One of the most satisfying things about the vegan diet is transforming your favourite recipes into vegan-friendly ones. Being vegan doesn’t have to mean sacrificing flavour, as making substitutions is much easier than you might think. In fact, many ingredients in your favourite recipes and meals that you love, can easily be swapped with food that’s vegan-friendly.
From breakfast to your favourite baked goods, here are some of our favourite easy vegan swaps for everyday cooking.
Eggs are surprisingly replaceable, despite its ubiquity in recipes. For breakfast, firm tofu can be used in place of eggs to make scrambled eggs. All you need to do is drain the liquid from the tofu, and crumble it into a pan with some of your favourite seasonings (we recommend nutritional yeast!).
Vegan baking is made easy when there are a number of alternatives to use in place of eggs; flax, bananas, chia seeds, and applesauce are all great vegan substitutions. Be sure to review your recipe to check how you should be substituting the eggs, since eggs are often used to provide structure and add to texture in baked goods.
Finally, did you know that the liquid from canned chickpeas that’s usually discarded can be whipped up into vegan meringue? The liquid is called aquafaba, and it only takes about 3 to 6 minutes of whipping to achieve semi-firm peaks (for such recipes as waffles), and a few minutes longer to reach stiff peaks (to bake macarons or meringues).
Vegan milk alternatives are now available in most grocery stores, and the options are limitless. From oat, to rice, to soy, to almond, vegan milks are all great substitutions for recipes that call for cow’s milk. Vegan milk can be made at home as well, usually by soaking the vegan ingredient in water. This recipe from Minimalist Baker helps guide you through how to make almond milk.
Because honey is technically a product of bees, it’s considered by some as a food that isn’t vegan-friendly. A popular vegan substitution for honey as a sweetener is agave, which is made from the agave plant.
Fat is a huge component in many recipes, but that doesn’t mean that you have to use butter. Depending on the recipe, you can substitute butter with canola oil, coconut oil, apple sauce, banana, or avocado.
For recipes that call for butter that’s supposed to be melted, we recommend that you use canola oil or olive oil (if you don’t mind the flavour of the latter) as a vegan alternative. If you’re baking and need to cream butter with sugar, avocado, apple sauce, coconut oil, or banana would work well as vegan substitutions.
For some, this is the hardest thing to give up when they commit to veganism. Luckily, there are a number of delicious vegan substitutions for cheese that’s not made out of dairy!
Nutritional yeast, usually found in the health food aisle at grocery stores, provides an unctuousness that resembles cheddar, and can be incorporated into recipes or sprinkled on top of dishes.
Vegan cheese can also be made using cashews or tofu. The former can be soaked and blended to make vegan dairy sauces (great for mac and cheese), and the latter can be mixed and seasoned to create softer cheeses like ricotta.
Meat stock is one of the easiest ingredients to substitute. Many brands carry vegetable stock, which can be used in place of any meat stock.
Vegetable stock is also very easy to make at home, You can purchase fresh produce for the stock or use vegetable scraps to make it, the latter of which can help you reduce the amount of waste your household generates.
Contrary to popular belief, you can make vegan bacon—with eggplant! Using a few ingredients you probably already have, such as eggplant, extra-virgin olive oil, soy sauce, maple syrup, paprika, and black pepper, and only one speciality ingredient (liquid smoke), you can still give your sandwiches that delicious savouriness despite having given up animal products.
Try out this recipe from Delish to make eggplant bacon.
A vegan diet is easy to maintain when you have the right ingredients on hand. Try substituting animal products for vegan-friendly ingredients for the next recipe you cook, and let us know how it goes!
Are there any other vegan substitutions that you often use? Let us know in the comments!