5 reasons to try baking vegan plus 3 recipes to get you started
Whether you'd label yourself a meat-and-two-veg omnivore, pescatarian, junk food fan, veggie, vegan or flexitarian, if you're interested in helping our planet and not averse to the odd slice of cake here or there, then vegan baking is for you!
Now drag your eyes away from that tray of delicious looking vegan brownies and find out why...
1. Vegan baking is healthier (in general!)
Search the Internet for 'vegan health' and you'll come up with more than a few odd theories, yet there are many scientifically proven benefits to incorporating more plants into your diet.
Whilst some vegan baking recipes can be as unhealthy as standard versions, clever vegan chefs have come up with many truly nourishing alternatives, packing in sweetness from nutritious dates and coconut, minerals from nuts and seeds and a pile of vitamins and antioxidants from dark chocolate and dried berries. Treats never felt so good for you!
2. Vegan baking helps cut our carbon footprint
Without getting into the big debates around animal welfare and eating animal products, the plain fact is that livestock farming is a heavy burden on the natural environment – both in this country and across the world.
Notoriously, dairy cows have four stomachs in order to process their raw plant diet. Four stomachs per cow, multiplied by the almost two million dairy cows in the UK, that's an awful lot of flatulence! Sounds funny, however cow methane gas, 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in terms of global warming effects, is a serious cause for concern.
If we cut down on the amount of dairy we use, fewer cows will be bred for milk production, which means fewer cow 'fluffs' clogging up the atmosphere.
3. Vegan baking helps protect wildlife habitats
Chicken and dairy cow farms get through huge amounts of grain and soy-based feed, mostly cheap imports from places such as Brazil, the US and South-East Asia. Setting aside the carbon emissions cost of transporting the feed halfway around the world, a lot of the industrial farms producing the feed are growing on land that not so long ago used to be virgin forest filled with wildlife.
The markets follow demand, so if we can help to lessen the demand for eggs and dairy, the less likely it is that further wildlife habitats will be destroyed and turned over to intensive farming.
4. Vegan baking is exciting
As more and more chefs discover vegan baking and share their innovations on the 'Net, opportunities to leave our food comfort zones proliferate.
Keen bakers can fill their ovens with an array of brand new dishes using new plant-based techniques as well as interesting vegan variations on old favourites.
Beginner bakers might want to take a look at the 'no bake' vegan recipes out there, such as vegan energy balls and no-cook brownies. No animal ingredients means no wondering if it's done, means fewer things to go wrong! Simply mix up the good stuff, form, chill and eat.
5. Vegan baking is deliciously simple
If you haven't tried any good vegan baking yet, trust us, it's the real deal! So why don't we get started with a few easy recipes?
Specially selected for beginners to vegan bakes, these recipes don't require you to source any 'weird' ingredients – you can find it all down at your local corner shop in all likelihood. In fact, you'll probably be able to make at least one of these from the stuff you have in the kitchen cupboards right now...
How on earth does one make meringue without egg? Using the water from a can of chickpeas! Yes, when whisked up with sugar, piped and baked, this concoction gives light fluffy meringues that are indistinguishable from the original eggy versions. The linked recipe calls for strawberries, which would be lovely in June; at other times of the year, choose a seasonal or preserved alternative.
If it's good enough for Jamie Oliver...! These vegan brownies are utterly blissful. Don't feel the need to buy expensive pecan nuts, just use any nuts that you have to hand.