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Reducing your intake of meat is one way of protecting our environment and the welfare of livestock animals – but what if you wanted to take it one step further and reduce your intake of animal products too? We know the thought of cutting back on consuming animal products can be incredibly daunting which is why we have come up with our top 5 hacks for reducing your animal product intake!
1. Nutritional Yeast & Cheese Substitutes
Worried that reducing your intake of animal products means giving up cheese? Think again!
There are so many delicious cheese substitutes available to buy at supermarkets these days, but did you know you can fulfil your cheese cravings at home with a few simple ingredients?
Many homemade vegan cheeses use cashew as a base because it is creamy, crumbly and has a neutral flavour. With cashew you can achieve anything from a liquid cheese sauce, to a tangy or herbed soft cheese log – but there is one more key ingredient necessary to get that coveted cheesy flavour – nutritional yeast.
Rest assured nutritional yeast is nothing like the yeast you use to make bread – instead it is a flaky yellow powder that you can stir through pasta or add to soaked and blended cashews to create a convincing cheese substitute that is sure to satisfy that cheese craving!
You can find nutritional yeast at most health food shops and some supermarkets, and it definitely brings so many plant based dishes to the next level – we cannot recommend it enough!
The Minimalist Baker has a recipe for the most simple and incredibly tasty Garlic & Herb Cheese that is absolutely worth a try!
2. Egg substitutes
While eggs may seem like a difficult animal product to replicate, the truth is there is a readily available substitute for practically all your egg needs.
The wonderful Connoisseurus Veg has an fantastic guide to egg-less baking here, but what about replicating egg whites and whole egg?
“Aquafaba? What on earth is that?” I hear you say. You may be surprised to learn that the brine from canned chickpeas can be whipped much like egg white, and when combined with sugar will be stable enough to create meringues, royal icing, and chocolate mousse. To say aquafaba is a revelation to egg free cooking is an understatement! Aquafaba can also be added to baking without whipping as an amazing whole egg substitute, and blended with oil to create an egg-less mayonnaise!
If you would like to try your hand at some egg-less meringues you can find a recipe here at Loving It Vegan.
Well that’s all well and good but what about your scrambled egg breakfast? Luckily tofu has you covered! With the help of some amazing spices (and for extra flavour our new friend nutritional yeast) you can recreate this breakfast staple without using any eggs at all! Check out this incredibly hearty breakfast recipe from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken for a full run through on making delicious scrambled tofu!
3. Time Saving Cake Trick
Need a last minute cake for guests or a children’s birthday party but can’t use animal products? Fear not – packet mix cake just got even simpler.
Many boxes of cake mix are animal product free, and the dairy and eggs get added in later when the cake is being made – but you can skip all of that by simply adding a can of coke (if chocolate) or lemonade (if vanilla) to the premixed cake packet. You can even experiment with different flavours of soft drink and cake mix to come up with some exciting new flavours (choc orange, anyone?).
Yes – a moist, animal product free cake really is that cheap and easy!
4. Replicating meaty flavours
We know that some savoury dishes might not be quite the same without the richness of flavour that meat can add. However, there are cheap and easy ways to replicate this taste.
For a start, not all beef and chicken stocks actually contain beef and chicken. These powdered beef and chicken stocks are readily available at major supermarkets and can be added to lentil bolognaise or soup to really amp up the flavour.
Another great ingredient is liquid smoke, which is a great way to give sauces and stews a fantastic smoky taste. If you can’t find it, smoked paprika and soy sauce are great ways to replicate the smoky flavour you get from some meats.
5. Burger Hack
If you are ever in a pinch and you need an easy dinner option then it’s good to know that there is a tried and true formula for making veggie patties that can be made from whatever ingredients you have on hand. The basic components for a veggie patty are always the same – veggies, grains, texture, spices and base. It’s more than likely you have the ingredients to make delicious and filling burger patties with whatever you have in your fridge and pantry right now, which is an incredibly handy trick to have up your sleeve!
For the detailed formula check out The Cookful!
Header image: The Minamalist Baker; Meringues: Loving It Vegan; Burger: The Cookful
Rhiannon Cunningham is a Campaigner for Humane Society International and has been with the organisation since 2015. She is admitted to the Supreme Court of NSW as a solicitor and has a Masters in Environmental Law from The Australian National University. Currently, she is in her final year of a Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science, with a focus on conservation and sustainability. Her work with HSI is primarily focused on environmental policy, native wildlife protection, and animal welfare laws.