Amanda Roberts picks out the hottest trends in vegan eating…
The huge increase in interest in veganism over the last couple of years has seen a matching explosion of new trends, ingredients and recipes. Vegans old and new are helping to stimulate the food scene and the next foodie fad is never more than a blog post away! We’ve selected 10 of the top new trends for you to try out in your own cooking this year.
# 1 Veggie chips
We all love to have a snack from time to time. Unfortunately, we are also aware of the fact that standard potato chips are not the healthiest choice available.
The trend now is to make your own veggie chips, enjoying their crunchy texture and delicious taste. These are gluten-free and their preparation does not require any oil, as you can make them in the oven. Among the recommended choices to try are: red beet, carrots, zucchini, sweet potato and parsnip.
# 2 Superfruits
Fruits are a big staple of the vegan diet. In 2018, we are seeing a preference for ones that are packed full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. These are superfruits, and they’re often chosen for breakfast and as snacks by those who want to add more nutrients to their diet.
You have probably consumed blueberries, pomegranates and acai berries by now. But did you know there are other super fruits to add to the list? You can try dragon fruit, jackfruit and even baobab, as all of them are delicious and interesting to taste.
# 3 Edible flowers
Edible flowers were used, in the past, only for pretentious dishes in Michelin-starred restaurants. This year, regular people have started to incorporate such flowers in dishes prepared in the comfort of their own home thanks to vegan foodies showcasing beautifully floral dishes on Instagram.
You can use them yourself, to turn an otherwise ordinary dish into something that is both bright and cheerful. The most popular choices include pansies, carnations and nasturtiums. You can also opt for courgette flowers, herb flowers (sage, chives, etc.) and elderflower.
# 4 Dairy-free alternatives
As more and more people suffer from lactose intolerance and are also becoming vegan, it should come as no surprise that the market for non-dairy products has greatly diversified. A lot of vegan recipes can be prepared using non-dairy milk, which comes in a wide range of varieties.
There’s also no shortages of new vegan yoghurts, cheeses and other products worth checking out hitting the shelves. In fact, even the large supermarkets have been branching out and offering their own ranges of dairy-free cheeses and milks.
# 5 Vegan burgers
Let’s face it, we all like having a burger from time to time and 2018 is an amazing year to enjoy vegan burgers. There are a lot of delicious vegan burger recipes to try out and you will have a hard time believing that these are not made from meat.
They can also be gluten-free, which means you can add them to your meals even if you suffer from gluten intolerance or coeliac disease. Vegan burgers are often made from mushrooms, pinto beans, soy (tofu), nuts, grains and seeds.
#6 Vegan desserts
Gone are the days of our only option at dessert being a fruit salad! This year, we are guaranteed to see a revolution in the field of vegan desserts. You can expect vegan donuts glazed with maple syrup, vanilla icing or filled with delicious jam. Imagine mouth-watering cupcakes stuffed with cookie dough, glazed with vanilla bean frosting and decorated with colourful sprinkles.
You can also expect more delicious flavours for vegan ice cream, with charcoal standing at the top of the list. Vegan creativity is only at the beginning, we are bound to see more unique desserts coming through.
#7 Coix seeds
Both seeds and grains are regularly used in our diet, being appreciated for their highly-nutritious content. Coix seeds have their origins in Asia, and are gluten-free and similar to quinoa.
Not only do they have a rich content in proteins, but they also represent a good source of B vitamins. You can mix it with other grains, add it to soups or cook it with rice blends, enjoying the unique flavour they bring to each dish.
As already mentioned, charcoal is used to create black-coloured vegan ice cream. Starting from this, charcoal is being used for many other recipes, including smoothies, latte, waffles, lemonade and cupcakes.
Activated charcoal has a number of health benefits to offer, being able to draw toxins from the body and help with your well-being. It can lower cholesterol as well, supporting digestive health*. Vegan really is the new black!
*Please note that activated charcoal can affect the absorption of medication. Please consult your doctor before consuming, and do not take in large doses.
#9 Fermented foods
When it comes to trends, fermented foods are right on the button. This is because they have some incredible benefits to offer, supporting the health of the gastrointestinal tract. Interestingly enough, when you ferment vegetables, their nutritional value increases!
Among the most recommended choices are sauerkraut, fermented soybean products (tempeh), kombucha, kimchi and miso. What matters is that you choose fermented foods with nourishing properties.
Aquafaba is the water in which legume seeds have been cooked, and it’s appreciated for its viscosity. You can use it in the most diverse vegan recipes, replacing egg whites. It is great for marshmallows, meringues and macarons, acting as a highly-efficient emulsifier.
From the perspective of health, aquafaba does not present the risk of increasing cholesterol to dangerous levels that eggs do. Additional benefits include the fact that it is gluten-free and low in calories, so it’s absolutely perfect as a substitute to eggs and dairy.
All these hot trends for 2018 are a good sign that we will see a lot more exciting things in the future. The list could also include pea proteins, banana ice cream, vegan noodle soups, super grains and plant-based poke bowls. As a follower of the vegan lifestyle, you are constantly challenged to find new recipes.
Pay attention to the trends for this year and you will no doubt locate some exciting new recipes to try out. From edible flowers to super fruits, you can have a lot of fun this year – and do tell us about your new discoveries too!