Vegan Cooking Tips for Beginners: An Introductory Guide to Plant-Based Cooking

So, the time has come: you’ve decided to bring a little plant power into your kitchen! Perhaps you’re ready to take your first steps on your vegan journey, or perhaps you’re simply looking to replace one or two meals a week with vegan alternatives to ramp up your environmental efforts. Whatever your reason for giving plant-based cooking a go, we know it can feel challenging when you don’t know where to begin.

That’s why we’ve put together our own list of vegan cooking tips for beginners, with some of the key tricks we’ve pieced together over the years! It doesn’t matter if you’re the next Marco Pierre White or not — with our helpful vegan cooking tips and tricks, you’ll be whipping up a plant-based storm in no time.

Seven handy vegan cooking tips and tricks

Know which ingredients are off the table

Before you start cooking plant-based meals, it’ll help to know exactly which ingredients are off-limits! These are:

  • Meat (from all animals)
  • Fish (including all shellfish, such as prawns, oysters and lobster)
  • Dairy products (including milk, cheese, cream, chocolate and butter)
  • Milk derivatives (including whey, casein and lactose)
  • Eggs (from all animals)
  • All insect-derived ingredients (including honey, beeswax, carmine and shellac)
  • Gelatin
  • Vitamin D3.

Why not memorise or screenshot this list before you next go food shopping? Trust us, it’ll make buying and preparing vegan-friendly food much easier!

Experiment with new ingredients

One of the easiest yet most effective vegan cooking tips is simply to experiment as much as you can! Veganism certainly isn’t restrictive, and there are many flavoursome, nutritious and versatile ingredients that you’ll soon want to start incorporating into your daily diet.

Why not try adding bok choy into your next stir-fry, or making mock pulled pork using jackfruit? How about swapping your lunchtime chocolate bar fix for cacao pudding, or sweetening your oatmeal with coconut sugar? These are all ingredients that have been popularised by vegans, and which will help to bring even more oomph to your meals!

Find vegan alternatives to your favourite ingredients

By finding great plant-based alternatives to all your favourite ingredients, you’ll be able to cook up vegan treats as quickly, easily and conveniently as ever!

No, you don’t need to soak cashews for hours on end to make dairy-free cheese — unless you want to, of course! There are many great-tasting vegan alternatives for everything from cream cheese to chocolate-flavoured milk and chicken stock. Once you’ve found brands you love, vegan cooking will become much quicker and more enjoyable.

Of course, when it comes to finding vegan alternatives to non-vegan products, sourcing imitation meat you genuinely enjoy is key. Meatless meat, such as our Gorilla Food plant-based meat mix, makes whipping up mouth-watering meals in a flash easier than ever!

Start by veganizing your favourite dishes

While you’re still dipping your toes into the pool of plant-based cooking, why not keep it as simple as possible for yourself by veganizing a recipe you already know and love? Whether you’re the world’s biggest pasta fan or you couldn’t live without burgers, veganizing your favourite dishes is a quick and easy way to get a feel for the many vegan products on the market and how to prepare them.

With Gorilla Food, veganizing your favourite meals has never been so simple. Our beef and chicken-flavoured plant-based meat can be shaped and seasoned according to taste, and promises to take your veganized meals to the next level. From beef-style burgers topped with vegan cheese and guacamole, to plant-based chicken pad Thai with crushed peanuts and fresh lime, Gorilla Food meatless meat takes the hassle out of conquering your food cravings!

Don’t assume that every non-labelled ingredient is non-vegan

There’s a lot of misinformation and confusion about veganism, including the misconception that vegans can only eat lentils and lettuce leaves! In fact, many of the products you buy from the supermarket every week are likely to be vegan, from dried pasta to spice mixes and curry sauces. It’s always important to check the label for the telltale signs of animal ingredients, but you’ll be surprised at how many products are 100% vegan.

Of course, if a product isn’t labelled vegan, you’ll want to take extra care when checking the ingredients list. Often, ingredients like milk and eggs will be highlighted in bold, but this won’t always be the case for non-vegan products that aren’t common allergens, such as honey.

Get to know your vegan staple foods

As you scour vegan recipe books and scan influencers’ Instagram pages for plant-based cooking inspiration, you’ll soon start noticing words and ingredients you’ve likely never heard before. Sound familiar? These are the ingredients many vegans couldn’t live without, and which will soon become a kitchen staple for you, too!

Here are some common vegan staples and how they’re used:

  • Nutritional yeast: This de-activated yeast, known as ‘nooch’, brings a nutty and slightly cheesy flavour to recipes. It can be stirred into dishes while they’re cooking or sprinkled on top before serving.
  • Aquafaba: This is the gooey liquid you’ll find inside cans of cooked chickpeas, which can be used as an egg substitute when baking vegan cakes, meringues and cookies.
  • Liquid smoke: This sauce, which gives off a slightly smoky flavour, is popular amongst vegans when seasoning meatless meat, such as bacon.
  • Tofu and tempeh: These are both high-protein ingredients produced from soybeans, although tempeh tends to be firmer than tofu. They’re both delicious in salads, stir-fries, and curries.

As veganism becomes more and more popular, so do these items! Today, you’ll find these tasty ingredients in most supermarkets and health food shops.

Batch cook sauces, curries, soups and stews

One of the best things about vegan cooking is that you get the chance to try a truly diverse range of delicious vegetables. However, it’s true that eating up fresh veggies before they begin to rot can be challenging, especially when you have a fridge full of them! That’s why it’s a good idea to get used to batch cooking meals that can be frozen and defrosted in a matter of minutes.

Why not begin by batch preparing sauces, curries, soups and stews? These all freeze and reheat well, and it’s easy to pack them full of tasty ingredients, including Gorilla Food plant-based meat!

Gorilla Food: Making vegan cooking delicious, fun and sustainable

Want to know our ultimate vegan cooking tip? Grab yourself a packet (or two!) of our delectable plant-based meat mix, Gorilla Food!

Gorilla Food makes plant-based cooking more enjoyable than ever, and will keep your taste buds tantalised while you reduce your meat consumption and move closer to a compassionate, sustainable lifestyle. 

Gorilla Food

Making sustainable cooking fun and delicious.

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