What if you didn’t have to give up your childish love of a big bowl of cereal, or birthday cake, or grilled-cheese sandwiches, or ice cream? Dairy and egg substitutes abound - there’s a growing world of wonderful plant-based alternatives that mean you can have your favorite dishes without animal products, and many of them are even better than the real thing!
If you enjoy cooking at home, eggs, milk, cream, and other dairy ingredients may seem like the unavoidables required to produce your favorite treats, especially during the holiday season. However, with some miraculous advancements in food-tech - and remember baking has always been a combination of art and science - plant-based substitutes for those core elements are increasingly accessible (and PlantX has got what you need)!
Whether you’re looking for something to swap in for your morning fry-up or your weekend baking bonanza, there are a host of different ingredients that are brilliant alternatives to eggs - some of them may really surprise you!
Ground flaxseeds contain a rich amount of omega-3 fatty acids and can be great binding agents that function like eggs in baking cakes, muffins, friands, sweetbreads, and more. To replace one egg, mix together 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 2 ½ tablespoonfuls of water.
While the name may sound fantastical, the reality is more quaint: aquafaba is the liquid residue you find in cans of chickpeas, and it’s a wonderful egg substitute for producing a variety of yummy treats like meringues, cakes and homemade mayonnaise.
One of the best-known superfoods going, chia seeds may already be a staple in your smoothies or porridge, but if you haven’t already - give these a go to get you a hit of protein and omega-3 that is a great substitute for egg white.
The soy-based, protein-filled superfood is wondrous to use in many dishes and styles of cuisine, but its use as a substitute for egg in its ‘scrambled’ form, is right up there in terms of plant-based cooking delicacies. Whether for a cooked breakfast or picnic quiche - tofu is another great egg alternative. In its softer silken form, it can also be great for making creamy desserts and sauces!
This truly is a dynamic little addition to your plant-based cupboard. Originating from the roots of the cassava plant, if mixed with cornflour, soya cream and oil, this can be the basis for a great plant-based egg.
Bananas and Applesauce
If moisture is your goal - and in baking that’s often the name of the game - then using natural fruit-based ingredients in your cooking can really help. Combining baking powder with either applesauce or mashed bananas is a surefire way to produce delicate baked goodness.
For those pursuing a plant-based diet and anyone who suffers from lactose intolerance, the range of plant-based milk options now available directly to consumers is fantastic. Whether it’s for your tea, coffee, morning cereal or porridge, baking, sauces, or simple refreshment straight from the glass, PlantX offers a range of dairy-free alternatives to milk.
Almond, soy and cashew milk
With bean and nut bases respectively, these nutritious and delicious liquids are great everyday household items. Soy generally has the highest protein content of the three and therefore may work best when replacing dairy milk in baking cakes and the like, but nut milk offers a unique flavor and lightness. A top tip if you’re using these milks for baking is to add some vinegar, allowing for a deeper butter-milk type flavor to ensue. And don’t forget about nut allergies!
Oat, pea and rice milk
Perhaps less-talked-about, although with some sensational qualities (oat milk frothed with coffee for example), this collection of plant-based milks have the added benefit of being uncommon allergens. The thinnest of the lot is rice milk, which can be thickened by adding oil or applesauce in baking, whilst oat and pea milk have stronger consistencies.
More familiar, particularly in a lot of South-East Asian cuisine, coconut milk is amazing, and can be used in a huge variety of different dishes. On the savory side of things, curries, stir-fries and bakes can be enriched enormously by their sweet flavor and creamy texture. And when it comes to sweet treats, cheesecakes, whipped cream and pies can benefit from the creaminess (try using coconut cream if you fancy a thicker consistency).
For the cheese-lovers and the lactose intolerants, there does exist a host of non-dairy cheese solutions that come in a range of textures and flavors to suit many a cuisine and dish.
Plant-based softer, creamier cheeses are usually made using soy or coconut milk. And if you’d like to give making soft cheese at home a crack, soak cashews, blend them with some plant-based milk and a bit of lemon juice, and voila! Silken tofu can also act as a tangier soft-cheese dip, combined with onions and chives if you like.
While harder plant-based cheeses may be more difficult to produce at home, PlantX has you covered with dairy-free cheese alternatives. When it comes to cooking at home, and in particular wanting to add something to the top of pasta, bakes or other hot dishes, salt, crumbled tofu and vegetable oil can act as a great layer to crisp things off.
With a naturally nutty, cheese-like flavor, and often providing a range of nutritious vitamins and minerals, this ingredient cannot be ignored when it comes to adding a plant-based topping to some of your favorite dishes including bread, pasta, and salads.
Plant-based butter, vegetable shortening and more
Lucky for you committed plant-based bakers out there, PlantX stocks a range of vegan butter that can slot into many a cake, muffin, tart, or pudding recipe. Just remember, where dairy butter is called for, plant-based butter can answer. Top tip: vegetable shortening can be great to use in combination to provide different textures!
Depending on the recipe, avocadoes, bananas and olive oil are all other dairy-free alternatives to butter.
Coconuts provide another wonderful product with many applications. In addition to being used as body and hair oil, coconut oil also acts as a dairy-free butter substitute. Whether it’s in savory cooking - think stir-fries, curries and more - or baking sweet goods like cakes, muffins and more - give it a crack. It’s also a fantastic way to avoid using palm oil!
Non-dairy yogurt and ice-cream
Yogurt is a combination of milk, bacteria and lactic acid - and so when it comes to making a plant-based alternative, we simply need to use dairy-free milk. When it comes to ice cream, the use of plant-based milk (usually nut) also applies!
If you want to try working with these core non-dairy and egg-alternative ingredients - fantastic, at PlantX we’ve got you covered! But if you’re short on time, or don’t fancy preparing some of these egg and dairy alternatives from scratch, consider some of PlantX’s wonderful ready-to-go plant-based, dairy-free alternatives to mayonnaise, milk, butter, egg, cheese, yogurt, ice-cream, and more.