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Cooking vegan: the best tips

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 258 views

Without meat, fish, eggs, honey and dairy products: All animal foods are taboo in vegan cooking . That doesn’t mean it’s going to be monotonous. Nevertheless, the selection is large. In addition to fruit, vegetables, legumes and grains, there are natural substitutes such as tofu or jackfruit that can be used in many ways. Read tips and tricks for vegan cooking here.

Cooking vegan: how it works!

Those who opt for a vegan diet do without a large number of foods that are traditionally used in cooking. In addition to meat, fish, eggs and honey, this also includes dairy products such as cream and cheese. In addition, all animal additives are taboo. That means: All products made with animal ingredients, such as gelatine.

Vegan food pyramid provides orientation

But that doesn’t mean the food choices are small. A variety of healthy dishes can be prepared with the help of plant-based staple foods and a little imagination. In addition, the range of vegan substitute products in grocery stores has increased in recent years.

According to the vegan food pyramid , there are five main groups of the vegan diet:

  1. Grain
  2. legumes
  3. vegetables
  4. fruit
  5. nuts, seeds and oils

The vegan food pyramid shows people who eat an animal-free diet how they can best implement this. And wholesome and without slipping into malnutrition.

Find out more about the vegan food pyramid here .

Pay attention to important nutrients!

Vegan cooking lacks the nutrients found in meat, fish, milk and eggs. These include, above all

Therefore, before cooking, find out about the nutrients in the food in order to get enough vitamins , micro- and macronutrients and trace elements. Drinking enough is also essential to optimally absorb the nutrients in a vegan diet. It is best to use mineral water or unsweetened juice spritzers.

Please note that vitamin B12 cannot be adequately absorbed through a vegan diet. Dietary supplements are necessary.

Vitamin D supply is also critical in autumn and winter. This vitamin is mainly formed on the skin via UV rays. During the winter months it is often difficult to get enough and supplements may be necessary. It is best to talk to your family doctor about this.

Learn more about vegan foods and their nutrients here.

With these foods you cook vegan!

In addition to plant-based foods such as fruit, vegetables, legumes, cereals and potatoes, there are now numerous vegan substitutes in supermarkets. The problem: Some of these are heavily processed and contain artificial additives. However, there are also natural substitutes for cooking. We introduce them to you:


Tofu is one of the classics in vegan cuisine. It consists of soybeans, is rich in proteins, polyunsaturated fatty acids, contains magnesium, iron, calcium and B vitamins. It is also low in fat and cholesterol free.

There are different types of tofu that can be used in different dishes. The soft variant (silky tofu) is well suited for desserts, sweet dishes, dips or sauces. The firm variant can be fried and is often used as a meat substitute, for example in curries. The very firm variety has a consistency of well-done meat.

It is best to buy unprocessed tofu and season it yourself. This way you avoid additives.

Here you can find out more about tofu and what you should pay attention to when buying it.


The jackfruit can be used in many ways in vegan cuisine. Depending on whether it is ripe or unripe, it tastes different and is suitable for different dishes.

The flesh of the ripe jackfruit is reminiscent of a cross between a banana and a pineapple. It is therefore a delicious snack between meals or a suitable ingredient for sweet dishes.

The taste of the unripe jackfruit is neutral to slightly acidic. It’s a good vegan substitute for pulled pork or chicken. In the supermarket, the meat substitute is often already seasoned with a BBQ or teriyaki sauce. But then pay attention to the additives.

Learn more about jackfruit and where to buy it here.


Aquafaba describes the cooking water (Latin: aqua) of beans (Latin: faba) or other legumes. It serves as a substitute for protein. Chickpea water is often used in vegan cuisine.

If you beat it with a mixer or whisk, it will get a fluffy consistency. It can be used to make vegan egg whites. It is suitable for mousse or macarons, biscuits and brownies. In liquid form, aquafaba is also a raising agent and emulsifier.

How to make aquafaba:


That is how it goes:

Use the cooking water from home-cooked chickpeas or the water from canned chickpeas. Drain the chickpeas in a colander and catch the liquid. Beat 100 milliliters with baking powder, salt and locust bean gum with a hand mixer. The beaten egg white substitute is ready.

Aquafaba is the cooking water, not the soaking water, which contains large amounts of phytic acid and should therefore never be used.

