Veganuary Food and Drink News – Did you go vegan (or at least attempt it) for Veganuary? Perhaps you are exploring the plant-based food world? (One that’s seen incredible growth in the last year or two) Well, I’ve been checking out some of the myriads of vegan products now on the market and here is a roundup of the better ones.
Breakfast cereals are often vegan anyway, but if you’re watching those carbs too, with new Grandma Crunch you can enjoy a delicious coconut, cinnamon, or cocoa breakfast for under 110 calories per serving. It’s keto, plant-based and high in protein, as well as gluten, wheat, dairy and preservative free…and will keep hunger at bay and help energy levels during the morning. Available online from GrandmaCrunch
Another excellent cereal is Eat Natural Gluten Free Toasted Muesli – there are two versions available – one with vine fruit and the other with buckwheat. They have yummy ingredients such as pumpkin and linseeds, almonds, coconut, and cinnamon. They’re widely available in most supermarkets at £3 a box. Eat Natural low sugar Granola is also very tasty and satisfying. (and I’ve been eating it dry as a snack) But, of course, as with all cereals, it will go perfectly with nut milks or ‘co-yo’ if you’re vegan.
Let’s face it, we’re in the coldest time of the year, so many of us like a hot breakfast. Porridge has for centuries been one of the breakfast stalwarts and The Great British Porridge Co. has just added an exciting new flavour to its range, Apple, and Cinnamon – the perfect winter warmer! Available throughout the winter this new Apple & Cinnamon may be just what you’re looking for, with its comforting mix of flavours. It contains real apple pieces, with the rest of the sweetness coming naturally from dates. Made from 100% natural ingredients, it’s vegan-friendly, high in fibre and contains no added sugar. Best of all, it can be ready in just 60 seconds – just add boiling water or your favourite milk.
And talking of milk, have you tried Rude Health’s drinks as an alternative? The new organic Roasted Almond & Oat Drink combines two of its best-selling dairy-free drinks: the creaminess of oats mixed with the delicious, nutty flavour of roasted almonds. It comprises organic oats, organic almonds, natural spring water and sea salt. That’s it. And it comes packaged in Rude Health’s 100% recyclable carton made from 88% renewable materials. RRP £2 a litre from Waitrose, Ocado or Amazon
Moving on from breakfast ideas, let’s look at cheese alternatives… Having tested quite a few recently, I’ve singled out some, that in my opinion, best pass muster. Violife has a wide range of very acceptable non-dairy cheeses. We particularly rated the Greek White, the Smoky Cheddar Flavour slices and the Creamy (which was a pretty good substitute for cream cheese). The Greek white was good for a Greek salad and the slices were good in a wrap or sandwich. Violife also produces alternatives to cream and butter (Vioblock). Available from most major supermarkets.
Still on cheese alternatives, Aldi sells a great value, own-label block of mature ‘cheddar’ alternative that’s pretty good and would probably even hold its own on a regular cheeseboard.
However, very few of the cheese alternatives melt like the real McCoy, but I’m pleased to report that IIchester® Vegan Melting Mature does the job very well indeed in a toasted sandwich! Ilchester also has a range of other cheese alternatives (as well as making some of my favourite real cheeses!)
When it comes to sauces and condiments, many of our much-loved ones are already, in fact, vegan. Sacla has added two delicious sauces to its vegan range of pestos and other products: Tartare and Horseradish. The horseradish one is delicious with beetroot in a salad, or to garnish a soup. It also makes for a rather daring dip for parsnip fries, but this is not for the faint-hearted! Sacla’ Vegan Tartare Sauce adds another level of flavour stirred through mashed sweet potatoes and is a welcome addition to courgette fritters, beer-battered mushrooms and a wonderful dip for chunky potato fries, root vegetable patties and crudités. £2.50 for 180g from major supermarkets
There are numerous ‘meat’ alternatives on the market – some much better than others. Squeaky Bean produces a range of sliced products made from pea protein that is great for sandwiches, salads, and recipe inclusion. In particular, I rated the Kick of Tikka and Sweet Smoky BBQ chicken style pieces. They really do taste like chicken, have a great texture and are suitable for all manner of recipes. The company also makes a wide selection of other products – sweet as well as savoury. Available from most major supermarkets.
Companies like Heinz are also now offering a vegan range, including soups, sauces and excellent vegan mayonnaise and salad cream, but don’t forget that one of the most iconic vegan dishes is, of course, original Heinz baked beans!
Nut Blend’s award-winning butters are a blend of just nuts and a pinch of natural spices – literally nothing else, with no added sugar, sweeteners, palm oil or salt. The range comprises Cacao, Cashew & Almond; Maca, Pecan & Almond; Coconut, Macadamia & Almond and Cinnamon, Hazelnut & Almond. Nut Blend varieties are available to buy online in 200g jars priced at £5.99 or a whopping 1kg jar at £23.99. If you fancy tasting them all before choosing your favourite, there is a taster pack priced at £22.00 which has all four varieties in 200g jars.
Looking for a vegan biscuit fix that isn’t Bourbons? Doughlicious’ range of ready-to-bake dough is a perfect choice. Choose from Cranberry Oatmeal, Vegan Double Chocolate or Peanut Butter. These are delicious and so very easy – just bake delicious cookies in 15 minutes (and pretend you made them from scratch!). Buy from the frozen section of Waitrose or www.doughlicious.co.uk RRP £3.99.
And if you’re a chocoholic, there are plenty of options for vegans. Seed & Bean, for example, has an excellent range as does Divine (including hot chocolate) and for those who only like milk chocolate, brands like Ombar and Happi Oat Milk Chocolate or Chocolate & Love and Montezuma’s all have great products. Something to consider as well if you’re planning a gift for a vegan!