Vegan Substitutions Guide
Many people claim that going vegan is too hard, too expensive, and to inconvenient, when the reality is that there are simple, cost effective substitutes for everything an omnivore consumes. Many people get stuck on the expense of going vegan because they are focused solely on the more expensive per pound faux meat products and vegan cheeses. It is much more cost effective to replace meats with whole food products like nuts, legumes, and vegetables, but, as with all other foods, coupons and sales can always be found if you're craving a quick and easy packaged option as well. As vegan products become more and more mainstream, availability goes up and prices drop on things like vegan cheese and mayonnaise, plant based milks like soy, almond, and cashew, and vegan margarine. It is quite easy and inexpensive to replace dairy, egg, and meat in order to painlessly and successfully go vegan.
Replacing dairy, eggs, and meat in your favorite dishes is not nearly as difficult as you may think. Swapping out eggs and meat not only has a positive impact on the animals and environment, but it also will have a positive effect on your waistline and your health. Dairy, eggs, and meat are filled with cholesterol and unhealthy fats. Nowadays, you can find vegan products that mimic dairy products as well as meat and eggs at nearly every store. If you prefer to go the natural route, you have many options when it comes to cooking vegan dishes. Here you will find a fool proof guide to replacing animal products in all types of recipes - from baked goods to main dishes.
Dairy is, by far, the easiest item to replace when going vegan, as substitutes are widely available and cost effective. Take a stroll around your local grocery store and you will probably find several plant based milks such as soy, almond, and cashew milk. Additionally, you will probably find chocolate and unsweetened flavors. Many grocery stores now also carry vegan cheese, vegan sour cream, and non dairy vegan margarine. Vegan cheese, specifically, can get a bad reputation, but it has grown leaps and bounds in taste and texture. Many popular companies have coupons available online or in the newspaper, and even go on sale. If you prefer to go the less processed, more cost effective route, there are a variety of vegan cheese recipes online to satisfy your cheese cravings. You'll find vegan recipes for everything from nacho cheese sauce, to aged gouda and cheddar, to every manner of soft cheese including bleu and goat cheeses. As with dairy cheeses, you can find many higher priced artisanal nut based cheeses online for sale as well. Similar to vegan cheeses, you can find recipes for vegan sour cream and even vegan nut milks online as well. Much of the time, you will find that making products like vegan butter, milks, sour cream, or mayonnaise, is much more cost effective than not only packaged vegan products, but also their non vegan counterparts. No matter whether you choose to make or purchase your vegan dairy products, you will be pleasantly surprised to find that replacing animal milk with a more compassionate plant based option is quite easy.
Replacing meat with nutritious plant based options is very easy. Products like tofu and tempeh can be found in many stores and are nutritious and delicious when prepared properly. For a stunning meat like texture when using tofu, simply freeze your tofu before defrosting it, pressing all of the water out of it, and then marinating. To press your tofu, you can purchase a tofu press, or simply place the tofu between two plates and place a heavy book on top. Allow it to sit for about ten minutes to squeeze out as much water as possible. Tofu is wonderful crumbled and seasoned as taco meat or in a burger, as well as cubed and baked like a "nugget," or tossed into a stir fry. Tempeh is made from fermented and pressed soybeans, and is best used in stir fries, as well as crumbled up as a sausage, crab, or ground beef substitute in things like pasta sauce, crab cakes, and tacos. The key is to season and marinate the way that you would any meat. Steaming your tempeh is helpful for removing any bitter flavor that your palate may detect. Simply cover your tempeh with water and boil in a pot until the water is gone. Keep an eye on the pot to assure that it does not burn! At this point, you can add to your stir fry or marinate in whatever spices or liquid you wish. Tofu and tempeh are also great for use in vegan bacon recipes, as are vegetables like mushrooms , eggplant, and zucchini. Textured vegetable protein (TVP), textured soy protein (TSP) or soya granules/chunks can be found in most grocery stores and are a nutritious substitute for meat. Simply rehydrate in broth or water and add to recipes like stir fries, burgers, tacos, meatloaf, etc. Legumes like beans and lentils are also wonderful stand-ins for meat in many recipes. Lentils or chickpeas can be used to make taco meat, or serve as ground beef in a bolognese sauce or meatball recipe. Beans and lentils also make spectacular burgers. Seitan is also a protein packed meat substitute and can easily be made at home using vital wheat gluten (found in nearly any store's bread aisle), broth, and seasonings. Pretty much any meat that you can remember from chicken to turkey, roast beef to salami, and even ham can be made using a seitan recipe. A quick Google search for "seitan meat recipes" will turn up pages upon pages of recipe ideas. Finally, don't overlook the power of the mushroom. Marinated portabella mushrooms are wonderful on the grill instead of a fatty and cancer causing steak or hamburger.
