Vegan cooking and baking aren’t difficult, but there are a couple of tips and tricks that are very helpful to ensure your muffins are fluffy, your cookies bind together and your sauces are creamy. Keep these vegan and dairy substitutes handy and use this guide when making a vegan version of any recipe or when crafting your own vegan recipes.
Vegan Egg Substitute
There are a variety of vegan egg replacements, knowing when to use which substitute is key for making the best vegan baked goods.
For replacing an egg in quick breads, muffins and cakes, you can use 1/4 cup of applesauce or 1/4 cup club soda (works best in combination with Forager Project Unsweetened Drinkable Cashewmilk Yogurt) to give lift to cakes and muffins. In a pinch, you can also mix 2 tablespoons of water with 2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil as a replacement for 1 egg in any recipe.
For cookies, a flax egg is a great replacement for eggs. To make a flax egg, mix 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal with 2 ½ tablespoons water and let sit for five minutes. Make these Vegan Sugar Cookies and you will see for yourself how well a flax egg can bind dough (no crumbly cookies).
Vegan Buttermilk Substitute
The best way to make a fluffy and tender cake or muffin is using Forager Project Unsweetened Drinkable Cashewmilk Yogurt or Forager Project Vanilla Cashewmilk Yogurt. When baking, these products function as literally the best vegan buttermilk! The lactic acid helps to tenderize the crumb of any cake recipe. Use Forager Project Cashewmilk Yogurt or Drinkable Cashewmilk Yogurt as a 1-for-1 substitute for buttermilk.
Try these Vegan Blueberry Muffins using Forager Project Vanilla Cashewmilk Yogurt.
Half & Half Substitute
The easiest way to make vegan Half & Half is by reducing plant-based milk that is not low in fat. To do this, place 2 cups of Forager Project Unsweetened Organic Cashewmilk (or Forager Project Coconut Cashew Oatmilk) in a wide rim pan. Bring the milk to a boil on the stove and then reduce to very low heat, allowing the milk to thicken. Make sure to stir frequently with a whisk so that the solids do not stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. The reduction has finished when you have approximately 1 cup remaining. This plant-based milk reduction can be used as a 1-to-1 replacement for Half & Half.
Try this Vegan Mushroom Risotto with Miso using a non-dairy milk reduction for Half & Half.
Vegan Heavy Cream Substitute
While you can use the Half & Half recipe above to replace heavy cream in recipes, it is best to use a thicker cream for a more true replacement. To make a heavy cream substitute, soak ½ cup of cashews in hot water for approximately an hour. Drain them and then place them in a blender or food processor with ½ cup of filtered water. Process on high until you reach a smooth and thick, creamy consistency. Once the nuts are processed as fine as possible, line a strainer with some cheese cloth and pour the mixture into the cloth. Allow the liquid to pass through the cloth. You can speed this up by pressing the mass with the back of a spoon. This will make for a much smoother cream. You can save the solids and use it in a salad dressing, curry or soup.
This cream works well in sauces, soups and stews. You can also add silken tofu to this dairy free cream recipe to make it even thicker – this version works well in sweets or savory dips and vegan cheeses. Try this thicker cream with tofu as a substitute for Sour Cream in this Vegan Jalapeno Queso recipe.
For more vegan cooking substitutions, read this article on Vegan Alternatives for Common Recipe Ingredients.
Forager Project is a family-owned and operated organic food company, crafting plant-based foods in California since 2013.
Michele L. Seattle, WA
Judy H. Marblehead, MA