Every year, more people are deciding to go meat-free, vegetarian and vegan – and for some seriously good reasons! PETA has declared Singapore to be the second most vegan-friendly city in the region (just after Taiwan) as people surge towards veganism with a desire for a healthier lifestyle, a reduction in environmental impacts, and a willingness to adopt conscious, ethical eating.
Singaporeans are embracing environmentally-friendly eating, and are wanting more than ever to know that the food they’re eating has been grown or manufactured in a sustainable way.
Many Asian cultures have culinary traditions that are supportive of meat-free, vegetarianism, veganism and plant-based lifestyles, so having access to high-quality products that make it easy to create delicious, tasty and quick vegan recipes allows people to make purchases that are in line with their values (as well as their Singaporean culinary tastes).
With this in mind, let’s take a look at four ways that you can create dishes that are filling, nutritious and full of flavour – as well as just happening to be meat-free! Whether you’re considering adopting a new lifestyle or you’ve been following a meat-free approach for a while and are just wanting some inspiration to expand your palate, there are many methods for spicing things up in your vegan kitchen.
What are some popular meat-free foods?
In an effort to avoid the exploitation of animals, those choosing a meat-free or vegan lifestyle turn to protein and iron sources that are outside the traditional realms of meat, poultry, fish and, sometimes, eggs. This is where legumes come in! Beans, lentils and peas contain 10 - 20 grams of protein per cooked cup, and are also excellent sources of fibre, low-GI carbohydrates, iron, antioxidants, and folate.
Hemp, chia and flax seeds are another food that vegans and meat-free eaters use to ‘up’ their protein intake. 28 grams of hemp seeds contain nine grams of complete and easily digestible protein, which is about 50% more than other types of seeds. These seeds also have omega-3 and omega-6 ratios that are considered optimal for human health, so they’re great to sprinkle on coconut yoghurt, muesli, or even on top of a stir fry as part of a healthy, well-rounded diet.
Meat alternatives (like Quorn’s Breaded Fillets or Hot & Spicy Burgers) are an easy and simple way to easily remove meat from your diet. They’re packed full of protein, taste delicious, and are amazing in stir fries, burgers, wraps or noodle dishes. Quorn is made from Mycoprotein, which is a natural and nutritious fungus from soil that is fermented to create a dough. Mycoprotein has a 90% lower carbon footprint than meat production, so it’s great for you, animals, and the environment!
Other popular non-animal based foods that can make up a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet include:
● Whole grains and cereals
● Plant-based milks
● Plant-based yoghurts
● And of course – vegetables!
How to make your food taste great
1. Supplement the ‘creaminess factor’ with other sources
A common thing that people who have transitioned into veganism miss from their previous traditional diet are creamy foods. There’s a reason that dairy foods (like full-fat milk, cream, butter and cheese) are so popular, and that’s because they add a luxurious, satiating, fatty texture to food. However, there are ways to replicate this texture using plant-based sources. Instead of a dairy source, try using cashews, coconut milk or avocado in your food. Use coconut milk in soups or curries, and try avocado when you make salad dressings to mimic creaminess.
2. Spice up your life!
A great way to add flavour to dishes (whether they’re vegan or just meat-free) is to use a wide variety of spices, seasonings and vegetable broths in your dishes.
Try experimenting with different combinations and flavour profiles of spices (for example, you could make a meat-free, flavourful chilli con carne with Quorn mince), and also remember to use vegetable broth or bouillon to add an extra layer of flavour. Just remember to buy broths that don’t have mono sodium glutamate (MSG) in them. Alternatively, you can make your own vegetable broth by saving the scraps from your week in the kitchen, and then slowly boiling them down over a couple of hours to create a healthy, nutrient-rich soup base.
3. Use a variety of ingredients and get experimenting
If you’re adopting a vegan lifestyle and there’s a certain non-vegan food that you’re missing, try and experiment with new vegetables, fruits and ingredients. You might even find a new favourite! Explore your local market to sample products that you haven’t used before, and look up recipes online if you’re not sure how to use them. You’ll be creating wonderful, healthy vegan dishes for your family and friends in no time!
Online sources can also be a great help to find an alternative that other vegans or meat-free dieters may have discovered and shared with the community – for example, the best alternatives for fish sauce or oyster sauce.
4. If all else fails – make fake cheese
If you’re a serious cheese-lover and you just can’t go without your cheese, then fortunately, it’s pretty simple to make a vegan cheese substitute. You can use a mixture of crumbled tofu with miso paste and nutritional yeast to create a kind of ricotta, or you can whizz up cashews and blend them with water, garlic, lemon, miso paste and liquid sweetener to create a creamier cheese.
Getting the right nutrients when choosing a meat-free lifestyle
If you’ve chosen to make the move towards a meat-free or vegan lifestyle (or if you’re just wanting to include more vegetarian meals in your week with some exciting new vegan products), it’s important to do the right planning to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need. Eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein-rich foods allows us to function at our best and live a life that’s full of energy – while being better for animals and the environment too!
Quorn is a meat alternative product available in Singapore, and makes it easy to create wonderful, delicious and healthy vegan dishes that your whole family will love. Find out where you can buy Quorn products in Singapore here today!