Vegan Substitutions

Plant-based, vegan cooking – substitutions for milk, eggs and more

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.

Milk

  • 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.

Buttermilk

  • Add 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar to 1 cup non-dairy milk

Cream

  • 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.

Sour cream

  • Use plain soy yogurt instead of sour cream

Butter

  • 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.

Mayonnaise

  • 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.

Cheese

  • 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.

Eggs

  • 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.

Gelatin

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.

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