This year I'm doing the vegetarian-vegan transition. So I'm hoping you can tell me some of your favorite substitutes for butter, eggs, and cheese.
I'm planning on eating vegan every fifth day. But I have a feeling I will do it a bit more frequently, especially since many of my dishes can omit cheese.
First, what is your favorite vegan butter to put on bread?
Second, what is your favorite egg substitute for baking?
Third, what about cheddar cheese?
Oh, and mayo too!
Hi Goby. Welcome!
If you're going to eat vegan part-time and still eat dairy and eggs then I personally would suggest simply forgoing the"substitutes". You don't need them in your diet and you'll probably eat more healthily if you avoid them. Moreover, you will constantly be comparing them to the tastes you're familiar with and therefor continuing a craving for those things rather than weaning yourself off those tastes. C'mon, surely you can find things to eat "every 5th day" that don't require eggs, butter, or cheese, right :)
That said, if you're really just interested in experimenting with new flavors and you want to eat all kinds of vegan food and so you're just asking for recommendations then here are mine:
For spreading on toast or bagels: Earth Balance Buttery Spread, strawberry jelly, raspberry jelly, peanut butter, cashew butter, or almond butter (or if it's not morning, then hummus)
For scrambles: tofu and Soyrizo with lots of veggies and salsa or try the Fantastic Foods Tofu Scramble packets
For omlet things, etc: The Vegg (or whatever you want plus black salt)
For that cheddar cheese flavor for eating with crackers: Daiya cheddar wedge
For cheesy stuff in macaroni: Daiya shreds
For cheesy dipping sauce: Food For Lovers vegan queso
For baking: Ener-G, flax seeds, or soymilk with vinegar
Thanks for the reply, Elaine!
I won't be doing the comparing thing. That would be torture. Most of the above will be "hidden" in foods. I could give up everything lacto-ovo today except for the "hidden" stuff. I rarely eat eggs, and most foods with cheese I can eat without the cheese. I don't eat cheese and crackers that often. But the cheese in my cheese, bean, rice, and cabbage burritos is really good, so if I could find a substitute, that would be great. And mayo on my boca chicken patties is great.
I bought a few cookbooks and I'm looking at Vegan Diner right now. It looks amazing. I'll definitely be making sage gravy and veggie chili this week.
I hoping to be 100% vegan in six months. That's my goal. BTW, when I went veggie I had the same goal, but ditched it after about 4 days. Who knows, I might do the same this time and be a vegan by next week. :P
I'm not a big fan of th Daiya cheddar shreds, but I love the pepper jack. It is perfect on burritos and nachos.
What ElaineV said for eggs. Here's a great recipe for tofu scramble: http://www.theppk.com/2009/10/tof-u-and-tof-me-scrambled-tofu-revisited/ I would also add puréed silken tofu for yeasted breads - it works really well in brioche recipes.
I think nutritional yeast has a nice cheddary taste mixed into things. (Please note I'm talking about the yellow powdery flakes, not the brownish-grayish Brewer's Yeast powder, which might be nurtitionally similar but doesn't taste like cheese at all). But nutritional yeast is quite expensive; try to find out what it tastes like before you buy it. Do you remember those little cheddar cheese crackers, shaped like little squares or tiny hot dog buns? It tastes a lot like that.
I'm thinking about ElaineV's post above and wondering if there's anything unhealthy about Nutritional yeast...
"Ground Control to Major Tom.... Ground Control to Major Tom...
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on...."
David Bowie- "Space Oddity"
I can't tell the difference between Earth Balance and butter, so that's my go-to substitute for that. I try not to eat it a ton because it's still not exactly a "health food" but it is trans-fat free unlike most butter substitutes. It does contain palm oil, but if you're concerned about sourcing you can check out the page they have on that and see if you're comfortable or not with their sourcing choices.
I really only use it if whatever I'm making needs butter though. Most of the time other things work just fine (like olive oil, hummus, or other spreads for bread). You can also spread avocado on bread!
I'm not a big fan of store-bought imitation cheeses. The ones I've tried (mostly Daiya) taste gross to me, and they're not super healthy, so I just stopped trying to replace slice and block cheese and found other things I enjoyed instead. Cheese sauces or softer spreads, however, are pretty easy to make at home using nuts as a base. There are a lot of awesome recipes online for cashew "cheese" spreads, nacho "cheese" and macaroni and "cheese." This is my favorite nut-cheese spread I've tried, which I use to make grilled "cheese" sandwiches a lot: http://www.choosingraw.com/raw-vegan-walnut-cheddar-cheese/ (I make it with cashews instead of walnuts). Don't expect it to be exactly like cheese, but it is delicious in its own way and has the comforting feel of cheese. It kind of tastes like goldfish crackers to me, which I think is awesome.
Some things that typically use cheese can just have the cheese left off altogether. I find I actually like pizza way more now that I just eat it cheeseless. Instead of it being an indulgence that leaves me feeling gross, I actually feel great after I eat a pizza with some sauce piled high with veggies. Avocados can be added to stuff for fat and creaminess, artichoke hearts have a kind of sour tangy flavor that makes up for a lack of cheese (I use them on pizzas all the time for this reason), and as mentioned above, nutritional yeast can add a sort of cheesey flavor to things.
I'm a dairy-free vegetarian rather than vegan, so I haven't actively tried to replace eggs completely in my diet (I don't use them in cooking at home though, and eat them maybe a few times a year), but like you I eat them so rarely so I've never needed to create a replacement for things like scrambled eggs because I just never make scrambled eggs. Mayo is super easy, as you can get vegan mayo at the store made with oil as a base rather than eggs. If you want a healthier alternative, I've found blending tahini (sesame paste) with water, lemon, and garlic creates a great mayo substitute. I use this recipe as a starting point for that: http://www.tastebook.com/recipes/1651089-Tahini-Mayonnaise-Eggless-and-Oil-less-
In baking, I usually go with one of these subs: http://chefinyou.com/egg-substitutes-cooking/ Different ones seem to work better for different baked goods.
I've had Veganaise with grape seed oil and love that!
Earth Balance has a new mayo. I found it on sale and tried the reg. one, I liked it okay.
I make my own. It's cheap and I don't use much. I usually make it when I make chickpea salad-
1 cup plain soymilk
1/2 cup veg oil
Whir a while in a processor, then slowly drizzle in -
1 T. lemon juice or vinegar. Let process till nicely thickened.
I like EB best but Smart balance has a vegan one- It's with flaxseeds- make sure it says vegan on the side! SB has many. My grocery doesn't even carry the vegan one anymore! Many other margarines would be vegan if not vitamin D3. Others have fish oil, sometimes gelatin.
I love Daiya cheddar for a grilled cheese. I cannot tell the difference from that and the plastic slices.
Nut. yeast I've developed a taste for. The first tub I bought was used only for popcorn. Now I love the mac and nut yeast recipes! Even sprinkled on things.
Where are you? By any Trader Joes or Whole foods or other natural food stores? Makes a difference.
For scrambled eggs you can't do any better than yuba and The Vegg.
You can even make fried eggs with it. It can be used in baking, frying etc.
It is available at these locations.