Favorite Substitutes & Food Heroes

I end up spending a lot of my time finding good substitutes because nothing makes me happier than sitting down to a meal where I can eat everything on the plate without feeling sick afterwards. It makes me feel like I have died and gone to heaven when I can eat everything on the plate and it tastes amazing! That is why, whereas I do not choose the lifestyle for myself, I really REALLY respect good vegan baking. I mean, imagine - it accomplishes just as well, or maybe even better, what regular baking does, and the best part is I can eat it! No one should have to regret food. Food is life, it brings people together, makes people happy and it should be enjoyed. 

Some of My Favorite Substitutes Are
  • My husband and I cook a lot of Mexican food at home, and Yves Veggie Ground Round lends itself well to any recipe that calls for ground beef. We use it most often to make taco or burrito innards, and in our crock-pot chili and spaghetti sauces. 
  • Similarly, when it comes to meat substitutes we use Lick's Nature Burger (and other "nature" products) the most. Of all the restaurants I have gone to, and all the veggie burgers I have ever tried (and trust me, there have been many) these are my favorite, and they are easy to make delicious at home.
  • Rice milk replaces milk in teas and on top of cereal, although to be very honest I have not done that much cooking or baking with it. The consistency is very thin, like skim milk, and it has a pleasant nondescript taste that adopts the flavors of whatever you put it on. 
  • Very occasionally I will buy the flavored soy milks as a treat (they have a lot of sugar in them), and I would recommend this more for baking because the texture is creamier and will make baked goods more moist.
  • Agave Nectar, Honey, Unrefined Cane Sugar are sweeteners I use instead of white sugar. Occasionally a bit of brown sugar for taste. One superstar here I want to mention is Manuka Honey which I use in my tea every day, and also as a natural cough syrup and acne medication. No joke, this is an edible superhero. I haven't had a real cold in over a year, and it is all because of it's natural antiseptic properties. It also tastes good in tea, but a gentle warning - it's pretty potent in a more condensed form. 
  • I eat a ton of cashews. I believe anything tastes better with cashews sprinkled on it, especially salads. It is a delicious source of protein, with about 5g per ounce.
  • I always used to think avocado was so gross when I was a child, and what a fool I was. I will pretty much just eat one plain with a spoon now. It is a great addition to salads, salad dressings and even baked goods! I have had a raw vegan chocolate (avocado) cake that will blow your mind. When we have Mexican food at home, whereas my husband smothers everything in salsa and sour cream, I can use guacamole to get that same creamy texture to combat some of the (minimal) spice.
  • The best butter substitute I have ever tried is Becel Vegan Margarine. I grew up on margarine and always hated it. It had such a terrible artificial aftertaste, and until recently I have always advocated for butter in appropriate quantities. This pleasantly surprised me, and I will continue to buy it. I have also had baked goods made with it with great success.
  • Edamame give me so much pleasure, whether added to a hot bowel of chili, or salty and still in their husks at a sushi restaurant, or cold in a bean salad, I love, love, love them. They are pretty much the most complete protein possible in something with no potential of ever being alive. Any more complete a protein and it would be walking around. 
  • I get these vegan carob chocolate chips from a local health food store, and they are great when I have a strong sweet craving. They melt pretty decently too, and to me they taste exactly the same as regular chocolate chips.
  • David's Tea are my local tea shop and they are jam-packed with amazing. They have a fairly extensive selection of non-caffeinated teas, so much so that I am a regular and I haven't tried them all yet, and they get new seasonal ones in all the time. They also hardly ever sweeten things, and what they do offer is honey and agave nectar which is healthier. They will also do their tea lattes with soy. On top of all that wonderfulness, they are also very affordable. Their summer iced-teas are very large and under 2$ a pop. If you have one near you, you should go! Go now! They deserve everyone's support. Other areas I am sure have their own wonderful tea places which will provided non-sweetened, caffeine free tea for us, and they should be supported too!