The culinary adventures of a 20-something woman navigating the wonderful world of food!

The culinary adventures of a 20-something year old woman navigating the wonderful world of food!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Can I substitute?

I get a lot of questions about substitutions. "Can I do this? Or that?"is something that I hear a lot. Often times, the answer is "well, you can certainly try and see what happens!" but I realize that for those who don't venture into the wonderful world of food as often as I do, its not that easy. Here is a list of some common substitutions, and also things that should never be replaced. For the most part, this sub list is to make something healthier, but not always.

If the recipe calls for......

Almonds - pecans or walnuts (peanuts don't sub as well)
Apple - Pear is an excellent sub
Butter - margarine or shortening (unless I say NO!)
Buttermilk - 1 tbsp lemon juice + liquid to equal original amount
Bread Crumbs - use plain soda crackers & crush. Sub same amount.
Brown Sugar - use golden or white sugar instead
Canola oil - Can replace with vegetable oil
Cayenne Pepper - use red pepper flakes
Corn Starch - replace with flour - note that it isn't a perfect substitution
Eggs - no substitutions except for egg whites - very important "binder"
Ground Beef - ground chicken or turkey will also work. Increase seasonings slightly.
Honey - molasses, agave nectar, corn syrup
Oil - equal parts applesauce (muffins) or plain yoghurt (muffins, cakes)
Onion - no good sub, but you can use different types of onion
Mayonaise - if replacing to make healthier, try half mayo, half plain yoghurt OR low-fat sour cream
Milk - milk powder + water to equal original amount
Mustard - no good sub. Try another type of mustard (dijon vs. honey)
Parmesan Cheese - use romano instead
Quinoa - Try Couscous or Brown Rice (for a salad)
Red Wine Vinegar - cider vinegar will work
Salt - no replacements - is very important for flavour, especially in baking
Sour Cream - Plain Yoghurt (and vice versa)
Sugar - reduce the amount as desired and replace with another dry ingredient (eg. flour) 
Vanilla Extract - no good substitution
White Flour - 1/2 white flour + 1/2 bran, + 1tbsp extra liquid (ie milk) (to make healthier)
White Sugar - use Golden or Brown Sugar instead
Yeast - no replacements

The biggest thing to remember when replacing is that you need to keep the wet-dry ratio the same; otherwise your recipe may not turn out.
Any other substitutions that you have tried? Send me a comment and let me know!!

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