The Vegan’s Guide to Eid Al-Adha
The problem with being a vegan in the Middle East is that the general public rarely understands the concept behind veganism.
More than often, Arab vegans find themselves ostracized by their own loved ones, with questions like ‘why?’ and ‘how?’ and it’s quite expected by the people of our region. Meat is everything here. It is the main part of our cuisine, and ever since childhood, we learn that “it makes us stronger”. We learn to love it.
Whether you agree or disagree with veganism, we’re all entitled to have a lifestyle that suits us best. It’s our right to choose how we lead our lives on our own terms, and even if you cannot relate to vegans, there’s no reason for the passive-aggressive hostilities, especially during Eid Al-Adha.
Today in the Arab World, not all people celebrate Eid the same way. In fact, with more Arabs than ever adopting veganism, the ‘Festival of the Sacrifice’ is slowly becoming more inclusive. Or perhaps, it is more adequate to say Arabs are becoming more open and inclusive.
To address the elephant in the room, we all have to admit the fact that Eid is about sacrifice; however, vegans, who would still like to celebrate, do not have to celebrate it the traditional way. In fact, there are now several alternatives that can substitute meat, allowing Arab vegans to celebrate the holiday.
Tofu, for instance, is one of the alternatives gaining popularity here in the MENA region. The soy-bean-made paste is rich in protein and calcium, giving it the same chewy, firm texture of meat. In addition, it can absorb many flavors through spices and marinades.
Seitan, a form of processed wheat gluten, is another excellent source of protein that has a similar texture to meat. Depending on how you flavor it, seitan can be similar to chicken or beef. Furthermore, its texture holds during grilling or frying. The only problem with seitan is that it has gluten in it, but if you are okay with gluten, by all means, this is what you’ve been looking for.
Another option that has been gaining popularity is gluten-free vegan meat. There are several recipes out there for this “V-Meat“, and it is said that it has the same texture of seitan, with the added bonus of not having any gluten in it.
Looking for that savory, meaty taste? Then mushrooms are the thing for you. Mushrooms have been known as one of the better alternatives to meat.
Lentils, beans, and legumes are also good alternatives with plenty of recipes that make them taste as good as meat.