January 29, 2018

This is not that: Quick substitutes to try in 2018

Few things are as frustrating to a chef as getting halfway through a recipe only to find your kitchen lacks as essential ingredient. Luckily, with the right back-up plan, you can get your dish back on track. Culinary students in Boulder will learn which foods can replace others without changing the quality, flavor or texture of a dish.

Experimenting with alternative ingredients is more than just a convenience. By trying new combinations and seeing the results, you may even find that you prefer certain recipes with substitute ingredients.

Here are some substitutions to try in your baking and cooking this year:

Butter substitutes

Whether you want to bake a batch of completely dairy-free cookies, experiment with low-fat cooking or your butter supply has simply dwindled, you can choose between several different types of fats to keep your recipe on track.

One cup of butter equals:

  • ¾ cups of vegetable oil or shortening.
  • 1 cup of lard plus ½ teaspoon salt (if replacing salted butter).
  • 1 cup of lard minus ½ teaspoon of salt from the recipe (if replacing unsalted butter).
  • ½ cup of applesauce, avocado, mashed banana or pumpkin puree.

If replacing solid butter in a baked goods recipe, using liquid oil can make the ultimate product flat, Better Homes & Gardens explained. Using applesauce or fruit purees will give a denser result, The Balance noted.

Vegetable substitutes, or vegetables as substitutes

Replacing vegetables in a recipe is easy to do as long as you know what flavor profile you’re looking for in the end. For example, when substituting bell peppers in a stuffed pepper recipe, PepperScale noted that poblano peppers work well because they have similarly dense walls and large cavity to fill, though the final result will be notably spicier.

A hand reaches for a red bell pepper from a stand.Vegetables are easily replaced, or make good substitutions for carbs in certain recipes.

Vegetables can also be used to replace certain ingredients for a healthier dish. For example, many people are using spiral slicers to turn zucchini, sweet potatoes and other veggies into noodles. Cauliflower can be chopped into small pieces to replace rice, or combined with egg, cheese, salt and pepper to make pizza crust, according to PopSugar.

Egg substitutes

When replacing eggs, it’s important to be conscious of what role the egg plays in the dish. Eggs are versatile ingredients that are used for binding, rising, adding moisture or for a specific texture.

One egg equals:

  • ¼ cup yogurt.
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1 teaspoon baking soda.
  • 1 heaping tablespoon flax seed and 3 tablespoons cold water.
  • ¼ cup applesauce, mashed banana or other fruit puree.
  • ¼ cup mashed potatoes.
  • ¼ cup soft or silken tofu.

When the purpose of the egg is to act as a leavening agent, the vinegar and baking soda substitute works well, but be careful to bake your recipe shortly after mixing. The yogurt substitute will also work for this purpose, as well as for replacing eggs for adding moisture, The Balance explained. Flax seeds work well as a binding agent, as in meatballs, while tofu is good for quiches or other recipes that should have an eggy texture.

Alcohol substitutes

Alcohol can play several different roles in a recipe. It can add a unique flavor to baked goods or work as a tenderizing agent in meat marinades.

When used for flavor in baking recipes, almond or vanilla extract can replace:

  • Amaretto.
  • Bourbon.
  • Frangelico.
  • Rum.
  • Scotch.

Other extracts can be used when the flavor matches the general flavor of that alcohol. For example, orange extract can replace triple sec or orange liqueur, and coffee extract can replace coffee liqueur or Kahlua, according to The Balance.

In recipes that call for red wine for a sauce to add color or flavor, beef broth or unsweetened cranberry juice will do the trick. For meat marinades, choose a replacement that will break down the meat: Vinegars, sodas or sparkling juices work well.