No matter if you’re a gifted chef, a hack, or a disaster around the kitchen, these chefs make vegan cooking (and eating) look easy and fun. If you like what you see, be sure to subscribe to their YouTube channels.
I think we need to start viewing meat consumption like smoking cigarettes. Because despite the negative impacts on human health, despite the cruelty to animals, and despite the environmental degradation, human beings are still eating too much meat. It truly boggles the mind. We still have a ways to go in terms of shifting culture to a healthier, more compassionate, and more environmentally responsible world.
A new study published in Science reveals that meat consumption is not declining as quickly as it should be, despite all of its negative consequences.
Meat consumption is:
Static or declining in higher income countries
Remains low and is stable in lower income countries
Is increasing rapidly in middle income countries
Total Meat Consumption (in Million Metric Tons) Around the World
Shouldn’t meat consumption be in rapid decline everywhere?
Looking at climate change alone, the meat industry is a huge culprit in global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As the study in Science revealed, the meat industry’s contribution to GHGs far outweighs that of plant-based foods.
Meat and Its Impact on Climate Change
The problem is that meat consumption is increasing in countries where wealth is increasing, including China and countries in East Asia. While people obviously eat meat for the nutrition, sadly, it has also become a status symbol.
The China I Experienced in ’85
I traveled to China on a high school trip in 1985. A memory that’s imprinted in my mind is when we visited an outdoor market in Beijing. I remember watching an ancient woman with impossibly tiny feet (undoubtedly from the era when they bound young girls’ feet to keep them small), looking at a bunch of dead rats that were lined up on a cloth on the street. She was poking them with her cane, evidently trying to determine which one would be the best to bring home, cook, and eat.
Teenage me, a vegetarian at the time, was appalled. Despite my judgement, I knew enough to understand that this lady didn’t have many other options for protein. I was surviving on rice and beer on that trip. We couldn’t eat the vegetables due to the risk of typhoid, and I wasn’t finding tofu anywhere. Our teachers allowed us to drink beer when there was no bottled water available.
Beijing in the 1980s vs. Today
I haven’t been to China since that trip, so the images I see of China today are unrecognizable from the country I visited over three decades ago. Gone are images of people in black and navy blue Chairman Mau suits riding simple black bicycles. Now, I see images of staggering high rises and super highways with Audis and BMWs. And stylish Chinese men and women with Louis Vuitton laptop bags. So, if that old woman’s great grandchildren are enjoying Chicken McNuggets and McDonald’s pork burgers today, I understand why.
But just as cell phones leapfrogged land lines in developing countries, I sure wish plant-based eating would leapfrog meat consumption in these developing world countries. I want to scream:
‘Learn from our mistakes! See our heart disease and water pollution! See how we love our pets and other animals! Don’t f#@% things up the way we have so you have to work so hard to fix it all!’
Countries Where Veganism Is on the Rise
One country whose wealth is increasing but where meat consumption is not increasing is India. This is due to India’s longstanding cultural beliefs around vegetarianism. In India, 35% of people are vegetarians. Culture dictates our food preferences, and I think it’s going to be the most critical factor in moving more people to plant-based eating. We’re already starting to see veganism flourish in the U.S. and elsewhere.
In 2014, only 1% of Americans said they were vegan, while in 2017, that number has risen to 6%.
In the UK, over the past decade, veganism has risen by 350%.
In Portugal, over the past decade, the number of vegetarians increased by 400%.
Even China is trying. According to FoodRevolution.org, the Chinese government is encouraging its 1.3 billion people to reduce their meat consumption by 50%. And research suggests that China’s vegan market will grow more than 17% by the year 2020.
The Cultural Shift
Margaret Mead said, “It’s easier to change a man’s religion than his diet,” and we all know, it’s pretty damn hard to change people’s religions. I get that meat can be an important source of protein and nutrients for people, but the fact remains that we don’t need it to be healthy, or to even enjoy life for that matter. But food habits are hard to change. I know there are economic and geographical factors that make transitioning to a plant-based diet more difficult in some countries than in others. Heck, it’s even more difficult in some U.S. states than others. But I truly believe that meat consumption is a cultural problem, and that it needs to be solved with cultural means.
