Thursday, 12 May 2022

Making Our Fuss Free Family Favourite Meals Vegan-Friendly

You know how it is with family meal planning...there's always so much to consider! Which child doesn't like certain ingredients, who's going to be fussy about spice levels, who is a meat fiend and who's rather avoid it...the list of quirks and demands seems to grow with every passing month!

But there are always a handful of failsafe, foolproof family favourites that I can rely on - meals that I know everybody will eat with minimal complaints! I always make sure to include a couple of these in our weekly meal plans for our busy days...the days when there's lots of groups to attend and work to organise. The days when we just need something quick, simple and fuss free that will fill tummies and satisfy appetites!

But recently there's been added layers of difficulty as my teenaged niece has become vegan. 

As she regularly joins us for dinner, I needed to come up with a way of making some of these go-to meals a vegan friendly choice.

Luckily for me, we've already been using vegetarian mince in our meals for many years as we simply all prefer the flavour and texture of it to the real thing - so there wasn't a lot of work to do in order to transform our Friday Night Mexican Feast into something vegan friendly - but what's the main ingredient for a satisfying Mexican dinner? CHEESE!

Having briefly dabbled with veganism myself a few years ago, I knew that finding a decent vegan cheese was going to be like finding a needle in a haystack. Or possibly even less likely than that! I have nothing but bad memories of my time trying to find a cheese substitute.

But imagine my surprise when I realised just how far the Vegan offerings in my local supermarket have come since just a few years ago. No longer is there only a couple of cheese substitute offerings, but Violife have a FULL range of cheese-like offerings to keep even the fussiest Vegan teen well fed!

From Edam-style cheese slices to blocks of cheddar-style cheese, and even a Camembert substitute - there was something for all occasions.

For our Mexican night, we stuck with the good old grated option and used it to finish off our burrito pockets and nachos - I really couldn't be bothered with the fuss of making separate vegan-friendly and standard offerings so we all ate the vegan variety and I have to say we were really impressed!

The Violife melted really well, and still provided that satisfying ooze that you want for a nice melty burrito! The flavour was really good and worked surprisingly well with the chilli. It is worth pointing out that Vegan cheese is of course a different flavour to dairy cheese, and it's often recommended to allow yourself a period of time to sort of forget the flavour of dairy cheese before moving on to a vegan variety so do keep in this mind if you are newly Vegan - however my niece, who has been Vegan for a good few months now, was delighted with the flavour and immediately snatched my stash of Violife products to keep for herself!

I did get to try them first however, and my personal favourites beyond the grated option were the smoky cheddar style slices which were fantastic in a sandwich and the epic mature cheddar flavour block.  I did find the camembert-style cheese a little unusual for my taste but I think this was more a case of needing to get used to the slightly different colour than anything as I'm a very visual eater - but my niece adored it, particularly paired with some cranberry and melba toast to dip! 

I have to say that discovering such a wide range of dairy alternative products has encouraged me to think about veganism once again, as with so much on offer now there really hasn't been a better time to make the transition. 

The Violife website has a lot of vegan recipes to browse which offer lots of great inspiration.

Violife products are availale from all good supermarkets.
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