Freelance writer from the northeast coast of England with a fondness for vegan food and punk rock.
Three Creamy Vegan Dishes
Abstaining from dairy doesn’t mean missing out on creamy goodies. There are many ways to bring creaminess to your culinary creations without bothering cattle. Plant-based products have undergone a revolution of late, and there are now all manner of milk and cream alternatives available. Plant milk is gobbling up shelf space in supermarket aisles like Pac-Man. There’s non-dairy cream, vegan ice cream, and even vegan versions of spray cream that come in a can.
Here are three creamy vegan meals, each of which uses a different base for creaminess.
Recipes on This Page
- Cream of celery soup made with a plant-based single cream
- Crepes folded over sweetcorn and mushroom in a creamy sauce made with plant milk and white wine
- Creamy vegetable curry with coconut milk
Recipe 1: Creamy Sweetcorn and Mushroom Filled Crepes
The main difference between crepes and pancakes is that crepes have no raising agent added. Crepes should be flat and pliable, not fluffed up like those pancakes we see in syrup-drizzled stacks. Some vegan batter recipes call for an egg replacement, while others go with just flour and plant milk. I tested both versions, and while the crepes with added flaxseed, which are on the right of the photo, were slightly more pliable, those without flax were a decent runner-up. So go with the flax if you have it, but if not, then don’t fret.
I find the best way to oil a pan (I use cast iron) is to dip folded kitchen paper towel in oil and spread a thin layer in the pan. Obviously, if you are using this technique, take great care.
For the crepes:
- 1 cup plain or all-purpose flour
- 1 cup plant milk
- 1 tablespoon milled flaxseeds in 2 tablespoons hot water (see the note above)
For the sauce:
- 300 millilitres (1 ¼ cups) of plant milk (I use unsweetened soya for its bland taste)
- 30 grams of vegan butter or spread
- 30 grams of plain or all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- salt and pepper
For the filling:
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup sweetcorn
- 100 millilitres (1/2 cup) of white wine
Step 1: Make the Crepes
- Mix the flax seeds with hot water. Set aside.
- Sift flour into a bowl.
- Add the flaxseed mix and plant milk, whisking as you go, until a smooth batter forms.
- Heat and lightly oil the pan.
- Pour in enough batter for one crepe (a ladle can help measure this).
- Cook for 1-2 minutes until most of the surface liquid has solidified.
- Flip the crepe with a spatula.
- Cook for about 1 minute more, and then slide the crepe onto a plate.
- Repeat until all the crepes are made.
Step 2: Make the Sauce and Filling
- Heat the butter in a pan over medium heat, and when it melts, stir in the flour until it forms a thick paste.
- Stir for 1-2 minutes to start cooking the flour.
- Stir in the plant milk.
- Slowly heat the sauce, stirring constantly. A whisk is best for this to prevent lumps from forming.
- As the milk comes to a simmer, it will thicken into a smooth sauce.
- Gently simmer on low heat for 2 minutes, stirring.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the nutritional yeast.
- In a separate pan, saute the onion in the oil until soft.
- Add the mushrooms and garlic and continue to saute, taking care not to burn the garlic.
- Add the wine and stir, so the mushrooms cook in the steam.
- When the wine has almost evaporated, pour in the sweetcorn and stir everything together.
- Transfer the sweetcorn mix to the creamy sauce and stir over medium heat until it is piping hot.
Step 3: Assemble the Crepes
- Place a crepe flat onto your plate.
- Spoon some of the filling onto one side of the crepe (be careful not to overfill it, though).
- Fold the crepe over the filling, and repeat for the other side of the plate.
- Serve, and enjoy a tasty, if inelegant, repast (have a napkin handy).
Recipe 2: Creamy Celery Soup
When I was a young roofer, my mother often made me a thermos of soup to warm me up. My favourite was her creamy celery soup, thickened with potato. Here's a vegan version, which is simple itself.
- 2 tablespoons oil (omit for oil-free)
- 1 head of celery, separated, washed and sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large or 2 small potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- vegan single cream
- Saute the onion in the oil until soft, or simmer in a little water for oil-free.
- Add the celery and potatoes, and stir.
- Cover with stock and simmer in a covered pan for 25-30 minutes, occasionally checking on the liquid level. Add more stock if needed.
- When the celery and potatoes are cooked, blend the soup in a food processor or with a hand blender.
- Pass the blended soup through a sieve to catch any stringy bits.
- Pour in the cream and reheat, stirring constantly.
- Season and serve.
What Is Nutritional Yeast?
Nutritional yeast, which sometimes goes by the name of nooch, is a deactivated yeast that is used as a food ingredient. It is a source of iron and is rich in thiamine (B1) and riboflavin (B2), and some brands are fortified with B12. It is sold in the form of granules, powder or flakes, which, when added to dishes, impart a savoury umami flavour, variously described as cheesy or nutty. The combination of B vitamins and a savoury taste make nutritional yeast popular with vegans, who use it to add flavour to soups, stews, sauces and, although I’ve yet to try it, popcorn.
Recipe 3: Creamy Vegetable Curry
For me, three elements of a good vegetable curry are potato, cauliflower and chickpeas. There are, of course, many other vegetables that go well in a curry, but for me, those three ingredients make a tasty base.
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 ‘thumb’ of ginger, finely grated
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 1 large or 2 medium potatoes, diced
- ½ cauliflower broken into small florets
- 1 can chickpeas, drained (or equivalent cooked
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder (or however you like your heat)
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 500 millilitres of vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 125 millilitres (1/2 cup) of coconut milk
- Mix the turmeric, coriander, chilli powder and cumin in a container. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onion until soft.
- Add the garlic and ginger and saute for 1 minute more.
- Add the carrot, potato and cauliflower, and continue stirring.
- Stir in the spice mix.
- Add about half of the stock, and stir the vegetables as they cook.
- Add the rest of the stock, and bring to a simmer.
- Stir in the peanut butter. It should easily dissolve in the hot liquid.
- Pour in the coconut milk and stir.
- Simmer over low heat for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Serve with rice and your favourite curry bread (in my case, sweet potato roti).