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Vegan questions - Help requested

I'm going camping with omnivores, vegetarians, and a vegan. And I'm gluten-free (celiacs disease). We are on our own for breakfast and lunch, but are doing dinner together. I've been combing through Vegan cookbooks and Gluten-Free cookbooks trying to find recipes that work for BOTH and that you can do while camping. (No oven. OK, we'll have a very small one, but not large enough to cook an entree for 10 peeps)

Many vegan recipes are heavy on bread and pasta. And while I can do shitty gluten-free bread and pasta once in a while, it's not something I enjoy. No one else will enjoy it, either. Looking at gluten-free recipes, many of them call for dairy (especially cheese and butter) eggs or honey. Or sugar. So here are my questions.

What do vegans use in place of butter? That margarine stuff? Is that acceptable? What one tastes the best and not like greasy wax?

Sugar - do Vegans use it or not?

Is there a such thing as fake eggs? And are they OK or nasty? Do they really work as a binding agent in cooking?

I tried those fake meat crumbles and GAH those are horrible. I'm thinking of using diced portabella in place of meat - is that normal for vegans?

What should I use in place of milk for recipes? And no - I've tried soy milk and that's not going into a cream sauce.

Is there a problem with cornstarch for vegans? I mean it is it sifted through bambi fur or some other process I don't know about?

I just ordered a gluten-free vegan cookbook so hopefully that will help. Heh ... +David Salisbury are going to make cooking so much fun while camping. Between us, we have pretty much eliminated every food group but fruit and veggies.
Beckstar Cox's profile photoKelly Hatcher's profile photoGareth Dart's profile photoBob Howes's profile photo
Butter- Earth Balance is a great brand, all vegan. "Smart Balance" is a different brand that has some vegan types. Other randoms types of genetic margarine are dairy-free. For generics, label checking is good.

Sugar- Most try to use unbleached as the bleaching process requires bone char by some companies. Many dont really worry about it though. I know I dont.

Eggs- As an ingredient? Easy! There are lots of options depending on what you are making. Ener-G Egg Replacer is the easiest and you can also use things like banana, soft tofu, and applesauce.

For milk- Soy isn't the only kind. I try to not use soymilk all the time so I switch it up with Almond Milk, Rice Milk, and sometimes Hemp Milk (although hemp milk is an aquired taste). Almost milk is usually seen as the most milk-like when not using soy.

Cornstarch- All fine. Ive never heard of any concern around it.

Thorn is wheat and soy free so when she was staying in DC I made things that were soy, gluten, wheat, AND dairy free all combined. Keeping the foods simple were what helped most. I made a couple fancy things but mostly they were just regular, whole foods with some slight alterations to keep em interesting.
When it comes to appeasing vegans, I usually go with some form of vegetarian Mexican food. Corn tortillas, avocado, beans, rice, onions, tomatoes, etc. The key to any good cooking is simple ingredients and spices.
I've seen "vegan butter", although the packaging resembled margarine more so... never looked too closely at it... when I played with vegan recipes they usually didn't contain butter...

Vegans tend to gravitate to whole foods and avoid processed stuff, so depending how strict they are about it they may use sugar, or stevia... probably a forgivable offence if you use sugar and they prefer not to

I have a box of powdered egg replacer, so yes, fake eggs... generally used for baking recipes like muffins say... if it's baked into something like that you really don't notice the difference... sometimes bananas can bind instead of eggs, easy to google that sort of thing if you have time to see what you are looking into

BBQing burgers, I've seen replaced with large portabella, or eggplant (YUM!)

I prefer almond milk... sometimes coconut milk is a good workaround too...

not sure on cornstarch, don't use it much myself...
I am mostly-vegan and gluten free at the same time, so I feel your pain.

1) There are vegan sweetener options that work in place of sugar. Some vegans are fine with it, but hardcore vegans will cringe. Maple syrup is good if you don't mind the flavor it adds (I never ever do. /grin ) otherwise agave nectar is a wonderful sweetener that doesn't add any real flavor. Some vegans can do stevia, but I can taste it and don't like the bitterness it brings.

2) The butteriest non-butter I've found has been Earth Balance. (I think that's the name. It comes in gold foil for the bars). It's not as good as real butter, but it's as close as vegans can come so far.

