How’s everyone’s week been going? We’ve been buckled down all week working hard. It’s been a little stressful. Most of the time it’s stress I put on myself by not getting as much done as I expect. But when I get overwhelmed, my stress relief can be found in the kitchen.
And with Veganuary almost over—btw can you believe we’re almost one month into 2019?!?—I wanted to share some baking and cooking advice for adjusting for dietary preferences.
Most of the time when it comes to adjusting recipes for allergies, it’s pretty simple like swapping dairy milk or nut milk, or using vegan cheese instead of dairy cheese.
Here are some vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free substitutions so you can still enjoy your favorite meals despite dietary preferences or requirements. And some of these are 1:1 swaps which makes it that much easier!
The key to enjoying vegan, dairy-free or gluten-free is to not directly compare the final products to their conventional counterparts. Try and enjoy the goods for their delicious and unique qualities on their own.
Dairy-free and/or vegan baking can be tricky as the scientific process of baking relies on the properties of the ingredients to create the consistency and texture of the baked goods; however, below we’re sharing some great substitutes that we consistently used in our kitchen.
Recipe 1 — For when heavy cream is used for tenderness like in savory sauce recipes.
- In small bowl, whisk 2/3 cup plain soy milk with 1/3 cup olive oil until well blended. Yields 1 cup of heavy cream substitute.
Recipe 2 — For when heavy cream is used to add creaminess like in soups.
- Whisk together 1/4 cup melted vegan butter substitute, 3/4 cup of alternative milk of choice, and 1 tbsp of gluten-free flour to thicken. Yields 1 cup of heavy cream substitute.
Recipe 3 — For when heavy cream is used to add flavor and creaminess like in desserts. A subtle coconut flavor will be incorporated.
- Homemade version: We learned how to make our own coconut milk & cream while in Hawaii & share the easy to follow recipe in the post Gluten-Free, Vegan Fresh Coconut Milk & Cream.
- Storebought version: Chill a can of full-fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight, pour the liquid coconut water into a small bowl before scooping out the remaining thickened, opaque coconut cream. Use as a 1:1 substitute.
Recipe 4 — For rich, creamy substitute in soups, sauces, and desserts.
- Place 1 cup of whole raw cashews in a bowl, cover with water and soak overnight. Drain and transfer to small food processor or blender. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and blend until smooth. Add more water till desired consistency is reached, blending between additions. Store extra in airtight container in the fridge.
Note: It won’t whip up like dairy-based heavy cream will.
You’re in luck! Cans of Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk are readily available at big chain grocery stores like Whole Foods, Wegman’s, Kroger, and even Amazon.
In a medium pot over medium-high heat, add 2 1/4 cups soy milk and allow to simmer, stirring continuously, for 10 minutes or until the milk has reduced in volume roughly 60%.
Notes: Reduce temperature as needed to avoid a rolling boil. The final product won’t be as thick as traditional evaporated milk.
In a 1 cup measuring cup, squeeze 1 tbsp lemon juice then fill remaining measuring cup space with soy milk.* Carefully mix and allow to sit for 5-8 minutes to curdle and thicken. Alternatively you can use 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar or white vinegar instead of the lemon juice.
Note: Soy milk works best because it contains higher amounts of protein than almond milk or similar alternatives.
Chill 1 can of full-fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight, pour the liquid coconut water into a small bowl before scooping out and adding the remaining thickened, opaque coconut cream to a medium mixing bowl. Beat coconut cream with handheld or stand mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form, roughly 7 minutes. Add 3 1/2 tbsp of powdered sugar and beat 1 minute more. Add additional sugar as desired.
Alternatively, vegan and dairy-free whipped cream in spray cans are widely available at groceries utilizing coconut, soy, or even almond milk.
Here’s the deal-o, ingredients like eggs are used in baking as binders. They bind all the ingredients together and add moisture to the final product. Well if you’re vegan or allergic to eggs, you’re going to replace eggs with something to bind everything. Thankfully vegans and bakers before us have discovered unique ways to get the same effect, plant-based! Check ‘em out.
Option 1 — Apple Sauce
This substitute is great for tender, moist baked goods.
- Substitute 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce for 1 egg.
Option 2 — Aquafaba
This one’s going to sound strange, but it works very well and is quite popular in the vegan community.
Drain and reserve the liquid from a can of chickpeas. Lightly whip 3 tbsp aquafaba until foamy and substitute for 1 whole egg in recipes.
Note: Whip aquafaba for roughly 12-15 minutes to create meringue. :)
Option 3 — Chia Seeds
Mix 1 tbsp chia seeds with 3 tbsp of hot water and allow to sit for 8-12 minutes until mixture becomes gel-like.
Option 4 — Flax Eggs
For baking recipes that use vinegar, baking powder or baking soda, use flax seed “eggs.”
- Combine 1 tbsp flax seed meal with 3 tbsp of hot water, mix well before adding to recipe. Yields 1 “egg,” use as 1:1 substitute.
Option 5 — Store-Bought Egg Replacements
Vegan egg replacements are widely available at grocery stores. Follow directions on package to yield the amount of egg replacement needed. I haven’t tried all of them yet but I’ve had success with Follow Your Heart VeganEgg.