5 Easy Plant-Based Substitutes

5 Easy Plant-Based Substitutions

Whether you’re looking to switch to a fully vegan diet or just trying to cut out some meat and dairy from your eating habits, it can be overwhelming to figure out where exactly to begin.  One of the best ways to start a plant-based diet is to swap out one or two of the dairy or animal products you are already using in your everyday life.  Here is a guide for simple products you can change out in your recipes to help you switch to a more plant-based diet. 

1.       Dairy-free Alternatives for Milk

Milk is probably the easiest product to swap out for a nondairy alternative.  In recent years, the market has exploded with all sorts of substitutions - soy, almond, cashew, oat and even pea protein, which is my personal favorite.  Even though milk seems like such an obvious starting choice, one thing that may not be immediate is that you actually have options, which is not something that can be said for every vegan item.  Experiment and see which one you like best!       

2.      Agave Nectar for Honey

I’m actually a bit embarrassed to admit how long it took me to realize that honey was an animal product.  It wasn’t something that was immediately obvious to me since it was an item that I didn’t use very often.  If you’re looking to sub out this item, a great alternative is agave nectar.  Other than being slightly less sweet and more viscous, there is virtually no difference between the two.       

3.       Panko for Breadcrumbs

When I decided to go plant-based, the first thing I did was toss all of the products in my house containing dairy.  I was surprised to find as much dairy in the products on my shelves as in my fridge.  One of the most shocking was breadcrumbs, which had contained milk.  An easy substitute is to swap out breadcrumbs for panko.  Though you should always check the ingredients with anything you buy in the store, panko normally does not contain dairy products.  The only real difference between panko and breadcrumbs is size.  Panko tends to be a bit chunkier than average breadcrumbs.            

4.       Vegetable Stock for Beef or Chicken Stock

Though this may be an obvious point, subbing out vegetable stock for chicken or beef is something you really won’t even notice.  If you’re just beginning, you can purchase vegetable stock or broth from the store.  If you’re a more seasoned chef, you can experiment with flavor combinations to incorporate a more savory taste into your meals.         

5.       Nutritional Yeast for Grated Cheeses

Before I began a plant-based diet, I was absolutely obsessed with cheese.  I would throw shredded or grated cheese on EVERYTHING.  This was one of the most difficult items for me to cut from my diet since I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to recreate that flavor using plant-based items.  However, there are some great tasting nondairy alternatives out there. If you’re craving that cheesy taste, swap out your grated cheese for nutritional yeast.  While it doesn’t taste exactly the same, nutritional yeast does give a “cheese like” savory flavor to food.   If you choose this options,  it may take some time to actually grow on you.  For me, it took about 4-5 months for my taste buds to adapt to it.     

Getting starting on plant-based diet is as easy as that!  Did you find this post helpful?  Leave a comment below.  For alerts on new recipes, posts on how to eat plant-based and more, sign up for the Live Grow Green email list!t