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What Do Vegans Eat? – 10 Of The Most Popular Ingredients For Vegan Newbies Ranked

woman looks at vegetables on market stall

New analysis has named the most popular plant-based ingredients for Brits to include in their January food shops, if they’re looking to give Veganuary a go this year.

The ranking, revealed by sports nutrition experts, is based on the top-rated winter plant-based recipes from the UK’s leading food site – and also looks at seasonal search trend data to predict how many people will participate in Vegananuary in 2023.

What Is Veganuary?

Veganuary consists of an annual 31-day challenge that encourages people to follow a plant-based diet in January, in an effort to lower their animal product consumption.

Many people are reluctant to try plant-based dishes as they perceive them to be less flavourful – with studies suggesting that going vegan can change your taste perceptions. 

To make the transition easier for vegan novices, Bulk analysed over 50 seasonal plant-based dishes to reveal which ingredients feature most in the top-rated recipes – and which are best left by the wayside. 

The data reveals that the ingredient that featured most in the nation’s favourite vegan recipes was garlic – which has seen a huge surge in popularity over the last year, thanks to videos that show creators pickling, roasting and confiting the kitchen staple.

Garlic appeared in 27 of the 50 top-rated recipes. And as well as proving popular, eating garlic carries numerous health benefits for winter; it contains allicin, which helps increase the number of virus-fighting T-cells in your bloodstream, boosting your immune system. 

Other herbs, spices and flavourings that proved particularly popular were ginger and lemon (both appearing in 9 recipes out of 50), coriander, soy sauce and thyme. 

There’s more good news for fans of roasted or confited garlic, as the second-most featured ingredient in the vegan recipes was olive oil, which contains various antioxidants.

Top 10 ingredients of popular vegan recipes

  1. Garlic (27 /50)
  2. Olive oil (26 /50)
  3. Carrot (18 /50)
  4. Onion (14 /50) 
  5. Vegetable stock (11 /50)
  6. Ginger (9 /50)
  7. Lemon (9 /50)
  8. Butternut squash (8 /50)
  9. Coriander (8 /50)
  10. Chickpeas (6 /50)

Another common conception that may dissuade people from trying vegan food is that it’s less nutritious, leaving Brits nervous that they may not get enough protein.

The recipe analysis also looked at the nutritional value of each dish and found that while some meal options did lack in protein compared to others, plenty could easily help Brits meet their recommended intake –  roughly 45g for women, and 55g for men.

This equates to 15-18g of protein needed per meal – which 22% of the top-rated recipes meet, and 18% exceed. Dishes that were pasta-based proved particularly protein-rich. 

Following the findings, a spokesperson said: “While changing your diet can be daunting, it can be a great way to test your endurance and to try something different for a little while – with the list of top ingredients providing the perfect shopping list for Veganuary.

“If you’re unsure whether incorporating plant-based dishes into your diet can help you meet your nutritional requirements, there are plenty of options available to alleviate the pressure, such as plant-based protein bars, B12 supplements and multivitamins.”

To predict how many Brits will try going vegan this year, the brand looked at search trend data over the last decade to see how much Veganuary searches rise each January.

The data shows that on average, Veganuary interest has risen by 58% in January each year – and with 157,338 Brits confirmed to have taken part in last year’s challenge, at least 91,256 more people are predicted to be participating this year.