Plant Based Alternatives To Common Ingredients

Plant-Based Alternatives for Common Ingredients

So you finally made the decision to go vegan or try out a plant-based diet. Fantastic! We fully support your decision and are here to help in any way we can. You more than likely have done your research and know all of the products you have to eliminate from your diet. That’s a great first step. But when it comes time to go grocery shopping, you may find yourself to be a little stuck. You now have to come up with new recipes using plant-based alternatives in order to make your favorite foods. Don’t let this intimidate you! Many people fear transitioning to a plant-based diet because they assume they have to “give up” everything they love. But that isn’t the case. 

Today, there are plant-based alternatives for pretty much everything. Every meal you’ve ever made can be a vegan dish with a few simple ingredient substitutions. If you’re struggling to take the leap into a plant-based diet, fear not! Here are the top 4 ingredients you need to find plant-based substitutions for in order to make delicious and nutritious meals. 

Milk Substitutions for a Plant-Based Diet

Milk is probably the easiest product to find substitutions for when trying to make healthier choices. There are numerous options for non-dairy milk alternatives like almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, oat milk and more. All of these options can be found right next to the dairy section in pretty much every grocery store. For any recipes that call for milk, simply use these substitutes in equal measure and you’re good to go! 

Struggling to give up dairy milk? Think about it this way: humans are the only living beings on Earth that consume another specimens byproduct (you can thank Shane for that quote!). Pretty gross, right? And very eye opening. 

Plant-Based Substitutes for Eggs

Many people are convinced there are no plant-based substitutes for eggs, but they’re wrong! Eggs are commonly used in cooking and baking as binders or leavening agents. But guess what? You don’t need eggs to ensure your pancakes are fluffy enough! As long as you know the purpose of the egg in your recipe, it’s easy to find an alternative ingredient. Here are three quick options that are equivalent to one egg:

  • 1 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds mixed with 2 1/2 tablespoons of water. Allow the mixture to become gelatinous by soaking for 5 to 10 minutes. 

  • ¼ cup pureed banana

  • ¼ cup apple sauce

Cheese Substitutions for a Plant-Based Diet

Cheese seems to be one of the hardest things for most people to say goodbye to when transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle. They miss that ooey-gooey deliciousness they crave oh so much, but guess what? There is such thing as vegan cheese! A few years ago this really wasn’t an option, but now that more and more people are choosing the plant-based lifestyle, more and more vegan friendly options are popping up! And cheese is one of them. Just check out the vegan section in your local grocery store and you’re sure to find some. 

If you don’t, however, you still have some options. Why do people love cheese so much? Because of its soft, creamy texture and rich, decadent taste. So why not find foods that give you that same “cheesy” satisfaction? Some ideas include sliced avocado. Whatever you choose, steer clear of soy cheeses and rice cheeses as they are extremely processed and may still contain traces of dairy.

Making your own cheese is super easy as well. You’ll need simple ingredients which include cashews (soaked), water and nutritional yeast. All you need to do is add certain spices and voila you have your favorite cheeses such as mozzarella, cheddar, and gouda all made from plants!

Plant-Based Substitutions for Meat

Last, but most certainly not least, is meat. Whether you’re choosing to go plant-based for health reasons, ethical reasons, or environmental reasons, you have to get rid of the meat. At first, it may be a struggle, but it’s really not as daunting as it may seem. More and more we’re seeing vegan meat alternatives hitting the market. Craving a burger? Make a quinoa veggie burger instead! Drooling over some chicken wings? Say hello to buffalo cauliflower wings! Looking to add a little more texture to some pasta? Veggie meatballs are the perfect addition. Other options for a hearty, rich texture include beans, tempeh, and portobello mushrooms. 

Finding plant-based substitutions may not be the easiest task, but once you have it all figured out, you’ll never want to look back. All you have to do is get a little creative, and soon enough, you’ll forget all about your dairy and meat cravings. 

Holly MacKinnon