Going Vegetarian or Vegan? – Great Ingredient Substitutes!

Today I received an awesome “Ingredient Substitution Chart” from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine PCRM (www.PCRM.org).  I want to share with you the great information provided by PCRM that could be helpful to you whether you are cooking, baking or just need a meal that has that special texture you like.

For Meat Substitutes PCRM suggests the following:

  • Legumes can be used in place of meat in recipes.
  • Vegetarian burgers can be made from grains, soy and plants which will provide a meat-like taste and texture. When buying frozen veggie burgers read the lables for sodium and sugar content.  You can make your own vegetarian burger.  Check this Veggie Burger recipe from Oh She Glows, one of my favorite blogs!
  • Portobello mushrooms can substitute for a meat layer in many cooked dishes like lasagna or replacement for meat items in a sandwich.  I love Portobello mushrooms because they are very hardy.
  • Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and has a flavor and texture that can be used in place of ground meat.  Use tempeh in curries, chilis, and stir fries and check out this recipe for a Tasty Tempeh Sandwich on www.lisas-lentils.com.
  • Tofu is the meat substitute most of us are familiar with as it can be used in a variety of recipes.  Tofu is a curd made from soybeans.  When using tofu, make sure to squeeze out excess water.  I typically put the tofu on a plate and then put another plate on top. The weight of the top plate is helpful for squeezing out excess water.  Always store tofu covered in water in the refrigerator until ready to use.  Refrigerated tofu will last about 4 days and frozen tofu can last up to a month.  The best way to use soft tofu is in soups, like miso, desserts made in a blender or Vitamix with frozen fruit, or in a blended sauce for past dishes.
  • Seitan is made from wheat-gluten and can be a meat replacement for roasts or stews, fajita and stir fries.  My mother actually loves seitan as she had it on our recent trip to New York at Candle 79.  She ordered a stew and it looked yummy.  I have the Candle Cafe Cookbook and absolutely love it.  Check out the website for more information.
  • Textured vegetable protein (TVP) is used as a substitute for ground beef and made out of defatted soybeans.  My experience with TVP is limited.

For Dairy Substitutes

  • Milk is easily substituted by nut, oat or seed milk found in mainstream grocery stores.  Make sure to check the label as many milk substitutes are processed and contain chemicals and sugar.  My personal favorite is coconut milk.  You can also make your own milk.  Here is a recipe for Raw Almond Milk from Gena at www.ChoosingRaw.com.
  • Cheese is very hard to substitute and replicate.  I love cheese, especially parmesan cheese!  Parmesan cheese can be substituted with nutritional yeast which gives everything a little bit of a cheesy flavor when you sprinkle it on food, however I’m not really sure it replicates the taste.  I have used nutritional yeast on spaghetti, soup and vegetable dishes.  I like nutritional yeast because it is high in thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6, and B12, and also has a substantial amount of folic acid.  I consider it a super food.  There are soy, rice, and nut based cheese alternatives available in health food stores.  My favorite is Daiya Cheese shreds which I use when making pizza and quesadillas.
  • Butter is used in almost every baked item available, including baked potatoes.  Fortunately it’s easy to substitute with dairy-free non-hydrogenated margarine like Earth Balance and Spectrum.  I use coconut butter which can be purchased on-line or in health food stores.  It gives my food a sweeter taste and coconut is high in lauric acid which is converted into monolaurin, a monoglyceride compound which exhibits antiviral, antimicrobial, antiprotozoal and antifungal properties.
  • Cream can be substituted with nut milk, soy milk, coconut milk, puree tofu or soy and nut based creamers found in your local health food store.  I have found that soaking cashews over night and adding them to a blender or vitamix with a little water is a great substitute for cream.

egg substitute cartoons, egg substitute cartoon, egg substitute picture, egg substitute pictures, egg substitute image, egg substitute images, egg substitute illustration, egg substitute illustrations For Egg Substitutes – One egg can equal the following (from PCRM):

  • 1/4 C silken tofu blended
  • 1/2 mashed banana
  • 1/4 C apple sauce
  • 1/2 C soy or rice yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. of Ener-G foods Egg Replace & 2 T lukewarm water (I use this method quite often)
  • 1 T ground flaxseed meal & 3 T water & 1 T oil & 1 tsp baking powder & 1 tsp potato or cornstarch
  • 1/4 C mashed white or sweet potatoes
  • 2 T potato starch, cornstarch or arrowroot
  • 2-3 T tomato paste
  • 1/4 C cooked oats
  • 2-3 T bread crumbs
  • 2-3 T flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder

There are a lot of other great resources available on www.PCRM.org, including their 21-Day Kickstart Program which includes healthy videos and recipes from Alicia Silverstone, Marilu Henner and Kris Carr just to name a few.  A shout out to my friend Nancy who gave me the information on PCRM and the 21-Day Kickstart Program.

Snow is coming this weekend so check out some soup recipes on www.lisas-lentils.com/recipes-lisa-kippur.

Have a great week everyone!

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