Simple Veganuary swaps - how to find vegan ingredients to spice up your cooking

If you’ve decided to take the plunge and pledge plant-based for Veganuary, you might be surprised just how many items in your store cupboard contain animal ingredients. Whether it’s milk powder in bread or unexpected honey in cookies, quite a few of your favourites could be off the cards for a while. But never fear, we can help you to track down some simple vegan ingredients to make the most of mealtimes.

Learn to check labels

If you're checking to see whether an item is suitable for a plant-based diet, there are obvious things to look for - namely meat and dairy. You can also look for the mark of The Vegan Society on the label. However, there are some other ingredients that are animal-based but less obvious.
  • Whey - derived from cow's milk and found in bread and cakes, as well as nutritional supplements
  • L. Cysteine - made from feathers or human hair, it's a dough conditioner listed in some pre-packaged breads and baked goods

  • Shellac - Also listed as resinous glazenatural glaze, or pure food glaze, this glaze comes from the hardened resinous material secreted by the lac insect.

  • Isinglass - a clarifying agent used when making wine and brewing beer that's derived from fish bladders

Best butter swaps

Butter can be a difficult thing to say goodbye to, but there are lots of alternatives to choose from. There are a number of buttery plant based spreads on the market that should fill the void for sandwiches and toast. It can be a bit more tricky with baking, as they need to replicate texture and flavour, but those vegan bakers are an innovative bunch. There are vegan recipes for wicked bakes that use avocado, beetroot, sweet potatoes, coconut oil and even mashed bananas in place of butter.

Top tips for plant-based pancakes

Shrove Tuesday is just around the corner, and if you're looking for easy vegan pancake recipes, we can help. Usually pancakes are made with eggs, milk and plain flour but it's simple enough to make a few swaps. BBC Good Food has a really simple recipe that uses ingredients you probably already have at home.


Create cream from chickpeas

Yes, you read that right! Not from the chickpeas themselves, but from the liquid that surrounds the chickpeas in the can, known as aquafaba. The cooking water from the chickpeas is rich in protein and carbohydrates, and can be whipped into stiff peaks like heavy cream or egg whites. Whipping aquafaba generally takes 3-6 minutes to get to semi-firm peaks, depending on your equipment and how thick your aquafaba was to begin with. Be sure to check that your chickpeas haven't been canned in salted water before you begin.

Perfect plant-based pizzas

If you're following a vegan diet, pizza doesn't have to be off the menu. It's not hard to find an easy vegan pizza dough recipe as most traditional bases are made from flour, yeast, oil and water. There's plenty of toppings to choose from too, from roasted peppers and olives to less traditional ones like hummus and even broccoli! Vegan cheeses have improved vastly in recent years and you'll find some great plant-based options at most local supermarkets.