Meatless Monday – ‘Tastes Like Chicken’

In recognition of World Vegan Month, today’s Meatless Monday looks at some common vegan substitutes in recipes.

When it comes to preparing food, the ‘big 4’ seem to get star billing: eggs, dairy, bacon and the enigmatic umami. It is the inclusion of these ingredients around which the success of a recipe is based. Without them, however, a recipe can still work. Here’s a sampling of some meat-free substitutes

Eggs
Eggs serve many functions in baking e.g. binding, leavening, moisture. There are many options for egg replacements and your choice will depend on the purpose of the egg in the recipe. Here are some suggestions:
Binding – chia seed and water (1 Tablespoon ground chia seed: 1/3 cup water); flax-seed and water (1 Tablespoon ground flax: 3 Tablespoons water); soft tofu (i.e. silken) pureéd
Leavening – commercial egg replacer (e.g. Ener-G); carbonated water in place of some of the liquid; a mix of vinegar and baking soda (1 Tablespoon: 1 teaspoon)
Moisture – pureéd banana, pumpkin or applesauce

Dairy
Any non-dairy milk will do with soy, almond and coconut being the most popular and effective. Try rice milk, nut milk and cashew cream for something different. As for cheese and yogurt, there are a number of vegan products on the market and books on making your own. In some areas you may even have access to some artisan cheese makers. Most cheese products are nut based while the yogurt ones are generally soy or coconut based.
Book: Artisan Vegan Cheese

Bacon
Everything tastes better with bacon so some people say. To substitute the essence of this product in recipes or simply make your own tempeh bacon, combine liquid smoke, maple syrup and vinegar. To complete the flavour, add salt seasoning sparingly, either low sodium tamari/soy sauce or coconut aminos.

Umami
Umami is that indescribable savoury element, the ‘fifth taste’. It rounds out the flavour profile of meat-free food and elevates a meal from mediocre to magnificent. To accomplish this use nutritional yeast (for a vegan soup stock that ‘tastes just like chicken‘) or marmite (yeast extract).

Books:
The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions

The Allergy Free Cook

 

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