Tell-All: substituting ingredients

So your grandma gave you her ancient family recipe and you notice that it has ingredients that you can’t consume. Don’t freak out and definitely don’t throw that precious recipe away, it can be saved! I have found substitutes that actually work well for almost everything! Here’s a list for all your substitution needs.

Photo Courtesy of PopSugar
Photo Courtesy of PopSugar

Egg: Chia seeds are the best substitute! Grind up 1 tablespoon of chia seeds and combine it with 3 tablespoons of water. Let it sit for about 5 minutes and voila! A gooey, egg-like, substitute! Chia seeds are dark so you can often see them in your baked goods but they don’t alter the taste whatsoever. They are also a superfood! A great source of Omega-3s and antioxidants!

Cow’s milk: Well, this one may seem obvious but I’ll tell you anyway. I use almond milk as a substitute for milk in almost everything. I say almost because the almond flavor can be a bit overbearing in things like mac-n-cheese. It has practically the same consistency as cow’s milk so you should never have to add more then the original recipe suggests. If you’re allergic to nuts, rice milk is also quite tasty. I try to cycle my intake of almond and rice milk so that I don’t gain a sensitivity to either of them. Rice milk also has a more neutral flavor than almond milk.

Vegetable oil: Also another obvious one. Just use canola, it’s the same consistency and is just as cheap. I prefer to use olive oil in most of my recipes because it’s healthier. But, it’s also thicker so it’s not great for everything. I also use palm oil, sunflower oil and coconut oil when I can, for all their individual benefits.

Vanilla: Just use imitation vanilla. It’s a little cheaper and you would never guess that it tastes any different. I like to add a drop to my morning coffee to make a vanilla cappuccino.

Breadcrumbs: Meatloaf always calls for breadcrumbs and you’ll find that the grocery store hardly ever has breadcrumbs that don’t have soybean oil in the ingredients. Heck, soy-free bread in general is hard to find.  There are two ways you can go about your recipe.

  1.  If you are lucky enough to have a loaf of bread that doesn’t contain soy then set it out and let it harden. Once its rock solid you can grate it into powdery bread crumbs. You can’t just use any bread though, it should be bakery bread, less preservatives and more flavor.
  2. You can use rice! I know it sounds crazy but try it! Add uncooked white rice to your mixture until it is the desired consistency and cook it up! The rice absorbs the juices in your meatloaf or whatever you’re making and softens up. It takes away some flavor but it is a healthy alternative to breadcrumbs and with a little salt your dish will still be delicious.

Butter: There are so many ways to substitute butter I can’t even find all of them for you. First of all, there is soy-free butter. It’s by Earth Balance (The greatest company on the planet). I find it at Walmart but I’m sure there are other grocers who carry it. I use it for all recipes that call for butter, spread or margarin. It is wonderful and honestly, I think it tastes better than any butter I remember, it’s so good I eat it off the spoon (shhh). Before I found this lovely butter I used olive oil on things like baked potatoes and popcorn. It wasn’t the best and I still couldn’t cook with it like I could butter.

  • You can also use coconut oil. It is solid and has practically no taste at all. It’s the same consistency of butter so it works for things like baked goods because it can hold your mixture together.
  • I’ve also heard of but have not attempted to use fat free greek yogurt as a substitute. I’m reactive to yogurt so I can’t testify for it.
  • I’ve even heard applesauce is a good substitute! But, I was never so lucky to get the chance to try that out. I’d be interested to know if you have!

Shortening/Crisco: You might be surprised to know that there is a soy-free shortening made by Spectrum! They also have a buttery tasting shortening for your baking needs as well! You’re welcome.

If there is anything else you’re struggling to substitute, let me know!

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