Easy Vegan Alternatives To Your Favourite Non-Vegan Meals

Want to eat less meat but think you’ll miss out on your favourite dishes? It doesn’t have to be like that!

When Paul first told me he was going to go vegan overnight I felt a mixture of emotions. On a positive note, I had massive admiration for his forthright determination to live according to his principles despite what anyone says or thinks of him. In fact this is probably his biggest strength in life in general, which is how we’ve ended up not conforming with what’s “expected” of us, and why we won’t just adhere to what other people’s ideas of success are. So thanks Paul xxx

More negatively, my immediate thoughts on my husband going pretty much from carnivore to rabbit overnight were “SHIT WHAT AM I GOING TO FEED HIM?” and “I WILL MISS SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE SO MUCH”.

Good news, everyone, you won’t miss out on ANYTHING by eating one, two, seven or even ALL vegan meals each week. I have spent countless hours researching plant-based meals that even meat eaters will love, and I want to share a few family favourites that are really easy to create a vegan alternative to.

Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese

This was the big one for me. If I was going to successfully go vegan in the early days I NEEDED a satisfying, simple and tasty vegan spaghetti bolognese recipe. Then, my lovely Instabuddy Lucy (I interviewed her once in my Instavegan Interviews series – check it out here) sent me an AMAZING vegan lentil ragu recipe from BBC Food and I knew I was going to be OK.

Vegan lentil ragu with spaghetti and added meatless meatballs. YES.

I know this one’s a winner with current meat eaters too because I’ve sent it to loads of my non-vegan friends and it’s become a regular in almost every one of their repertoires. Please give it a try and let me know what you think!

Vegan Roast Dinner

This one is REALLY easy. Apart from the actual meat, a roast dinner is pretty much entirely plant based already. But here are a few tips to create the ultimate vegan roast dinner:

The Main Event

I tend to mix it up a bit when it comes to the meat “replacement” in a roast. For ease, I’ll stick some vegan sausages (Linda McCartney or Sainsbury’s Shroomdogs usually) or a vegan pie (Clive’s or Fry’s do good ones) in the oven. If I want something a bit more involved I LOVE the Bosh! Wellington (this is a go-to for lots of people for Christmas dinner – see my Ultimate Vegan Christmas Feast post for more on that). Alternatively, just forget the idea of the “meat”, pile on more veggies and gravy and get stuck into 10 of your 5 a day.

Vegan Yorkshire Pudding Recipe

I have to admit, I’ve never loved Yorkshire puds enough to really be bothered enough to cook them with our roasts, but if they’re a must-have for you, I’ve heard really good things about this vegan yorkshire puddings recipe from Tesco.

Photo source: freefoodphotos.com

Vegan Gravy Recipe

If you’re short on time it’s worth noting that the bog standard Bisto gravy in the red tub is accidentally vegan. I generally have some to hand in case a quick, impromptu roast is in order.

Recipe wise, I like this really simple vegan gravy recipe from Loving It Vegan. It has coconut milk in it, which sounds weird but really works.

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Another British classic, traditionally made with lamb (sad face) but the cruelty-free version tastes so much better, honest!

I usually use Veganuary’s vegan shepherd’s pie recipe and it always goes down a storm, with vegans and meat eaters. It’s really easy and uses lentils as the replacement for lamb, so Larry can stay in the field (Yes, I’m looking at you, Lidl Easter campaign).

Vegan Macaroni Cheese aka Mac and Cheese Recipe

I covered this in my recent vegan pasta post (which also includes amazing vegan lasagne and carbonara recipes) but it deserves another mention here too. I used to LOVE macaroni cheese in my pre-vegan days and this vegan mac and cheese recipe from Cookie and Kate really works as an alternative.

Macaroni. Photo from freefoodphotos.com

Vegan Chilli Con Carne aka Chilli Non Carne Recipe

Now, you could opt for a meat-free mince to make a chilli that’s a vegan version of this classic recipe, in which case just take your usual recipe and switch the meat for a mince alternative of your choice. However, I much prefer this veggie chilli recipe from Jamie Oliver which is packed with veg, spices, beans and general goodness. I promise you won’t miss the meat.

What do you call cheese that belongs to a cow? NACHO CHEESE.

While you’re at it, why not have some vegan nachos as a starter too? I love nachos and this loaded vegan fajita “chicken” nachos recipe from Bethany’s Vegan Kitchen is AWESOME. https://bethanysvegankitchen.com/2019/03/13/vegan-loaded-chicken-fajita-nachos/

Vegan Bangers and Mash

Easy peasy, this one! Just find some amazing vegan sausages – as I mentioned above, we’re fans of shroomdogs in this house, but it’s worth trying a few to see what taste and texture you prefer. Then make mashed potato as you usually would but mash with vegan butter or dairy free milk. Add a generous glug of vegan gravy (see recommendations in roast dinner section above) and hey presto, cruelty-free sausage and mash without any of the wondering what parts have actually ended up in your sausages. When it’s all plants, there’s no problem!

Vegan sausages, rocket mash, asparagus and gravy. YESSSSS.

That’s it! Thanks contributors 🙂

Thanks as always to the blogs and websites I’ve tagged above for your inspiration and ideas!

Anything else?

I really hope this has given you a few ideas for how to switch out the meat and dairy, even in dishes that are seemingly tough to recreate without animal products.

Is there anything else you’d like an alternative recipe for? Or any vegan recipes you currently make that you would love others to try too?

Post your ideas in the comments below or tag Little Green Duck on Instagram and I’ll share any suggestions I receive.

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