A Handy Guide to Vegan Substitutes

3 Apr 2020

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cooking

Going vegan may sound like a daunting task. However, with the growing number of vegan alternatives available in the market, you may already have all you need to create delicious meat-free meals.

We've rounded up vegan versions of staple ingredients that are just as delicious.

Egg Substitutes

We add eggs to baked goods to get the desired structure and consistency. Unfortunately, to keep up with the demand for eggs, millions of hens suffer in factory farms. The quality of lives of hens, even in "organic," "free-range," and "cage-free" farms aren't really as marketed. Thankfully, we don't have to continue to use eggs to create delicious baked goodies. While it's tricky to get the right combination of texture and volume when working with vegan egg replacements, here are a few that get the job done.

Applesauce

A puree made from cooked apples, applesauce promotes proper digestion and helps remove waste from the body as it has a high concentration of pectin. You can use 3-4 tablespoons to substitute one egg. Simply cut the apples into slices (no need to peel them) and throw them in your slow cooker. Tada! You get great flavor with no added sugar.

Bananas

Great for making desserts, bananas are a staple substitute for vegans. They're excellent binding agents for baked products as they're fiber-rich. The ratio is one banana to one egg.

Flax “eggs”

A natural vegan egg substitute and a great baking alternative, you can make it using flax or chia seeds. Both chia and flax seeds are superfoods and are incredibly rich in nutrients. Whisk together one tablespoon of ground flax or chia seeds with three tablespoons of water until well combined, then place in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Aquafaba

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Aquafaba means 'water and bean' in Latin. This protein and sugar-enriched liquid that remains after you boil and drain the chickpeas. In 2014, a french musician, Joël Roessel, discovered aquafaba imitates egg-white like foam when whisked. This is a great budget-friendly option for bakers, especially to make vegan meringues.

Tofu

The taste and texture of tofu closely resemble an egg. With the right kind of seasoning and spices, you can use firm tofu to create a vegan version of scrambled eggs.

You can also try egg-replacers available in the market. Power Scramble, Mezcla no egg, Easy egg, and Egg replacer are some of the most reviewed egg alternatives on abillionveg.

Meat Substitutes

Now comes the fun part, making a vegan meat substitute so convincing, even non-vegans would be fooled. When you think protein, you usually think of meat. However, the idea that protein only comes from meat is a myth! Many bodybuilders and athletes, like Zack Belknap and Jehina Malik, have embraced the vegan diet. These vegan meats are excellent protein sources just waiting to nourish your body.

Tofu

1/2 cup tofu = 11 grams of protein

Tofu comes in three mean varieties: soft, firm, and extra firm. It's an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, and selenium. These minerals are beneficial for bone and heart health. They're also anticarcinogenic. You can use tofu while cooking spicy Indian or Mexican-inspired dishes as it tends to soak up the flavors of the dish. Soft tofu makes an excellent base for cream sauces. Firmer versions are perfect additions to stir-fried dishes, breaded and fried like chicken nuggets or in a breakfast scramble.

Tempeh

1/2 cup tempeh = 15 grams of protein

tempeh

Tempeh is fermented soybean cake, and it's one of the best vegan protein sources. Slices of tempeh can be marinated and cooked in a variety of ways. With 15 grams of protein in just half a cup, tempeh packs a serious protein punch for the vegan diet. It can also clear up your acne with its probiotics. It's also rich in fiber and good sources of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Beans

1/2 cup beans = 8 grams of protein

Beans are excellent sources of protein, fiber, vitamin B, iron, potassium, and are low in fat. Some like soybeans are high in isoflavones, which have anti-aging properties. Others like black beans and black soybeans reduce inflammation and lower one's propensity to health risks. Incredibly versatile, beans are obvious choices to add to stews, chilis, curries, and salads. Mash them for a healthy sandwich spread, or puree and use them in baked goods to replace part of the oil for a healthier option.

