Category Archives: Vegetarian

Vegan Baking Hacks 101

Baking without eggs or milk by-products sounds crazy. Like, skydiving-without-a-parachute crazy. But, is it really? Every time I offer a vegan dessert, especially cake, and I say it has no milk nor eggs people start losing it. “Really? No way! How?”-is an instant response to my egg-free offerings. Then I start to explain the supposedly complex science experiment of cooking without eggs. Heads start to nod, “ooh’s” and “aah’s” arise and this crazy suggestion begins to feel more tangible. That’s why I would like to share with you 9 Easy Vegan Baking Hacks that will substitute eggs, milk and its by-products. This way you can impress your friends cooking a beautifully risen cake without eggs and more.

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vegan buttermilk 1. Vegan Buttermilk You can also use instead of the lemon juice apple cider vinegar, white vinegar or lime juice. This recipe can also be used with regular cow’s milk.

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2. Vegan Whipped Cream You can put a can of coconut milk in the freezer overnight and it will solidify. With a dash of vanilla, this creamy goodness can be turned into a vegan whipped cream. You can also add cocoa powder and powdered sugar to make a chocolate flavored alternative.

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3. Milk Alternatives There are too many to name them all. Remember to match the flavor profile of the non-dairy milk to the final product. Texture, aroma and flavor are very different depending of the source of the milk. Soy and nut based milks have a strong flavor while rice and oat milk are more subtle and sweet.

P.S.: Most non-dairy milks are easy to make at home. You basically boil rice, almonds, cashews, or any other ingredient with vanilla, blend and voila! From All Sorts of PrettyHERE is a way to do almond milk and almond flour at the same time, saving food, money and time. Super awesome!

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~And now for the egg substitutes~

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4. Baking Soda / Baking Powder The most common and commercially used alternative is the chemical leavening agent, alias Baking Soda and Baking Powder. Most recipes use this alternative even if it’s not vegan so it’s pretty easy to make the switch. I prefer baking soda because it doesn’t leave a tart, bitter aftertaste. It’s really subtle but I can detect it on the first bite… or is it just me? Correct me if I’m wrong in the comments. Now, the never-ending question: “What’s the difference between baking soda and baking powder?” Essentially they’re both the same. They only differ slightly in taste and how they rise. Baking soda expands to the sides while baking powder expands upwards.

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5. Egg Replacer (Ener-G) This is not a paid advertisement, I REALLY LOVE this product. Made from potato and tapioca starch this substitute is free of: gluten, wheat, casein, dairy, yeast, egg, soy, nut and it’s also low in sodium. It’s a powder that you mix with water and beat until foamy and it’s super versatile, doesn’t have a strong flavor and it’s pretty cheap.

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6. Flax Seeds These tiny seeds have HUGE benefits. Flaxseeds (also called linseeds) are a rich source of micronutrients, dietary fiber, manganese, vitamin B1, and the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, better known as omega-3. Flaxseed is a source of healthy fat, antioxidants, and fiber; modern research has found evidence to suggest that flaxseed can also help lower the risk of diabetescancer, and heart disease.

Combine 1 tbsp of ground flaxseed (referred to as flax meal) with 2 tbsp of water, mix and let it sit for 1 minute and you have your 1 egg substitute. Although the seed is ground it’s still pretty coarse, especially the skin or shell which is dark in color. This makes for this substitute a bit selective, you decide depending on your final result if you want to use it or not. I don’t recommend it for light, delicate cakes but I do love it in banana cake or muffins.

*Fun Fact: King Charlemagne, also known as Charles the Great, of the Kingdom of the Franks in the 8th century believed so strongly in the health benefits of flaxseeds that he demanded his loyal subjects to eat the seeds and passed laws to make sure of it.

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7. Apple Sauce This one is like the “jack of all trades” because it can substitute butter, eggs and sugar. You can also use apple butter but this one is a bit more difficult to find even though it’s pretty inexpensive. Most of the times you can substitute on a 1:1 ratio but it depends on how much it is. For example, when substituting for butter, the applesauce (or apple butter) won’t give that much structure as butter does. So it can substitute butter in cakes and other loose mixtures but I don’t recommend it for cookies. Applesauce provides moisture, sweetness (even if it is unsweetened) and it also helps as a leavening agent as most fruit purees do. Did you know that apples can give you a brighter, healthier smile? Eating apples regularly also helps protect your body against neurological diseases.1

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8. Pumpkin Oh! Sweet luscious pumpkin! One of my favorite vegetables. Pureed can act as a leavening agent and it also provides moisture to the final product. When using pumpkin it adds color to your mixture and it’s a bit heavy, so I don’t recommend it for light and fluffy cakes. It goes really well for quick breads and muffins. It’s very delicious flan flavor… even though flan is… not that healthy… *COUGH* just eat it on the weekends and on special occasions*COUGH*. A cool fact about pumpkins is that one cup of cubed pumpkin contains twice the amount of the Vitamin A that you need daily.2

