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10 Creative Food Substitutions

  • a Care2 favorite by Katie Waldeck
10 Creative Food Substitutions

Sick of the same ol’ same ol’? Want to eat healthier but don’t want to give up your favorite meals? No need to radically alter your diet or spend tons of cash. Indeed, there are several small steps  you can take to revamp your cooking and baking. Click through for ten interesting food substitutes, and tell us some of your faves in the comments section.

Earlier: 8 Healthiest Leafy Greens


1. Instead of Parmesan, Try Nutritional Yeast. Sure, it’s not quite the same, but craving a little crumbly goodness on top of your salad or pasta? Replace your old dairy standby with the vegan nutritional yeast. It will add a completely new, and equally delicious, flavor to your meal.

2. Instead of Mashed Potatoes, Try Mashed Turnips or Rutabaga. Growing tired of the same old pile of lumpy mashed potatoes on your dinner plate? Expand your options into other root veggies for variations in flavor and texture.

3. Instead of Wheat Pasta, Try Squash. A great way for carb-lovers to eat their veggies is to swap out pasta for squashes like the appropriately named spaghetti squash, pictured above, or even ribbons of zucchini. After cooking the squash, prepare the same way you would regular pasta.

See Also: 12 Great Time-Saving Cooking Tips


4. Instead of Dairy Ice Cream, Try Banana “Ice Cream.” Don’t believe bananas could ever taste like your beloved ice cream? Well, think again! Take a look at a recipe here, and try it out for yourself. You may not even realize that there’s no dairy involved.

5. Instead of Ice Pops, Try Frozen Grapes. There have been plenty of times that incredulous guests wanted to know why I almost always have a bag of grapes in the freezer. It’s not as weird as it sounds. Give it a try — maybe it’ll be your new favorite dessert!

6. Instead of Eggs, Try Mashed Avocado or Banana. In baking, mashed banana and avocado make a good substitute for eggs. It’s both vegan and healthier than eggs. Use bananas and avocado for sweet recipes. One egg is roughly equivalent to 1/4 cup of mashed banana.

7. Instead of Flour, Try Black Beans. Replace drained and rinsed beans in brownie recipes that call for flour. It’s gluten-free and doesn’t taste as odd as it sounds — I promise! Check out a fantastic recipe here.

Also Check Out: 15 Ways to Use Brussels Sprouts


8. Instead of Salt, Try Garlic Powder or Citrus Zest. Watching your salt intake, but still want a little more flavor in your dish? Garlic powder (not garlic salt!) or citrus zest are great alternatives to table salt.

9. Instead of Tofu, Try Tempeh or Seitan. Tofu may be the most famous meat alternative, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only one. Tempeh, another soy product, and seitan, a wheat gluten, are tasty and creative alternatives to tofu.

10. Instead of Onions, Try Shallots. It’s sometimes said that the hallmark of a true chef is that they use shallots in place of onions. And that’s for good reason: though they are closely related to the onion, shallots are more sweet and mild than their counterpart. Try substituting shallots for onions in dishes like cooked greens, stir fries, risottos, and the like. Three shallots in roughly equal to one small to medium onion.

Tasty Recipes to Try:
Simple & Perfect Mushrooms (Recipe)
Salted Caramel Apples (Recipe)
Swiss Chard Gratin (Recipe)

Read more: Appetizers & Snacks, Basics, Desserts, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Entrees, Food, Green Kitchen Tips, Health, Side Dishes, Vegan, Vegetarian,

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Katie Waldeck

Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and women’s issues. A Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives in Oakland, California.


+ add your own
3:52AM PDT on Aug 9, 2014

Thank you

12:47AM PDT on Jul 21, 2014

I've heard of flaxseeds replacing an egg, but the other recommendations are new to me. One day I'll remember to try nutritional yeast..........

12:00AM PDT on Jun 26, 2014

Yeah. A mashed banana and avocado taste just like a boiled egg.

My substitute for white mashed potatoes is Sweet mashed potatoes .

4:41AM PDT on Jun 22, 2014


4:40AM PDT on Jun 22, 2014


4:40AM PDT on Jun 22, 2014

Noted thsnks

4:39AM PDT on Jun 22, 2014

Noted thsnks

2:18AM PDT on Jun 22, 2014

Going to try the banana ice cream today!

2:01PM PDT on Jun 21, 2014

I'll try the grapes and avoid the yeast.

7:05AM PDT on Jun 21, 2014

Thanks for sharing.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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