Which vegan nutrient packed ingredients make the best substitutes for popular recipe ingredients?

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Answered by: tracy, An Expert in the Vegan Entrees Category
Coconut Oil is the perfect fat to use in place of butter and oils in recipes. Coconut Oil has natural antibiotic, anti-fungal, and antiviral properties. The nutritional power of coconut oil is staggering, credited with everything from halting Alzheimer’s to slowing the effects of HIV. One of the secrets behind the success of coconut oil is Lauric acid, a powerful immune system defense substance secreted by the human body while breastfeeding. Lauric acid carries potent germ-fighting and cell growth capability, and besides breastmilk, occurs naturally and exists in only one substance- coconut oil. Nutrients aside, coconut oil bakes, grills, and fries extraordinarily well. With a high melting point and mild fragrance, this oil blends seamlessly into recipes and turns a simple meal into a nutritional bonanza.

Love baking and home-made pasta and looking to add options to over-processed, bleached, mineral-robbed wheat flour? Chickpea or garbanzo bean flour makes a perfect substitute for pasta and baking and manages to still hold its shape. Chickpea flour can be used to thicken recipes or simply used in place of your current flour. Some flours, like coconut flour, might be great nutritionally but will fall apart in most recipes. When making homemade pasta, many flours will make it through a simple baked recipe but will melt in water when attempted for a pasta recipe. Chickpea flour binds well, holds its shape, all while imparting a mild flavor packed with protein and fiber. For the hummus lovers, use chickpea flour as a quick nutrient packed ingredient- the resulting hummus is ultra-smooth and simply prepared. Chickpea flour has gained such popularity, it is now available in chickpea pasta form, dried and packaged in a cardboard box at your nearest grocer.

Often times for baking a natural sweetener is desired. Sure the agave route can be taken, for a little variety or added oomph, consider unsweetened applesauce. With a light natural sweet tinge, applesauce makes a wonderful egg substitute, especially for baking. Applesauce will give added flavor, texture and moistness to any flour or baking recipe. A little applesauce goes a long way, add tiny amounts and increase gradually as the recipe is fine-tuned. Cut down on unnecessary sugar by substituting natural applesauce (with no added sugars) whenever possible, grocery aisles carry the unsweetened applesauce versions and are reasonably priced, there is no nutritional point to using applesauce that has been artificially sweetened. Besides the lovely texture and dimension that applesauce adds to the recipe, the natural sweetness of the unsweetened applesauce feels clean and rewarding.

Matcha powder, or ground green tea leaves, is the perfect substitute for coffee and tea and added to flaxseed milk or hemp milk (or any plant based milk), introduces a flavor profile as intense as its legendary antioxidant count. As the only nutrient packed ingredient so far that can be used on its own (matcha powder iced green tea anyone?), makes the perfect base for morning smoothies, creamy oatmeal or added to various baking recipes. Instead of adding plain water or juice to a smoothie mix, combine with a favorite nut/seed/plant milk and use the energy boosting mix as the perfect base liquid ingredient. Any sponge cake, cookie, pie and dessert bun recipe that ordinarily calls for coffee or tea (or any statement spice), will blend with matcha powder perfectly, and display an exotic green tinge upon completion- along with the divine fragrance that green tea is renowned for. Matcha powder is the term commonly given to finely ground green tea leaves. The reason why matcha powder rules over coffee and all other tea options lays in the fact that matcha powder, when consumed, offers health benefits equivalent to the consumption of the whole leaf. Most teas and coffees are soaked and the grinds and leaves remain behind and are tossed in the trash. Consuming matcha powder means loads of antioxidants, chlorophyll, fiber, Vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc, and magnesium. One serving of matcha powder tea is equivalent to ten servings of brewed leaf green tea and contains a whopping 137 times more antioxidants than brewed leaf green tea.

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