Easy plant-based swaps for any recipe


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Easy plant-based swaps for any recipe

The plant revolution is officially upon us. According to data released last year by the Good Food Institute and the Plant Based Foods Association, plant food sales exceeded $7 billion in 2020. A decade ago, something as commonplace today as tofu wasn’t standard in every grocery store; Today, you can order plant-based versions of burgers, breakfast sausages, and chicken at major fast-food chains.

While most grocery stores have started to carry plant-based versions of staple foods like butter, yogurt, and meat, these products can be more expensive than the ingredients they replace and can be highly processed. But as the plant-based revolution grows, professional and home cooks are constantly experimenting to find simple, healthy ingredient substitutes to create plant-based versions of virtually any dish.

almond cow has compiled a list of simple plant-based swaps that home cooks can follow. These ingredients can whip like an egg white or bind like an egg, wiggle and hold like gelatin, and cook like butter. Many of the recipe substitutes are probably in your kitchen right now.

Keep reading for a quick lesson in food chemistry and to discover simple, healthy plant-based swaps for your favorite family recipes.



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Eggs: flax seeds, chia seeds

Eggs work wonders in baked goods, binding ingredients together and helping dough or dough to rise and hold its shape. Although there are other products on the market that can mimic baked, scrambled, or fried eggs, two nutritious staples can replace an egg in most baking recipes: flax seeds and shit.

When ground flax seeds are mixed with water, the mixture takes on a jelly-like consistency perfect for binding the ingredients while cooking. For this egg swap, the rule of thumb is one tablespoon of finely ground flaxseed and three tablespoons of water per egg.

Chia seeds and water work the same way, although the seeds don’t need to be ground and the ratio is one tablespoon of seeds to one-third cup of water. Let the mixture sit for at least 15 minutes before use.



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Buttermilk: vegetable milk and vinegar or lemon juice

Buttermilk is an acidic ingredient that softens the texture of baked goods while adding body and a subtle tart flavor. Buttermilk helps breads rise quickly and adds only a negligible amount of fat. While real buttermilk is the result of bacteria growing on leftover cream from churned butter, plant-based substitutes are fairly simple to make and do a solid job of replicating the principles of the original product-based dairy.

Bakers have long used the classic cooking swap for buttermilk of combining plain milk with an acid such as lemon juice. The method is the same with non-dairy milk. Combine a ratio of one cup of non-dairy milk (thicker plant-based milks like oats or soy work best) to one tablespoon of acid (apple cider vinegar, lemon juice or white vinegar). Whisk the two together and let sit for five to 10 minutes before using them in your recipe.

Leftover plant-based buttermilk will keep in the refrigerator for up to four days or in the freezer for three months.



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Egg whites: aquafaba

Egg whites are the star of some of the most spectacular desserts, from meringues to macaroons. Egg whites froth when whipped, making them a delicate ingredient notoriously hard to imitate.

In 2014, a French singer named Joël Roessel discovered that the liquid from hydrated beans could create the same foam as whipped egg whites, and the rest is history. The secret ingredient, aquafaba, is present in most kitchens: it is the liquid contained in a can of chickpeas. To use aquafaba in a recipe, simply whip it as if it were the foamed egg whites required by the recipe. Aquafaba can also be used as a binder in baked goods and cocktails like whiskey sour.



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Butter: coconut oil

Butter adds rich flavor to recipes and gives pie crusts their flaky texture. Many oils — from olive and canola to sesame and walnut — can serve as substitutes, but coconut oil is the closest in thickness and provides healthy plant-based saturated fats. Like its dairy-based counterpart, coconut oil is semi-solid at room temperature and its flavor pairs well with desserts.



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Greek yogurt: semi-firm silken tofu

Greek yogurt is a bit of a baking magic bullet, praised for its ability to fluff baked goods and keep them from drying out while providing a tart underlying flavor. For home cooks looking for similar properties from a plant-based source, pureed medium-soft silken tofu will do as a one-to-one recipe swap. The ‘cream’ on top of a can of coconut milk will also work – just separate it from the water first.



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Gelatin: Agar

Gelatin is found in many familiar foods, from marshmallows and Jell-O to some jams and mousses. The chemistry of gelatin is notoriously difficult to replicate, which makes agar-agar – a product derived from seaweed – such a miraculous substitute. Agar thickens and hardens like gelatin and can be used in equal parts, making it a perfect substitute for the animal-derived ingredient.



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Mayonnaise: avocado

Mayonnaise is the product of whisking eggs with oil and a little vinegar, which combine to create a smooth, creamy base for a multitude of recipes.

There are many herbal mayonnaises on the market today, but not all supermarkets carry them. In a pinch, a ripe avocado provides a creamy, flavorful substitute in sandwiches, salads, and sauces.



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Ground Parmesan: nutritional yeast

Soup, pasta or mac and cheese: Parmesan cheese has found its way into a multitude of dishes. This helps explain the rise in popularity of “noochor nutritional yeast. This ingredient has long been a vegan and low-fat cheese substitute due to its similar taste properties and myriad health benefits.

Nutritional yeast is derived from inactivated yeast that has undergone a process of heating and drying, unlike the activated yeast you would use to leaven baked goods. It keeps in a sealed container for up to a year and is widely available online and in supermarkets or specialty health food stores.



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Heavy cream: coconut milk or cashew cream

Heavy cream can thicken and enrich soups or sauces and is a staple in main courses, sides and desserts. Full-fat coconut milk or other thick, plant-based milks like cashew can mimic the richness of dairy products. These plant-based versions can be used like heavy cream, but keep in mind that these substitutes have their own flavor profile and will not whip like milk, although coconut milk provides the closest substitute. .

This story originally appeared on almond cow
and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.


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