How To Change A Normal Recipe Into A Whole food plant-based (Vegan) Recipe
For avid home cooks and bakers, finding replacements for many common animal-based ingredients is one of the biggest challenges of going wholefood plant-based.
However, thanks to tireless work put in by plant-based chefs, there is a growing list of substitutions for common ingredients like butter, milk, eggs and animal protein. Check them out below…
Used to add structure, and richness eggs are a challenging ingredient for plant-based cooks and bakers to replace.
After years of trial and error research, though, there are now numerous ways you can get around this obstacle.
If you are baking a plant-based cake, you can substitute the following when a recipe calls for eggs:
- mashed bananas
- ground-up flax seeds and water, make a flax egg
- silken tofu
- unsweetened applesauce
- chia seeds mixed with water, to make a chia egg
Mashed bananas work exceptionally well when a recipe requires the binding properties eggs provide, making them the best choice for the inexperienced plant-based baker.
As a moistener, thickener, and a flavouring agent, animal milk is a common ingredient in baking. Fortunately, numerous kinds of plant and nut-based milk work just as well as their animal-based counterparts.
If a dish calls for milk, replace it with one of the following alternatives:
- soy milk
- coconut milk
- cashew milk
- rice milk
- almond milk
Want your baked good to possess the characteristics dairy milk grants? Soy milk is by far your best bet, as its light flavour and creaminess closely resemble it. If you are allergic to soy, almond milk is the next closest substitute for dairy milk (albeit, with a slightly nutty aftertaste).
As for the others: cashew milk works well for savoury recipes, coconut milk for sweet dishes, while those wanting to minimise fat will want to give rice milk a try.
We’ll be honest – of all the substitutions to make when converting an animal-based recipe into a plant-based (vegan) one, cheese is among the trickiest. Nonetheless, pioneers of plant-based eating have managed to come up with ways to replicate its flavour and texture. Two ingredients are used to do this:
Nutritional yeast flakes possess the ‘cheesy’ flavour, which former animal cheese aficionados carve, while ground-up soaked cashews provide the body needed to create a satisfying thick texture. Click the links above to make vegan cheese using the above-mentioned ingredients.
As a commonly used ingredient in baking and cooking, solving the butter problem was paramount to making plant-based eating accessible to the masses. Looking to eliminate butter from a recipe in your cookbook? Try these substitutes:
- mashed avocado
- mashed bananas
- unsweetened applesauce
- low-sodium vegetable broth (for savoury cooking)
The creaminess of avocado makes it ideal for all forms of baking, and bananas and applesauce provide the same effect while adding a hint of sweetness. If your recipe begins with sautéing onions or garlic, a low-sodium vegetable broth works well, however just remember, that all plants contain fat, so if you are patient the vegetables will release their own fat and that sautéed flavour you are looking for, will come through. Use a little water or stock though, if the food sticks. But the best hint of all is to use a top quality non-stick pan.
No matter the reason for deciding to change to a plant-based (vegan) regime, cooking can become a chore as many of your favourite go to recipes contain animal products, and as you begin to explore this new plant-based world, you can easily become overwhelmed looking for a substitute. Or not substitute and become unwell or too thin. However, this tough hurdle can be overcome by using the ingredients mentioned below. Make sure at least one of these ingredients is in every meal.
- beans (black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and chickpeas all work well)
All plants, no matter what the plant, so celery through to lentils and tofu, all contain protein. So as long as you are not just consuming copious amounts of salad and green leafy vegetables, you will not become protein deficient.
For a bunch of plant-based recipes, check out My Healing Kitchen book: http://flourishnutritionalmedicine.com.au/products/my-healing-kitchen-cookbook/