Of all the legumes, lentils are the richest sources of protein. They boost the body's metabolism, aids in a healthy functioning digestive system, reduce cancer risk, bad cholesterol, and heart diseases, to name a few. Brown, green, yellow, red, or black, these heroes of vegan cuisine are quick to cook, which makes them perfect for busy weekday meals.

Jackfruit

1/2 cup of Jackfruit = 1g of protein

jackfruit

@xuewen's review of Nature's Charm Young Green Jackfruit in Brine.

You can even consider purchasing plant-based meat substitutes. Beyond burger, Next level burger, Crispy tenders, and Beefless ground are the most loved meat alternatives on abillionveg.

Honey Substitutes

You can indulge your sweet tooth, even when avoiding honey. You can find plenty of vegan honey alternatives that can taste just as good. Here are some options that have some medicinal properties and are beneficial when used in moderation.

Maple syrup

Perfect on pancakes, french toast, and oatmeal, maple syrup can provide a flavor similar to honey. Try using it in place of honey for baked goods recipes like cookies, cakes, and even homemade granola.

Pro tip- It's best to purchase grade B organic maple syrup because unlike grade A maple syrup, which is heavily filtered, grade B has a richer maple note.

Coconut Nectar

Coconut nectar is a great alternative to honey. The nectar is mineral-rich, a great plant source for vitamin B, and ranks low on the glycemic index chart. Glycemic Index measures the rate with which your body converts carbohydrates into blood sugar. So, a low glycemic index means the body takes a longer time to extract blood sugar, thus leaving you feeling full for a longer period of time after your meal or snack. Swap the sweeteners with coconut nectar in breakfast granola, smoothies, and other sweet vegan treats.

Dates

Perhaps one of the most natural sweeteners to use as an alternative to honey. They're great as a snack. Better yet, you can make date paste by blending a handful of dates with water until you reach the desired consistency. You can use this paste when baking cookies or cakes. Along with adding a natural sweetness, date paste will also add a touch of softness to your baked goods!

Stevia

We have used Stevia to substitute sugar for thousands of years. The American Diabetics Association has recognized it as a suitable substitution that doesn't interfere with blood sugar or glucose levels.

Conclusion

Keeping your pantry stocked with these substitutes will make cooking or baking vegan dishes more seamless. Try a few of these simple ingredient swaps for your next meal. You'll be pleasantly surprised. If you want to know about vegan dairy alternatives, you can read A Handy Guide to Dairy Alternatives. What are your favorite vegan substitutes? Share them in the comments below.

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Responses

Post
@paloma profile image
paloma2 YEARS AGO
Que buena información ! Muchas gracias ♥️
REPLY
@chattieh10 profile image
chattieh102 YEARS AGO
Was für Butter nutzt euch?
REPLY
@chattieh10 profile image
chattieh102 YEARS AGO
@chattieh10 What are you using for butter?
REPLY
@martinakanina profile image
martinakanina2 YEARS AGO
@chattieh10 Vegan Spreadable by Naturli is the best butter you’ll possibly ever get to try! Use it exactly like normal butter. Otherwise coconut oil is great for baking :)
REPLY
@vikas profile image
vikas2 YEARS AGO
@martinakanina I love Miyoko’s cultured butter!
REPLY
@julsim profile image
julsim1 YEAR AGO
@chattieh10 kokonus öl
REPLY
@globalowls profile image
globalowls2 YEARS AGO
Awesome! Thanks for the tips.
REPLY
@maikev profile image
maikev2 YEARS AGO
Yepp! "Veganes Streichfett" von Naturli schmeckt wie Butter - nur besser! - und enthält kein Palmöl. Stattdessen lauter gesunde Zutaten.
REPLY
@linaba profile image
linaba2 YEARS AGO
Excelente! Yo pensaba que jamás dejaría de comer un buen bistec, pero ya llevo un par de semanas sin hacerlo y pss no lo extraño en mis comidas!
REPLY