When you are simply looking to cook and eat an egg, vegan style, you have several options. Starting with the most obvious and simple egg dishes, which are scrambles, omelets, fried eggs, and hardboiled eggs (and egg salad), here are some wonderful suggestions. Crumbled tofu seasoned with turmeric, nutritional yeast and black salt tastes remarkably like scrambled eggs. Blended, this mixture can be used to make an omelet. Chickpea flour, also called besan, also makes a lovely scramble or omelet, when seasoned with black salt and blended with liquid. Both blended chickpea flour and blended tofu can be used to make a delicious quiche as well! Slices of pressed and marinated tofu fry up just like an egg and taste wonderful on a bagel with some vegan cheese. Hard boiled eggs can be made with a mixture of potato, black salt, nutritional yeast, and turmeric for the yolk, and tofu pressed into an egg mold for the whites. Alternately, the egg white can be made using soy milk and agar agar and firmed in the freezer. There are many interesting vegan hardboiled egg recipes online to explore. Another creative way to make vegan eggs is using mini potatoes to make deviled eggs. If you are craving an egg salad sandwich, crumbled tofu seasoned with black salt is a wonderful stand in, and you can also find a great chickpea salad sandwich in our recipe section. There are so many delicious recipes out there for vegan eggs!
When you seek to make recipes containing eggs vegan, it is crucial to examine what the purpose of the egg is in each recipe, so you can utilize the proper egg replacer. In cooking and baking, eggs can serve several purposes. When eggs are needed to bind something together like a meatloaf, meatball, burger, or cookie, flax or chia eggs are a wonderful and easy option. To make one flax or chia egg, simply add 3 tbsp very hot or boiling water over 1 tbsp ground flax or whole chia seeds and let sit until gummy. One mashed banana or 1/4 applesauce, pumpkin, or other pureed fruits are also great substitutes for one egg in baking, some of which also add sweetness without guilt. This works really well in sweet breads and some cakes. Mashed bananas are a great egg replacer in pancakes. Eggs can also serve as a rising agent in baked goods. Pureed tofu is another great way to replace eggs in recipes like pancakes, cookies, and cakes, and will help with both binding as well as slight rise. Simply use 1/3 cup pureed tofu in place of one egg. Adding one teaspoon of baking soda and one tablespoon of vinegar to a cake, muffin, bread, or even pancake recipe in place of the egg is sure to give your cake some height. Another great egg substitute that works well in almost any baked good is egg replacer powder. You can purchase several brands of egg replacer powder, or make your own using potato starch, tapioca starch, baking soda, and baking powder. Simply mix one half tablespoon of the powder with one tablespoon of water for each egg in your recipe. If you are replacing more than two to three eggs in a recipe, it is highly recommend that you use another replacer, however, as it can be chalky in higher amounts. Recipes for egg replacer powder are all over the internet as well.
Adopting a plant based vegan diet and lifestyle does not have to be complicated. Swapping out dairy, eggs and meat for healthier plant based options is easy. Cooking vegan food is a wonderful way to be creative in the kitchen and healthier overall. You can find many healthy vegan recipes on our website, as well as a plethora of creative and delicious meals online. Don't let your fear of replacing animal products hold you back. There are many healthy and appetizing ingredients that you can use in place of dairy, meat and eggs that will leave you wondering why you didn't leave animals and animal products off of your plate sooner.