Vegan world: an introduction


Last night I had a vegetarian friend over for dinner who was telling me how, eventually, she will become a vegan. While I was serving her a coconut gelato with raspberry sauce, I just realized I make a vegan dessert. We then started to discuss of how replacing certain foods as milk and eggs, which are not contemplated in a vegan diet, but they are however used in a lot of recipes.

While a vegetarian diet includes ingredients as milk, dairy and eggs, the vegan one excludes all foods of animal origin.

Mostly all World kitchens have intrinsically vegan dishes. Just think about the French ratatuille or to the Sicilian caponata. And what’s about a wonderful fresh tomato and basil pasta in summertime? Anyway, I could have not stopped asking myself: how to make a vegan panna cotta? And a vegan pudding? And again, vegan lasagne? And a vegan quiche?

Although I am not vegan, all these questions keep swirling in my head. And given that a) I have more and more friends asking me about vegan recipes and b) I love doing kitchen experiments, I thought about starting a series of posts where I will revise a few traditional recipes in vegan style. Already a few months ago, I published the recipe for a vegan mayo, but this time I would like to do things in a more systematic way.

Please, note that I won’t give any nutritional advise. If you are thinking about starting a vegan diet or you are already on that and you have doubts, please, seek some professional counselling, e.g. see a dietician or a nutritionist. Here, I will just stick to the physical-chemical aspects of food and to the development of new recipes.

But let’s get back on track: which foods need to be replaced?

Meat_how to replace it in traditional recipe as lasagne or tagliatelle with ragù sauce? It seems impossible, but there is an option ;)

Milk and dairy_the solution might look obvious and simple (soy milk!). Anyway, we will see also other alternatives and when to use them.

Eggs_It is one of the most difficulty food to substitute. Eggs act as both emulsifiers and jellying agents. However, we will see that even eggs can be replaced in traditional recipes.

Gelatine_it is not so recurrent into recipes as the other ingredients, but it becomes essential in the preparation of panna cotta, aspic and fruit jellies. Even in this case, there are alternatives, all vegan.

In the next posts, we will see each category with, bonus, an attached recipe :)