In addition to scientists and doctors studying the problems associated with meat consumption and sharing the data with the public, animal rights activists and vegan chefs, athletes, celebrities, and other influential people are making it easier and even inspiring for people to transition to a plant-based diet.
We Need a Meat Tax
I’m also in favor of taxing meat the way we do cigarettes. The article in Science noted an experiment in Denmark that took place in 2011-2012. Danes put a tax on foods that contained saturated fat, which raised the prices of some meat products by 15%. The tax resulted in reduced consumption of food products that were high in saturated fat, including minced beef. Then, they modeled long-term health outcomes, and the results suggested a reduction in non-communicable diseases and premature death.
Examining Our Thought Processes
Meat is simply outdated in our modern world because it’s so problematic. But too many people still view it as normal. According to the study by Science, “Studies of how people justify to themselves the consumption of meat show that belief that it is ‘natural, normal, necessary, or nice’ explains the large majority of variance in consumption… Precisely because meat consumption is a ‘normal’ part of the diet, often the routine center of the main meal, the ‘choice’ to consume it goes largely unexamined.”
To Eat Meat or Not to Eat Meat: Which Side Are You on?
Motivation and Interventions that Target Automatic and Deliberative Decision-Making
Veganism: the New Normal
We need to stop making meat eating normal. It’s too destructive to be “normally acceptable” behavior anymore. In the 1970s, smoking cigarettes was normally acceptable behavior. Whereas today, in most parts of the U.S., smoking is frowned upon. As someone who has food addictions, I empathize with people who are addicted to nicotine. Too many addictions are incredibly hard to kick. But if your culture and society are unsupportive in helping you to kick your addiction, it can be nearly impossible.
The tide is turning, we just need to make it happen faster – for our own health, for animals, and for or planet. Come on, my nature- and animal-loving friends, let’s keep pushing the envelope!
As someone who is a challenged chef, I really appreciate Brandi Doming’s vegan recipes because they all contain just eight ingredients. Brandi is a full-on Renaissance woman, with skills and talents beyond cooking, but her healthy vegan recipes will make you believe this is her true calling. Check out her blog to learn more about how she healed her husband’s health challenges by switching the family to a plant-based diet. You can get the recipe to this smooth, fresh salsa here. And you can check out her cookbook here.
2. Simple Guacamole by Loving It Vegan
As a fellow INFJ on the Myers Briggs Personality Test, Allison of Loving It Vegan is a girl after my own heart. On her 100% vegan food blog, which she creates with the help of her sweetheart Jaye and their two kitties, Allison writes openly about evolving beyond dieting and watching her weight to embracing healthy vegan eating and a healthy state of mind. After all, it’s what is in your head and heart that matters, not your shape or size. You can get her yummy guac recipe here.
3. Buffalo Hummus Dip by the No Meat Athlete (Compliments of Oh She Glows)
Vegan chef extraordinaire Angela Liddon of Oh She Glows gives a shout-out to her pal Matt Frazier, aka the No Meat Athlete, for this delicious buffalo hummus recipe. Matt created this recipe because he missed the spicy sauce used in traditional buffalo wings. You can get the full recipe here.
Vegan 4th of July Salads and Sides
4. Spinach, Blueberries, Strawberries, and Quinoa Salad by the Simple Veganista
I was on a quest to find a red, white, and blue vegan salad and Julie of the Simple Veganista delivered! An ambassador for the vegan food movement, Julie’s philosophy is to share her “celebration of foods that are clean, as nutrient-dense as possible, and cruelty free, taking the focus off of animal products and processed foods.” This beautiful salad is sure to be a crowd pleaser. You can get the recipe here.
