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Vegan favourites from around the world

Welcome to vegcurious – the blog for people who are curious about plant-based eating.

If you’re like most people, you probably think that when you transition to a plant-based diet you’re going to have to give up all your favourite foods. Not so! One of the best things about eating a plant-based diet is that you can enjoy pretty much everything you love, just made a little bit differently

Whether you love Italian, Mexican, Thai, or Indian food, pretty much every culture has “accidentally” vegan dishes, or ones that you can easily modify to be plant-based. And just to make sure I’m giving you the closest-to-the-original plant-based version, I have enlisted my non-vegan husband as the litmus test to ensure that what I am giving you here is as good, or better, than the original, and not just in my opinion! Having been pretty much plant-based for 10 years, my tastebuds have become accustomed to the various tastes and textures that often make up plant-based foods. Because of this, I may not be the best judge of whether or not something tastes close to its nonvegan version. My husband, however, is a great judge and he has given his personal seal of approval to every product and recipe I am going to share with you in this blog. So, what I’m saying is…if you don’t like it, take it up with him!


Who doesn’t love pizza and pasta? No one – that’s who! But you might be thinking that by transitioning to a plant-based diet you have to say goodbye to your favourite Spaghetti Bolognese, ooey gooey, cheese and pepperoni pizza, or tiramisu. But…you guessed it…no you do not!

Luckily for us vegans, so much of Italian cuisine is “accidentally” vegan, or very easily prepared with plant-based ingredients. Love a good meatball? There are plenty of prepared ones out there including Beyond, Impossible, Yves, and Gardein. You can also make your own using the spices you love with frozen Beyond or Impossible ground “beef.” Same goes for a hearty Bolognese. You can just sub out the meat and replace it with any ground “beef” product that you like. Not a fan of plant-based meat products? No problem. Lots of recipes use lentils, mushrooms, chickpeas, or even walnuts. If you want to make your own Bolognese sauce from scratch, this recipe from Samantha Turnbull’s It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken website is so easy! It uses tofu and it is the best I’ve ever come across!

Now, let’s say you want to venture out into the more complex Italian foods like lasagna or manicotti. Use your favourite plant-based ground beef and simply substitute a vegan mozzarella like Violife or Miyokos. There are plenty out there to choose from! And that’s a good thing because with all the ready-to-bake pizza flatbreads available, making your own pizza at home is one of the easiest and quickest dinners you can do. Once you find a mozzarella cheese that you love, you can top your pizza with lots of veggies and plant-based meats like Yves pepperoni, Beyond Sausages or Impossible Ground Sausage. You can even do a plant-based version of Hawaiian pizza with one of the many vegan deli ham slices out there and some canned or fresh pineapple. Go ahead, put fruit on your pizza…I don’t judge! And, of course, we can’t say goodbye to Italy without talking about tiramisu.

You might think that tiramisu, that creamy, cakey, decadently delicious dessert couldn’t possibly be made vegan. And you’d be right. KIDDING! Of course it can! You can create a pretty much perfect tiramisu without using any dairy or animal products.


Lots of fast-food Tex-Mex chains would have you believe that a taco is beef, shredded lettuce, cheese, sour cream, and sauce. And, sure, that’s one way to make a taco, but really anything you put into a taco shell (hard or soft) can become a favourite of Taco Tuesday in your house.

One of our favourites is fish tacos made with Gardein F'sh Filets. We top them with coleslaw, diced tomatoes, a bit of hot sauce and avocado slices! Recently, in a Mexican restaurant I had squash tacos made with oven-roasted cubed butternut squash, and a Brussels sprout taco made with pan-fried Brussels sprouts. Really anything goes! But if you are a traditionalist when it comes to tacos, you can make the meat-based kind with any of the plant-based ground products available everywhere now. You can even get amazing sour cream from Tofutti or Wayfare (Earth’s Own in Canada) and shredded Cheddar from Violife or Daiya.


If I were stranded on a desert island with only one meal, it would be pad Thai. Who am I kidding? That meal would be a never-ending plate of French fries, …with a side of pad Thai. Lucky for us plant-based eaters, pad Thai is so versatile it can easily be made vegan by simply subbing Just Egg for the egg (or leave it out altogether), using a plant-based fish sauce and loading it up with veggies and cubes of roasted tofu. And, because most Thai curries are coconut milk-based, they are already “accidentally” vegan!


I love eating Indian food because so much of it is accidentally vegan or can so easily be made plant-based by simply leaving out the meat. Indian sauces are almost always coconut milk-based, or tomato, onion, garlic and ginger-based, and the rich, flavourful spice palette is so delicious! A lot of people shy away from Indian food because they think it is too spicy. What they often mean is too hot, but heat levels are very easily adjusted in this cuisine by varying the amount of chilis you put into the dish. Not a fan of “heat”? Leave the chilis out altogether and you can still enjoy the toasty warm spices of this incredibly diverse cuisine.

In the “before” times, one of my favourite Indian dishes was tandoori chicken. It took a bit of trial and error, but I found an amazing tandoori tofu recipe that delivers every bit of the savoury, delicate flavours in a traditional tandoori dish. Also, if you are not a fan of spicy foods, tandoori is a great place to start exploring Indian cuisine. It is flavourful but has a heat level of zero!

My second favourite Indian dish is baingan bharta. This is a charred eggplant dish prepared with tomatoes, garlic, onions, and lots of delicious spices. It seems like there is no typical version of this dish because I have had it in many restaurants, and it is always different…but always delicious. This recipe is easy to prepare but if you don’t love the ingredient list, just google baingan bharta recipes and you’ll get a lot of options to choose from.

I hope this blog has helped you find your way to plant-based eating. Remember…the goal is not to be perfect. Do the best you can and enjoy the journey! Sign up for vegcurious to be delivered right to your inbox at

Note: It is strongly recommended that you consult with your primary care physician before making any changes to your diet. This blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended to recommend or endorse any particular product, diet or eating plan.

Next post: Meet seiten...and other plant-based superfoods!


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