3) Fake eggs ... depends on what you're doing. If you're baking and need less than three eggs, you can use flax eggs (flax seed and warm water allowed to sit and form a gloop). If you need a lot of eggs or anything that needs to look/feel like eggs, that won't work. If you want something for a "scrambled egg" tofu works VERY nicely and there are some good recipes out there for that.

4) Fake meat is almost always a no-go for GF vegans. Most fake meats are actually made from wheat gluten. =]

5) Give almond milk a try. It's never going to pass the "glass of milk" test, but for anything else, it's been my savior. I don't like soy, and my husband hates it. We both love almond milk. I've used it as a coffee creamer, in baking (nobody at work noticed their pudding and cake was made with non-dairy milk), and oatmeals and stuff.

6) I think cornstarch is okay for vegans, but I'm not positive. I'm the sort of mostly-vegan that's fine with sugar, so I didn't do that kind of research.

7) I have yet to find a vegan+gf cookbook that makes me happy. Many vegan books are heavy on the gluten AND heavy on the processed fake meats. Many GF are heavy on the meats and alternative gf options. When making this dietary decision and change, I wanted to learn how to eat BETTER, and as a result I've had to do a lot of creative stuff.

I know that The Happy Herbivore Cookbook has many lovely GF recipes marked, and some that can be easily made GF without much trouble.

Also, I love Oh She Glows as a recipe source. Love. Lovelovelove. Have gotten a vegan friend totally and hopelessly hooked on it.
Favorite recipes include her overnight oats
> >
and the BEST mac n cheese ever (we use GF noodles and add black beans, corn, and tomatoes still with lovely fresh juice

But honestly, about half my recipe keepers come from her site.

Pure 2 Raw is another site I follow. Since I'm not a raw foodie, not all of their stuff appeals to me, but they're GF and sometimes have really great stuff.

If you're grilling, portabello mushroom caps are GLORIOUS (I use steak seasoning and a little olive oil on mine). Also? You can slice the neck of a butternut squash and make "steaks" that are gorgeous.

Since you're camping, you can't do things like lentil soups (loves me some lentils) and roasted chickpeas. You could prepare some things ahead of time and make your own baked beans. Vegan marshmallows on sticks with some organic chocolates would be loverly (many of the organic chocolates are also dairy-free). Honestly, I'd think just the marshmallows would be fun.

Bananas and peanut butter mixed make a lovely base for any kind of energy/travel bar. Just add oatmeal and your favorite bits of dried or non-dried fruits, wrap in saran wrap, and pack an extra napkin or two.

Asparagus spears grill up a treat.

Wedges of an ordinary green cabbage, roasted and drizzled with salt, balsamic vinegar, and some sweetener are remarkably glorious.

Corn on the cob! That's a good one, though it's early in the year for the sweet corn to be truly sweet. Squeeze a lime over it and you'll never dot it with butter again.

Aaaand that was long enough to burn anyone's brain. Feel free to email me if I can help. ^_^
Here's a recipe for a Camper's Six Bean Soup from a bean cookbook I have:

2 cups each: dried white, red and dark red kidney beans, black, yellow eyed and romano beans.
1 1/2 cups millet OR long grain rice
1/4 cup chili powder
2 tbsp each dried parsley and basil
1 tbsp each ground thyme, marjoram and sage
1 tbsp dehydrated granulated garlic
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp crushed red chili pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 1/2 cups dehydrated chopped onions
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp granulated sugar
6 bay leaves

In a large bowl thoroughly mix the assorted beans and measure 2 cups into each of six storage bags.
add 1/4 cup millet to each bag.
In a small food processor, or mortar w pestle, combine the seasonings then divide evenly among six small bags.
tuck one bag of seasonings in with each bag of beans.

- makes six bags, each of which is eight servings.

To make up the soup just rinse the bean mixture, then put it in a large, heavy, soup kettle with 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until beans are almost tender.
Stir in seasonings; simmer, stirring frequently and adding water as needed, for 45 to 60 minutes until beans are tender.

