Vegan alternatives to dairy and meat

A vegan diet can be varied, filling and nutritious – we share inspiration on delicious dairy alternatives and meat substitutes, plus a delicious mushroom pasta recipe!

The varied world of vegan

Explore the generous world of plant-based alternatives to dairy and meat substitutes for satisfying meals, snacks and beverages.

Moo-free milk

Not everyone reaches for milk as their beverage of choice, but many of us add it to hot drinks, such as cappuccinos and chai lattes, or milkshakes and smoothies. In addition, morning cereals are often soaked, or sauces concocted, using this creamy liquid. It’s surprising how much milk we consume without even realising it.

Plant-based milks are of the perfect consistency and taste for a whole array of drinks and dishes.

Soak muesli overnight with oat milk or make porridge with hazelnut milk for a flavoursome boost. Surprise your taste buds with a latte made with soy or almond milk or mix a smoothie with creamy cashew milk or a piña colada with coconut milk!

Try mixing and matching all of these options and you’ll discover a whole new world of yummy vegan beverages, meals and snacks. Use one of these vegan milks for your next baking session to achieve a lighter consistency and subtle flavour.

Diverse vegan desserts

Due to its naturally slightly sweet flavour and creamy consistency, coconut milk is the perfect ingredient for making a delicious yoghurt. You can purchase it ready-made – but why not try making it yourself?

You’ll need empty glass jars, 2 cans of coconut milk, 4 probiotic capsules or flakes (containing any of these probiotics: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium lactis or Streptococcus thermophilus) and then sugar or maple syrup to taste if you have a sweet tooth!

Simmer the coconut milk in a pan then leave to cool slightly. Whisk in the probiotics and sugar/syrup. Transfer the mixture to pre-sterilised jars and seal them with lids or muslin cloths and elastic bands. Leave to set for 12 to 24 hours.

This yoghurt makes a fantastic basis for many wholesome fruit desserts – add berries, chopped seasonal or dried fruits, make it a healthy topping for cakes or a fluffy addition to your morning muesli!

TIP: Tasty coconut ice cream can also be made easily with coconut milk and vanilla using an ice cream maker!

Filling vegan meals

Switching to a vegan lifestyle can be a hard decision for those who are concerned that meat-free dishes won’t be satisfying enough. However, anyone who has tried a nut roast, tofu curry, jackfruit burger or chickpea and vegetable tagine will know they need not worry!

Check out vegan recipe websites and plant-based recipes shared across social media. Browse for meal planning inspiration and try this Italian vegan recipe for the whole family:

Creamy mushroom pasta

Serves 4-6


Pasta of choice (dried, ready to cook)

2 tbsp olive oil or vegan butter

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

4 shallots, finely chopped

300 g mixed mushrooms

3 tbsp unbleached flour

700 ml soya milk or hazelnut milk 3 tbsp vegan parmesan cheese, optional 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped, plus extra for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation method:

1.       Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.

2.       Add pasta and leave to cook while preparing the sauce.

3.       Heat olive oil/vegan butter in a large pan oven a medium heat. Add garlic, shallots, mushrooms and ½ tsp salt. Fry gently for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are brown and tender. Reduce heat to low after 5 mins.

4.       Sprinkle flour over mushrooms and stir to coat, cook for up to 1 minute. Bring heat back up to medium-high.

5.       Add milk, stirring constantly and allow to simmer for 1 minute.

6.       When completely smooth and slightly thickened, add remaining milk, plus pepper to taste, return to a simmer and stir constantly for the next 3 minutes.

7.       Remove pan from heat and stir in vegan parmesan until melted/well-mixed. Add seasoning to taste

8.       Drain cooked pasta, add to mushroom sauce and toss to coat.

Serve garnished with extra parsley and serve immediately.   

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