Firstly let me say that when you first go vegan or transition into using less animal products, I think there is a desire to use regular recipes that you may have always used, are familiar with or just stumble upon and want to veganise. I know for me it was almost a challenge to ‘hack’ every favourite meal. Making a recipe vegan is not always as simple as a straight substitution of regular milk with non-dairy milk and egg with a replacement. Some non vegan recipes just won’t work if you try to make them vegan. For example if a recipe calls for more than 3 eggs, adding an egg replacer is just going to make it taste bad. The good news is there are hundreds of great vegan recipes out there to use.
If you are like me a lot of your cooking just happens, you’ve been doing it for so long you rarely follow recipes for everyday meals. So learning how you can adapt your meal making to incorporate vegan friendly ingredients is fantastic and absolutely essential if you want to keep having fun in the kitchen.
The best thing about substituting milk in your daily meal and recipes with non dairy equivalents is that you have a huge choice. There is not only one brand of soy milk, so to the people that say they can’t go vegan because soy milk tastes really bad, well I say you haven’t found a brand you like. Usually the most well-known brand tastes the worst. I know that here in Australia, most people would automatically buy So Good (if they were replacing cow’s milk) , which to me tastes terrible, but Bonsoy, Vitasoy and a few others are so nutty tasting and delicious. So shop around and find your favourite. Don’t like soy milk, easy! There are even more non-dairy options available. Rice milks, hemp seed milk, almond milk, oat milk, cashew milk, coconut milk and the best thing is you can have several different kinds in your fridge and pantry according to your preference and also the use. I love coconut milk for desserts and it also makes the creamiest porridge, almond milk is great for smoothies and soy milk in cappuccinos is perfect to me. Some people can’t drink soy or choose not to, but with the extensive list of other options, it’s not a problem.
You can even make you own nut milks which are delicious and you know exactly what is in them.
125grams of whole raw almonds soaked overnight
Blend with water to make up 1.5 litres of liquid
Start by adding about 300ml of water and blending until really smooth, then strain through a nutmilk bag or a large rectangle of muslin folded in half to make a square.
Squeeze all liquid out and pour into glass bottles.
You can sweeten to taste with maple syrup if you like, but to me almonds have a slightly sweet taste anyway.
Keeps for 3-4 days in the fridge.
This is great if you make a lot of smoothies and get sick of purchasing the small 1 litre tetra packs of non-dairy milk.
When it comes to substituting eggs in a recipe, you need to be aware or what the egg is doing, is it binding the other ingredients together, is it aiding in raising the baked goods or adding fluffiness to the texture.
Bananas work well in baked goods where the banana taste is welcomed. Mashed, very ripe bananas trap air and keep the cake, muffins etc moist. This is an easy substitution for muffins and obviously banana bread or carrot cake etc.
½ a mashed, very ripe banana = 1 egg
Substitute 1 tablespoon of chia seeds (preferably finely ground) + 3 tablespoons of water per egg
To grind them add them to your coffee grinder. If you do use them whole it just means you will have seeds in your end product, which sometimes doesn’t matter. I guess it’s personal preference.
It’s also a great ingredient to use to thicken sauces and gravies with and it’s delicious in smoothies!
Last year when I was searching for a diy recipe for a vintage setting solution for my hair, I found a recipe calling for Flaxseeds.
Basically the seeds are gently simmered for 15 mins and then the liquid is strained and cooled. The end result is a clear gel like substance not very dissimilar to eggwhite. Immediately thought I could use it as an egg substitute in baking recipes and also to coat my arancini balls…Success!
So now I make a batch up once a week and I can use it in pancakes, fritters, arancini and my hair also! So versatile!
1 Tablespoon of whole Flax seeds added to 1 cup of water.
I make a batch using 3 tablespoons with 3 cups of water.
Simmer gently and stir often for about 15.
Strain immediately and store the liquid in the fridge in a glass bottle.
Commercial egg replacer:
There are also commercial egg replacers on the market, personally I don’t think they are that fantastic, but I guess to have a packet in the pantry as a back up can’t hurt.
Make your own N’egg
2 tablespoons gluten flour or unbleached white flour
1 ½ teaspoon oil
½ baking powder
2 tablespoons water
Combine everything in a little cup or bowl and use immediately as the baking powder loses it’s effectiveness in about 2 hours.