5. Corn on the Cob by Nikki Vegan
Nikki Vegan is not only a popular vegan YouTube chef, she’s also a vegan eating coach, sharing “What I Are Today” videos that show you how to eat vegan when you’re on the run, traveling, or just trying to save money. You can get her vegan corn on the cob recipes here, and be sure to check out to her YouTube channel.
6. Vegan Cole Slaw by Cooking with Plants
Anja Cass is another popular vegan chef who found her way to a healthier lifestyle by embracing plant-based eating. Now she shares her delicious recipes with the world. After reading The China Study, she became vegan “almost overnight” and lost 50 pounds in four months. Check out her site Cooking with Plants, and you can get her yummy vegan cole slaw recipe here.
7. Vegan Mashed Potatoes from the Minimalist Baker
Dana Shultz of the Minimalist Baker is a cookbook author, photographer, and all around uber ambassador to get more people over to the plant-based side of life. All of her recipes use 10 ingredients or less and the variety of dishes will have your drooling over her blog for a very long time. You can get this recipe for vegan mashed potatoes with their big slab of yes-that’s-vegan-butter here. And you can see her cookbooks here.
8. Vegan Baked Beans by the Whole Food Plant Based Cooking Show
Inspired by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of the popular book Eat to Live, Jill created the Whole Food Plant Based Cooking Show to help others find health through clean, plant-based eating. All of her recipes are free of refined sugar, oil, and salt. You can get her baked beans recipe, made with heirloom beans, here.
9. Vegan Mac and Cheese by Preacher Lawson
Is he a comedian or a chef? He’s both! No matter what kind of mood I’m in, Preacher Lawson always puts a smile on my face. The first cooking video of his that I saw was one for vegan fried “chicken,” which I featured in my post about Decadent Vegan Recipes, and which was super popular with UniGuide visitors. I suppose this recipe for vegan mac and cheese could have gone in that post too – because it’s richly delicious! This one will be a crowd pleaser with kids and grownups alike. You can get the recipe here and be sure to check out more of Preacher’s hilarious videos here.
Vegan 4th of July Main Courses
10. Grilled Caribbean Veggie Kebabs
While there are a lot of recipes in this post that offer great-tasting vegan substitutes for traditional 4th of July meat dishes, I get that there are times when you just want your veggies and nothing else will do. In my experience, vegans often fall into two camps: those who have zero interest in meat substitute vegan dishes and those who are more “omnivorous” in their culinary pursuits, as long as it’s still vegan. So, I thought – we definitely need some veggie kebabs in this post for the only-vegetables-please vegans!
While The Caribbean Pot does offer meat dish recipes, I like that founder Chris De La Rosa offers a number of vegan and vegetarian recipes too. You can get the recipe for these veggie kebabs here.
11. Vegan Cheeseburger Recipe from Tasty
And then there are those among you who can’t get over cheeseburgers. And why should you, when there are recipes like this one from Tasty? The BuzzFeed of viral cooking videos, Tasty offers tons of over-the-top yummy vegan recipe videos, and this plant-based cheeseburger is no exception. The burger is made with black beans, walnuts, mushrooms, and other savory ingredients, and you can top it off with your favorite vegan cheese and other fixins’. Get the full recipe here.
12. Vegan Hot Dogs by Hot for Food
The queen of vegan comfort food, Hot for Food creator Lauren Toyota makes vegan cooking fun to watch and fun to eat. She’s got a new cookbook out called Vegan Comfort Classics that’s sure to appeal to foodies everywhere, both vegan and not so vegan. Check out how she makes this decadent vegan hot dog with relish when she goes head-to-head with her co-host John in their vegan hot dog making competition.
13. Gluten-Free Vegan Fried “Chicken” by Mary’s Test Kitchen
Another 4th of July recipe that’s sure to win over the carnivores is this vegan fried un-chicken recipe by Mary’s Test Kitchen. Not only is it vegan, it’s also gluten-free. Mary offers a variety of vegan recipes on her site, which has a section dedicated to special diets, including soy-free, nut-free, gluten-free, and more. You can get here sumptuous vegan fried “chicken” recipe here.
