As Veganuary gains global attention, Emirates has reported a remarkable 40% increase in customer requests for plant-based meals. In response, Emirates plans to unveil a variety of new vegan dishes both onboard and in lounges in 2024, expanding its existing collection of over 300 carefully crafted plant-based recipes.
Emirates Vegan Meals: Bitesize Facts
- In 2023, Emirates has more than 300 vegan recipes in rotation across 140 destinations, up from 180 recipes in 2022.
- Emirates served more than 450,000 plant-based meals onboard last year, increasing from 280,000 in 2022.
- Vegan meal consumption has grown 40% year on year in line with passenger volumes, but in some regions, consumption has exceeded passenger volume growth – such as Africa with an additional 4% increase, Southeast Asia with an additional 5% increase, and the Middle East showing a significant additional increase of 34%.
- The biggest increase in consumption of vegan meals occurred in Economy Class.
- Significant increases were noted on Emirates routes to China, Japan, and the Philippines.
- Many Emirates Cabin Crew also embrace a plant-based diet, as Emirates introduced vegan meals for Cabin Crew in 2018.
Emirates Offers Vegan Cuisine in Every Class
Economy Class Vegan Delights
In Economy class, Emirates offers an array of delectable vegan dishes. From chickpea crepe stuffed with colorful veggies to textured pumpkin frittata and tofu tikka masala, there’s something to satisfy every palate. Complete the experience with scrumptious vegan desserts like coconut mousse with mango compote or moist banana cake with chocolate crumble.
Premium Economy Vegan Indulgence
For those in the Premium Economy class, the vegan menu features delicious and nutritious options such as jackfruit curry with basmati rice and a rich squash chestnut stew. Complete your meal with a light chocolate tofu cheesecake or a smooth raspberry parfait with a pop of orange compote.
Business Class Culinary Creations
In Business class, customers can enjoy creatively curated vegan dishes like roasted cauliflower with ancient grains, caramelized pear, and lovage pesto. Or, enjoy a warming ragout of Asian tofu and shitake mushrooms with glass noodles. Indulge in tropical coconut pineapple cake or a chocolate cheesecake accented by a dark chocolate cigar and strawberry compote for dessert.
First Class Vegan Extravagance
First-class customers can savor exceptionally elevated vegan cuisine like creamy polenta cake with thyme mushroom ragout and sautéed spinach drizzled in rich root vegetable juice. Dishes offering sophisticated flavors include aubergine curry with charred rice and turmeric potato, accented with coconut and mint chutney. Indulge in decadent desserts such as the tartness of rhubarb tempered with strawberry charlotte, Chantilly cream, and raspberry tuille, or the tempting warm chocolate fondant dashed with salted caramel sauce and whipped cashew cream.
New Year, New Vegan Main Courses
Emirates will debut an enticing range of vegan offerings later this year. The new additions will include a variety of delectable main courses, such as vegan pizza and fruit muffins, as well as an assortment of mouthwatering desserts, including chocolate pecan cake, pistachio raspberry, and raspberry Tonka cake.
Passengers can pre-order vegan meals for their flight or request them directly while in First Class or at Emirates Lounges. This service is available across all travel classes, with the ability to place orders up to 24 hours before departure.
The Best Vegan Ingredients from Around the World
Emirates is dedicated to delivering exceptional cuisine from around the world in the air. Their menu features a wide range of high-quality ingredients, including plant-based proteins from California’s Beyond Meat, soybean protein from Singapore, and UAE-based Arlene. Additionally, they incorporate Qian Ye pressed tofu from Japan, organic dark vegan chocolate from Linnolat in France, vegan margarine from MeisterMarken in Germany, vegan curry paste from Pantai in Thailand, and Koita almond milk from Italy, among other top-quality products. Furthermore, Emirates takes pride in utilizing fresh, locally grown kale and lettuce from Bustanica, the world’s largest hydroponic vertical farm. Passengers in First and Business Class can savor these farm-fresh leafy greens in various dishes, free from pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals.
History of Vegan Cuisine and Emirates
Emirates has been offering vegan meals since the 1990s, initially focusing on specific routes like Addis Ababa, where vegan meals are required at certain times of the year for practitioners of the Ethiopian Orthodox faith and across regions where multiple faiths promote a plant-based diet. In recent years, there has been a surge in the popularity of vegan dishes on US, Australian, some European, and Asian routes, with Emirates witnessing a significant increase in interest in vegan cuisine over the past decade. In 2022, Emirates introduced a new gourmet vegan menu in First and Business Class, providing an expanded range of options for customers following a vegan lifestyle or seeking a healthy and light meal while traveling.
