We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.(Last Updated On: August 18, 2023)
Choosing a vegan lifestyle can be both exciting and daunting, especially when it comes to finding meat, dairy and egg alternatives. Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!
There are countless vegan substitutions that can easily swap into your favorite non-vegan recipes. These alternatives not only mimic the texture and taste of traditional ingredients, but they also offer unique health benefits. From cashew cream to aquafaba (not as crazy as it sounds!), your options are plentiful.
- Meat & Protein Alternatives
- Dairy Alternatives
- Egg Alternatives
- Sweetening Alternatives
- Benefits of Vegan Ingredients
Alternatives are Easier to Find than you think!
Thanks to an increasing demand for meatless and animal-free alternatives, finding delicious vegan foods has become easier than ever! You’re no longer limited to just a few options at your local grocery store – so many vegan alternatives are available both locally and online.
Some common vegan replacements include tofu, tempeh, or seitan for meat, almond milk, oat milk, or soy milk, and even flaxseed or chia seeds as egg substitutes.
Remember, the key to successfully replacing animal products with vegan alternatives lies in having a clear understanding of both their flavors and functions in recipes. As your knowledge expands in this area, the process only becomes more effortless, and your vegan dishes better and better!
Meat & Protein Alternatives
Tofu is one of the most popular and easily-accessible meat alternatives. It’s so well-loved because of it’s ability to easily absorb flavors of sauces and seasonings. You can also explore different tofu types such as silken, firm, or extra firm to replicate textures from meat-based recipes.
- Soft tofu can be blended into smoothies or made into dips and sauces
- Firm tofu can be used in savory dishes like stir-fries and egg-free scrambles
- Extra firm tofu is perfect for grilling, frying, or getting that perfectly crispy crust
And don’t forget to round out your protein intake with these other popular protein alternatives:
- Tempeh is high in protein and fiber
- Seitan has a dense texture and is high in protein
- Jackfruit is a great substitute for BBQ and pulled pork recipes
- Chickpeas are a great source of fiber and protein; try this yummy vegan chickpea salad sandwich recipe!
- Black beans are high in protein and can be used in dishes like tacos or stews
- Hemp seeds and chia seeds can be used in summer salads or blended into smoothies
- Nuts: cashews and almonds are great snacks, but can also be added into recipes such as this homemade granola
- Quinoa is a popular and delicious addition to so many summer salad recipes like this southwest quinoa salad
Plant-based milk substitutes, such as soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, and rice milk, can be used measure for measure in place of dairy milk. Nut milks, like macadamia milk, are another great option.
Vegan cheese options made from nuts or soy can replace traditional cheese slices, shreds, or spreads.
For butter, look for vegan butter or margarine that is specifically made without animal products. Alternatively, you can use coconut oil or vegetable oil in some recipes that call for butter.
Egg substitutes can vary depending on the recipe. Here are a few common replacements:
- Flax or chia seeds: Mix 1 tablespoon of ground seeds with 3 tablespoons of water. Let the mixture thicken for a few minutes, and then use it as an egg substitute in various recipes.
- Mashed banana: Use 1/4 cup mashed ripe banana as a substitute for one egg, especially in baking recipes.
- Aquafaba: This is the liquid from a can of chickpeas, which can be whipped to replace beaten egg whites in recipes like meringue.
- Vinegar: Mix 1 tablespoon of white or apple cider vinegar with 1 teaspoon of baking powder to replace eggs in recipes that require additional leavening.
- Vegan egg powder: An easy pantry item to replace eggs in most recipes – if you want to simply have some on hand!
Remember to choose egg substitutes based on their specific function in a recipe, whether it’s providing moisture, acting as a binder, or offering leavening properties.
Vegan Sweetening Alternatives
If you want to steer clear of traditional refined sugar, there are so many options for natural sweeteners that we think you’ll love.
- Maple syrup: Replace sugar with organic maple syrup in desserts and baked goods.
- Coconut nectar: This low glycemic sweetener is a great alternative for recipes that require syrup or honey.
- Agave nectar: Also a low-glycemic index sweetener, agave nectar is a super popular alternative to honey and refined sugar.
- Date syrup: a natural sweetener that contains fiber, antioxidants, and minerals, and has a lower glycemic index.
- Molasses: A low glycemic sweetener with small amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Benefits of Vegan Ingredients
There are many advantages to adopting a vegan lifestyle, which can benefit your health, the environment, and animal welfare.
- Lower risk of chronic diseases: A well-planned vegan diet may help reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
- Better digestion: Plant-based diets are typically higher in fiber, which promotes regular bowel movements and can alleviate digestive issues.
- Weight management: Vegan diets are often lower in calories and saturated fats, which may help you maintain a healthy weight.
As you learn about various plant-based ingredients and how to substitute them for animal products in your recipes, remember to always plan your meals carefully to ensure that you are meeting your nutritional needs and enjoying a diverse and satisfying vegan diet.
Have any delicious vegan substitutions that are tried and true? Please share with us!