Those who follow strict plant-based diets do so by replacing all the meat, egg, and dairy products in their meals with those made entirely of plants. The market has come a long way in the last five years, and even the most traditional supermarkets are packed with plant-based (generally equivalent to vegan) alternatives to everything from beef to American cheese and eggs. Not all the demand is from vegans and vegetarians, though. There are a lot of us who want to make smaller changes to our diets, seeking a more positive impact on the environment. There are many simple ingredient swaps you can make, and you may barely notice. These aren’t huge, but even unnoticeable plant-based changes in your kitchen can be substantial.
This is one of the easiest swaps out there. Not only is plant-based mayo available in essentially every grocery store, it’s about the same price. The taste difference is also very hard to notice. Many non-vegans will tell you Veganaise tastes better than the “real” thing. There are often even flavored mayos in plant-based versions. Unless you’re making a recipe that relies heavily on an intense mayo flavor, using vegan mayo on your sandwiches, in dips, and dressings is super easy. We promise none of your friends will notice.
Another great substitute found in most supermarkets at an affordable price. Plant-based butter sticks are pretty mainstream and come in packs of four, just like the dairy-based butter you’re used to. You often have a choice between olive oil, avocado oil, and almond oil-based sticks. All of them do the trick. In some baking projects, the melting point may vary on plant-based butter, so do research before baking. In my own experience, plant-based butters work perfectly for cooking, spreading on toast, and even baking.
This is a sneaky one. When a recipe calls for chicken or beef broth, you can almost always just replace it with vegetable broth. They’re stocked on the same shelf at the store and have the same consistency, so they’ll cook the same in recipes. Yes, if you’re making a beef stew it will decrease some of the beef flavor and won’t be a logical swap, but other soups, stews, casseroles, and the like will fare no worse with the use of veggie broth instead of meat options. If you’re using bouillan cubes, try Better Than Bouillon for a hearty, flavorful switch.
4. Meats in Sauces
If you’re not ready to replace all the meat in your diet, going for a plant-based option in pasta sauces is an easier start. Meat here is just an ingredient, not the star of the show, so you’re not likely to notice a negative impact. You can find plant-based meat alternatives in most supermarkets, including versions of ground beef and Italian sausage. I’d recommend starting here and using one in your next homemade spaghetti sauce. See if you can even tell that it’s been swapped out.