Baked goods are common in most of our diets. They can provide us with feelings of nostalgia, comfort and joy, and they are just plain delicious!
Is it possible to enjoy baked goods while following a plant-based diet? The solution is much simpler than you think. Plants can be used successfully in baking and there are many recipes that have been proven to work.
Here are some plant-based swaps you can use next time you are whipping up Grandma’s famous banana bread or your favorite treats for the holidays.
Milk Substitute in Baking
Milk is a key ingredient in baking as it provides moisture, flavor, and density. The best plant-based replacement is soy milk. It has similar qualities to cow’s milk but is lower in calories. Oat, rice, and almond milk can all be used as well but use these with caution as oat milk can be thick, rice milk has a grainy texture, and almond milk lacks the body that milk or soy milk have.
Egg Substitute in Baking
In baking, eggs provide color, texture, flavor, and contribute to the consistency of the food.
The following are all plant-based substitutes for one egg:
- Ground chia or flax seed. Mix 1 tablespoon of ground seeds with 3 tablespoons water. This substitute works best with waffles, pancakes, cookies, breads, and muffins. Chia and flax ‘eggs’ provide a nutty flavor and cause the food to become more dense.
- Silken tofu. Blend ¼ cup silken tofu with soy milk until smooth before mixing into your recipe to substitute for one egg. Silken tofu is best used in cookies, quick breads, cakes, and cookies as it causes the food to become dense.
- Banana. Mash ½ of a small banana and mix into the recipe. Mashed banana works well in cakes, muffins, and brownies. Banana adds sweetness so cut down on the sugar in the recipe to adjust for this.
- Arrowroot powder. Combine 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder with 3 tablespoons water.
- Aquafaba. Save the leftover water from cooking legumes or the liquid that comes in canned beans. Add 3 tablespoons to replace one egg. It is best as an egg white replacement because it can be whipped. Try it in meringue or macaroon recipes.
- Soy lecithin. As a byproduct of soybean oil, it can be found in stores as a powder and 1 tablespoon can replace one whole egg or one yolk.
- Pumpkin puree. Add ⅓ cup pumpkin puree to your pies or baked goods. This will provide a distinct flavor.
- Soy yogurt. ¼ cup soy yogurt can be used instead of one egg.
Butter Substitute for Baking
The primary role of butter is to provide fat, which creates tenderness and body to baked goods. It can be substituted with many plant foods in a variety of recipes:
- Vegetable or canola oil. ½ cup butter can be replaced with ⅓ cup oil in most cake or muffin recipes.
- Nut butter. Any type of nut butter can be used in the same quantity as butter in cookie recipes. It will provide a nutty flavor to your cookies.
- Cold-pressed raw coconut oil. This oil is similar in consistency to butter and will add a distinct coconut flavor to your baking. Avoid using it in pastries as it melts at a lower temperature.
- Applesauce. As a lower-fat option, applesauce can be substituted for butter in breads and muffins. Use an unsweetened brand to keep sugar content low or adjust the amount of sugar used in the recipe.
Extra Plant Power
There are additional ways to add plants into your baking outside of substituting for traditional ingredients. Take pulses, for example, which can be added to almost every recipe. Brownies, breads, cookies and cakes can be made with chickpea flour, black beans, and adzuki beans. Adzuki beans are especially great as they are nutty and sweet, which make them great in desserts.
Vegetables such as zucchini and carrots can be added to breads to boost fiber and nutrient content as well.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to plant-based baking. With a little creativity, experimentation, and patience, you can give your traditional desserts a makeover and even create some new, plant-based favorites that everyone will enjoy!
Do you have any favorite, tried-and-true plant-based baking swaps? Share in the comments below!
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