If I had a super power it would be the ability to "veganize" (cue: dramatic superhero music).
I also want to bequeath upon you this super power.
What do I mean by "veganize"?
Veganizing means taking a more traditional recipe (shepard's pie, cookies, cake, etc.) and substituting animal products for veg-friendly alternatives to make said recipe available to nom-able to the rest of us.
Why veganize a recipe, even if you're not veg?
- It'll mean less fecal matter in your food.
Any honest dairy farmer will explain that cows are often standing in their own
manure while being milked, causing fecal matter to end up on their udders
and thus in the dairy. Pasturized dairy contains fun stuff like blood, poop, pus...
yummm... Swap for the almond milk.
- It'll appeal to more people when cooking for a group/potluck.
Side effects may include you being the cool kid at the party, getting asked a million
nutrition question, and being invited back only on the grounds of bringing food.
- It often means lowering calories, fat, and cholesterol in a recipe.
Side effects may include a higher protein meal, a slimmer waistline, and more nutrients
and minerals. It also may mean that you will eat more. Oops. It'll balance out!
- It can do less damage to the immune system.
There's a reason all statistics point to vegans being the LEAST sick of all eaters.
I suppose that's not too surprising given that almond milk and flax eggs won't
contain trace amounts of blood and puss like dairy milk and eggs can.
-Accidentally upping your omega intake.
Flax, chia, hemp all top the list of high omega foods that also happen to be
useful swaps when vegan baking/cooking. Isn't that handy?
What are come common swaps to make when veganizing?
Easy 1 to 1 swap with nearly any type of milk. Just think about the consistency. If you need a thicker milk, shoot for almond or soy over rice or hemp, as the latter tend to be watery. Heavy cream can be a bit trickier, but silken tofu or solidified coconut milk from a can can work like a charm.
When baking, an egg or two is easy to swap in several ways
Flax egg: 1T ground flax + 3T water
Chia egg: 1T ground chia + 3T water
Apple sauce: 1/4c per egg
Pumpkin puree: 1/4c per egg
Agar Egg: 1T agar agar flakes + 1/4c hot
Banana: 1/2 a banana mashed
Swap 1 to 1 for solidified coconut oil. If you can't stand the smell/taste of coconut, the refined stuff won't have that backlash on you.
Avocado has become a popular swap for butter with it's neutral flavor and creamy texture.
Earth Balance Buttery Spread, for those that NEED the butter flavor.
Why anyone would want to use gelatin still is beyond me, but agar agar flakes (made from seaweed) are a great swap. If you don't mind the texture, chia seeds work well, too.
Nutritional yeast is like magic. It's usually found in the bulk section and can confuse or frighten the newbie, but sprinkle a bit on your popcorn and you'll be convinced.
There are obviously a ton of vegan cheeses out there to test through. I try to go the less processed the better. Tofu can work beautifully for ricotta, for example, and is a better option than some of the processed stuff.