- I’ve been vegan for over two years, so I’ve learned a few cooking tips and tricks along the way.
- Making vegetable broth yourself saves money and is a practical way to use up leftover kitchen waste.
- Simple, easy-to-prepare recipes like a vegetable salad with herbs and dressing are staples for me.
As someone who’s been vegan since January 2020, I’ve picked up a few cooking tips and tricks on the side to make this diet easy, delicious, and super accessible.
Before I became fully vegan, I was a vegetarian most of my life. So for me, the transition from a long-time vegetarian to a full-fledged vegan wasn’t all that difficult as there was very little that I actually gave up.
But I know this isn’t the case for everyone, so whether you’re following this diet or just curious, here are some vegan cooking tricks that can be incorporated into any lifestyle:
Save money by making your own vegetable broth at home
One of my staples in the kitchen is homemade vegetable broth, which is my favorite way to keep kitchen waste to a minimum and give leftovers a second life. Plus, I save money by not having to buy broth at the store.
The most commonly recommended veggies for the broth are fairly simple: onions, carrots, bell peppers, and celery. Some loose rules also advise against certain vegetables — for example, some people don’t recommend potatoes because they can make the broth starchy, but I’ve added peels before and it’s been fine.
I like to step it up a bit by adding the veggies I use in my everyday cooking to my broth. My typical broth includes garlic, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, carrots, parsley stalks, cabbage, mushrooms, cayennes, jalapeños, and whatever else I use.
Instead of letting my broth simmer on the stove like most recipes dictate, I’ve found I can get a lot more flavor with a slow cooker. I usually leave my leftovers in the slow cooker for four to six hours, then let the broth sit in the fridge overnight with the veggie chunks inside to ensure I get the best flavor.
In the morning I drain the leftovers and store the broth in airtight mason jars. This leaves a dark, beautiful, amber vegetable broth that’s packed with flavor and keeps in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Prepare your garlic ahead of time for weeknight cooking
The best thing I’ve ever done for my future self is make sure my garlic is prepped for the week, a simple but life-changing trick if you’re someone who spends a lot of time in the kitchen.
I love to cook and use garlic in pretty much everything but one of my kitchen nightmares is peeling the ingredient as it is such a tedious task that can take a lot of time.
So before the week I started bulking up my garlic and it has saved me so much time in cooking.
I like to use a small food processor to chop peeled garlic cloves into fine pieces in seconds, which is definitely the most convenient. This can also be done with a kitchen knife.
Don’t fall asleep on simple, easy-to-prepare meals
One of the biggest things that keeps people from a
believes food needs to be super complex, but some of the most delicious things I make are the least complicated.
One of my favorite dishes is a tomato and cucumber salad, which is incredibly easy, very tasty, and cheap to make.
I combine diced tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, olives, and a can of rinsed chickpeas in a bowl. I add the juice of a lemon or two and add my desired seasonings — I like salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, sage, dried basil, and tajin — which combine with the juices of the veggies for a nice and flavorful dressing.
You can also season to your personal preference or what you have available. This recipe even works with plain salt and pepper.
You can also amp up this recipe by swapping out the black olives for kalamata, adding avocado, and sprinkling on vegan feta — I like the Follow Your Heart variety.
Remember that a balanced diet contains some carbohydrates
I like to embrace carbohydrates as part of a healthy and balanced diet that practices moderation as a means of regulating diet.
Since many vegan diets are extremely plant-based, I think it’s okay to add veggies to a meal with some carbs. This can help keep you fuller for longer and also provides some carbohydrate-based energy.
If you don’t know what to pair your veggies with, choose some type of rice, pasta, or noodles for a filling plant-based dish.
Ingredients like brown rice and pasta can be relatively cheap, so depending on where you live and where you buy them, this option can be used as an easy meal for people looking to incorporate more plant-based meals into their diet on a budget.
Tofu is a culinary chameleon that is anything but boring
I think there’s an unreasonable number of people who think tofu is boring just because they don’t know how to cook it properly.
Tofu is a blank canvas, just like many other proteins. If you wouldn’t cook chicken, eggs, or steak without seasoning or preparation, why would you cook with tofu?
With almost limitless versatility, tofu can be transformed into egg-like scrambled eggs, mashed tuna, chicken-like nuggets, or simply flavorful, texture-packed morsels with just a few different seasoning, marinating, and cooking techniques.