-fair warning: I have not tried this myself, so do not know how it actually tastes. Also: serious vegans avoid sugar because it is processed using bone meal.
think Mexican (already stated) or Mediterranean (falafal, hummus, veggies). Portobello mushrooms are great for grilling. Tempeh that has been marinated is also good for grilling. Have you tried almond milk?
Coconut oil can work (though I don't know about a baking substitute). Quinoa is a great high protein, GF grain. I make salads with it - usually Mediterranean in flavor. Chili made with lentils instead of meat. Good luck!
I forgot about coconut oil! it is a vegan godsend! Great for cooking, baking, massage oil, and super healthy!
You can totally do beans in a dutch oven, and then put it on the coals to cook for a couple hours while doing other things. Baked potatoes wrapped in foil and put in the fire. "Hobo stew" -- Have a variety of ingredients - chopped veggies, cubed tofu for the veg*ns or meat for the carnies, wrapped in a foil pouch and, once again, put in the fire to cook.

You can find sugar (usually organic) at WFM and other places that is marked as "suitable for vegans". It's not terribly more expensive than regular sugar.

Everyone likes quinoa, and it's gluten free. If you're wanting something to substitute for cream in a sauce, you can't go wrong with a can of coconut milk, but it may add a slight sweetness and/or Asian flair. That's never bothered me, but you may want to experiment with any recipe adjustments before you go.

I don't think this has to actually be as hard as you think it is. We've been eating gf vegan alot lately. Here's a board I created on pinterest with a bunch of recipes. Not all of them are great for camping (although some would be good snacks to make ahead of time).
When I was vegan, I just used olive oil in lieu of butter. But then, I didn't bake.
You can bake with olive oil, but I'd suggest using coconut oil instead. It's a more neutral flavor and closer to butter in consistency and behavior while baking. Just avoid any puff pastries- you just can't do those without lots of butter.
The downside to cooking with oil instead of a butter or butter-alternative is that it can make baked goods fall flat or become heavy. If you've ever eaten a vegan muffin from an inexperienced vegan baker and it feels like a 10 pound brick, thats why.
Same thing happens with gluten free baked products +David Salisbury. If you aren't used to using alternative flours it's like a nasty brick.
I'm going to ping my brother, +Kelly Hatcher, because he's used to preparing food for camping for large groups of people with diverse dietary needs.
Almond milk is fantastic!! And as for bread, if you can find Kinninnick they're AWESOME breads! They also started making some wonderful corn based pasta that doesn't taste like badly reformed rice.
And as I just read over the other comments...coconut oil is a life saver. I've used it a bit for baking, though admittedly...I've lost the touch for baking since going gluten free.

And if you do the corn tortillas...just remember to fry them first or they taste like cardboard.

Vanilla flavored almond milk won't kick you in the face with an almond flavor. It's more like milk kids like to drink after cereal. Silk makes a really awesome one. We've used it for baking and the only thing is it makes it a touch sweeter. But we'll soak Swaii catfish in it, bread it in sorghum flour and it's pure happiness!

There is also a coconut milk by So Delicious and a coconut and almond milk by Blue Diamond. They can be wonderful for cooking if you like the taste of coconut.
I really like drinking chocolate almond milk... although I can't say I've ever looked too close at the ingredients on Blue Diamond's box... if you do get any - go for sweetened! Unsweetened not so yummy for drinking...
If you can boil a large pot of water at your campsite your situation becomes much easier. What we do when cooking for 10 or more in a camp group is to cook casseroles, stews, quiches or similar "one pan feeds 4-6" dishes in advance. Freeze, pop into a seal-a-meal, boil on site. This also solves complex and/or conflicting dietary requirements by allowing you to have two dishes per meal, each one meeting a different dietary need. Slip a frozen fruit pie into the water while eating dinner, and after dinner you still have heated water for cleaning up ;-}
I'm not an expert on vegan cuisine in any way, shape or form, but if you have leccy hookup at the site, taking a slow cooker is a brilliant thing to do. You set it going as you leave the tent and it's ready when you get back at the end of the day. Works best with a circuit breaker attached, obviously, from a peace of mind point of view. That might open up the range of available options for you.

And no comment on anything even tangentially related to veganism would be complete without the acerbic scottish comedian Frankie Boyle's classic one liner from Mock the Week: 'there's a vegan option: you can &*$! off' ;-)
On a couple of your specific questions, a step daughter went vegan for a while and she was happy with mushrooms as a "protein" substitute--and she used margarine (a nut oil based one from memory though she'd also use my olive oil one sometimes too) instead of butter.

One dish I remember her liking that we all ate was a mushroom risotto by the way--probably quite doable in a camp situation. I'd pull hers out before adding a dollop of grated parmesan at the end.
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