A few great websites for beginners and which we recommend to restaurant chefs to get some basic ideas. Vegan food does not have to be boring by any stretch. You need to understand where you protein comes from (it is easy to get enough for most people), and make sure you have supplements or enough food sources for iron, calcium, B-12, and Omega 3s (see the basic nutrition guides here). There are many vegan foods that are not necessarily healthy (like Oreo cookies). If you want to have a strong, healthy body, eat a variety of food categories – whole foods are best. It is helpful to think about eating a rainbow of natural colors every day. There are links to resources here. The food vegans eat can be delicious! See some photos here!
Don’t worry so much! Do you know anyone who was ever diagnosed as protein deficient in the United States?
- There is a lot more protein in vegetables, legumes (beans/lentils), nuts, seeds (including quinoa), and grains than you think. See these charts and guidance links: Vegan Resource Group, Ordinary Vegan, Vegan Health, Jack Norris RD, and his book Vegan For Life, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, USDA Choose My Plate for Vegetarians, Food by Bri,
- Humans need a lot less protein than the FDA used to recommend. Adults need 0.4 – .0.5 grams per pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you would multiply 150 x 0.4 = 60, 150 x 0.5 = 75 grams of protein for your daily need. Honestly, without working too hard at it, you can hit your goals. If you are a body builder, then you need some extra boosts.
Seitan-a secret you should know about
Seitan is an easy to make, high protein, meat substitute – chewy, satisfying and customizable to any flavor pforile you want!
- Homemade seitan can be an inexpensive, high protein method to replace ground beef, roast beef slices, cubes for kebabs or just about any beef or chicken use. Once you make the basic dough, you can use it for anything. Assembling it is very fast, especially if you preassemble spice mixtures in batches to use in the future. The cooking time is at least an hour…but you can be doing other things while it steams, bakes, or boils. It freezes/stores well and stays good in the refrigerator for at least a week. Make a large batch, cut it into chunks and freeze some for later. Watch these tutorials to see how easy it is, then experiment!
- Vegan Char Siu Pork (Photo above.) You can watch the video and scroll down to see the written recipe link under show more.
- Connie’s RAWsome Kitchen also has some great videos. Visit her website and search for the vegan meats tab. Lots of red meat type substitutes.
- Miyoko’s Unturkey – This is an extensive Thanksgiving meal centerpiece, but you can use the recipe for a terrific basic poultry seasoning flavor. The written recipe is here.
- Chickin in cream sauce from Avantgardevegan
Support and Mentorship
- Vegan Outreach (performs outreach mostly on college campuses and has a Ten Weeks to Vegan program and a mentor program, click bottom right of homepage).
- UC Davis Center for Integrated Medicine has a strong health-oriented 21 day challenge run on their blog with a support group on Facebook.
- Challenge 22+ is another very supportive network on Facebook. It is strongly oriented toward animal compassion.
- Vegan Amino is an App with tremendous resources to use on your mobile or any screen with customized chat groups for your interest, recipes and tips
- Plant Based On a Budget has basic, low cost recipes, you can subscribe to recipe and shopping lists for a teeny tiny fee or buy their book. They are all over social media as well.
- Nutrition Education abounds at NutritionFacts.org, a strictly non-commercial, science-based public service. You can subscribe to the newsletter or search through the site or app.
- abillionveg is a new-ish app we have not explored a whole lot but has Davis info, they have a healthy eating challenge
- There are literally thousands of vegan recipe sites online, (and the New York Times Cooking site even has a vegetarian and vegan search filters). Some have very simple recipes, others are more gourmet. You can join Vegan Cheeze Hits and Misses, Aquafaba Hits and Misses, and Seitan Appreciation Society groups on Facebook for tips from other home chefs.
- Post Punk Kitchen is another excellent choice for those with medium level cooking skills, a favorite of vegans everywhere. Chef Isa Chandra Moskowitz, created PPK “in my cramped Brooklyn kitchen in 2003. The idea was simple: a fun cooking show to give vegans something to watch. And, hey, let’s throw some bands in. We also started a website (this website!) to support the show and to foster a vegan cooking and baking community, where we could submit recipes, share ideas and maybe gossip a little bit.” She is the author of a number of cookbooks for a range of skill levels.
- One Green Planet website/blog is a good resource and posts a handful of recipes every day on Facebook.
- Minimalist Baker is another treasure of a blog with easy to follow instructions and photos.
- Plant Based on a Budget is a website, there are also cookbooks and you can pay a minimal fee for meal plans that come with shopping lists. This is basic, delicious food anyone can prepare at a low cost. Recipes have not too many ingredients. Great for students, those who are just learning to cook, and for those who just love delicious WFPB food. Toni is from Sacramento and developed all of these recipes to help improve her family’s health!
- Oh She Glows is an easy site to use with a wide range of recipes and cooking tips.
- BOSH TV and BOSH TV on YouTube – these guys are fun to watch, the food is delicious and you can freeze the videos in between steps. They have a cookbook that came out last year that is fantastic as well. If you are watching your fat or calorie intake, be careful of the recipes you choose.
- Connie’s RAWSOME Kitchen – No, this is not a raw food diet page. Connie makes us laugh, she has a large personality but boils down freaking delicious cooking to looking very easy to do. Her videos and recipes are easy to follow and she explains where to get unusual ingredients. If you watch a few of her seitan videos, you will never be afraid of making it and it will become a staple in your kitchen. We love her.
- UC Davis Center for Integrated Medicine – this blog has easy to follow meal plans and recipes and a LOT of easy to follow nutritional information.
Diary, Milk, Cheese
If you like awesome cheese, like the baked almond feta above, check out some recipes using Miyoko’s cheeses, and try some of her recipes for Artisan Vegan Cheese to make other cheese from scratch!
If you would like to make your own nut milks from scratch, we highly recommend purchasing a Vitamix blenders. If you are interested in making soy milk from scratch, we highly recommend the Soyajoy products (which create soy milk, grain milk, and more).
Making Milk at Home
- Yum Universe
- Minimalist Baker
- Simple Vegan Blog
- Alternative Daily
- See our Non-Dairy tab for more details.
There are many ingredients that can substitute for an egg for different kinds of needs. If you just want a scrambled egg or omelette, there are new products that are excellent mimics: Follow Your Heart VeganEgg, and JUST Egg (follow package directions). Adding a little kala namak black salt. All can be found in multiple locations in Davis. It is not an mimic, but one can also mix chickpea flour (high protein) with warm water and whisk to make a substance that will scramble or cook like an omelette.
For binding in baking, burgers, pancakes, and many other recipes, substitute each egg with one of the following:
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoon Ener-G Egg Replacer + 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon vinegar + 1 teaspoon baking soda (works great in pancakes)
- 1⁄4 cup unsweetened applesauce, mashed banana, soy yogurt, or blended silken tofu
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot, tapioca starch/flour or cornstarch + 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds or ground chia seeds + 3 tablespoons warm water
Going out to eat?
- Happy Cow on line or app for mobile is the vegan version of Yelp. It is a community-run gig, so please add your reviews!! (We especially appreciate you adding reviews of Davis restaurants!!)
- Yelp can be searched by Vegan, but it a little unreliable.