Vegetarian and vegan dishes - what products to use for cooking and where to get inspiration from?

Vegetarian and vegan dishes - what products to use for cooking and where to get inspiration from?

Vegetarianism and veganism are variations of a plant-based diet. Vegetarian dishes exclude meat, fish and seafood from their recipes. In vegan dishes, there are more exclusions, such as eggs and dairy products, or more precisely, no animal products at all can be used in them. Vege and vegan recipes can be very simple, quick and completely uncomplicated. We show you which products to use in vegetarian and vegan meals, what is essential to stock your kitchen with, where to get cooking ideas and what the difference between vege and vegan is.

Vegetarian dishes - what products can be used in them?

Vegetarianism is the most general name for plant-based diets, covering all branches of vegetarianism. And there are quite a few of them. People who are not familiar with the subject define the term 'vegetarian' as 'meatless'. However, vegetarian dishes are more than just meatless dishes.

Vegetarian food must not contain any meat or animal by-products. Therefore, vegetarian cuisine is also cuisine without lard and gelatine, i.e. gels, jellies, many jams and desserts. The exclusion of meat from dishes is a basic, key principle of plant-based diets. Most vegetarians also do not eat fish and seafood, some also do not eat eggs. Dairy, on the other hand, is eaten by most vegetarians. It is an animal product, but one that does not come from butchery.

Vegetarianism is divided into four categories. These determine which products can be included in vegetarian dishes. These are:

  • Lacto-ovo vegetarianism - a diet without meat and fish, containing milk and dairy products,
  • Lacto vegetarianism - a diet without meat, fish and eggs, containing dairy products,
  • Ovo vegetarianism - a diet without meat, fish and dairy, containing eggs,
  • Pesco vegetarianism - a diet without meat, containing fish, seafood, dairy and eggs.

Vegan dishes are based on vegetables, fruit, pulses and cereal products. Nuts, honey and vegetable oils are added. Depending on the strictness of the plant-based diet, dairy products, eggs and rarely fish and seafood appear in vegetarian dishes.

Vegan dishes - what do vegans eat?

Veganism is a stricter version of vegetarianism. No animal products appear in vegan dishes. It means that, apart from meat, lard, gelatine, fish and seafood, vegans do not eat eggs, butter, cream, yoghurt, cheese, milk, as well as honey..

Vegans eat only plant-based products - vegetables, fruit, pulses, groats pasta and rice, bread, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils. Nowadays, the market for vegan products is huge and it is simple to find meat substitutes to use in vegan dishes. Plant-based drinks (oat, almond, rice, soya), plant-based sausages, cold cuts, yoghurts on plant-based 'milk', vegan shoarma or kebab are all products that are easily available and simplify vegan cooking. Egg substitutes that can be used in baked goods and vegan cheese substitutes are becoming increasingly common. The market for vegan products is growing because there is an increasing demand for them.

Recommended vegan products

Vegetarian and vegan dinners - where to get recipes and inspiration?

When taking your first steps on a plant-based diet, you might feel a bit lost and not know what to cook. However, these days vegetarian and vegan dinners are no surprise. They are offered by most restaurants, and vege as well as vegan bloggers share recipes for dishes on their blogs and social media. People who eat vegetarian or vegan on a daily basis are the best source of inspiration for plant-based cooking. From them, it's easy to learn what tricks to use when cooking and what products to choose to make vegetarian and vegan eating an everyday pleasure rather than a source of problems. Recipes for vegetarian and vegan dinners can also be found in e-books and paper cookbooks. The selection of these is growing every year.

Vegetarian and vegan dishes can be very quick and simple. Most of them do not require hours of cooking. One-pot meals, curry, casseroles, tarts, meatless chops and burgers... . These are all quick vege dishes. Quick vegetarian/vegan dinners include:

  • tomato soup with red lentils and coconut shavings,
  • tart with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes,
  • chickpea patties in burgers,
  • chickpea and beetroot cutlets with fries,
  • curry with tofu,
  • spaghetti bolognese with tofu cooked like minced meat,
  • rice pasta with peanut sauce, vegetables and cashew nuts.

Recipes for vegetarian and vegan dishes - what products you should always have in your kitchen

Vegetarian and vegan dishes require a slightly different set of base products than meat dishes. Vegetarian and vegan recipes often contain ingredients with which it is easy to substitute animal products or to give the dish a characteristic taste similar to animal products. To make cooking vege/vegan recipes easier and quicker, stock up on products such as:

  • Canned chickpeas - already cooked chickpeas, suitable for quick further processing, are the basis for a multitude of vegetable recipes. Chickpeas can be used to make all sorts of chops, falafel, hummus, dishes, soups or stuffing for casseroles.
  • Tofu – tofu is familiar by name to anyone who has even heard of vegetarian dishes. This type of soybean 'curd' has an incredible variety of uses. Tofu is very simple to use as a meat substitute, but not only. Various pastes, fillings and desserts can be prepared using it as a base.
  • Plant milk – any plant milk, or rather a plant drink, is essential in the kitchen of every person who likes coffee with milk or muesli. Vegetarian recipes use cow's milk, but in vegan recipes, it is plant drinks that successfully replace traditional milk. All desserts and even bechamel can be prepared with them
  • Canned coconut milk - thick and creamy coconut milk is a great substitute for cream.
  • Yeast flakes - this is a seasoning typically used in vegan dishes, as it gives a cheesy flavour to the food. In vegetarian recipes, you can simply use parmesan or other cheese, but vegans will love the yeast flakes.
  • Kala namak – this is the name of the black salt that has an egg-like smell and gives dishes an egg-like taste. It's perfect for vegan tofu soup and pastes that pretend to be egg-based.
Vegan dinner and other vegan dishes do not have to be boring meals. You can easily find many delicious products in vegan versions.

Vegetarianism and veganism - similarities and differences

By analysing the information above, it is easy to see how veganism differs from vegetarianism and what are the similarities between the two plant-based diets. Vegans and vegetarians have a common idea - the exclusion of meat consumption for animal well-being reasons and the aim to eliminate the suffering of farmed animals. Some people choose vegetarianism or veganism for health and climate reasons. Raising animals for meat and milk has a negative impact on climate change. te reasons. Raising animals for meat and milk has a negative impact on climate change. A vegetarian and vegan diet is beneficial to health, provided that it is treated like any other diet, i.e. based on healthy products and a balance of nutrients. However, eating plant-based does not mean that you can eat everything without restriction.

For vegans and vegetarians, apart from food, other aspects of life involving animals are important. Most of them do not wear natural leather products, furs, or natural pearls, but also silks or wools, and do not use cosmetics tested on animals or with any animal ingredients.

To summarise, veganism is a more radical variant of vegetarianism that excludes all animal products from the diet. For this reason, vegans need to supplement vitamin B12, which is found in bioavailable form only in animal products. Vegetarians who eat eggs and dairy products are not obliged to do so, although taking vitamin B12 may be advisable for them. Vegetarians provide more total protein and fewer carbohydrates with their meals than vegans. Both diets show lower calorie intake.

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