14. Sticky Vegan BBQ “Ribs”
You can tell that Gaz Oakley, creator of the Avant-Garde Vegan, is living in the zone, pursuing his life’s purpose. Whether you like to cook or not, his passion for creating delicious vegan dishes will have you enthralled as you watch his cooking videos on YouTube. His recipe for vegan “ribs” will surely win over your most hardcore carnivore family members and friends. You can get the full recipe here. And you can find his cookbook here.
Vegan 4th of July Desserts
15. Red, White, and Blue Piña Colada Popsicles
Marina, creator of the Yummy Mummy Kitchen, shares healthy recipes, travel stories, and gardening tips in her lovely blog. She studied education and art in school, but confesses that cooking is her favorite art form. You can get the recipe for these fun, 4th of July-inspired piña colada popsicles here.
16. Vegan Apple Pie
Fully embracing her inner sweet tooth, Nicole of Sweet Like Cocoa creates delectable vegan treats with whole ingredients. With gorgeous photos and vegan spins on traditional treats, Sweet Like Cocoa will make you want to get off your phone and into the kitchen so you can start baking. Get the recipe for this delicious vegan apple pie here.
17. Summer Berry Cashew Cream Pie by One Green Planet
I’ve been reading One Green Planet for eons it seems, and I’ve been psyched to see them increasingly promote a vegan lifestyle and educate people about animal welfare and wildlife conservation issues. It’s sort of hard to believe that there was actually a time when people didn’t make the connection between environmental issues and how we eat. One Green Planet is helping people make that connection. One of the ways they’re doing this is by sharing delicious vegan recipes with the world. This red, white, and blue berry cashew cream pie looks over the top delicious and I can’t wait to make it! You can get the recipe here. Thanks, OGP and all of you vegan chefs. You are making the world a better place!
Tuna salad is a favorite food for a lot of people, and as it’s packed with protein and omega 3 oils, many think of it as a healthy food. You don’t have to click too far to find a ton of recipes claiming to be the best tuna salad recipe ever. You can find traditional tuna salad sandwiches sold at virtually any mini market or sandwich shop in America. Tuna salad is a crowd-pleaser for sure, but is it really healthy? Read our blog post “Is Tuna Good for You?” and you’ll think twice about ever eating it again. This is why we set out to find the best vegan “tuna” salad recipes we could find. A lot of people love the taste of tuna salad, so we wanted to offer some delicious vegan alternatives that don’t have the many drawbacks that eating real tuna fish does.
I was a vegetarian for three decades before I became completely (and consistently) vegan a few years ago. When I was a vegetarian, I was pretty much vegan except that certain foods were really hard to resist – namely pizza and baked goods, like scones and cookies. But over the past few years, vegan foods have come into their own, and it’s not too hard to find delicious vegan pizzas and baked treats, whether they’re in the prepared food sections or the frozen food aisle at healthy grocery stores. Going back to when I was a vegetarian, there was one food that was also hard to resist – and that was tuna salad sandwiches. Thankfully, today’s vegan chefs are making it easier to replicate tuna salad with delicious plant-based alternatives that are far healthier for you and a lot more environmentally sustainable.
If you’re having trouble giving up eating fish, all I can ask is that you give at least one of these plant-based tuna salads a try. You may be pleasantly surprised.
1. Vegan Chickpea “Tuna” Salad by Sweet Potato Soul
Her Vegan Chickpea “Tuna” Salad recipe is a classic that’s bound to win over any traditional tuna salad lover. She provides two versions, one of which has avocado in it. Why not make both? Yum!
Here’s her video on how to make it:
2. Mock Tuna Salad by Cooking with Plants
Anja Cass, founder of Cooking with Plants, could entice anyone to go vegan with her delicious and healthy vegan recipes, and she can inspire anyone too. Years ago, when dealing with low energy and health challenges, including a heart aneurysm, she sought out a healthier way of existing. She picked up a copy of The China Study and it changed her life. She says she went vegan almost “overnight,” and subsequently lost 50 pounds in four months.
