I found butter hard to give up.
Like, super hard.
I freaking love butter.
Obvs it’s best smothered over fresh, crusty bread, but I also used it for cooking. Things like risotto and even the humble mushrooms on toast really benefitted from lashings of real butter.
When I finally managed to kick dairy, I just avoided butter.
I don’t particularly like margarine so if I ever bought and it would inevitable sit festering in the fridge until I chucked it out a year or two after it had passed its expiry date.
Dairy product alternatives divide the vegan community
Some people are lucky enough not to be that fussed on cow excretions.
I am not one of those people.
I love cheese.
The good news for those of you in the same boat as me is that the cravings truly do subside. Cheese is just one of those things I can’t have, like dolphin meat, a pet mogwai or a billion pounds.
I’m over it.
All that vegan propaganda that claims that cheese is addictive? Tis true. For the first few weeks you’ll think of nothing else, and then you’ll be fine. Well, I was anyway.
This post is a guide to vegan spreads, and will not include a list of good cheese alternatives.
Why? Because I’m yet to find one I really love that’s easy to get hold of (by which I mean you can buy it in Sainsbury’s or Tesco) and won’t set me back more than a few quid.
TALK ABOUT THE FUCKING BUTTER CAROLINE
Although butter is actually the third point on my guide to vegan spreads and condiments.
I shall crack on.
Now, we have a new contender in this game that I only encountered this weekend: Hellmann’s have launched a vegan mayonnaise.
Only a couple of years ago, vegan mayo was a disgrace in the UK.
Most of ’em tasted like salad cream, which I get is fine for normal people, but I’d rather eat a tablespoon of neat Vitalite than half a teaspoon of salad cream.
There are only three mayonnaises I truly recommend.
Having said that, I will give the Sacla one an honourable mention because it ticks the boxes on both packaging (a glass jar that is great for repurposing to house spices, without the lingering basil scent you get if you reuse their pesto jars) and availability (my teeny local coop have it). The taste is not salad creamy, but also not particularly mayonnaise-y.
It’s fine to add a bit of lubrication (sorry) to sandwiches, but not, y’know, life-changing.
Ok, so here are the ones I do recommend:
A late entrant to the game, but a great one. Tastes just like regular Helmanns mayonnaise minus the cruelty.
Available (atm) from larger Tesco’s (c’mon Sainsbury’s) but I’m guessing as the popularity for vegan food continues to skyrocket it’ll be everywhere soon.
It’s packaged in a glass jar. Nice.
The absolute queen of mayonnaise.
Better than any mayo I’ve ever tried, vegan or not.
Its texture is almost mousse-y so it’s not at all greasy.
Unfortunately, it’s a devil for me to get hold of, by which I mean my local Sainsbury’s don’t have it, although some of the bigger stores do. Again, I’m sure it’s something that’ll get easier to get in the near future.
Again, glass packaging which is nice.
This is probably the easiest for most people to get hold of – it’s even in my local Tesco Express.
The taste is on point – it’s just like regular mayonnaise and it’s only £1.50. So far so good.
My problem lies with the packaging.
Not only is it in plastic, but it’s that weak-ass plastic that yields under any tiny amount of pressure, so after you’re about halfway down it becomes a bit of a chore to extract any product from the tube.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Tesco changed this soon though, with all the uproar about plastic atm.
2. Ketchup, hummus, etc. etc.
These are a vegan’s true friend. They are usually naturally vegan.
See also brown and bbq sauce, sweet chilli, the sweet nectar that is Nando’s medium sauce…
This does not mean don’t check – the people in charge love to sneak a bit of milk in where it doesn’t belong (I’m looking at you, Walker’s Oven Baked Salt & Vinegar, you bastards).
Since these are generally vegan, you’re probs wondering why I included them.
Back when I ate cheese I rather partial to that cheap-ass German smoked cheese on a bit of crusty bread. You know what’s a GREAT alternative?
The Moorish smoked hummus. I know, it sounds weird, but it truly hits that same spot.
Hummus was a great friend to me before *SPOILERS* I discovered a great vegan butter. It’s still very close to my heart. Smeared on the Coop’s olive bread and topped with chopped cherry tomatoes, sliced olives, and as much black pepper as you can be bothered to grind. The best open sandwich EVER.
If you like margarine and spreads, you’ll be a-ok switching to the vegan ones. They pretty much all taste the same.
Unfortunately, they taste to me like chemicals festering in liquidised plastic.
A fan of margarine I am not.
Vitalite is fine. Dairy-free Flora is FINE.
But nothing compares to the wonder that is Naturli’ Spreadable.
Omg it’s so good. Just like proper butter, but no cows were harmed in the making of it.
Seriously, try it. You can only get it in some Sainsbury’s (so far).
You’d have THOUGHT that guacamole would have slotted nicely into section 2 – the spreads and condiments that sure, you had to check the ingredient of, but were generally vegan.
Apparently, supermarkets up and down this fair isle have decided that adding sour cream to guacamole is absolutely the way to go.
I AM FUMING.
There is a ready-made guacamole in Sainsbury’s that is vegan, but it has a weird…thing. I’m not sure if it’s the taste, smell or texture but something about it is a bit…off.
It tastes like frozen avocado.
Yep, that’s what it is.
Did you know you can get frozen avocados? It shook me to my core when I saw them in the freezer bit at Tesco, cheap as chips.
Unfortunately, they’re gross, so stay away. The difference is not dissimilar to the difference between frozen and raw spinach – the taste is fundamentally the same but so much stronger, whilst also being far less fresh-tasting.
Conversely, blueberries were made to be frozen. They’re so much zingier and you don’t run the risk of having the odd cringingly soft one that makes you shudder.
I have digressed, but I think I’ve covered the main bits.
It may be a bit of stretch calling this the definitive guide to vegan spreads and condiments, but it includes all the stuff I wish I known when I first ditched the dairy.
If you have anything to add, a comment below would be much appreciated.
Up next (possibly Monday) should be a post on accidentally vegan things, so, in the words of every Youtuber ever, please like and subscribe!