How to Make Any Dish Vegan
Some people prefer to stick to a vegan diet, mainly for health reasons. However, some others may just want to try a different way of cooking their favorite dishes from time to time, without using egg, dairy, or meat products.
5-Minute Crafts has prepared this guide to help you switch from animal-based ingredients to plant-based ones while following a recipe.
1. Replace eggs when baking.
Eggs work as binders that keep doughs and batters together in baked recipes, so it’s not possible just to skip them or use water to replace them. However, you may use the following egg substitutes for vegan preparations. Keep in mind that all of these amounts equal one egg.
- Ground flaxseeds: 1 tablespoon mixed into 3 tablespoons of water. Make sure to let it sit for 5 minutes afterward so it achieves the right consistency. This alternative will keep the moisture in your baked goods.
- Ripe banana: 1/4 cup, mashed. You may taste the banana flavor in your recipes.
- Chia seeds: 1 tablespoon of ground or whole seeds mixed into 3 tablespoons of water. Let it sit for 10 minutes afterward until it becomes a gel.
- Applesauce: 1/4 cup. It will also add sweetness.
- Pumpkin or sweet potato puree: 1/4 cup. It will give a golden color to your recipes.
- Silken, soft, or firm tofu: 1/4 cup, blended until creamy and smooth.
- Fruit puree: 1/4 cup. Prune puree works very well in chocolate preparations.
2. Swap butter for other alternatives.
Use the following plant-based substitutes to replace butter:
- Neutral oils: like grapeseed, canola, and avocado oil. You may add the same amount as directed for butter. However, if you feel like your baked goods are too moist, you can lower the amount by 3 tablespoons.
- Nut butter: it’s recommended for cookies and brownies, as it will give your preparations a denser consistency. Just make sure to not replace all the fat in your recipe with just nut butter. You may start with just half of it. For example, if the instructions for baking cookies say that you should add 1 cup of butter, use 1/2 cup of nut butter and 1/2 cup of canola oil.
- Coconut oil: it’s preferable to choose the refined option to avoid the coconut flavor. Use the oil along with the other ingredients at room temperature. When baking cookies with this butter substitute, shape them before putting them in the oven as cookies with coconut oil usually spread out less.
3. Make your own vegan cheese.
Therefore, it may be a good idea to try the following recipe made with natural ingredients only. Enjoy it with any dish that requires cheese, like tortilla chips, lasagna, or even pizza.
- 2 cups of diced potatoes (peeled)
- 1 cup of diced carrots (peeled)
- 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1/3 cup of olive oil
- 1 tbsp of lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp of onion powder
- 1 tsp of salt
- Boil the potatoes and carrots for around 20 minutes or until they are soft.
- Drain them and blend them with the other ingredients until you get a smooth texture. Serve immediately. If there are any leftovers, pour the remaining cheese into a sealed container and keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days.
If you’re looking for a grated or parmesan cheese alternative, nutritional yeast can be a good option. Just sprinkle it over pasta dishes or popcorn.
You can also mix nutritional yeast with coconut milk and finely ground cashews to get a cheese-like dressing.
4. Opt for neutral plant-based milk.
You will probably find a wide range of vegan milk options at grocery stores to substitute for cow’s milk. However, it’s advisable to choose unsweetened and unflavored products so that you can use them in a variety of recipes. Some of the most common alternatives are:
- Oat milk: it can be a good alternative for sauces and baked recipes. You can easily make your own oat milk at home by following these directions: Soak 1 cup of oats in 3 cups of cold water. Let it sit overnight and blend it until you get a smooth consistency. Strain all the liquid and store it in the fridge.
- Almond milk: it’s an all-purpose milk option. However, make sure to not boil it as it can burn and separate.
- Rice milk: it’s sweet and has almost no flavor, which makes a good option for pizza crust and bread.
- Soy milk: you can use it in most baked preparations. For pan recipes, avoid heating it beyond its boiling point to prevent it from curdling.
- Coconut milk: it can be a very good alternative if the recipe says that you need to use heavy cream or whole milk.
5. Substitute meat with other ingredients.
Many people may think that meat is one of the most difficult ingredients to replace in a dish. However, there are plenty of plant-based alternatives you can try. For example:
- Lentils: they can be a great substitute for ground meat. For instance, if a recipe says you should use 1 pound of ground meat, you can replace it with 2 cups of lentils. Cook them for about 30 minutes to make sure they stay firm. If you don’t have enough time, you can also opt for cooked or canned lentils.
- Tofu: crumbled or diced tofu can be one of the most versatile options, as it can be used to replace chicken, beef, seafood, or pork Besides, it’s an excellent source of nutrients, like iron and calcium.
- Tempeh: it’s a plant-based ingredient, made from fermented soybeans, that is very high in protein and vitamins. It can be roasted, sautéed, or baked and when crumbled or chopped it can be a good alternative to ground meat in taco fillings and other preparations.
- Chickpeas: their color and texture can easily replace chicken and turkey meat. Use the same amount of cooked chickpeas for both meat ingredients. Blend the chickpeas with breadcrumbs to make burgers or nuggets, or mash them before adding them to a sandwich.
- Mushrooms: they are another excellent alternative due to their wide variety of flavors and textures. Chop them and mix them with lentils to prepare a Bolognese sauce, or stuff them with other vegetables and spices. Use oyster mushrooms if you want to imitate the texture and flavor of chicken in fried chicken dishes.
- Jackfruit: this tropical fruit can resemble the texture of shredded meat and is often used in vegan and vegetarian dishes. At the same time, it can replace pulled pork, chicken, and even tuna.