Her Mock Vegan Tuna Salad recipe is easy to make and has a plant-based taste of the sea. It incorporates miso paste, sweet and sour pickle juice, and nori. Plus, it includes raw sunflower seeds and jackfruit. Check out Anja’s video, and be sure to visit her site for more recipes at CookingWithPlants.com.
3. Non-Tuna Tuna by Aqiyl
Aqiyl Aniys is the author of several books that focus on plant-based eating. He has a certificate from Cornell on plant-based nutrition and his alkaline Non-Tuna Tuna Salad recipe takes a different spin on vegan tuna salad. It incorporates walnuts, tomato, and key limes. Check out Aqiyl’s video, and you can find more info on his website AqiylAniys.com. You can find his books on plant-based eating on Amazon.
If these over-the-top delicious vegan tuna salad recipes haven’t distracted you yet, and you’re still thinking about the old kind of tuna salad, then do check out our post:
We’ve heard it a gazillion times: “It’s just too hard to go vegan…” and “I can’t live without…” Blah blah blah… Thankfully, the world is changing, and vegan chefs like the ones featured here are helping to make it happen. Here are some decadent vegan dishes to tempt you over to the V Side, and if you’re already here, enjoy the ride! Be sure to check out these superstar vegan chefs’ YouTube channels for more delicious recipe ideas. And we’ll be adding more here soon.
The Sweetest Vegan is true to her name, offering irresistible vegan desserts and what we call “fast-food redemption” recipes. For those foodies who are on the fence about going vegan and don’t think they can give up their Big Macs and McDonald’s apple pies, think again! The Sweetest Vegan may very well be the chef who brings you over to the plant-based side!
Oh pizza! It’s one of those foods that stands between ‘I think I should go vegan, but I can’t live without…’ and ‘I have seen the light! I am now 100% vegan!!’ Never fear, Gaz is here. Gaz Oakley, aka the Avant-Garde Vegan, is truly a food artist – almost to the point of total intimidation. His cooking style and vegan creations look so amazing that you sit back in awe as you watch his videos. Then you realize – ‘I gotta have that!’ And you make your shopping list and run to the store.
How do these two make vegan cooking with your main squeeze look so fun and so easy? Maybe it’s because they’re constantly getting to each other’s hearts through their stomachs… However they do it, these nachos are the real deal!
All we can say about this one is – we want mo’ Preacher Lawson vegan recipe videos! People used to think being vegan meant being deprived. Those of us on the inside (the vegans and the people who eat vegan food :o) know that eating plant-based can be – not only decadent, but hilarious!
Some people go vegan because they want to lose weight. For those of us who can’t be bothered, there is Adilicous… What happens when you cross a trained pastry chef with some vegan ingredients? You get a very dangerous and delicious cocktail of some uber decadent treats. (Adilicous does provide non-vegan recipes, but we’re sure they’ll be even better when you make them with your vegan substitutes!)
Trained in Quebec, the Buddhist Chef brings simplicity and ease into making delicious vegan meals and treats. He loves to teach the vegan curious and the vegan converts alike, and provides easy-to-follow videos for recreating his healthy recipes.
Bella Kristina! The queen of positive vibes and raw vegan recipes that make you beam with vitality. You can’t go wrong with her rocky road vegan ice cream. And be sure to check out her other inspiring and sincere real-life videos on her YouTube channel.
I think I had margaritas on the brain yesterday because it was Cinco de Mayo, so I made this delicious smoothie as a stand-in. It’s sort of like a cross between a margarita and a piña colada, but without the alcohol. (But if you want to add in a little white rum or tequila and triple sec, who am I to say no?)
Ingredients: Lime Piña Colada Smoothie Recipe
2 cups of chopped ripe pineapple
1 ripe banana
2 limes – juiced
1/2 cup of coconut milk
Pop them in the blender and go!
