Since we have started coving the Meatless Monday program on Mobile Cuisine Magazine, we have received numerous messages from our readers asking for more information on veganism for those who have decided that one meatless day a week wasn’t enough for them. Today’s article will assist individuals on how to convert menu items into selections any vegan would feel comfortable purchasing from their food truck or cart.
If you are a mobile food vendor who is wondering if it is possible to “veganize” some of your existing recipe, the answer is clearly YES. Your menu items and even recipe books with meat and fish recipes can be easily converted to a vegan recipe with some imagination and some know-how. Here are some ways to help you to achieve this.
Look through your menu recipes and choose a recipe that is popular.
Check off all the items in the ingredients list that are not vegan, for example, meat or fish, dairy, gelatin etc.
Start substituting the ingredients. For example, you can substitute most items as follows:
- Cheese – vegan cheese (soy or rice based)
- Beef – veggie mock beef strips (usually seitan-based)
- Chicken – veggie mock chicken (usually gluten-based)
- Pork/bacon – veggie mock pork/bacon (usually soy-based)
- Sausages – there are many mock sausage versions on the market
- Sliced sandwich meat – a variety of mock veggie sandwich meats exist
- Butter – substitute oils or vegan margarine. For baking, solid coconut fat is a great choice and it is good for you in small quantities owing to its vitamin E content.
- Ice cream – try soy or rice substitutes
- Milk – try soy, rice, nut or oat substitutes. Water or juice will often substitute in baking.
- Eggs – there are many egg-substitutes on the market. Other ideas include pectin (for example, use pureed apple in cakes).
- Honey – try agave nectar or brown rice syrup.
- Gelatin – agar agar and pectin are good choices; sometimes banana or apple can substitute.
Try other alternatives if you detest meat substitutes. For some vegans, anything resembling meat is off-putting and undesirable. There are still choices! Try chunky cuts of vegetables in stews and stir-frys, try tofu or seitan for substance and texture.
Experiment. It will take a while to get the ingredients right and also the measurements. It is a good idea to try and start out with keeping the measurements in the recipe as close as possible but you will find that you need to make adjustments with practice over time. Some of the hardest things to convert are in the area of baking, so it is very prudent to borrow some books on vegan baking to give you a good idea.
Read up. Use the internet, the library and your local bookstore to browse through vegan cookbooks and recipes. Get as many ideas as you can and start trusting your own instincts for what textures, flavors and substitutes work well together. It takes some patience and some experimentation but within a few months you should be starting to cook confidently with substitutes and remembering without having to check what can be quickly substituted for your non-vegan recipes.
We hope this article will help those of you wishing to “veganize” your menu, or at least a portion of your menu. If you have any additional tips, please feel free to add them in the comments section below.
Mobile Cuisine Magazine looks forward to continued coverage of Meatless Monday for our readers!