If you’re vegan, you’ve probably become accustomed to making exchanges in recipes to conform to your diet. However, those beginning this all-natural eating journey may not know all the tips and tricks and vegan substitutes available. When it comes to cooking for a natural lifestyle, plant-based alternatives will save the day and won’t take away from the flavor.

Did you know that more than 15.5 million Americans have turned to veganism? This is according to a study conducted by the World Animal Foundation. The numbers consuming a plant-based diet have steadily increased in recent years, continuing to ascend. As it grows in popularity, the need for more effective vegan substitutions exists.

23 Vegan Substitutes Most People Don’t Know About

When folks start this healthier eating style, the first thing they believe is that they will have to become accustomed to bland, tasteless foods. However, with a little creativity, you can make mouthwatering main dishes and desserts. There’s no reason you can’t make dishes just as delicious as those made by non-vegan counterparts, especially with this list of substitutions.

Vegan (Plant-based) Substitutes for Eggs

vegan substitutes

A baker’s most significant challenge is finding an egg replacement. If you leave eggs out of your recipe, you will have a product that lacks volume and texture. While nothing perfectly mimics the egg, a few tasty options will get the job done.

1. Bananas

Bananas are very versatile, and they’re great to have on hand as a vegan replacement. The key is they’re rich in fiber, so they act as a great binding agent. You can exchange one average-sized banana for one egg.

Now, remember the mixture will be a bit thicker than an egg, so you may need to adjust your liquid content slightly.

2. Applesauce

Applesauce is used in many vegan-based dishes because the apple is quite versatile. To use it as an egg replacement, you need four tablespoons per egg. Now, it’s important to remember that apples are naturally sweet due to their fructose content, so you may need to adjust your sugars to balance things out and opt for a sugar-free variety.

3. Egg Substitutes

You can find egg substitutes on your grocery store shelves. These powdered substances you mix with water to give you the egg benefits. You will find that the substance is a bit sticky when you mix it up, but it will get the job done.

4. Aquafaba

Aquafaba is the brine from chickpeas, and it’s very healthy. The key is that this is economical, which is often an issue in vegan cooking. Also, the composition of the liquid and the flavor are perfect for an egg substitute.

Did you know you can make a vegan meringue with this composition? Who knew you could have lemon meringue pie that’s animal-free?

5. Chia Seeds

You cannot talk about egg substitutes and not mention the chia seed. These tiny seeds have become quite popular these days, and their versatility is undeniable. When you add water to chia seeds, its poofs up and becomes a bit slimy, just like the egg.

Take three tablespoons of water to one tablespoon of chia seeds to make an egg-like substance. Now remember that chia seeds can become clumpy, so you don’t just want to add them to your dish without some time to rest. Allow the mixture to sit for ten to fifteen minutes before mixing it with your other ingredients.

6. Tofu

Vegan substitutes like silken tofu are another option. Most people prefer to use this as their egg replacement because it’s as close as they come. If you want to get creative, you can use this tofu to make things like mock scrambled eggs, and it will be challenging to know the difference.

Vegan Substitutes for Cheese

Being vegan doesn’t mean you must give up cheese or a product that tastes very similar. What would your soy burger be without it? Here are some fantastic vegan substitutes for cheese.

1. Nutritional Yeast

This plant-based product is made from yeast, so it has a very similar taste to cheese. Though it’s hard to pinpoint an exact way to describe the taste, it does the trick. Vegetarians cannot ignore the health benefits of this product. But it will make a noticeable difference in your vegan mac and cheese and other dishes.

2. Tofu

Tofu is an excellent product because of its versatility, but since it’s so malleable, it is one of the best vegan substitutes for cheese. While the flavor isn’t as spot-on as other products, the texture is pretty close. You must play around with different spics and flavor combinations to find the right balance for you.

3. Cashew

It seems the vegan baker can do just about anything with nuts these days, but when you turn cashews into cheese, it’s just miraculous. You want to make a paste from the nuts, and you can do this by soaking them in some water.

They become pretty flexible so that you can manipulate them. To complete the cheese, you want to add some nutritional yeast along with your favorite spices and herbs to finish it off. You will honestly be amazed at the result.

4. Sweet Potatoes and Carrots

Veganism requires you to get quite creative, so turning potatoes or carrots into cheese will bring out that creativity. This is more for making a nacho cheese-type product. However, it’s as easy as can be, as you just put the sweet potatoes or carrots into a blender and puree.

Once it’s complete, you add some spices to make it cheesy. Remember that this is better as a spicier cheese sauce than your traditional sliced variety.

vegan substitutes

Vegan Substitutes for Meats

If you want to eat a plant-based lifestyle, your most significant task as a cook is to convince people they’re eating meat and not plant-based products. Here are some of the best options available.

1. Beans

You know that beans are good for your heart, but did you know that they can also be used to replace ground beef. It’s easy to make, high in protein, and the meaty flavor is a hit. You can also flavor these in many ways to fool even the staunchest critic.

2. Tofu

Tofu is often used as a meat substitute because it absorbs the flavor. You can make it into anything you want. If you’re starting on this vegan journey, tofu is an excellent product for you to experiment with initially.

3. Jackfruit

Jackfruit is a super-hot trend among vegan substitutes. When you cook this unusual fruit, it transforms into something else. The inside fruit is a bit stringy, and the flavor cooks away, allowing it to be seasoned into one mock pulled pork sandwich you won’t believe.

4. Seitan

Seitan is made from wheat gluten and is very similar to tofu. This should be your go-to substitute if you want to make a product that resembles chicken. It’s very flexible and can be manipulated for the perfect chicken flavor.

5. Eggplant

You can slice your eggplant into burger-sized portions and season them to perfection. Not only is it delicious, but it will smell and taste just like a burger.

Vegan Substitutes for Butter

Yes, most people forget that butter is an animal product, so you need to find an alternative. Here are a few to consider.

1. Plant-Based Butter Alternatives

These are inexpensive and easy to find in any local grocery store and taste just like the real deal.

2. Coconut Oil

The fact that coconut can be used at a 1:1 ratio for butter is fantastic. Plus, it tastes great and has fantastic health benefits.

3. Vegetable Oil

While it won’t replace stick butter, it certainly has its place in stir fry and other cooking where you need a liquid alternative.

Vegan Substitutes for Milk

Here are the most common milk substitutions, and you can find them in most grocery stores across the country. The good news is that you can use all these vegan substitutes with a 1:1 ratio of cow’s milk.

  • Rice Milk
  • Oat Milk
  • Soy Milk
  • Almond and other kinds of nut milk
  • Hemp Milk


Final Thoughts on Vegan Substitutes Most People Don’t Know About

Choosing veganism or a plant-based eating style is healthy for you and helps make a more sustainable planet. Many studies show the vast benefits. According to Plant Based News, the phytochemicals and antioxidants in the fruits and vegetables you eat can help protect you from certain health conditions and chronic diseases.

The key is these antioxidants fight free radicals, which offer protection. Additionally, if you’re fighting the battle of the bulge, adopting a vegan lifestyle can help you manage your weight. You can easily make your favorite dishes and enjoy a well-rounded diet with the substitutions listed above.

Editorial update 10.10.2023: Updated statistics regarding the number of vegans in the United States.