Category Archives: Vegan foods

Vegan sunflower seed cheese by Hilary (Christmas 2019)


  • 2 cups raw sunflower seeds, softened (see step 1.)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup refined coconut oil
  • 4 tsp white miso paste
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric



To soften the sunflower seeds:
  1. You will first need to soften the sunflower seeds. Softening them will make them easier to blend and will result in a smoother cheese. You can either boil or soak the seeds. To boil: put the sunflower seeds in a medium-sized pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and continue to boil for 10 – 15 minutes until the sunflower seeds have softened. Drain and rinse before using. Or to soak: place the sunflower seeds in a bowl and cover the seeds with water. Soak overnight until tender. Drain and rinse before using.

To make vegan sunflower seed cheese:
  1. Add all of the ingredients to a food processor and blend until the mixture is as smooth as possible, stopping to scrape the sides as needed.

  2. Prepare your mold(s) by lining them with plastic wrap or parchment paper, or you can use a silicone mold. You can use any mold or dish you like, I used two mini springform pans to make two wheels of cheese. Once the cheese is blended, scoop the cheese mixture into a mold of choice and smooth the top. Cover and chill in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight to let the cheese firm up. The cheese will be firmer fresh out of the fridge but will soften as it sits out. Serve this vegan cheese with crackers or bread, spread on a sandwich, add to a salad, or use it anywhere you like!

Recipe Notes:

*nutrition is for 1 wheel of cheese or half of the recipe.

*The vegan cheese will keep well in an air-tight container in the fridge for about a week or this sunflower seed cheese also freezes well. Just wrap tightly then store in an air-tight container and freeze.

Infinitely Variable Festive Vegan Roast

This Christmas centrepiece is good for using what you might already have in your cupboard and can also help cut food waste (Serves 4-6 and can be eaten cold on Boxing Day).


  • 8 oz /225 g coarsely chopped nuts (brazils, hazels, cashews, peanuts or a mixture) or mashed cooked beans (e.g. kidney, butter, haricot).
  • Chopped large onion.
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed.
  • 6 oz/ 170g grains such as rolled oats or wholemeal breadcrumbs.
  • 2 tablespoons of soya or gram flour.
  • 1 tablespoon yeast extract e.g. Marmite. Alternatively, use shoyu (soy sauce).
  • 1 tablespoon herbs (thyme, sage, rosemary, mixed).
  • 15oz tin of tomatoes or equivalent in left-over cooked vegetables.
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli powder – only if you like it spicy.
  • I tablespoon of vegetable oil (sunflower, rapeseed etc).
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds – optional.
  • Pepper to taste.

Instead of oats or breadcrumbs, try crumbed leftover sandwiches and make up the quantity with buckwheat flour, barley flour, rice flour etc..


1. Mix all dry ingredients and flavourings together.
2. Either fry chopped onion with garlic or liquidise and add to dry mixture.
3. Chop tomatoes/left-over vegetables and mix in enough to make it similar to a stiff cake mixture. Add water if necessary.
4. Oil a bread tin or cake tin and fill with the mixture.
5. Place in a pre-heated oven (400F, 200C) for 30 minutes.
6. Turn out the roast and slice carefully.

Further Options:
Add sautéed chopped vegetables such as peppers, courgettes, carrots, parsnips or mushrooms prior to adding liquids to the mix.
Include a layer of fried mushrooms when the loaf tin is half full.

Serve with:
Cranberry and orange sauce (reduced sugar), mushroom sauce or a vegan gravy (available in supermarkets and health food shops but check label says vegan)
Roast parsnips
Carrot sticks
Brussel sprouts with roasted flaked almonds
Roast potatoes
Roast sweet potatoes


This recipe was created by Rob of

Egg Substitutes

Eggs play a large part in a non-vegan diet so here are a few ideas for replacements:

There are several egg replacers on the market that can be used in baking and cooking but you can also try some plant-based substitutions such as mashed bananas or flax seeds (see below).

Try out a few to see what works best for your recipe. In place of eggs to bind food together, try rolled oats, breadcrumbs, nut butters or corn starch. Again, it’s a case of experimenting to see what works best.

A great substitute for scrambled eggs is tofu scramble and you can make omelets with chickpea flour. The liquid from a tin of chick peas (called aquafaba) is a good stand-in for egg white. For that ‘eggy’ flavour, try adding some black salt (kala namak) to your dish, it can be bought in some shops or online. We have lots of egg free dishes in our Recipe section.

egg substitutions

Dairy Free Alternatives


Dairy free milk is widely available these days and there are several varieties and flavours to choose from. Some are fortified with vitamin b12 which is useful for vegans. Soya milk is the most popular choice and can be bought sweetened or unsweetened. Many supermarkets now offer their own brand of soya milk.

almondOther non-dairy milks are made from nuts or seeds and these are becoming very popular, especially almond and coconut. There are also a range of rice and oat milks on the market. All these milk alternatives can be used in place of dairy milk for drinking, cooking and baking although they do vary in taste so a little experimentation might be needed!


Many people find cheese one of the hardest foods to give up when deciding to adopt an animal free diet but vegan options are improving all the time and include soft and hard cheeses in many varieties and flavours. Unfortunately, a lot of non-dairy cheeses are highly processed so making your own is healthier and cheaper. Nutritional yeast is a good alternative to parmesan. Our Recipe section has several dairy free cheese recipes.


