Recipe Revamp: Make Any Recipe Vegan or Vegetarian

Here are five easy substitutions you can make to turn any recipe into a vegetarian or vegan one.
Related To:
Healthy food

Healthy food

I Love heallthy food photo

©Evgenia Smirnova

Evgenia Smirnova

You’ve been perusing recipes and finally found THE ONE you’ve been searching for. (Sometimes it can be as hard as finding THE ONE.) Problem is, the recipe needs to be vegan. Have no fear! We’ve put together our recipe-revamp cheat sheet that offers five easy substitutions to turn any recipe into a vegan or vegetarian one.

Instead of: Chicken or beef broth
Use: Vegetable or mushroom broth

Vegetable broth has a lighter flavor and works well in recipes that call for chicken broth. If you want the kind of heartier flavor you’d find in beef, turn to mushroom broth. As with any packaged broth, look for low-sodium varieties.

Recommended:
Instead of: Butter
Use: Coconut butter or soy margarine

Both of these alternatives are free of cholesterol. Coconut butter is rich in flavor, while soy margarine is milder. Use soy margarine in recipes where you don’t want the butter competing with other strong flavors.

Recommended:
Instead of: Honey
Use: Agave or maple syrup

To make a recipe vegan, there can’t be honey in sight. Agave is sweeter than honey and has a thinner consistency. It blends nicely in hot bevvies like tea and coffee. If you opt for maple syrup, make sure you get the real deal. Look for “100% pure maple syrup” on the ingredient list.

Recommended:
Instead of: Eggs
Use: Bananas, flax seeds or silken tofu

Mashed banana acts as a nice binding agent in baking recipes like muffins and brownies – plus, it will give your recipes a potassium boost! Substitute 1/4 cup mashed banana for 1 egg. Omega-3-filled flax seeds are also a great substitute in baked goods. Grind 1 tablespoon flax seeds in a coffee grinder and mix with 3 tablespoons water until a gelatinous mixture forms. A third option to substitute is 1/4 cup blended silken tofu in lieu of 1 egg. You can use it for baked goods or just make a good old tofu scramble loaded with your favorite veggies.

Recommended:

Ener-G Egg Replacer has been used as an egg substitute for years. It tends to get the best reviews when used in cookie recipes.

Instead of: Cow’s milk
Use: A variety of milk substitutes

There are so many alternatives to use these days. Almond, soy, hemp, rice, coconut and oat milk can now be found in many markets around the country. When substituting for milk in a recipe, soy and rice tend to have milder flavors that mesh well with a variety of other ingredients.

Recommended:

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

Photo: iStock.com.
Keep Reading

Next Up

Famous Vegans and Vegetarians

Mike Tyson, Ellen DeGeneres, Bill Clinton and Pam Anderson have all sworn off meat in their diets.

Spotlight Recipes: 25 Vegetarian Favorites

Whether you're a committed vegetarian or vegan or just want to try something new, meatless meals provide great variety to your dinner table meal line-up -- They can be both delicious and healthy (foregoing meat isn't an excuse to eat cheese pizza every day!) We chose 25 tasty recipes covering all of the major food groups vegetarians should be eating (these are healthy picks for meat-eaters, too): fruits and veggies, whole grains, beans/legumes, nuts, and seeds.

7 Vegan Recipes That Change Everything

No meat, no cheese -- no problem!

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Menu

Growing up with a vegan chef (my mother), I’ve had the most wonderful vegetarian Thanksgiving experience. Our table would be loaded with the most creative and delicious dishes made from seasonal fruits and veggies, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. We’ve put together vegetarian (and even some vegan) options for Turkey Day—and you don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy them.

The Veggie Table: Favorite Vegan and Vegetarian Smartphone Apps

A round-up of the best smartphone apps for finding vegan and vegetarian recipes and restaurants.

Nutrients A Vegetarian Should Worry About

We’ll walk through the basic types of vegetarianism and fill you in on which nutrients those with a meat-free diet need to pay special attention to.

The Veggie Table: Foods That Sound Vegan, But Really Aren't

Foods that sound like they be meat and dairy free, like vegetable soup or non-dairy creamer often contain ingredients you're not expecting. Be sure to check labels and ask your server at restaurants what foods contain, especially for the foods on this list.

Going Veg? Don't Make These Mistakes

When I switched cold-turkey from a meat-eating to vegan diet, I was pleased to see I could still eat fries, chips and salsa, and my secret guilty pleasure, Swedish Fish (it’s not real fish, so it’s OK!). But I quickly realized I'd stumbled into a common veggie pitfall -- eating junk food in place of fresh, whole, plant-based foods. Here are some other vegetarian mistakes.

How to Stock a Vegan or Vegetarian Kitchen

Cooking at home is easier when your kitchen is already stocked with the right ingredients.

The Veggie Table: Favorite Vegan and Vegetarian Blogs

A round-up of Janel Ovrut Funk's favorite vegan and vegetarian food blogs.