Wednesday, September 24, 2008

There's No Substitute For These Substitutes

Longtime readers know, I make substitutions in my recipes with alarming regularity. I thought I'd share some of my common ones to help you on your frugal way. I don't claim to have invented all of these ideas, these are just ones I use all the time.

a chopped onion - 1 tsp onion powder or several chopped scallions or leeks
a clove of garlic - 1/2 tsp garlic powder or garlic scapes
celery - 1 tsp celery seed or celeriac or stems from kale & collards or chopped swiss chard
brown rice syrup - an equal amount of maple syrup
rice vinegar - apple cider vinegar, although its too harsh in salad dressing recipes
pumpkin puree - any winter squash or even sweet potato in a pinch
dried cranberries - dried currants, they're cheaper and unsweetened
honey - an equal amount of molasses
egg - 1 tbs ground flaxseed meal plus 2 tbs water This works in baked goods only! Don't try to scramble it.
shortening - use slightly less canola oil, i.e. if the recipe calls for 1/2 cup shortening use 1/3 cup canola oil
tomato paste - ketchup can work in a pinch if its good quality ketchup although I don't think I'd try it in pasta dishes.
worcesteshire sauce - an equal amount of Bragg's Liquid Aminos

What are your favorite substitutions?


Mr. Crosier said...

Yumm :-)

I almost always substitute tomato paste FOR ketchup in recipes, maybe 1/2 to 3/4 as much plus a little water. Makes the recipe less sweet but I always have tomato paste in the freezer. I do the same thing for recipes that call for tomato sauce or tomato soup.

Oatmeal: substitute for breadcrumbs in casserole and nuts in cookies or brownies.

Crushed red pepper flakes (like the kind you get at a pizza place): I use this whenever a recipe calls for a fresh pepper that I don't have.

Canned or dry chipotle pepper: I used these as a substitute for fresh peppers in recipes and also chili powder. I like the chipotle taste better than chili powder taste.

Whole tomatoes smooshed against the side of the pot in place of canned diced tomatoes.

Cauliflower in place of broccoli when cauliflower is less expensive.

Celery in place of green bell pepper. Similar texture/color.

Egg replacer powder (1.5 tsp per mixed with 1 tbs water) or soy flour (1 tbs + 1 tbs water) to replace an egg in baking.

A cheap stretch for tofu in scrambler is soft cooked white beans. 2 cups white beans added to 1 pound of tofu makes a lot more scrambler for less money.

That's all I can think of for now. :-)

Mr. Crosier said...

LOL this is ruthie not russell

Anonymous said...

These are great! A lot of these are ones I use, so I don't have much to contribute, but TVP (dry) can be used in place of bread crumbs in recipes for things like veggie burgers or "meat"loaf etc.

I regularly use onions in place of shallots or leeks.


Anonymous said...

This are really useful ideas!

I've been using smoked paprika instead of bacon in a lot of recipes recently to make them veggie (and cheaper). It doesn't taste the same but paprika does give that savoury smokey hit that bacon adds

Anonymous said...

Sophie's comment reminded me that I often add a few drops of liquid smoke to recipes that call for bacon to add flavor. It adds nice depth and smoky flavor to our red beans and rice.

I often substitute some kind of vinegar for lemon juice, since it's much cheaper, and I always have it. Sometimes with the addition of some lemon zest. If it's appropriate for the recipe, I might sub. orange juice for lemon juice.

For worcestershire sauce, I usually use a little soy sauce + a little molasses.

In bread recipes calling for gluten, if I don't have it on hand, I replace it and some of the whole grain flour called for with all-purpose flour. For instance, if the recipe calls for 4 cups ww flour and 1/2 cup gluten, I might use 3 1/2 cups ww flour, and 1 cup of all-purpose.

Also, I tend to adapt recipes by making one substitution at a time to see how it works, until I have changed the recipe to my desired specifications. My grandmother gave me a recipe for refrigerator rolls that called for self-rising white flower, an egg and lots of butter, and by making a few substitutions at a time I have developed it into a vegan recipe with whole wheat flour and flax seed. The only real similarity to the original recipe is that it makes refrigerator rolls.