By Ellie Coughlan | Head Development Chef | The Flavourworks |
At The Flavourworks we love experimenting with vegan profiles and are happy to sample you with some of our favourite combinations. Talk to us about a tamarind and pomegranate glaze which can be added to a whole roasted cauliflower, a smoky chipotle crumb to add to your corn on the cobs or even a sweet beetroot and chickpea melt for roasted cabbage. Vegan food doesn’t have to be bland, by adding extra textures and flavours you can really elevate dishes.
It was clear that 2019 was the year of the vegan burgers, but perhaps 2020 will be the year of vegan ‘chick’n’. That mainly includes deep fried wings and nuggets, as restaurants replicate the textures and flavours currently seen on real chicken. Linking in with the ‘dirty’ food trend, most restaurants are using classic sauces to pimp up their products, such as buffalo, spicy Korean and cooling ranch.
Aligned with the restaurants, vegan chick’n will no doubt be one of the biggest growing areas. Already brimming with variations across different categories, M&S is replicating a British favourite of the Kiev with oozy garlic filling, whilst brands such as Squeaky Bean are bringing the much loved tikka flavour to the ready to eat category. Expect to see even more innovations with some of our favourite flavours.
More Cheese Please
Historically, vegan cheese has always been seen as very bland and lacks the textural and functional properties of traditional cheese. However as the increase in popularity of not only vegan food, but vegan fast food, the food industry had to react. Let’s be honest, burgers and pizza (and most things) are much improved with cheese. Brands that favour ingredients like cashews, almonds and soybeans are able to create a creamy texture that replicates the rich mouth-feel of cheese. Expect restaurants to tap into these brands and smother over their vegan offerings.
Cheese is most certainly going to be a growing area as the demand rises. There are already hundreds of plant-based cheeses on the market to choose from to suit vegan and dairy-free diets. Perhaps one of the hardest balances to get right, expect small batch producers making plant-based brie, Cheddar and Gouda, to spreadable cream cheeses and crumbly feta and ricotta to hit our shelves.
King Oyster Mushrooms
This impressive mushroom averages between 10–15cm in length and unlike other varieties, doesn’t lose its shape when cooked. They have a surprising umami flavour and can really soak up flavour, making them an ideal meat substitute. The texture can be similar to scallops, which makes them a versatile option for vegans and are often called ‘mushroom steaks’ or ‘vegan scallops’. Expect to see an increase in use of these mushrooms particularly based around Asian cuisines.
It’s well known that mushrooms are a popular way to reduce or eliminate meat in a dish. But it’s specifically exotic mushrooms which have soared in
popularity during the plant-based revolution. Tesco says that sales of brown oyster cluster and king oyster mushrooms have rocketed by nearly 240% year on year, becoming its fastest growing specialty
mushroom line. (Source: The Guardian).
Plant Based Seafood Substitutes
Partly due to an increasing awareness of issues like over-fishing, more people are opting to stray from seafood and look for plant-based alternatives. In 2020, expect more vegan versions of old favourite seafood dishes to pop up on restaurant menus. One popular choice is banana blossom, which mimics fish texture when battered and fried. This is a great
opportunity for restaurants to create their own vegan fish and chips Wagamama’s have utilised watermelon to mimic tuna. It’s dehydrated, sliced, seared and served hot to replicate the texture of tuna sashimi.
We’ve got plenty of faux meat in the market, but when it comes to plant-based seafood the options have been slower to come to fruition. But the retailers have still launched variations of fish fingers, and Sainsbury’s even offer tinned banana blossom for consumers to create their own ‘fish and chips’. Expect more products to launch, including tuna made from chickpeas and salmon from carrots!
WHERE TO EAT, WHAT TO READ
Tackling the plant based world, Simplicity Burger is a simple ‘fast food’ venture that focuses on a burger and fries menu. However, the difference being they are all hand made, all plant, all natural patties without any labs or chemical processes. Working with British farmers to find sustainably-sourced local vegetables; then they prepare, pickle, ferment and cook them with care.
Address: 202 Brick Lane, E1 6SA
What The Pitta
Offering vegan doner kebabs and other Turkish inspired vegan treats, What The Pitta went from pop up to permanent and has since been one of the leaders in successful vegan eateries.
Address: Shoreditch, Camden, Croydon and Brighton
Koocha Mezze Bar
Koocha showcases the best in Persian and Middle Eastern cooking with a love of plant based ingredients for everyone – vegans and non vegans – to enjoy. The dishes are small plates to make it easier to try even more and are spot on the sharing casual dining trend.
Address: Bishopston, Bristol
Young Vegans Pie Shop
London’s first and only 100% vegan pie shop. Young Vegans serves up a combination of different filled pies, sides and a some puds. The
pies are perhaps not what you would expect, they are not filled with lentils and kale but rather more indulgent combinations like ‘steak’ and ale, katsu chick’n curry and even cheeseburger.
Address: Camden Town, London
Gujarati cuisine is one of the oldest culinary treasures of India and is primarily vegetarian. There is a great selection of nibbles and street snacks at Manju’s Brighton, with a choice of thalis and dosas by day, and curries by night accompanied with an array of flatbreads, poppadoms and chutneys.
Address: Trafalgar St, Brighton
Inspirational Vegan Recipe Books
One Pound Meals by Miguel Barclay
LEON’s Fast Vegan by Chantal Symons, John Vincent, and Rebecca Seal
Dirty Vegan: Another Bite by Matt Pritchard
Green by Elly Pear
Vegan 100 by Gaz Oakley
EAST by Meera Sodha
Vegan by Mildreds
Bish, Bash, Bosh! by Henry Firth and Ian Theasby
From ‘EAST’ by Meera Sodha
Blackened Sweetcorn with Miso Butter:
One thing that is commonly missed from many vegan dishes, is “kokumi” which translates from Japanese to richness, or mouthfeel. That’s exactly what miso can add to a dish, especially vegan recipes which can’t use animal products notorious for kokumi. This recipe is vegetarian, but for a vegan option the butter can be swapped for coconut oil. Meera uses gochujang paste in the recipe for added depth and some chilli powder to back up the heat.
Aubergine Katsu Curry with Pickled Aubergines:
There is no denying that katsu curry is a fully established trend, and although traditionally used with chicken, the flavour and texture combination works perfectly with vegetables. Meera uses the natural sweetness from sweet potato and carrots in her sauce, which also add fantastic colour.
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