egg 'replacers' are now available mainly from health food shops and some larger supermarkets. If you cannot locate any, make a homemade substitute by mixing 1 heaped tbsp of soya flour or cornstarch plus 2 tbsp water for each egg in your normal recipe. If a recipe calls for an egg to 'bind' the ingredients, try using 25g/1oz of mashed tofu instead.

Vegan ingredients and substitutions

Here's a quick summary of what you need to eat every day if you're a vegan, from the Vegan Society:

• 2-4 servings of vegetables, plus 2 to 3 servings of vegetables from the 'green leafy' sub-group

• 6- 10 servings of bread, pasta, rice and fortified cereals

• 2- 3 servings of beans, pulses and protein foods

• 1- 2 servings of nuts and seeds

• 2- 3 teaspoons of oils and fats

• 1- 2 servings of fruit, plus 1- 2 servings from the dried fruits sub-group

• 3 servings from the fortified non-dairy sub-group (such as soya milk)

• 8 glasses of water daily (more if very active)

In addition to this, adults should try to eat:

• Vitamin B12 - 2.4 micrograms daily

• Vitamin D - 5 micrograms daily

• Calcium - 600 milligrams daily

Getting enough protein may be a challenge in a vegan diet, so here's a quick run-down of foods that are high in protein:

• Nuts and seeds

• Peas, beans, lentils

• Soya products and mycoproteins

• Wheat protein (seitan)

• Wholegrains (rice and cereals)

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