A Helpful Guide To Easy Vegan Substitutes

Words: Jess Spiro

So, you’re thinking of making the leap to a vegan diet? Good for you. Whether your choices are based on health reasons or humanitarian ones, being vegan is great for your general wellbeing. It may seem a little daunting to transition to an all-plant diet, but in reality, it’s not. This is our helpful guide to a few easy vegan substitutes you can make in your day-to-day diet to make the switch to a vegan lifestyle easier.

Vegan Substitutes milk

Vegan Substitutes for Dairy Milk…

This is an easy one, as these days there are loads of really good quality milk alternatives available, all that extend further than soy milk. The only hard part is choosing which one you want to go for. You can choose almond, oat and rice, the list goes on and on. You can also use your milk alternative in the exact way you would use regular milk, in your tea, in desserts and sauces like bechamel.


coconut yoghurt Vegan Substitutes

Vegan Substitutes for Dairy Yoghurt…

Gone are the days that your only option for yoghurt was soy. Coconut yoghurt is here and it’s so good, even non-vegans are making the switch to that co-yo life. Use it as you would regular yoghurt, make dips with it, or even eat it straight out of the tub, do anything and everything. Do anything and everything. The only downside is that it can be pretty expensive but it’s super easy and fairly cheap to make your own.


 Vegan Substitutes egg

Vegan Substitutes for Eggs…

Now, vegans generally aren’t looking to replace their morning eggs (and in case they are, a tofu scramble will do the trick), it’s more that replacing eggs in baking and cooking can be tricky. When making your favourite baked good you can substitute one egg with a ¼ C (60 ml) of applesauce or one mashed banana. If you’re concerned that you’re going to taste those, then you can combine 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) ground flaxseed with 3 Tablespoons (45 ml) water and leave to sit for a little bit. Once the mixture has rested, you will be left with a sticky, egg-like consistency that works well as a binding/thickening replacement.


 avocado butter vegan substitute

Vegan Substitutes for Butter…

Margarine and soy butters are the easiest butter alternatives you can get hold of. Sometimes you can find an olive oil-based butter too, which is the nicest for spreading on bread and eating as is. Obviously, if you’re looking for something creamy and buttery to spread on your morning toast, don’t forget about the humble avocado and the vast range of nut butters available.


 Vegan substitute mayo

Vegan Substitute for Mayonnaise…

Vegan mayos are readily available and so good, you wouldn’t even know that they’re egg free. You can also whip up your own batch of vegan mayo with aquafaba. ‘Aqua-what-a?’, we hear you ask? It’s just the liquid left over from draining chickpeas (or any canned bean actually). Use a couple of tablespoons where you would an egg and add your oil as usual. This mayo is actually a lot more stable than regular egg-based ones, so even if you’re not vegan, try your hand at making it if you think mayos are scary.


 Vegan Substitutes cheese cashew nut cheese

Vegan Substitutes for Cheese…

This is one the easiest changes to make, thanks to the invention of cashew cheese. Essentially a mix of blended soaked cashews, water and the flavour of your choice, cashew cheese has that creaminess you crave (see how to make vegan cashew cheese). Unfortunately, you won’t have much meltiness with these vegan cheeses but you can make or buy softer versions of them so they feel gooey. If you’re missing that grating of Parmesan on top of your pasta, look no further than nutritional yeast. It’s funky, salty and packed with umami. Exactly what you want all over your pasta.

See, it’s not that scary going vegan. You’ll be able to live a pretty normal, well-fed life with these small changes.

Check out these vegan-friendly and vegan restaurants in Cape Town.

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