If you don’t use frozen fruit, you can throw in some ice. You can also add greens, such as spinach, for nutrition and if you want more of a green color to go with the lime-theme.
I like a “limey” taste so the smoothie can be a little tart with the juice from 2 limes. You can add in some stevia to sweeten it up.
When I have bananas that are getting too ripe before I get a chance to eat them, I peel them, cut them up, and put them in the freezer. They’re great as frozen snacks by themselves or in smoothies, of course.
This will serve 1-2 people, depending on your appetite!
It’s well known that many people dislike Brussels sprouts. Maybe it’s the smell, maybe the texture, but most likely – it’s the bitter taste, especially if they’re not prepared properly. But when Brussels sprouts are prepared well, they can win people over. And they’re worth eating because of their extraordinary health benefits: they help lower cholesterol, they’re high in fiber, and they’re known to be cancer fighters and DNA protectors. Here’s a recipe I pulled together that’s always been popular with family and friends.
Ingredients: Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Arugula Salad
12-15 Brussels sprouts, stems cut, and first layer of leaves peeled
2 cups of arugula, chopped
1 cup roasted pine nuts
2 shallots, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbs. of butter (vegans and those cutting down on animal fat can skip this one!)
Blanch sprouts in boiling water for 2 minutes, remove, drain, and place in ice bath to stop cooking. Drain again.
Push Brussels sprouts and arugula through a food processor with slicing attachment. Do not puree.
Sear pine nuts in dry skillet, stir occasionally until golden, then set aside.
Sauté shallots in olive oil and butter until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Do not brown.
Mix Brussels sprouts and arugula mixture with shallots. Add couple tbs. of water, salt, and pepper.
There’s nothing like a good smoothie to get some serious nutrition into your hard working body–fast. And you can mix in a lot of vegetables with the fruit for a tasty way to get your greens for the day. Even though anything goes when it comes to making a smoothie, it doesn’t hurt to follow guidelines from the pros on what makes the ideal blend.
Here Are 12 of Our Favorite Vegan Smoothie Recipe Videos
Here Are the Creators of the Vegan Smoothies Featured in this Post:
I really enjoy cooking and eating nuts and grains. And I especially like this vegetarian dish as a way to satisfy meat lovers because it’s substantive and really tasty. I prefer it warm, but you can also serve it cold as a salad. I call it “Jazzy” because it invites improvisation–you can get creative with all sorts of additions or alternatives to the ingredients below, such as sun-dried tomatoes, figs, walnuts, flaxseed, grapes, quinoa, spinach, and sweet corn–you get the idea!
3 cups vegetable stock and 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
1 cup farro
½ cup Israeli / pearl couscous
½ cup toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 celery stalks, cut on ½ inch diagonals
3 cups kale (I recommend Tuscan kale), torn in pieces, stems removed
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly-sliced
2 garlic cloves diced
8-10 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup Italian parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
Combine stock, bouillon, 1 tablespoon salt and farro in a pot, bring to a low boil, cover and cook for 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally. When tender but still crunchy, remove and drain. Set aside to cool.
Combine 2 cups of water, couscous and 1 teaspoon of salt, bring to boil, and cook for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Heat pine nuts in a dry skillet, stirring frequently until golden. Be careful not to burn them.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, combine celery and onion. Stir and cook until onion and celery are tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add the kale, ½ of the tomatoes, and garlic.
When kale is tender (about 5 minutes), remove from heat. In a serving bowl, combine all ingredients with farro and couscous. Sprinkle with parsley and remaining tomatoes. Salt and pepper to taste.
Here are some delicious vegan Mexican dishes from some of our favorite YouTube chefs. (These recipes were originally shared on Cinco de Mayo, hence the cool dude above.) Mexican food is great food for vegetarians, vegans, and even those who are just trying to get a little more plant-based protein into their life because of the combination of beans and rice, plus tons of vegetables!