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.

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©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.

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.

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.

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.


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.


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.


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