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How to incorporate vegan and vegetarian options into your menu

Adding vegetarian and vegan options to restaurant menus is not a passing fad, it is part of the actions towards making it environmentally responsible, and it is also part of the great gastronomic trends today, as well as it implies attending and including an important sector of your potential customers, which will increase your sales.

And although it may seem complicated and expensive, it can be very easy and inexpensive. But where to start? Here is an initial guide.

Veganism and vegetarianism: What do they eat with?

In both cases, people do not consume any kind of meat or animal fat. But perhaps even you wonder what the difference between these lifestyles, and we can sum it up this way: Among vegetarians, there are those who still eat eggs, who still eat dairy ( ovo vegetarians and lactovegartarianos or, ovolactovegetarianos ), while vegans do not consume any animal by-products in any product (not just food).

Once the difference is understood, the most important thing is to respect those definitions and not hide any information about the dishes in that regard from consumers. The next thing to think about a menu is to know the key ingredients that can give versatility to this type of cuisine. We present the main ones:

1. Lentils

This legume of Asian origin is packed with protein, fiber, and amino acids, which is why it is commonly used to replace meat. It’s easy to prepare and healthy – it lowers bad cholesterol and blood pressure, making it attractive not only to vegans and vegetarians but to any health conscious consumer.

There are two large groups:

  • Products containing non-fermented soybeans. For example:

Textured vegetable protein, made from defatted soy flour, with a crumbly texture that is often used as a replacement for ground meat.

The soymilk, which is prepared by soaking dried beans, grinding them, and adding soy to soil water and is ideal for making drinks for customers intolerant to lactose.

The mild-flavored tofu is prepared by coagulating the soy milk and pressing the curd into soft or firm blocks.

Edamame, which is cooked and seasoned immature green soybeans, served as appetizers.

  • Products containing fermented soybeans. Some of the most popular options are:

Tempeh, which has a firm texture, mushroom flavor, and is prepared by pressing the soybeans into a cake shape. It makes a great replacement for ribs, bacon, and chicken.

Miso, which is a very popular bean paste in Asian cuisine and is served alone as a soup or pickled.

Natto, which is a mixture of soy and safe bacteria commonly eaten with soy sauce and mustard.

With all those options, soy and its derivatives would be enough for hundreds of recipes that you could include. But there are more great ingredients:

2. Seitan

Seitan is a processed wheat gluten product, with a dense and chewy texture similar to meat. Like soy, it is a great source of protein that makes diners feel satisfied. It is prepared by washing the wheat dough with water until the starch granules are removed. The resulting dough is formed and cooked. For diners with gluten intolerance, you can also make gluten-free seitan with gluten-free flour.

3. Portobello mushrooms

Portobello, in addition to being very healthy and good for the immune and digestive system, is also dense, meaty, and delicious, which is why it has become a great option for vegan and vegetarian burgers.

4. Other vegetables

You can also use other firm vegetables such as eggplants, potatoes, beets, and cauliflower are the most popular for grilling, sautéing, or grilling.

5. Vegetables

Lentils, chickpeas, and even black beans are another profitable and delicious option. They can be used to make a wide variety of foods, from hamburgers to hummus, salads, or soups; they are easy to prepare, promote digestive and cardiovascular health.

Whether you have a fancy bistro or a food truck, you can find or create dishes with these ingredients that suit the style of your business as well as vegans and vegetarians. As we have said, these dishes, due to their healthy characteristics, could be attractive not only for them, so it is always a smart option. After all, these changes in public preferences also represent great business opportunities.