Two Delicious Emirates Vegan Recipes
Emirates Vegan Polenta Cake (serves 5-6 people)
- 150g coarse polenta
- 200ml full-fat coconut milk
- 300ml vegetable broth
- 50g Margarine
- 60g shredded vegan parmesan cheese.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Sautéed Spinach
- 300g roughly chopped spinach
- 15g finely chopped Spring onion
- 3g nutmeg
- 4g minced garlic
- 20ml extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Thyme-Scented Mushroom Ragout
- 30ml extra virgin olive oil
- 15g finely chopped onion
- 200g of mixed mushrooms
- One clove of minced garlic
- 1-2 tablespoon(s) of soy sauce
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- 40g of pine nuts
- 20ml fresh lime juice
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- Roasted Maple Glazed Carrots
- 15 baby carrots peeled with stems on
- 40g maple syrup
- 30g margarine
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Root Vegetable Jus
- Red, yellow, and purple beetroot
- 50g turnips, 50g parsnip, 50g celery root, 50g fennel, 50g leeks
- 50 g white onion skin on
- 50g sweet potato
- 1 sprig each of fresh thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves
- 100ml of grape juice
- 600ml of vegetable stock
- Bring coconut milk and vegetable broth to a boil in a pot. Stir in polenta using a whisk.
- Reduce heat to a low simmer and whisk for 1-2 minutes to avoid lumps.
- Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. (If the polenta thickens too much you can add additional coconut milk or water and stir to thin.)
- Once the polenta is creamy and smooth, remove it from the stovetop. Add vegan parmesan, add margarine, and stir.
- Spread the mixture in a tray/terrine mold, chill until set, cut into desired size, and sear each side in a heavy-based fry pan until golden brown, just before serving.
Sauté spinach in a hot pan with extra virgin olive oil, spring onions and a clove of garlic. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and nutmeg. Remove from heat, strain excess water, and set aside to serve.
Roasted Maple Glazed Carrots
Steam carrots then sauté them in a dry pan with maple syrup until they are glazed. Remove them from the heat, add margarine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Root Vegetable Jus
- Wash and peel all vegetables (except white onion), cut, and roast all (excluding the herbs) in the oven until slightly charred.
- Remove and put the herbs, bay leaves, grape juice, and vegetable stock in a pot.
- Simmer until all vegetables are very soft and well-cooked.
- Blend in the pot and then pass through a fine sieve.
- Put back in a pot and simmer until they are reduced to 30% or sauce consistency.
- Season with salt and pepper and set aside to serve.
Sautéed Mushroom Ragout
- Sauté mushrooms with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and chopped onion until golden brown.
- Add soy sauce and cook for 1-2 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked and the soy sauce glazed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add a splash of fresh lime juice and fresh thyme and deglaze with vegetable jus. Simmer and set aside for serving.
- Toast pine nuts in a small pan without oil until lightly browned.
Place the polenta cake at the center of the plate, add the spinach and the mushrooms on top. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and accompany with roasted glazed carrots and root vegetable jus.
Emirates Vegan Pistachio & Raspberry Fool (serves 10 in individual Martini glasses)
- Vegan pistachio sponge
- 337g caster sugar or white sugar
- 135g vegetable oil
- 315g water
- 315g flour
- 7g baking soda.
- 45g apple cider vinegar
- 5g vanilla extract
- 40g pistachio powder
- 40g pistachio paste
- Pistachio crunch
- 450g roasted chopped pistachios.
- 400g white chocolate
- 50g pistachio paste
- Raspberry gel
- 1000g raspberry puree
- 200g sugar
- 12g Agar Agar
- Pistachio Mousse
- 250g pistachio paste
- 720g vegan white chocolate
- 800g Flora cream
- 20g Agar Agar
- 1000g Flora whipped cream.
Vegan pistachio sponge
- Preheat oven to 180ºc
- Mix sugar, flour, baking soda, and pistachio powder into a mixing bowl and combine.
- Add all liquids, oil, water, vanilla, and pistachio paste.
- Whisk until the batter is smooth.
- Add vinegar and mix quickly until fully mixed.
- Place mixture on a greased baking tray (40cm x 30cm) and bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked.
- When cooked, remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes, turn out on a cake cooling rack and cool before use. Using pastry cutters, cut 10 x 8cm and 10 x 4cm sponge discs.
- Melt chocolate and pistachio paste until tempered. Add chopped pistachio.
- Spread evenly on grease-proof paper around 2mm in thickness.
- Allow to set and cool before use.
- Boil the raspberry puree in a saucepan and add the sugar, and agar agar.
- Ensure it is boiling and whisk until thickened.
- Pour 50ml of hot puree into 10 individual Martini glasses and allow to cool and set.
Vegan pistachio mousse
- In a heavy-based saucepan, bring the 800ml cream to a boil and pour it over the white chocolate and pistachio paste to form a ganache.
- Add Agar Agar to the hot ganache and mix well (note the ganache must be at least 93°c or hotter before adding the Agar).
- Tip: if the ganache cools too quickly, heat it in a microwave before adding Agar Agar.
- Whip 1000ml cream to soft peaks and keep cold.
- After Agar is added to the ganache, allow it to cool to 80°c, add 50% of whipped cream to the ganache, and temper. Add the remainder of the cream to form mousse (it is important to work quickly at this point).
- In 10 Martini glasses, add 50ml of Raspberry gel and allow to set, then add the 4cm sponge discs.
- Smash the pistachio crunch on top of the sponge, and add mousse. Top with an 8cm sponge and add more crunch. Place in fridge to set.
- Blend Raspberry gel until smooth, pipe on top of the discs, and serve with fresh raspberries and gold leaf (optional).