If you’re like me, then you are always running out of ingredients for vegan recipes. Just when you’re ready to make your favorite recipe, or even half way through making it, you discover that you’re out of some key ingredient. It’s a downer. So what can be done to avoid this situation?
Well of course, you could just have a huge pantry, stocked at all times with 6 months of food. And actually, vegans are ahead here. Grains, seeds, nuts, flours, cereals, pastas, dried fruits and the various spices all store really well. But not everyone has, or wants to have, that sort of space dedicated to a pantry. And most urban vegans don’t really have a choice. Living downtown has lots of advantages, but huge kitchen pantries aren’t typically one of them.
So what about us just-in-timers? Ingredient substitution comes naturally to vegans, so let’s have a look at that first. And I’m not talking about substituting Chikenx™ into your uncle’s favorite Chicken Noodle Bake recipe. Actually, let me go off on a rant here ... don’t do the whole fake meat thing. It’s less popular than it once was, but I still see supermarket refrigerators filled with the stuff. I’m not buying it, but someone is. Why shouldn’t you buy it? Well, first off, it doesn’t taste good. That’s a pretty big minus right there. But more, the recipe isn’t designed for it. Recipes are works of art. Even the simplest recipes. You wouldn’t splice electronica into the middle of a symphony, so you shouldn’t expect anything but mud to result from a Frankenstein recipe. Part of the reason you became a vegan was to re-establish some sort of harmony with nature. Fake meat doesn’t do that.
Okay, enough ranting. So how can ingredient substitution help us out when the cupboard is bare? Well, if you’re out of arrowroot, most of the time you can substitute cornstarch. If you’re out of egg replacer, then sometimes you can use arrowroot, sometimes milled flax seed, and sometimes even a mashed banana will do (it depends on the recipe). You can sometimes even substitute in different spices. You have to be careful. It will change the flavor, but not always for the worse. Safe ingredient substitutions. Hints, tips and an idea of the results. I think that will be one good topic for this blog.
But of course, ingredient substitutions only work if ... you have the substitute ingredient. What can you do if you’re just plain running low on stuff? This is a tough question, but one strategy is to have a backup collection of very simple vegan recipes. If the number of ingredients is small, then there is less chance you’ll be out of one of the ingredients :D So I think that’ll be another good topic for this blog, simple vegan recipes (and recipies ;).