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9. Chia seeds No, it’s not the small green leaf that grows in strange pots called Chia Pets(~Ch-ch-chia!~♩ ♪ ♫ ♬). I’m talking about these powerful, awesome and insanely nutritional seeds. Pulse some seeds(about 2 tbsp) in the food processor or blender/mixer with a bit of water(aprox 6 tbsp) and then let it rest it for 1-3 minutes. The mixture will turn into a consistency similar to that of an egg white and with this you can substitute 2 eggs. I discovered a vegan brownie recipe from Peachy Palate that uses chia seeds instead of eggs and it’s out of this world. It’s made with almond butter, coconut oil, dates and plenty more goodness. If you want to try it HERE IT IS. You’re welcome. Something new I discovered is that ch-ch-chia seeds (oh dear, I can’t get that infomercial out my head), they’re being studied as a potential natural treatment for type 2 diabetes. Because of its ability to slow down digestion and prevent sugar spikes.3 One ounce of seeds is packed with 4 grams of protein. Talk about powerful.4

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10. BONUS Bananas are VERY  versatile. You can use 1/2 banana, mashed to substitute 1 egg. Another cool trick that even kids will love is this: freeze a banana and put in the food processor or mixer. To change the flavor you can add coconut milk, frozen pineapple chunks, peanut butter or even chocolate syrup. The options are endless. You will end up with a soft serve-like delicious vegan ice cream. Enjoy!

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After all these easy tricks to level up your vegan baked goods, who wants to go to the kitchen? I know I do. Soon you’ll see some of these tricks in action. Would you like to see a video tutorial on a vegan recipe? Leave a comment and include what would you like to see in the tutorial. Thanks for your time and until next post.

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The Swap Squad

Watch out meat, because this squad has it all. I’m talking about the Swap Squad; delicious and healthy alternatives for meat and dairy. Today I will focus on where you can get a good source of protein and other necessary vitamins and minerals leaving out the meat. The biggest concern for most people when trying or practicing a vegan diet is to get the proper amount of the needed protein and iron. To maintain a healthy level of these in your body and diet, when changing from meat to plant based source, you must substitute the same amount you would eat of meat, fish or dairy products to those plant based. Here is a list of many options that provide all the protein you need without missing the meat one bit.

Eggs & Dairy Substitutes:


Milk

  • Rice
  • Almond
  • Soy
  • Potato (normally in powder form)
  • Hazelnut

These alternatives contain almost as much protein as dairy milk, less fat, no cholesterol and can be used anywhere you would use regular milk: baking, sauces, cold/hot cereals, etc.


Cheese
Alternatives from cashew, rice and soy can fool anyone. Here is a recipe from Epicurian Vegan of a hard cashew cheese. Click HERE for an easy recipe to make creamy cashew cheese.


Ice Cream
You can find ready-made vegan ice cream made with rice or soy milk and even made with tofu. Here is a cool recipe for a delicious vegan gluten-free chocolate ice cream from Elena’s Pantry.


Eggs
As a baker I though that it was going to be really difficult to replace eggs in recipes. But it turns out that there are many ways to swap eggs in different recipes.

  • Commercial Egg Replacer(powder): best for baking.
  • Tofu: best for quiche, fritata, egg salad (texture similar to hard boiled egg).
  • Bananas and Applesauce: perfect for baking, also used as an alternative for fat (substitute the same amount when replacing oil).
  • Silken tofu: appropriate for baked goods when blended with liquid ingredients(1/4 cup make 1 egg).


Butter
You can substitute butter when cooking with any vegetable oil; like sunflower seed, grape seed, canola, etc. And the most common swap for butter is her oil-based cousin: margarine.

Meat Substitues:


Tofu
Grilled, pan-fried, stewed, anyway you want it tastes delicious. This meaty substitute contains 7g of protein per ½ cup. The way you season it is key. It comes in hard, medium or soft/silk depending on the use you give it. For grilled or pan-fried hard is better. For sauces or baked goods soft/silk. For everything else there’s mastercard. (This is not a paid advertisement. Sorry, had to do it XD).


Falafel
Look again because these are not meatballs. Falafel is made out of chickpeas and other deliciousness. HERE is a recipe if you want to try it out. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Foods Rich in Protein:

Quinoa stuffed peppers. Yum.
  • Peas
  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Tofu (7g per ½ cup)
  • Non-dairy milk
  • All kinds of beans: chickpeas, lentils(9g per ½ cup), black, white, red kidney(7.5g per ½ cup) and more.
  • Quinoa (4g per ½ cup)
  • Dark leafy greens: spinach, kale(4g per cup), collards, broccoli(2g per cup).
  • Seitan (also called gluten)
  • All nuts: hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, peanuts, macadamia, walnuts, and much more.
  • Edamame
  • Seeds: hemp, sesame, sunflower, flax, pumpkin, chia

Here is a summary for iron rich foods:

I hope that sharing this information will give you a new perspective of a vegan diet. Remember that if you want to try this special diet consult your nutritionist or doctor. I’m no expert, just a nutrition fanatic. 🙂
Remember to share, like and comment. Have a great day!

References from: 1, 2, 3, 4