I’ve been vegan for just about a year now, yay! And it’s 100% the best diet decision I’ve ever made. The funny thing is, I’ve not missed what I thought I would before I went vegan. I used to looove cheese and anything with cheese in it; lasagne, spaghetti bolognese, carbonara, toasted cheese sandwiches, I could go on.
Before I made the choice to go vegan I remember thinking to myself that there was no possible way eat only plant based foods. It seemed to be an unbelievably restrictive, boring diet. I believed the only options available to vegans were salads, and fruit. Honestly. And of course, I couldn’t imagine how I’d survive a day without eating cheese.
Since going plant based last year my eyes have truly been opened to the amazing options that are available on a vegan diet. I had been completely naive and clueless to the alternatives available to regular meat based dishes. I guess when your buying the same routine foods in a supermarket you’re blind to all the other foods that are available to you.
Below I’ve listed some of my favourite vegan substitutes for foods I used to love before I was vegan. It will definitely help anyone who is transitioning over to a plant based diet.
I don’t eat these foods on a daily basis as there not the healthiest, but when a craving kicks in I know where to go.
This is my favorite alternative cheese by Violife. I would almost say I prefer it to the real thing. Maybe that’s because I haven’t tasted actual cheese in quite awhile now! The Violife cheese has an extremely smooth texture and tastes amazingly just like cheese. It’s great to add to sandwiches, homemade pizza’s, grate some on top of your pasta, add it to a salad or just enjoy it on it’s own which I like to do.
Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream
In February 2016, Ben & Jerry’s released FOUR new vegan flavours of ice-cream. They’re only available in the US for now but hopefully they’ll release them in Ireland soon! They look amazing!
Tesco do these tasty strawberry & vanilla cones.
Nobó, an Irish company provide a full range of dairy free ice creams. My favourite is the chocolate and toasted almonds.
Who new pizza could taste just as good without cheese. The best thing about eating it without meat or cheese is that you don’t feel sluggish and sickly full afterwards. This one pictured below is the Pianta from Milano’s with spinach, chestnut mushrooms, pine kernels, artichoke, tomato, chill flakes and garlic oil finished with rocket and extra virgin olive oil and fresh parsley. No cheese.
Tesco also provide a great ‘Free from’ range for yoghurt, milks, cheese spreads.
Yogurt was another area where I thought I would struggle, until I discovered Alpro soya desserts. They have four flavours, dark chocolate, which is my favourite, milk chocolate, caramel, and vanilla. Delicious.
Alpro also provide a great range of dairy free milks from Almond, Soya, Coconut, Hazelnut, rice, to oat milk. All great tasty alternatives to dairy milk.
Whenever had a sandwich I always used mayonnaise. These are two of the best vegan mayonnaise in my opinion by GranoVia and Plamil. Both are widely available in Ireland in large supermarkets.
Chocolate and crisps
For chocolate, dark chocolate above 75% is always an option but I love these raw Nakd bars. They have lots of flavours available from ginger bread to pecan pie. One of my favourites is cocoa orange.
For me these are the best crisps by far that I’ve had in a long time. The flavour is amazing and the texture of these lentil chips are quite light, not leaving you too full or sluggish if you have one too many ;).