There are two ways to veganize non-vegan recipes: either you buy the vegan counterpart of an ingredient from the store or you make your own. Some of the items below are individual ingredients of certain recipes (such as buttermilk or half and half, which is often a part of a baking recipe). Others are more complete recipes on their own such as the sauces, which only call for one more additional ingredient (2-3 servings of cooked pasta or spiralized zucchini if you want it raw).

There are times when buying the vegan substitute is better as in the case of coconut cream for more spot-on consistency, instead of making your own vegan cream. However, whipping up a homemade veganized version may be better in some cases, especially if you want the dish, side, or appetizer to be fresher or more nutritious.


You can modify the recipes below to suit your taste preferences. Add more salt if you find the recipe a little bland, nutritional yeast if you want it cheesier, water for thinner consistency, nuts if you want it creamier and lemon juice if you want it more tangy!

Non-vegan Vegan
Salmon/tuna pâté To make “salmon” pâté, soak 1 cup of raw almonds or raw sunflower seeds for 8 hours. Throw into the blender along with ¼ cup water, ½ medium ripe tomato (seeded), and a tiny pinch of sea salt. To turn it into tuna pate add ½ of a small shallot and 1/8 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (optional). Blend until all ingredients are well-incorporated. No time to soak nuts? Use a block and a half of crumbled silken tofu instead.
Pesto sauce Use 3 cups of tightly-packed basil, ¼ cup soaked raw walnuts, ½ cup olive oil, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, and 1/8 to ¼ cup nutritional yeast. Blend well in the food processor.
Half-and-half, full fat cream Buy coconut cream in can/tetra pack. Coconut milk will not cut it, so make sure you use coco cream.
Butter milk Equal measurement of soy milk mixed with one tablespoon of vinegar. Let it sit for one hour before mixing with the rest of recipe ingredients.
Alfredo sauce Soak 1 cup of raw cashews for 2-4 hours. Add ½ cup of water, a dash of nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon sea salt, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1/8 teaspoon onion powder, and 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast. Blend everything using an electric hand mixer or blender.
Cream cheese Soak 1 cup of raw cashews for 2-4 hours (or raw mac nuts for 4-6 hours). Whizz up in a blender with ¼ cup water, ½ teaspoon nutritional yeast, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice. If you want ready-made cream cheese you can check out vegan brands here.
Sour cream and onion Use the same cream cheese recipe above minus the nutritional yeast. Use 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. Blend with ¼ cup of chopped green/spring onion. The cream should end up mint green/ light green in color.
Parmesan cheese Walnuts/pine nuts/ Brazil nuts, nutritional yeast, and sea salt. Grind up 1 cup of walnuts and mix with half a cup of nutritional yeast. Add sea salt to taste. No time to make vegan parmesan? Try one of the faux parmesan brands we have listed here.


Image: The Gohongi Vegan “Ham”burger at Hanada Rosso in Tokyo, Japan.