Veg it up: 5 easy steps to make your menu vegan friendly

From a diet that used to be on the fringe, veganism has come front and centre in the last few years and is being widely embraced in Ireland – we rank in the top 10 countries in Google Search Trends for Veganism. As the demand continues to grow vegan friendly menus can set you apart so we’ve looked at some easy and effective ways you can introduce plant-based options to your business:

V is for…

First stop is to go through your existing dishes – can any of them make the easy switch to vegan or perhaps some of them already are? Don’t forget to mark dishes as vegan on your menu and let your team know there are vegan options available. You should also make it known on your website and social media that you offer vegan options as most people will research online before heading out to eat and vegans tend to share this information regularly.

Milk it up:

If coffee and tea are part of your repertoire a simple addition can be adding non-dairy ‘milks’ to your line up. Go beyond soya and consider using rice, almond, coconut and hazelnut as appealing alternatives. When it comes to steaming your milk for coffee these ‘milks’ act differently so play around until you find one that suits your drinks. Some cafes will even create their own blends, for example, mixing hazelnut and coconut for a great nutty flavour. Consider creating a unique latte or two for your menu, the non-dairy brigade will thank you.

Just desserts:

Vegan sweet treats are at the cutting edge of the vegan revolution and appeal to everyone with plenty of decadent options available. Coconut oil with cacao, vanilla and a touch of sweetness can make a great, rich dairy free chocolate. Chia seeds and silken tofu can be used as egg alternatives. Coconut cream can be whipped to swap out for regular cream. Try agar agar instead of gelatin. Nuts will feature a lot. There’s a plethora of books and recipes available and many are also gluten free and use natural sugars. You can open yourself up to a whole new world of ‘free from’ desserts without compromising on taste. There some fantastic non-dairy ice cream alternatives available to keep stashed in the freezer.

Vegan Pantry:

Adding a few staples to your pantry can let you switch some dishes to vegan when needed at the last minute. We stock vegan falafel and pakora which are a wonderful base for a salad or starter instead of a cheese or meat and our Genovese Olive Tapenade is a great alternative to pesto. Have some good quality vegan pasta on standby along with nutritional yeast – a fantastic naturally vegan ingredients that adds a cheesy, nutty element to food. It’s worth considering always having your soup as a vegan option and keep the dairy or animal elements to the garnish. A vegan celeriac soup with crispy bacon as an add on or off should keep everyone happy. Beans, peas and lentils will give you lots of options to try vegan versions of dishes that typically use mince – Shepherds Pie and bolognese can taste great with lentils, they have that all important mouthfeel and soak up the flavours of tomato sauce, herbs and garlic.

Drinks:

It’s often overlooked but a huge amount of wine, beer & alcohol are not vegan. Many of them will use animal products in their filtering and production. For the most part, it will say on the label if they are vegan, so if you already have some in stock, why not add ‘suitable for vegans’ to your menu and let your team know. We have an extensive range of wines available that are vegan as well as Longueville drinks. New world wines are more likely to be vegan, but still always check your labels.

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