Eating vegan does not equate to eating healthy. It actually can be even harder to eat healthy because there aren’t as many options readily available. Although meat and diary substitutes are out there, trust that a meat less hot dog or meat less burger can be just as chemical infested as a regular old meat hot dog.
During my vegan challenge I am really trying to stay true to one of my core values – eat real food. Following a vegan lifestyle can make cooking from scratch difficult because so many recipes and sauces have animal products and you don’t even realize. Alterations must be made. Sometimes it does seem easier to just grab a faux hot dog and call it a day. The best way to be successful in continuing to cook from scratch is to have a handy list of substitutes for your regular go to cooking items.
Here is a list of a few substitutes-
Chicken stock/Beef stock– Some sort of animal stock is the base for many recipes but here is the good news- vegetable stock taste just as good! Plus you can make it at home easily with celery, onions, carrots, garlic and few other other spices and herbs. We will post a recipe for a good vegetable stock soon.
Butter– Oil is the easiest substitute for butter in my life. I already have it in my pantry so it does not require me to buy a speciality vegan item of which the rest of my family will not eat. Oil subs in easily for baking purposes. For things like baked potatoes I to use hummus or home made salsa.
Milk – Cows milk has an abundance of substitutes; almond, rice, coconut and soy.
Cream– Coconut milk is a great substitute for cream to use in soups or cream based sauces.
Eggs– Soft tofu can be used to as an egg substitute in dishes like pad Thai or vegetable rice. Banana can be used instead of eggs for baking purpose. Kidney beans cooked and smushed (yes that’s a technical term) can be used instead of egg as a binding ingredient when making veggie burgers. Sweet potato is another vegetable that works as a binding agent. I recently made a lentil loaf for our Christmas dinner and used sweet potatoes as my binding ingredient.
Cheese- Soft tofu can be used when making dips rather than cheese. As far a cheese to add to a pizza or lasagne there are vegan cheeses you will be able to find in any grocery store, usually in the organic section. I like the Daiya brand.
Whipped cream– Coconut milk is a close second to whipped cream! Must be kept in the fridge for 24 hours before you whip.
Meat– Many subs for meat but I find tofu to be my favourite. If my husband is making a pork chop or chicken in a marinade I can easily sub in tofu and it really takes on the flavour. I always get organic when buying tofu and I try not to eat too often, because I try to keep my intake of soy products low.