Vegan Challenge: you can make an omelette without breaking eggs
Okay, so maybe an omelette is currently out of the reach of vegans, but there are still a great number of dishes you can whip up. The first recipe on the PETA meal plan is breakfast muffins – as there’s no butter or cream, they’re also relatively ‘skinny’ too. I happen to have all of the ingredients already so it should be quick and easy to prepare some for tomorrow morning.
Those clever little eggs are so versatile they can be used to bind ingredients together, thicken a mixture, create a light, airy texture or to add a glossy shine. This is great news for us, as it means we can choose from a number of replacements depending on what the purpose is. This recipe requires egg to bind and thicken the muffin batter which, if you take inspiration from your average smoothie, you can easily achieve by adding banana. It’s worth pointing out that you could also use cornflour if you don’t want the fruitiness but, as this is a sweet dish, the more flavour the better.
To start, mush up the bananas and add in some melted margarine and sugar. I’ve used a half and half mixture of oil and sunflower spread.
Next, sift the flour together with the salt and baking powder; stir in to the banana mush and mix well.
Here’s where you add your extra filling ingredients. I split the batter in two and gently folded blueberries and walnuts in to one and chocolate chips* and ginger in to the other.
All that’s left now is to pour the batter in to the trays and bake at 190°C until a skewer comes out clean (approx. 20 minutes for the muffins and 40 minutes for the loaf cake).
I can now reveal the marvellous, mini-fat, high-taste muffins…
As you can see they didn’t achieve muffin status and perhaps a different flour or extra baking soda would have helped. The banana works surprisingly well though; they’re quite chewy and the chopped nuts I added in and forgot to mention earlier gave them a gorgeous, oaty texture. My flatmate was used as a guinea pig and decided that they’re not merely a substitute for ‘real’ cakes, but enjoyable treats in their own right.
I sliced the loaf cake into fingers and tried to let it cool before testing. What’s even more exciting is that the chewiness gradually lessens as they cool but they retain all of that moisture, thanks to the magic of ‘nanas.
*Semi-sweet, dark and plain chocolate chips are usually vegan-friendly, as they contain cocoa butter, which isn’t from dairy, and no milk. Although do check first.
Breakfast: oatmeal prepared with water and a splash of soya milk, with sultanas stirred through and a sparkle of soft, dark sugar on top.
Lunch: raw salad of spinach, rocket and watercress with crunchy sweetcorn, shredded carrot and pumpkin seeds. Some diced apple would have made a welcome addition, but I didn’t have any. To follow, a packet of salted pretzels.
Snacks: fresh fruits and celery sticks with low-fat houmous. This was a risky one as I’ve never liked celery before but, fortunately, I enjoyed it and any reason to eat houmous is good enough for me.
Dinner: baked enchiladas. My fridge is heaving with foods desperate to be cooked up and fake cheese from yesterday so I’ll put them to good use in the simplest, quickest way – stuff them in corn tortillas and bake.
I don’t often follow recipes to the letter and anything mexican or involving bean chilli gets adapted, so I just used whatever left over vegetables I had, added a tomato sauce and piled in spices. This was heaped into corn tortillas, wrapped loosely and placed in an over safe dish. Here you’d normally add sauce and cheese…
In my own lazy way, rather than prepare a proper sauce, I poured soya yogurt over the tortillas and grated dairy-free cheese on top. It’s a little sparse as I was warned that this cheese doesn’t melt well and could have been disastrous.
And here’s the finished product.
It may not look thrilling but I can assure you that it tastes fantastic! It’s spicy and light, the wraps crisped well and just look at that cheese! It didn’t fully melt, as forewarned, but it turned into hard, crackling, cheese crumble. After a whole evening of cooking I had no desire to tuck in to a large meal but this was lovingly set aside for my lunch the next day. And it survived being re-heated too. What a winner!
Verdict: entertained. As a dairy-free skeptic, I honestly had doubts about cooking without eggs and when I mentioned my plan to two experts in the field (my mum and nan), both were stunned and amused at the very idea of it. Neither believed it was possible but I explained the process, and in their eyes, I really feel like achieved the impossible. Whether you’re vegan or not, I urge you to try this out because it does work, it tastes delicious and it’s a bit different. Do it!