The main secret to making any recipe plant-based easily is to understand the main ingredients of the meal. For instance, if there are sources of animal fat included, you cannot switch that component with something of totally different texture and consistency. Fats should be substituted with plant-derived fats. Samo goes for flour, cream, mylk and other things. Here is a list of substitutes that will make your plant-based life much easier.

Swapping meat

Meat is the first thing most people ditch when they start transitioning to a more plant-based lifestyle. Meat is tasty thanks to the fats it contains as well as the fats and seasoning we add when preparing it to eat. It is not the flesh that has the amazing taste people might miss.

Swapping meat can be pretty simple nowadays. Stores are full of excellent substitutes that vary a lot – from the type that is extremely similar to the actual thing – both in looks and in taste (just thing the Impossible burger and other burger counterparts), to the type that is not actually that similar but makes us satisfied just the same.

You can make bean burgers, lentil loaf, marinated tofu, grilled tempeh, falafel, … Mushrooms can easily be made to taste and feel like meat (see this lentil muchrom stew!). Often times people use eggplant or jackfruit for pulled »meat« variation of dishes. The sky is the limit. But our favorite choice will always be tempeh.

Swapping eggs

You can substitute one egg with a variety of options.

  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds or chia seeds & 3 tbsp water
  • ½ mashed banana for sweets
  • ¼ cup applesauce for sweets
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • ¼ cup silken tofu
  • ¼ cup chickpea can water

Simple, right? You can make amazing omelette toast or lentil omelette with no eggs!

Swapping cheese

Cheese is known to be the guilty pleasure of so many. Supposedly, that form of addiction happens due to casomorphines, which have a similar effect to dopamine. No wonder we like it so much! But don't worry, swapping cheese is not that hard once you find suitable options. Instead of your beloved parmesan, opt for nutritional yeast. There are many types out there so you best try some of them out until you find your favorite. You can also make your own parmesan by mixing ground nuts of choice (macadamia, almonds, cashews, …) with some salt, garlic powder and seasoning of choice. Then there is our favorite kind of cheese – fermented raw cheese which is made of nuts and spices. We also have an amazing vegan mac and cheese recipe here.

Swapping butter

That's an easy one since there are already so many options when it comes to plant-derived butter and vegetable oil. For instance: coconut oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil, sunflower butter and so on. When purchasing oil, make sure it is fair trade. There is huge exploitation happening when it comes to oil production, especially when it comes to palm oil. It may be cheaper, but the cost it has for the environment and animals is huge.

Swapping dairy

Swapping milk is an easy one – there are soooo many options! Almond mylk, coconut mylk, oat mylk, rice mylk, hazelnut mylk and we could go on and on and on. You can make pretty much any kind of plant-based mylk on your own at home, all you need is nuts and/or seeds of your choice and a cloth. Here are some of the recipes:

As for cooking cream, there are many options as well. Our favorite is store-bought cashew, oat, or soy cream. As for whipping cream, full-fat coconut cream is great for whipping. For cake frosting ou can also use silken tofu or coconut mylk. 

Hope this answers some of your questions and makes your transition to a plant-based lifestyle easier! Show us what you make using the swaps through #ayatanafood on social media. Can't wait to see your delicious meals!

Written by Masha.