Stock these staples for vegan palates

June 18, 2003

The following foods are widely considered staples in vegan diets:

  • Egg substitutes: A number of egg replacements on the market can be used in any recipe that calls for eggs as a binding agent. Bananas, silken tofu and apple sauce also serve as egg substitutes in baking.

  • Meat alternatives: Meat substitutes are increasingly available on supermarket shelves, especially the frozen section.

  • Milk alternatives: The supermarket's dairy section often contains milk substitutes made from such nondairy sources as potatoes, rice and soy.

  • Miso: This food paste is made from fermented soybeans, rice, barley and other grains. Different types of miso vary in flavor, aroma and color.

  • Seitan: Also known as wheat meat, Seitan is a meat alternative made from vital wheat gluten. It can be made from scratch or purchased frozen, refrigerated or in ready-to-make mixes.

  • Soy margarine: Used as a substitute for butter.

  • Tahini: A versatile paste made from ground, hulled sesame seeds. Its nutty taste and creamy consistency are great for sauces, dips, spreads and creamy dressings.

  • Tempeh: Traditionally made from fermented whole soybeans, tempeh is richer in absorbable nutrients and more flavorful than tofu.

  • Tofu: Bean curd made from the mild white milk of the soybean. Silken tofu is used for dressings, spreads, sauces, soups, desserts and baked goods. Regular tofu, which is firmer than silken tofu, generally is used as a meat substitute. Its neutral taste soaks up flavor from herbs, spices and other ingredients. Tofu is often used as a substitute for dairy products.

  • Texturized vegetable protein: Made from soy flour that has been cooked under pressure, extruded and dried, TVP can be used in recipes instead of ground meat.

- Source: Vegan Outreach Web site at

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