Vegan food products D-M

Fish fingers and fishless fishcakes

Redwood Foods versions of these are sold in Holland and Barrett, Asda and wholefoods shops.

Gravy granules

Just because you're feeding a vegetarian or vegan doesn't mean they have to have 'vegetarian' gravy (you know, the thin watery stuff that looks like a dissolved vegetable stock cube). Personally, I'm a fan of nice thick brown gravy, so I get Bisto Onion gravy granules. Ideal for Sunday Dinners everywhere. Bisto have vegan product information on their website, so you can check which of their products are vegan.

Haggis

Yes, you can get vegetarian haggis! The most commonly available brand is made by Macsween, it's suitable for vegans and is also rather tasty.

Honey

Honey is not suitable for vegans as it is an animal product. Maple syrup and agave nectar are common vegan alternatives to honey. There is also a 'natural sweetner' product called Sweet Freedom which is made from fruit and can be used in place of honey.

Ice cream

I recently discovered B'Nice ice cream, which is made from rice milk and to me tastes closest to dairy ice cream (and nice dairy ice cream at that!) out of any vegan ice cream I've tried so far, particularly the strawberry and chocolate flavours. It's only sold in wholefoods shops, but well worth having a look for.

Look out for Swedish Glace or Tofutti ice cream in the supermarket. It's worth a trip to a wholefoods shop if you want the full range of flavours, although supermarkets are increasingly stocking the more exotic varieties. Sorbet is an alternative, but check the ingredients to make sure it doesn't contain milk (seriously). Tesco sorbets (raspberry and lemon flavours) are now labelled vegan, although they used to contain milk. Two Ben and Jerry's sorbets, 'Jamaican me crazy' and 'Mango berry swirl', are suitable for vegans.

Another one to look out for is Sainsbury's fruit burst lollies - they're more like ice cream in texture (rather than rock-hard frozen water) and the mango one tastes like Solero but without the milk. Very nice.

Margarine

First things first - margarine is not vegan unless it specifically says 'suitable for vegans' on the tub. Yes, even sunflower spread and olive spread and whatever other plant-based spread you care to mention gets milk added to it.

Vegan margarine is available and in general it tastes the same as non-vegan margarine, particularly the sunflower varieties. The main ones available are Pure and Vitalite, both of which are sold in supermarkets. Suma also make vegan margarine, this tends to be sold more in independent shops.

An alternative in some types of baking (pastry, biscuits etc.) is to use blocks of vegetable fat. Some vegan cake recipes use sunflower oil in place of margarine.

Marshmallows

Marshmallows are normally made with gelatine (animal bones, tendons and skins), so are not suitable for vegans or vegetarians. Sweet Vegan make lovely fluffy vegan marshmallows without the icky stuff.

Mayonnaise

Yep, egg-free mayonnaise exists, and it's rather nice. Look out for the Plamil or Mayola brands. Tesco and Asda (and probably other supermarkets) stock it in their special diets section. It's similar but not identical to 'normal' mayonnaise, but no-one can tell the difference in a Waldorf salad anyway.

Meat chunks/pieces

There are various 'fake meat' pieces available, including chicken nuggets, beef strips and chorizo-style chunks, mostly made by Redwood Foods, Fry's or RealEat. Holland and Barrett and wholefoods shops tend to have a much wider selection than supermarkets.

Alternatively, depending on your recipe you could use tofu or seitan. These are traditional ingredients which are not designed to imitate meat but can sometimes be used in place of it in recipes. Tofu is made from soya beans and comes in small blocks, which you can cut into chunks, marinate and use in various recipes such as Thai curries, Chinese dishes and pasta sauces. Seitan is made from wheat gluten and you can buy chunks of it in a jar from wholefood shops (expensive though), or if you can get hold of Vital Wheat Gluten (I get it from flourbin.com) you can make your own incredibly cheaply and flavour it how you like. It works particularly well in place of chopped chicken breast.

Meat slices (ham, chicken, pepperoni, etc.)

Redwood Foods make a variety of fake meat slices, including ham, pepperoni, chicken, turkey and beef styles. They also do sage and onion slices that aren't meant to imitate meat. Occasionally sold in supermarkets (I've seen a few in Morrison's), Holland and Barrett also have a good range. Useful in sandwiches and as pizza toppings, such as on ham and pineapple or spicy pepperoni and black olive pizzas. Wicken Fen also make vegan 'ham' and 'chicken' slices.

Minced meat

We have moved on since the days when all you could get was dried stuff in bags from wholefoods shops... I like Realeat Vegemince, frozen soya mince that seems to have made it into at least Tesco's freezer. Tesco and Morrison's also do own-brand vegan versions (although personally I still prefer Realeat). I've got my omnivore parents making chilli con (sin?) carne out of this stuff and they reckon it tastes no different to the meat version. You can also get dried TVP mince (textured vegetable protein) but I find it's easier to get a better result from frozen mince.

Mincemeat

As in the stuff you put in mince pies. Mincemeat tends to contain vegetable suet rather than animal suet these days, and so some brands are vegan. Read the labels. Use vegetable fat or vegan margarine in the pastry and your mince pies will be completely vegan-friendly. Alternatively, Sainsburys Basics mince pies are labelled suitable for vegans.