I argue

Seitan , also called mianjin or wheat gluten, is a protein-rich meat substitute made from wheat. It is characterized above all by its high protein content.

Making seitan is straightforward and only requires two ingredients: wheat flour and water. In its original form, seitan is almost tasteless. That is why it is often boiled in a spicy broth at the end. Soy sauce, vegetable broth or spices such as chili and ginger are suitable for seasoning .

Steaks, sausages or patties can be made from the dough. Since seitan contains gluten, it is unsuitable for people with celiac disease.

Read more about seitan and how to make it yourself here.


Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans. Its consistency is firm. It tastes a bit like cheese and slightly nutty. Tempeh is high in high-quality protein and fiber . Since the soybeans are preserved in its manufacturing process, the nutrients, vitamins and minerals it contains are not lost.

The meat substitute can be boiled, steamed, pan-fried and deep-fried. It is often sliced ​​and fried in oil until crisp. It is suitable as a side dish for salads or soups. You can also use tempeh to cook vegan goulash, minced meat, curry or chili.

Read more about tempeh here .

pea protein

Pea-based products have also been available in supermarkets for a few years. The advantage: peas are high in protein and low in allergens. They also provide iron, B vitamins, beta-carotene, magnesium, calcium and zinc.

For the production of meat substitutes, the peas are removed from the pod and ground. They are then stripped of starch and fiber until only pea protein is left. A special cooking process results in a meat-like fiber structure.

The yeast flock

Nutritional yeast is a vegan food product with a cheesy, nutty, or savory flavor. This yeast is specially grown to be used as a vegan food . The yeast cells are killed during manufacturing and do not live in the final product.

The good thing about yeast flakes: They provide a lot of vitamin B1, but also vitamin B2, B5, B6, folic acid, phosphorus and zinc. In vegan cuisine, they are a substitute for parmesan. They are also suitable as an ingredient in sauces.

Cooking vegan: How to replace milk, eggs & butter

You don’t have to resort to industrially manufactured substitutes to replace milk, eggs and butter . Rather, there are natural foods that perform similar functions.

Dairy products

  • As an alternative to cow’s milk, there are now a large number of vegan plant-based drinks. The most popular varieties include oat, soy and almond milk.
  • For vegan quark, it is best to drain silken tofu or soy ghurt overnight in a colander lined with a tea towel.
  • For sour cream, mix equal parts plant-based yoghurt and plant-based cream and add a squeeze of lemon juice.
  • For vegan whipped cream, whip rice cream or coconut cream until stiff. In an emergency, vegan cream stiffener also helps.


When cooking and baking, eggs should bind the dough. Good vegan alternatives are:

  • apple pulp
  • bananas
  • Aquafaba
  • ground or soaked flaxseed
  • Chia seeds
  • oatmeal
  • tomato paste
  • chickpea flour
  • Tapiokastärke
  • industrially produced egg powder


You have the option of substituting vegetable oils for butter when frying. There is also industrially produced vegan butter. Be careful with vegetable margarine. It sometimes contains animal additives. Purely plant-based products often have a vegan seal.

Butter can be replaced with apple pulp, banana or avocado when baking.

Vegan Cooking: What are the Benefits?

  • Vegan cooking has a positive impact on the environment due to the lower CO2 consumption of plant-based foods.
  • Due to the high nutrient density of plant foods, the dishes have a positive influence on many diseases – such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure .
  • On average, vegans eat more fiber, fewer unhealthy fats and significantly more vegetables and fruit.

Tips & tricks for vegan cooking

  • Use the variety of plants and get to know new vegetables. For example, have you ever eaten yams or mung beans ?
  • Try to cook as seasonally and regionally as possible. Markets can be found in almost every region of Germany. There you will find various suppliers – from organic farmers to bread stands and potato farmers.
  • In a ripe, fresh state without a storage period, foods have the highest concentration of essential and health-promoting ingredients.
  • Store your fresh purchases at home in the right place in the fridge, dark pantry or cellar to extend the shelf life of the food.
  • Create a recipe collection with vegan dishes. This saves you from having to think about what you want to cook over and over again.
  • Meal Prep: If you eat in the canteen during the week and there are only a few vegan options there, it is best to pre-cook at home and freeze the food in portions.

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