Vegan Recipes With Plant-based Substitutions for Eggs & Dairy

pasta with cream sauce made with plant-based substitution

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Perhaps you’re eating healthier. Or you’re shifting to plant-forward foods to support a sustainable planet. Or you’re simply out of fresh eggs.

Good news: Plant-based substitutions are are healthy and plentiful.

While vegan dairy and egg replacements are on store shelves, we’re focusing on DIY versions using primarily whole foods you may have in your kitchen. Such as nuts, fruits, and seeds. Even beans.

No milk. No meat. No eggs. No problem.

Flax Seeds

flax seeds

Ground flax seeds serve as a plant-based substitution for eggs in many recipes. Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

Joy Lehman of Meatless Monday recruits flax seeds for some recipes that call for eggs.

For a “flax egg,” she whisks 1 tablespoon of ground flax meal with 3 tablespoons of water. Then she waits about 10 or 15 minutes until it’s gooey.

Lehman notes that flax eggs are best suited to dense baked goods, like brownies, pancakes, quick breads, cookies, and muffins. She doesn’t recommend them for fluffier cakes.

The Meatless Monday website features several recipes using “flax eggs,” including Black Bean Meatless Balls and Zucchini Noodles, which offer a bonus plant-based substitution of beans instead of meat.

Black Bean Meatless Balls and Zucchini Noodles

(Recipe courtesy of Myra from The Happy Health Freak)

Ingredients

  • 1 large zucchini, spiralized or julienned
  • 1 15-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed, or flax seed meal, and 6 tablespoons water (instead of 2 eggs)
  • handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • handful fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Italian spices
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Your favorite marinara sauce

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, add flax seed and water, mix well, and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, add the black beans and mash with a fork. Add all the other ingredients and mix well.
  3. Once the flax seed and water has thickened, stir into mixture
  4. Preheat a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Spray with non-stick spray or drizzle with olive oil. Form mixture into balls, add to the frying pan and heat for 2-3 minutes a side, flipping frequently.
  5. Meanwhile, spiralize or julienne a medium zucchini and add to another frying pan over medium heat. Cook your zucchini noodles for about 5 minutes, depending on how soft you like them.
  6. Top your cooked zucchini noodles with meatballs and your favorite marinara sauce.

Other recipes using “flax eggs” on Meatless Monday website:

Nuts

Professional chefs often reach for nuts when whipping up delectable vegan fare. And some of them were kind enough to share their recipes.

Chef Matthew Kenney of Matthew Kenney Cuisine favors cashews and coconut cream over eggs and dairy in his coconut creme pie, which is especially popular in his restaurants.

Chef Matthew Kenney's coconut cream pie. Photo: Matthew Kenney Cuisine

Chef Matthew Kenney’s coconut cream pie. Photo: Matthew Kenney Cuisine

Matthew Kenney’s Coconut Cream Pie

Macadamia Crust Ingredients

  • 2 cups macadamia nuts
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup dates
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

Pulse all ingredients in food processor until a ball of dough is formed. Mold into a 10-inch tart pan, making sure the crust is pressed as evenly as possible across the base and up sides of pan.

Banana Creme Filling Ingredients

  • 3 cups cashews soaked
  • 2 cups bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup agave
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

Directions

In a high-speed blender, blend all ingredients, except coconut oil, until smooth. Reduce speed to low and slowly add coconut oil. Transfer the filling to macademia nut crust and refrigerate.

Coconut Custard Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups cashews, soaked
  • 1 cup  coconut meat
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup & 1 tablespoon agave
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted

Directions

In a high-speed blender, blend all ingredients except coconut oil, until fully combined and smooth. Reduce speed to low and slowly drizzle in the coconut oil. Pour coconut custard over banana filling in crust and refrigerate until ready to garnish and serve.

Slice pie into 12 slices. Slice ripe bananas thin, about 1/4-inch thick, shingle on top of pie slices and sprinkle with dried coconut

Cashew Béchamel

Cashew-based bechamel from Rouxbe. Photo: Rouxbe

Cashews offer a plant-based substitution for dairy in this béchamel sauce from Rouxbe. Photo: Rouxbe

Ken Rubin, chief culinary officer at Rouxbe online culinary school, describes his plant-based white sauce as extremely versatile on its own or as a base for other sauces. He suggests adding roasted cauliflower or red peppers.

Ken Rubin, chief culinary officer at Rouxbe online culinary school

Ken Rubin, chief culinary officer at Rouxbe online culinary school

For richness and creaminess, Rubin rocks cashews. Find his recipe for Cashew Béchamel, along with an instructional video, online. He also provides a related recipe for Penne Carbonara.

Rubin offers a few extra tips:

  • Soaking raw, unsalted cashews for a few hours or overnight can help make them easier to blend and increases the creaminess.
  • Raw cashew halves and pieces are usually less expensive than whole cashews and work as well when blended.
  • A little goes a long way for thickening sauces, so be prepared to thin it out with seasoned vegetable stock as needed.
  • Freeze sauce in small batches so thawing time is shorter.
  • A high-speed blender creates the absolute smoothest texture, but a regular blender will work just fine.

Bean Juice

Use aquafaba as a vegan substitute in dishes like chocolate mousse.

Use aquafaba as a plant-based substitution for egg whites and dairy in dishes like chocolate mousse. Image by ElodiV from Pixabay

Don’t pour it down the drain. Instead, use leftover liquid from cans of chickpeas or other legumes in chocolate mousse, marshmallow fluff, meringues, and a wide variety of other dishes. The fancy name for this intriguing ingredient is aquafaba. The Vegan Society showcases its versatility in an article, “20 Amazing Things You Can Do With Aquafaba.”

Other recipes featuring vegan swap-outs are featured in “All You Need To Know About Successful Vegan Baking” from The Vegan Society.

Fruits

halved avocado

Image by Marge Nauer from Pixabay

Dalin Espinal of South Florida adores avocados in her recipes for Key Lime Pie Avocado Mousse, Pistachio Avocado Ice Cream, and Dark Chocolate Mousse.

It’s bananas for Barbarba Cole Gates’ dairy-free Chunky Monkey Nice Cream.

Feature image courtesy of Rouxbe

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