Vegan Baking Swaps

When I first started baking, I would follow recipes word for word. I was so afraid of making mistakes. That was until I realized that my body reacted poorly to gluten. This was 10 years ago when gluten-free was not yet really a thing. I had to learn this on my own when it came to baking, and it was the best thing I ever did. Recipes are there as a guideline, so that you have a point of reference and are not way off when coming up with your own creations.

At first, it may be a little scary. Thoughts like “What if this turns into a catastrophe?” are perfectly normal. But I am here to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and make magic in the kitchen. Because we should “approach love and cooking with reckless abandon” (Dalai Lama).

For this article, I wanted to focus on some great swaps for when you are trying to cut back on animal-derived ingredients. This is not only an alternative for vegans, but this is also useful when you want to explore ingredients with different flavors and nutrients.

Milk

This is probably one of the most straightforward swaps. When a recipe asks for milk, you can just go with a milk alternative. Luckily, you have quite the variety to choose from and you can explore per your preference. Almond, soy, coconut, rice, and cashew milk varieties are just some of the alternatives that you can find in your local store. Something to keep in mind, however: Sometimes the milk alternative options may be flavored and sweetened. Make sure to go with the good ol’ simple and unsweetened version.

Eggs

You can have the most fun with egg substitutes. Eggs are usually added in recipes to help bind your delicious baked goods. You can easily replicate this by using ground flax or chia seed. Use 1 tablespoon of ground flax or chia seeds in 3 tablespoons of water to make 1 egg. But that’s not the only way to go. Bananas, unsweetened applesauce, and nut butters can also give the same effect with the bonus of adding delicious flavors to your recipes. And as a reference to help you on your way, don’t forget that half a mashed banana, ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce, and 3 tablespoons of peanut butter all equal 1 egg each.

Honey

Honey is a common alternative to sugar. It adds moisture to recipes as well as extra flavor. But for those who want a smooth transition from honey, great alternatives are maple syrup and agave. Since these (like honey) are more liquid in consistency, you won’t see much of a difference when swapping your sweet ingredient.

Butter 

When it comes to butter, the swap will greatly depend on the kind of recipe you are making since some of the options may add a little flavor, too. You can substitute your butter for an oil such as coconut oil or olive oil. And if you want something closer in consistency to butter, unsweetened applesauce, pumpkin puree, and mashed avocado are really great options. It’s up to you to choose accordingly, depending on what you want to create.

These are just some swaps that you can easily incorporate into your favorite baked goods. The possibilities, however, are quite endless. Just don’t forget to have fun while cooking!

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