Should Caribbean Cooks jump on the popular vegan trend: The Whys and How’s
Everywhere we turn today in the culinary circles we hear the term vegan cooking, or vegan choices, In the last decade quite a few of my family members and close friends are now following the vegan lifestyle, Personally I have also started incorporating vegan choices in my meal planning 1-2 per week, for healthy choices and also to experiment with local ingredients.
Growing up in the Caribbean there were lots of people practicing the vegetarian diet successfully and sometimes I find that Vegan cooking and vegetarian cooking are sometimes used interchangeable in the same sentences by some cooks, But as some might already know Vegan cooking and vegetarian cooking are not the same. Lets take a look at what makes them entirely different.
Ingredients are plant based
Don’t Consume Animal product
Don’t Buy Fabrics made from animal by products
They Choose Cruelty- Free Cosmetics.
Don’t Eat Meat (i.e. animals)
Sometimes vegetarians eat products that come from animals (example diary and eggs)
Types of Vegetarian diets
Lacto (Eat Diary products, but don’t eat eggs, meat, poultry, or seafood)
Pescetarian (This is semi –vegetarian diets allows fish and seafood but no meat or poultry)
Lacto Ovo (Eat Dairy and Eggs But don’t eat meats, poultry and seafood
So on to our main topic should Caribbean Cooks jump on the Popular Vegan Trend? “As a wanna be sometimes vegan” my answer is yes. I believe that Local Caribbean Chefs should be a part of this upward trend and start offering vegan options on their menu options. Vegan cooking is not going to go away guys its here to stay and its just going to get bigger. Now As I mentioned before I know that we have lots of practicing vegetarians in the Caribbean, and many restaurants and hotels offer vegetarian dishes on their menus and that’s great,
However many people have allergies to wheat, corn, dairy and eggs so it’s crucial for a restaurant that wants to thrive to offer meals that are allergy aware and vegan.
We must take it up a notch, There are lots of your customers and guest who will be coming to your establishments looking for vegan options so you have to up your game and begin the task of creating delicious vegan options not just a green salad or some steam vegetables you have too start to become more creative in your menu planning and meal preparation to include vegan options So how do you do that. How can I start offering Vegan Options on my menu that are cost effective, profitable and delicious? I am glad you asked.
Before I go any further here are some reasons that you should consider offering vegan options in your menu choices.
Everyone visiting your restaurant will be included in your menu choices. No one will feel left out. As a former chef its was frustrating when customers came to my restaurant and I had to scramble to come up with a meal option because someone had a peanut or nut allergy or some other kind of food sentivity and I had to scramble to find a meal replacement because there was no pre arrangement made for those customers. This was a few years ago but things have changed now.
Caring for your customers
Having Vegan options shows that you care about your customers needs and health and that makes them happy, they will be repeat customers and they will share their experience at your eating establishment with other vegan family and friends
Easy and low cost effective ways you can incorporate vegan choices in your Menu planning
Lots of people believe that to offer vegan menu choices that it will be an expensive venture but it does not have to be so.
To create some successful and cost effective vegan menu options these are some staples that you need on hand: Vegetarian Milk, Tofu, Vegan grains Quinoa, fresh herbs and spices, Coconut water and milk, breadfruit flour, cassava flour, Vegan mayonnaise,
Some menu suggestions:
Breakfast: Plant based milk Almond milk, coconut, milk, soymilk and others
Oats, Nuts, Vegan Cheese, Fresh Fruits, Smoothie Bar, Breakfast cookies and bars, Tofu and spinach scrambled
Lunch: Caribbean Vegan Wraps, Black bean and plantain burgers, with Avocado mash up, Caribbean Vegetarian soup using coconut water or milk for the base, plantain mofongo cakes. Quinoa Salad with Breadfruit Chips, sweet potato cakes with black bean, mango salsa
Dinner: Black Bean, Kale, Avocado, and Grape Tomato Burrito Bowl.
Jackfruit Chili with brown rice pilaf and pineapple cabbage coleslaw
Baked Spaghetti Squash stuffed with Eggplant and Spinach Ratatouille
These are just a few menu samples; I hope this post helps you in implementing some easy vegan menu dish ideas into your menu planning.
The Trick is to use what you have available, experiment with the local ingredients that you have available to you,
Should you need some help in your vegan menu planning or just to chat about any special menu planning ideas send me a message and we will set up a time when we can talk one and one.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post, Should you have any other topic you will like me to cover feel free to share, Also should you have a active vegan menu implemted in your restaurant feel free to share in the comments some of your menu choices, or vegan menu