5 Vegan Recipes Better Than the Original

©. Floki

At my house, we've adopted these plant-based versions – and even the omnivores agree.

My household has a wide range of eaters, from vegan to somewhat omnivorous – which means I cook and bake a wide array of dishes to make sure everyone is happy ... because that's what makes me happy. Over the years while cooking for the vegan brigade, I have discovered recipes that we love so much that they have replaced the counterparts that employ dairy, eggs, and fish. I would recommend any of these not just for those on a plant-based diet, but also for anyone wanting to reduce their reliance on eating animal products. And really, everyone else as well, because these versions are that good.

1. Quick + fluffy pancakes

One morning I came home to find that the vegan teen had made a big batch of these, which told me two things: They were vegan and they were easy to make. What I didn't expect is that they would taste so good. Honestly, I have no idea why there are eggs and milk in pancakes after eating these. They are lighter than conventional pancakes, and easily get the perfect crispy edge that can be elusive with more cake-y cakes. This has been the family's go-to pancake recipe every since.

Tasty: The Fluffiest Vegan Pancakes

2. One bowl chocolate cake

This cake is nothing short of a miracle. It is incredibly easy to make (one bowl, it's true) and it is so good that it is now pretty much the only chocolate cake I make. I have been making chocolate cake for as long as I could reach the counter – chocolate cake very full of non-vegan things, in fact – but this is my favorite chocolate cake ever and the only one I make anymore.

Minimalist Baker: 1-Bowl Vegan Chocolate Cake

3. Coconut whipped cream

Because chocolate cake needs whipped cream, obviously. Whipped cream, plant-based or not, is an indulgence and not something we make all the time. But when we do, we go for the magic trick of whipped coconut cream. It has a beautiful flavor, made even more beautiful by not relying on any animals for an assist.

Simple Vegan Blog: Coconut Whipped Cream

4. Chickpea tuna-ish salad

chickpea salad

ImpromptuKitchen/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Tuna has some problems, like mercury contamination, overfishing, and bycatch (which kills more than 80 other species). Not to mention the fact that it's an animal, which doesn't work for people who don't eat animals. (I am a master of the obvious.) It is also very fishy, which isn't fun for community lunchrooms. So here's the fix: Chickpea non-tuna salad. This uncanny concoction swaps mashed chickpeas for tuna and it actually kind of freaks my kids out because they are so sure they are eating tuna, even though they aren't. It tastes better, and doesn't come with all of tuna's problems.

Make it how you usually make tuna salad, just using chunky mashed chickpeas in place of the fish. (I use a pastry cutter, but pulsing in a blender or just using a fork works too.) For my kids I go classic: The chickpeas along with vegan mayonnaise, chopped celery, chopped dill pickles, lemon, salt and pepper.

For more detailed instructions: Splendid Table's Chickpea "Tuna" Salad

5. Raw cookie dough

Since the world is a cruel dark place, we are not allowed to eat raw cookie dough anymore. First it was the raw eggs, then it was the flour. But you know what? If you make raw cookie faux dough without eggs and flour, problem solved. And even better, this wacky vegan version is made with chickpeas and peanut butter. You will not be able to taste the chickpeas, I promise – and you won't get sick from E. coli or salmonella, hurray.

Joyful Healthy Eats: Vegan Chickpea Cookie Dough