One of the fun adventures in transitioning to a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) vegan lifestyle is experimenting in the kitchen by learning how to modify recipes. Here are some suggestions to get you started.
- Instead of using cow’s milk in recipes, simply substitute plant milk such as almond, coconut, hemp, or soy in a 1:1 ratio.
- You can also make your own cashew milk by combining 1 cup cashews with 4 cups water in a high speed blender, such as a Vitamix. For best results, soak the cashews in water for 4 hours or overnight prior to blending.
- You can use this same recipe for making almond milk, but you’ll definitely need to soak the almonds overnight and then strain through a nut bag.
- Add 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar to 1 cup non-dairy milk
- Cashews also make a great cream substitute. Just use less water than when making milk. Mix 1 cup cashews with 1/4 to 1/2 cup water and blend. Start with less water and add more until you get your desired consistancy. You can add a sweetener such as maple syrup, a bit of sea salt and natural vanilla extract to add flavor and sweetness.
- Use plain soy yogurt instead of sour cream
- Use olive oil or coconut oil instead of butter, or buy a vegan butter such as Earth Balance. It uses organic (non-GMO) palm fruit, soybean, canola and olive oils.
- You can also use almond butter instead of oil or butter when baking cookies.
- Try vegan mayonnaise such as Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo which uses non-GMO expeller-pressed canola oil, lemon juice and white vinegar as key ingredients.
- You can also use a mashed avocado or guacamole, hummus or baba ganoush on sandwiches instead of mayo.
- Use nutritional yeast flakes instead of cheese in recipes such as risotto.
- Tofu is also a great substitute for ricotta cheese in lasagne. I like to blend soft tofu in the food processor with a bit of fresh spinach, garlic and onion powder plus salt and pepper for a tastey ricotta.
- There are some fantastic vegan cheeses that are coming onto the market. Recently I tried Miyoko’s Creamery Double Cream Chive cheese which is made from organic, non-GMO cashews, coconut oil, chives, chickpea miso and other ingredients. It is wonderful as an appetizer served with crackers or a sliced baquette, grapes or apple slices.
- In baking, good egg substitutes include banana, applesauce, or soft tofu.
- You can also use ground flax or chia seeds. Mix 1 Tablespoon ground seeds with 2 Tablespoons water and let sit for a bit.
- You can also buy Ener-G Egg Replacer which is made from potato starch, tapioca flour and levening agents.
- For making scrambled eggs, substitute tofu, such as in our tofu scramble recipe. You can also use tofu in quiches and custard and eggless “egg salad” sandwiches.
- Chia seeds make a great gelatin and puddings. See our recipes for a chia breakfast pudding and chia and coconut milk dessert pudding.
- Agar, made from algae, is a great gelatin substitue as well and is used predominently in Asia for jellies, desserts and as a thickener in soups.
Stock / Broth
- For soups or making risotto, use a vegetable broth instead of chicken or beef stock
So have fun experimenting with your favorite recipes and let us know if you have other tips or suggestions for vegan substituions.
The only dairy product I really struggle with replacing is yogurt! Do you have any favorites among the alternatives?
There is a coconut-based yoghurt available at Whole Foods which has no additives and is apparently very good.