Chocolate is actually vegan! It’s the milk based ingredients added to it that make most chocolate unsuitable for vegans. Fortunately for vegan chocolate lovers, there are many non-dairy chocolate bars, chips and cocoa powder. Many dark chocolate bars are dairy free but check the ingredients to make sure. Why not try some vegan chocolate mousse!


sunflower seedsNon-dairy butter and margarine are made from vegetable oils or coconut and most work well in baking, cooking, and as spreads. You can also find nut and seed butters, such as those made from almond, cashew and sunflower seeds. Oils including sunflower and olive can also be a substitute or you can make your own version.



There is an array of dairy free yoghurts made from soya, coconut or rice to name a few and they have the same healthy bacteria as their dairy counterparts. Plain yoghurt is used for cooking and baking but there are also lots of fruit flavoured non-dairy yoghurts.


Coconut halvesNon-dairy creams can be made from soya or nuts and some are created using a blend of vegetable oils. It can be bought in several forms such as sour cream, whipping cream and even coffee creamers. Home made options include the use of coconut milk or cashew nuts and there are many recipes online.

Ice Cream:

bananaNon-dairy ice cream is made from dairy free milks and you can now buy vegan ice cream cones, bars and sandwiches as well as tubs. They are often lower in calories and fat than dairy ice creams. A really simple but delicious home made ice cream can be made from frozen bananas! Sorbet’s are usually vegan and can be found in most freezer sections. These are mostly fruity rather than creamy.

Meat Substitutes

Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP):

Made from defatted soya flour with a high protein content. It is highly nutritious and mainly found in the form of mince or chunks which can be added to meals in place of meat. It is inexpensive, quick to cook and has a ‘meaty’ consistency. Dried TVP keeps well which means that you can buy it in bulk, keeping costs even lower.


tofu.jpgAlso known as bean curd, it’s made from a mixture of soya beans, water and a coagulant. There are two types of tofu: soft and firm. Firm tofu is mainly used in savoury dishes whereas soft (or silken) tofu is better for sweet dishes. Tofu is a high protein, low fat food and is relatively cheap to buy although it is possible to make your own. On it’s own, it has very little taste but will absorb any flavours added to it making it very versatile. The texture of firm tofu can be improved by freezing it before cooking.


Mostly made from cooked, fermented soya beans, though there are other types. Like TVP, it is very nutritious and high in protein. It has a firm texture and a savoury, nutty flavour. Usually found in the form of slices or ‘rashers’ and also can be added to meals. It is more expensive than other meat alternatives but can be cheaper if home made.


wheat.jpgAlso known as ‘wheat meat’ because of it’s similarity to meat in look and texture. It is simply wheat flour with the starch removed and can be bought as such (vital wheat gluten) or made at home. It holds flavours really well and can be cooked in many different ways. It’s easy to make a large batch and freeze until needed.


jackfruit.jpgA relative newcomer to meat substitutes in the West although the fruit has obviously been around a long time! It’s a tropical fruit which, when young and green, has a mild flavour and  a ‘stringy’ meat consistency, making it a satisfying alternative to meats such as ‘pulled pork’ and poultry. It is high in fibre, non processed and can take on almost any flavour. It can be bought cheap at many Asian supermarkets or online.


mushrooms.jpgA surprising addition to the list you may think but a very popular brand of meat substitutes is made from fermented fungus! Mushrooms are rich in vitamins and minerals and don’t contain fat or carbohydrates. They have that ‘umami’ flavour which enhances any dish and can taste ‘meaty’. Larger varieties such as Portobello have a ‘meaty’ texture with a rich, earthy taste. They can also be grown at home.

V Meat:

This is a new one to me! If you like seitan or have never tried it because of an intolerance to gluten, then this might be worth looking into. It’s main ingredient is oats but you need to make sure you get the gluten-free variety. V meat isn’t commercially available, it is the brainchild of a gluten intolerant vegan who runs a recipe website. Her aim was to produce a ‘mock meat’ with the same characteristics as seitan. Click here for more info.

This list is by no means exhaustive. There are so many ways to substitute meat in cooking, not to mention the availability of numerous commercial products!

Todmorden Choral Society spring concert 2017 catering

Catering for Todmorden Choral Society spring 2017 concert
Some of the savoury dishes served. Inset: the sweet dishes.

Yesterday (30 April 2017),  3 Valley Vegans was asked to cater for the Todmorden Choral Society spring 2017 concert at Todmorden Town Hall. After the performance of Herakles, a new oratorio by Tim Benjamin, supper was served.

We are delighted to have been invited by Cllr Anthony H. Greenwood JP, and are indebted to the volunteers who prepared and served the tasty finger food dishes. The entirely vegan catered event was very well received, especially the bruschetta and chocolate ‘crack’ dishes. Thanks again, Hilary, Andrew and Angie for cooking, and Elizabeth, June and Phil for serving.

The ‘profit’ that 3 Valley Vegans made from this catering activity will be donated to Animal Aid, a charity who campaign peacefully against all forms of animal abuse and promote cruelty-free living.

Choral savoury dishes
Clockwise from top-left: curry pasties, bruschetta, ‘egg’ and cress butties, ‘cheese’ and grapes, sos rolls, sliced ‘meat’ baps, falafel wraps, corn fritters.
Choral shortbread
Shortbread, with vanilla creme icing and fresh fruit.
Choral chocolate crack
Chocolate ‘crack’ (warning: very more-ish)