Easy Vegan Cooking/Baking Substitutions

Photo provided by Anna Tselevich

Photo provided by Anna Tselevich

Veganism has seen a huge surge in popularity within the past few years and a lot of people wonder how anyone could ever be vegan and eat more than celery.  What many don’t know is most of it is simply food substitution.  For your major cooking and baking products, substitution may be easier than you think.  There are actually some really easy substitutions that one can use to make a batch of cupcakes just a little sweeter and more ethical.

Milk// just choose a nondairy milk and use the same amount of that as you would dairy milk.  There are lots of options between soy, hemp, coconut, almond, oat, hazelnut, and rice milk (not to mention that this list is growing consistently).  In many cases, milk can also be substituted with water since its role is often just to moisten the dry ingredients.

Honey// you could use simple syrup, maple syrup, agave nectar, or even vegan Honey.  Any of these choices can also be used in the same amount as regular honey. No need to steal from the hard working bees with these great sweeteners!

Butter// now this gets just a little bit more complex.  You could use vegan butter as a reliable all around substitute, but there are some other things you can use in the place of butter depending upon the recipe.  For scones or pie crusts, vegetable shortening is a great option; for creamy sauces, silken tofu can be a great fat-free butter replacement; and, for muffins and brownies, coconut oil is a great option to keep baked goods moist and sweet.

Eggs// these are really the only tough thing to substitute because they can play two different roles in baking: binding and leavening.  In order to make a good substitution using something other than products like the vegan Egg, also known as the Vegg, you do have to know which role the egg is playing.  When the egg is being used for binding (this will be recipes with dense results like cookies or brownies), any of the following are great substitutions: 1 overripe banana, 1/4 cup applesauce or pumpkin puree, and 1/4 cup of vegetable oil.  When the eggs are being used for leavening, the desired result is light and fluffy like cupcakes.  Substitutions include flax or “chia seed eggs” (one tablespoon of either seed soaked in three tablespoons of water until gelatinous) and two tablespoons of water to two tablespoons of baking soda.  All of the measurements given are the equivalent to one egg and may need to be multiplied when a recipe calls for two or more eggs.

So, baking and cooking vegan may not be so difficult afterall.  The most obvious, and sometimes easiest substitution, is to get the vegan equivalents to the animal products in whatever recipe one is trying to bake, though not everyone may have access to them.  In that case, hopefully this guide has given options you can find in your nearest grocery store.