10 Ingredients All Vegans Should Know About

Plus delicious recipes to make with them. Vegan chefs rock!

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1. Nutritional Yeast Flakes

Usually sold in the bulk section of grocery stores these deactivated yeast flakes are a great way too create a cheesy flavor in dishes, without actually using any dairy.

2. TVP (Texturized Vegetable Protein)

Made from defatted soy flour, TVP is easy to cook, and has a protein content equal to that of meat. It doesn't have much of it's own flavor though, so you'll need plenty of seasoning in whatever dish your make with TVP.

3. Canned Coconut Cream

Not coconut milk, or boxed coconut milk beverages. In order to create a vegan whipped topping you need to start with a can that says "coconut cream" on it. The only store I can ever find coconut cream at is Trader Joe's. It's usually around a dollar or two per can.

4. Soaked Cashews

By soaking cashews in water (or another liquid), then pureeing them in a powerful blender you can create a non dairy cream that is great for frostings, faux cheese cake filling, and a ton of other sweet and savory dishes.

5. Flax Seed

Need a vegan egg replacer? Combine freshly ground flaxseeds with warm water and let sit for 10 minutes. It will become a sticky, thick, egg like mixture that will work well as a leavening egg replacer in baked goods.

6. Liquid Smoke

Liquid smoke is produced smoke from wood chips and liquid. It's a great way to add a mesquite like, bacony almost flavor instantly to pretty much anything. Great in chills, BBQ sauce, or any homemade meat substitution.

7. Dates

When pureed, dates form a super sticky paste that acts as a great binder in a ton of dishes. They also add a natural sweetness, and are great to use in baked desserts like brownies and cakes. Looking for an easy no bake pie crust? Just pulse dates and walnuts in a good processor, then press the mixture into a pie tin.

Recipe: Chocolate Cupcakes With Salted Caramel Frosting

To make vegan salted carmel, combine 10 pitted dates, coconut milk, vanilla, and salt in a food processor. You can use the carmel in this cupcake and frosting recipe, or eat it directly on top of a scoop or two of coconut ice cream.

8. Vital Wheat Gluten

Vital wheat gluten is a natural protein found in wheat. It is used by commercial bakers to improve the texture of breads, and by vegans worldwide to make homemade seitan, a delicious vegan meat substitute.

9. Agar Agar Powder

Agar agar is a flavorless, vegan gelling agent made from pressed seaweed. It can be used to create all kinds of candies, baked goods, creams, jellies, etc. It can also be combined with water and whipped to create an egg white replacer.

Recipe: Mozzarella Caprese Skewers

Use coconut milk, agar powder, potato starch, tapioca starch (or flour), xantham gum, oil, and vinegar to create a vegan mozzarella replacement. Serve with cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and balsamic. Recipe here.

10. Coconut Oil

Because it solidifies when cooled, and melts when warmed, coconut oil is a great vegan replacement for butter when baking. Plus, it's crazy good for you. According to Dr. Oz, coconut oil helps our bodies mount resistance to both viruses and bacteria that can cause illness. It can also help us fight off yeast, fungus, and candida.

Recipe: Soft Pretzel Challahs

These vegan pretzel challahs are made from coconut oil, a combination of all purpose, whole wheat, and rice flours, as well as a couple of other baking ingredients (yeast, sugar, salt). You could also use the dough recipe and shape it into six traditional pretzels.

Bonus tip! Use a mixture of coconut milk, agave, and baking soda as a vegan alternative to a traditional egg wash. Brush your dough lightly with the mixture right before baking.

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