Vegan is a term that refers to a dietary lifestyle choice, in which a person does not consume any food item containing animal byproducts, including meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, eggs, or other food additives derived from animals. Since many basic cooking and baking ingredients, such as eggs and cream, are animal products, people who follow this lifestyle may need to use vegan alternatives when they bake or cook in order to mimic the texture and taste of certain dishes. Cream is the liquid fat that is skimmed off cow’s milk and adds a smooth texture to both sweet and savory dishes. Vegan cream is an alternative to cow’s milk cream that uses vegan sources to capture the texture and taste that cream adds to foods.
One of the most common ingredients used in vegan cream is soybeans. Soybeans are the seeds that grow on the soybean plant. When soybeans are pureed with liquid, they form a product that tends to not have a discernible taste of its own; therefore, when it is combined with other flavoring agents, such as natural, plant-based sweeteners, the soybean taste won’t interfere with the flavoring agents. Pureed soybeans may be combined with natural thickeners, such as seaweed extract, to make a product that adds a similar texture to cream in dishes. If the soy-based cream is marketed for baking or desserts, it may contain natural sweeteners such as sugar beet syrup or natural vanilla beans, while soy-based cream for savory dishes may not contain any additional flavoring agents.
Other ingredients that may be used to produce vegan cream include almonds. When almonds are blended, they may also form a product that is similar to the texture of cow’s milk. Producers of the cream substitute may add natural thickening agents from plant roots or other natural products in order to make a thicker, creamier texture of the almond-based substitute.
In addition to the commercial vegan cream that is on the market, there are also foods that may be used to substitute for cream at home. Coconut milk, the sweet liquid inside of the coconut, may be used in place of cream in baking, as can cashews pureed with an equal amount of water. Silken tofu, a product made from pureed soybeans processed into a smooth block, may be blended with soy milk and flavored with herbs or sea salt to form a vegan substitute for cream in savory dishes.