When you first start to transition over to eating a plant-based diet it can be a challenge to figure out how to replace animal foods with plant-based options.
Here are some common and uncommon food swaps that you can use along your journey.
Use nutritional yeast to replace cheese - Nutritional yeast is de-activated yeast. It looks like a light flaky powder with a cheesy nutty flavor often it is fortified with B vitamins. There are so many different ways to use it. You can add it to soups, use it as a topping for popcorn and blend it with cashews to make a cheesy nacho topping. It's a must-have for a plant-based kitchen.
Use dates to replace added sugar - Dates are a great substitute to add sweetness to your smoothies, nut milks, and other sweet treats. Dates compared to sugar have some nutritional value and added fiber so even though it's still a form of sugar, you're getting some added nutrition.
Use avocados instead of yogurt - We tend to add yogurt to smoothies, dressings, and topping for other meals. Avocado is a great replacement and once again with added benefits. You might think its weird to add avocado to a smoothie but try it, it makes the smoothie super creamy and keeps you full longer. It adds healthy fats and fiber which help balance your blood sugar and control cravings and energy lulls during the day. It's also a great base for dressings for salads and also a delicious sandwich spread.
Use ground chia seeds and flax seeds to replace eggs in baking - When you add water to ground up chia seeds and flax seeds it starts to thicken and get a gelatinous texture. This helps hold baked goods together and do the same job eggs usually do. You also receive the added benefit of nutrition. Chia seeds are antioxidant-rich and full of protein. Flax has those healthy omega 3 fats, protein, and fiber.
Substitute coconut milk for cream - I love using canned full fat coconut milk as a replacement for cream. Especially in dishes like soups and risotto. It's super creamy and delicious and easy to keep on hand.
Substitute Plant-based unsweetened yogurt for sour cream - If your the person who loves to top everything with sour cream try plain unsweetened plant-based yogurt. It has that perfect tanginess to it and it has the added benefit of probiotics.
Coconut oil for butter when baking - This is the perfect swap. I also put this on my toast and its really yummy.
Swap in hummus instead of mayonnaise - I think mayo is a little gross so when it comes to sandwiches, wraps, and summer salads hummus works fabulously. It is also available is so many different flavors so you have many options.
Try Jackfruit to replace pulled pork or shredded chicken - You have to get the young unripe jackfruit canned in brine. This works perfectly to replace pulled pork and chicken. I even have seen people use it as a replacement for turkey in some recipes! With very little preparation and cooking time, it's super easy to use this replacement and also easy to keep it on hand.
Use mushrooms to replace meat - You can chop them up in small pieces to use as a replacement for ground meat or portobello mushrooms make a great steak replacement and also are great for fajitas! Portobello fajitas are one of my favorite dishes!
I hope these substitutes help you along your way. Make sure you join me in my private FB group where I cook a plant-based meal live, every Monday at 4:30 pm est.
Please share this with anyone who may find it valuable and let me know if you have any questions!