10 Basic Vegan Ingredients To Roll Out A Weeknight Dinner Menu

Written by Jillian Lai Mei Siew on Tue, 01 August 2023


There was a time when vegan food immediately conjured up images of a whole lot of green leafy vegetables, root vegetables, and fruits. Not anymore! Vegan recipes and veganism as a way of life have taken over the world with their kind agenda of saving the planet. In fact, going vegan is one of the best things you can do as an individual to help control climate change. In keeping with how important it has become to embrace this cruelty-free way of life, and also keep your tastebuds pampered at the same time, vegan dishes across the world too are witnessing interesting spin-offs with traditional ingredients not known to the world earlier.

1. Aquafaba

If this is the first time you are hearing about it, allow us to tell you that this ingredient took the world by storm with its unique emulsifying, foaming, and gelatinizing properties. So, what is Aquafaba? Aquafaba is canned bean juice (most preferably chickpeas) or the leftover liquid in which the beans have been boiled thoroughly. Completely plant-based, this liquid is packed with proteins, carbs, and plant solids that give it its unique properties.

How to use: Aquafaba is used as a replacement for eggs in multiple dessert recipes and opens up new doors for vegan gluten-free recipes. Now making fluffy cakes, meringues, buttercreams, and mousses without using dairy or eggs is very easy and possible!

Just whip up some Aquafaba, add in some healthy fat such as olive oil, your favorite flavorings and you will have your guests gorging on the most delicious homemade vegan dessert they know!

2. Flaxseeds

These might sound too boring to be on your weeknight dinner menu all by themselves. However, with some culinary efforts, flaxseeds are one of the most fiber-rich, nutritious, plant-based, and delicious seeds that you can use to make cookies with a crunch.

How to use: You can make scrumptious flaxseed cookies with the help of ground flaxseeds or flaxseed meal, as it is known. You can even use a flaxseed meal to make no-bake tarts with a filling of your choice! So, this New Year, add this unique vegan ingredient to your must-try list.

3. Vegan Yogurt

Vegan yogurts are made up of oat milk, soy milk, coconut milk, or almond milk. While these yogurts are delicious in themselves, they can also be turned into pretty vegan desserts, salad dressing, or savory spreads depending on how you use them.

How to use: You can make dessert bowls with chocolate-flavored yogurt and serve it with freshly-cut fruit. To make spreads for sandwiches or salad dressing with yogurt, you can add condiments like garlic, pepper, salt, or herbs to make it delicious. This can act very well as a party appetizer for your NYE get-together.

4. Soy chunks or textured soy protein (TSP)

Soy is a versatile plant-based ingredient that can be used in a variety of ways. Soy meat or TSP is loaded with protein and has a delicious umami flavor to it. This delicious meat alternative is widely available and popular all over the world.

How to use: Consider including soy finger food, soy curries, soy momos, or wontons stuffed with minced soy meat soya chunk rice, soy meat kebabs, etc to your New Year's eve dinner menu. What makes this ingredient a hit is that it works fabulously well as both starters as well as main course.

5. Almond flour

As the name suggests, almond flour, which has been around for a while, is made from almonds and is a great vegan source of good fats and fiber. You can attempt to replace white flour with almond flour for a gluten-free alternative.

How to use: Making loaves of flavored bread, cakes, or cookies with this flour is both healthy, tasty, and perfect for vegans!

6. Coconut milk

One of the creamiest and tastiest ingredients on the menu, coconut milk can be used in beverages, soups, main courses, and even desserts! The range of this vegan superfood is vast and its benefits with cholesterol and heart health are noteworthy.

How to use: You can try out a creamy mushroom soup with coconut cream or an all-vegan spicy Thai curry for your main course. For desserts, you can try out a coconut milk pudding with toppings of your choice. If you want to get creative and tipsy, you can mix up some delicious holiday cocktails with coconut milk and drinks of your choice.

7. Vegan Miso

Miso paste is made from fermented soybeans, salt, and a mold called koji. The fermentation of these ingredients gives the miso paste a very delicious umami flavor. It is also a great probiotic because of its fermented nature. Miso paste can be used in making soups, noodles, and ramen bowls.

How to use: If you're interested in a plant-based, dairy-free, Asian-themed dinner party, Miso soups with vegetables and Ramen bowls with miso are some lip-smacking menu options to consider.

8. Chia seeds

High in fiber, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds are a great source of mucilaginous goodness. There are several ways they can be used to make tasty dishes.

How to use: Chia seeds soaked in water overnight along with nut milk, nuts, and fresh fruits can be used in making delicious chilled chia seed puddings. It can also be added to chilled drinks or milkshakes. This cooling ingredient can be a smooth addition to your NYE's vegan menu.

9. Tofu

Made up of condensed soy milk, tofu can be used in a variety of forms in the kitchen. It is also regarded as a type of vegan cheese. It is gluten-free, plant-based, low in calories, vegan, and so good to eat! Tofu is another ingredient that can be used to make soups, easy appetizers as well as the main course.

How to use: You can try out crispy tofu with dipping sauce or tofu stir fry along with sun-dried tomatoes for appetizers. Tofu can be a main ingredient in curries, rice, or noodles as well. Baked tofu steaks with vegetables and tahini is a great main dish to add to your party food menu.

10. Nut butter

Butters made from peanuts is known as peanut butter. The same way, various other nut butters are made from hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, and pistachio nuts, etc. and are deliciously healthy and vegan.

How to use: You can use this butter on fancy fruit toasts with glazed fruit jams, or to roll out vegan desserts such as pies, tarts, cakes, or cookies for a tasty nutty flavor. Adding this plant-based ingredient to your food will enrich it with flavor, while upping its fiber content alongside.

So, go all out, and whip up a delicious vegan something for your family and friends every night with these wholesome vegan ingredients.

To know more about nutrition and healthy eating.


Jillian Lai Mei Siew

As the Product Consultant Manager of Mega BiO-LiFE, Jillian Lai Mei Siew, has the role of providing a productive team spirit among all Product Consultants to equip them with the right health nutritional information. Jillian is a BSc in Nutrition and Community Health, and a MSc in Nutritional Sciences an from Universiti Putra Malaysia. Affiliated to the Professional Affiliation Languages & Dialects Nutrition Society of Malaysia, NSM, Jillian can speak English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien and Malay.

Did you like our Article?





Not Sure




Leave a Comment

  1. Weird vegan ingredients and where to find them at allpants

Our team of experts frequently monitors developments in the health and wellness field, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

Current Version

Aug, 01 2023

Written By

Jillian Lai Mei Siew