I like to think of myself as a vegan wannabe. Although I am not vegan (or even vegetarian for that matter) I try to make my food vegan friendly as often as possible. If there is no actual meat in a recipe, substituting out the other animal products can make your food significantly healthier. Using less butter, less sugar, and less processed foods, I challenge myself to take my recipes to the next level without losing out on flavor. Doing this is actually much easier than you would expect once you have the basic substitutions down. It is all a matter of tweaking your recipes to your tastes
My most commonly used vegan substitutions:
o Butter can be switched out with so many other foods! If you are making a sweet dish like a banana bread or a cake, using applesauce or mashed bananas can give you the same sweetness. For a more savory dish, using mashed avocados or a little bit of extra virgin olive oil can get the rich flavor and texture that butter has.
o Sugar is surprisingly the easiest thing for me to substitute. Again, using mashed bananas or applesauce gives you almost all the extra sweetness you are looking for. So long as you have enough dry ingredients to balance them out, these almost always do the trick when it comes to baking! Otherwise, using agave nectar, raw cane sugar, honey, or maple syrup can cover you the rest of the way.
o I absolutely never ever ever ever use artificial sweeteners like splenda, equal, sweet and low etc. Even though these have almost no calories, the amount of chemicals that go into them makes them even worse than just adding regular sugar in my opinion. If you can’t read the ingredients label, you probably shouldn’t be eating it.
• White Flour
o Probably the most obvious substitute for white flour is whole wheat flour. If the taste or texture isn’t for you, mixing half white with half wheat is an easier way to start and has almost no difference in flavor. There are so many other kinds of flour that can be used cup for cup such as brown/white rice flour, almond flour, corn flour, or even just ground oats
o Oat flour is a new substitution I have been experimenting with. Simply put oats into the blender/food processor and there you go. Bonus: this is also gluten free.
o Upon my journey into vegan food, I found several different ways to get around using eggs in a recipe. My favorite is making a “chai seed egg.” This is just a simple combination of 1 tablespoon of chai seeds with 3 tablespoons of water. You place these two together in a separate bowl to allow for the chai seeds to soak up the water and you have a make shift egg!
o Many people also use a flax seed egg. I have never tried it, but will be sure to share once I do.
o There are all different kinds of milk you can buy from almost any grocery store that doesn’t come from animals. There is the already well known almond milk (I personally prefer this over regular milk, plus it has twice the calcium) but there is also coconut milk, rice milk, soy milk, grain milk… the list goes on.
Pretty much all of the ingredients listed here can be bought at any grocery store, Walmart, Target, whatever is close to you. Chai seeds are the only one that can be a little tricky to find. If you don’t see them in a grocery store, check out a CVS, Walgreens, or just order them in bulk online.
If you have any other substitutions that you like to use that I haven’t mentioned, leave a comment down below and tell me about it!