DIY Plant-based Food Replacements
If you’re looking to adopt a more plant-based diet, read on to learn about plant-based food replacements that you can make out of basic pantry staples and use at home, and get cooking!
Flax eggs have a gluey texture that are similar to egg whites, and possess a slightly nutty taste. Flax eggs help to bind ingredients together, and are therefore ideal for flour-based recipes (avoid nut flour recipes!). They can be used to bake cakes, breads, and cookies!
- 1 tbsp flaxseed meal (ground raw flaxseed)
- 3 tbsp water
Add flaxseed meal and water to a dish and stir. Let rest for 5 minutes to thicken. Add to recipes in place of 1 egg
Run out of flax? Use chia seeds instead.
Tip: Flax eggs can’t keep! So make sure you only make what you need to avoid any food waste.
It’s easy swapping in vegan butter, as it can be used for everything from pan frying and baking to simply spreading on toast!
- 1 cup refined coconut oil (melted)
- 2 tbsp canola oil or avocado oil
- ⅓ cup unsweetened soy milk or almond milk
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp nutritional yeast
- 1 pinch turmeric (for colour)
- ½ tsp salt
- Add melted refined coconut oil and canola or avocado oil to a blender
- Add the apple cider vinegar to the unsweetened soy or almond milk and stir until it curdles into buttermilk. Add to the blender
- Add nutritional yeast, turmeric and salt into blender
- Blend until smooth
- Pour into butter dish and set in refrigerator
Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freeze.
Non-dairy milk consumption is on the rise and now available in supermarkets everywhere. But delicious nut milk is actually very quick and easy to make, plus saves you time, money, and you skip the packaging! Almonds and walnuts make great nut milks, or try pecans or hazelnuts for different flavours!
- ½ cup nuts
- 1 cup water for soaking
- 4 cups water for blending
- Pinch of salt
- Soak nuts in water for 4-12 hours
- Blend nuts, salt and water until smooth
- Place a fine mesh nut milk bag or a thin dish towel over a large glass bowl and pour the blended mixture into it, and slowly twist and squeeze out all the liquid (don’t forget to compost your nut pulp!)
- Pour the nut milk into glass jars and seal
Store in the fridge for 4-5 days, or freeze in ice cube trays to be used in smoothies or thawed for other recipes!
Tip: Sweeten with dates or vanilla extract, or add cocoa powder to make chocolate milk!
Plant-based cheeses are now widely available, whether in supermarkets or health-focused restaurants, and can be found in sandwiches, pasta dishes, and even at wine pairings. Vegan cheese is now available in shredded, sliced, and even block form, and it tastes just like genuine cheese!
Cheese processing is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than any other product from the dairy sector, plus they are high in saturated fat and sodium, so vegan cheeses are a healthy and sustainable alternative. Learn more about plant-based cheese here.
5-minute macadamia cheese
- 1¼ cup raw macadamia nuts
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley or cilantro (optional)
- Add macadamia nuts, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt and ¼ cup water into blender and blend, then add 1 tbsp of water at a time into the blender until a thick paste forms
- Adjust flavour with nutritional yeast, salt, lemon juice or garlic powder as needed
- Add herbs (optional)
- Transfer blend to cheese cloth and form a loose ball and set over a bowl. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes
Garlic and herb cashew cheese
- ½ cup cashews
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp oregano
- ½ tsp salt
- 1½ tsp cornstarch
- ½ garlic clove
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp lemon juice or cider vinegar
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 cup water (divided)
- 1½ tsp agar agar powder
- Oil (to brush ramekin)
- Soak the cashews 1 hour in hot water
- Drain the cashews and place them in a blender with the basil, oregano, garlic, salt, cornstarch, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, maple syrup and ½ cup water
- Process for 1 minute and set aside
- In a saucepan combine ½ cup water and agar agar powder. Add the cashew cream and bring to a boil, stirring constantly
- Pour into lightly oiled ramekins and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Remove by turning upside down onto a board.
Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Check out more plant-based cheese recipes here.
Nut creams, such as cashew cream, are an excellent plant-based cream substitute. They are incredibly versatile and can be used in many recipes, such as creamy pasta sauces, salad dressings, smoothies and soups.
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup water for soaking
- 2 cups water for blending
- Soak cashews in hot water for 4-12 hours
- Drain the water and rinse off the nuts to remove the oily texture
- Blend the cashews with water for 1-2 minutes on high until smooth. You can adjust the amount of water used to blend depending on your preference of thickness.
Store in the fridge for up to four days, or freeze for up to 6 months. You can use almost any nut to make a nut cream. Macadamia nuts are also a great alternative.