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7 Simple Tips For Baking Without Eggs or Dairy

If you have a child at home who has given up eating anything that comes from an animal then you might be wondering how you are going to make those brownies or cookies everyone loves.  Well  yes, it is possible to make delicious baked goods without using eggs or dairy. Realize though that if you are making a cake that has 7 eggs then substitutions may not work so best to look for something similar without eggs. Most of the time you can make easy substitutions and not compromise on the taste or texture.

Here are my 7 simple tips for baking without eggs or dairy:

1. Use unsweetened plant based milk instead of cow’s milk
Most of the time I use unsweetened almond milk when I bake but you can really use any of the non-dairy options with a 1:1 ratio.

2. Use coconut oil instead of butter
I keep two kinds of coconut oil on hand; one that has a coconut oil taste and one that has the coconut flavour removed.  The one without the coconut flavour is slightly more processed but I find in some recipes the coconut flavour takes away from the the taste of the treat.  Note, you can usually substitute an oil instead of butter unless you are making something that needs the butter like in the case of flaky pie crusts. If using oil, I always use grapeseed oil.  You can use a 1:1 ratio.

3. Use ground flax or chia seeds to replace eggs
The simple formula for this egg replacement is 1 tablespoon of flax or chia mixed with 3
tablespoons of water.  Let this sit for about 15 minutes until it forms a gel-like texture.

4. Use non-dairy yogurt for yogurt
There are so many non-dairy yogurts available these days it is just a matter or trial and error to find which one you like. You can choose from soy, almond, cashew or coconut.  Use the unflavoured, unsweetened version if possible. If need be, adjust the sugar you add if you can’t find an unsweetened option.

5. Soak cashew to use as a cream cheese substitute
New to the vegan/non-dairy baking scene is using soaked cashews instead of cheese or cream cheese. This requires a bit of pre-planning as the cashews usually need to be soaked beforehand. I was a bit skeptical but I made these lemon squares and my kids loved them.

6. Substitute plant-based milk with a touch of vinegar for buttermilk
If a recipe calls for 1 cup of buttermilk you can use your plant-based milk of choice with 1            tablespoon of  apple cider  vinegar. Pour the apple cider vinegar into a glass measuring cup and then add the non-dairy milk.

7. Use aquafaba instead of meringue
This may come as a surprise but this recipe calls for using the liquid that is in a can of chickpeas. Take 1/2 cup of chickpea water and place in a glass bowl.  Whip as you would meringue,until soft peaks form and gradually add a few tablespoons of sugar. Gently spoon on to your favourite pie and then place under the broiler for a few minutes to brown. You can find a recipe for lemon meringue pie with aquafaba here.

There you have it! Some easy ways to substitute eggs and dairy when baking. Do you have any other tips you’d like to share? Let me know.

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Is vegetarian food weird?

I took my daughter grocery shopping the other day as she wanted to pick up some food for a sleepover at our house and wanted to have some ‘good’ snacks.  Now of course her idea of ‘good’ snacks vs. my idea of ‘good’ snacks differs slightly but she put most of what she wanted into the grocery cart. Once we got home she happily announced that now her friends would see we had ‘normal’ food in our house.

Being Vegetarian On Halloween

Are Halloween treats vegetarian?

So it’s Halloween and you might be wondering how this impacts you as a vegetarian. Well, it does if you don’t want to eat any animal products whatsoever. You may find this surprising but some candies and chocolates contain animal-derived ingredients. Believe me, I found out one day and was very disappointed.

Protein and vegetarian diets

Let’s chat about protein and vegetarian diets

One of the most common concerns with respect to vegetarian or vegan diets is protein. From personal experience I can tell you that when I tell someone my daughter is vegetarian they inevitably ask how she gets her protein.

What is jackfruit?

Have you heard about jackfruit?

If not, it is a tropical fruit that is native to Southwest India. It has recently been used in vegetarian and vegan cooking as a meat replacement due to its texture which is like shredded meat.

How do legume-based pastas compare to regular pastas?

Have you checked the pasta section of your grocery store lately?

If you have, you would definitely have noticed some new additions to this category. Gone are the days of basic white flour pasta. While whole wheat and whole grain pasta were new and innovative a few years ago, we can now find pasta made from chickpeas, lentils, black beans, mung beans and even edamame. However, the question is whether or not these pastas are actually better for you. Here are a few of the parameters I looked at to determine if they are in fact healthier.

What is a pea protein beverage?

Yes, you read that right, pea-protein!

The non-dairy beverage category has been growing by leaps and bounds as more and more people look for options to dairy milk. What used to be a category of primarily soy and rice milk now has so many other plant-based options; almond, cashew, oat, hemp, flax and coconut. I could go on and list the different combinations of these as well.

The latest and greatest innovation to hit this category is pea milk, made from yellow peas. Not to worry the milk does not taste like peas but rather contains the pea protein.

There are two brands currently available in my neck of the words in Toronto; Ripple and Dream.

When Ripple was launched in the US the feedback from consumers was tremendous, they loved the creaminess of the milk and were thankful that is was fortified with calcium and vitamin D, so in terms of nutritional value it was similar to cow’s milk.  I heard all this news via a few Facebook groups that I belong to.

However, when Ripple was launched in Canada it was not fortified. I emailed them to ask why and this is what they told me: “Canadian fortification regulations are much different than they are in the US. Unfortunately in Canada we are not allowed to supplement our milks with just Calcium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D. We could not meet the longer list of fortifications that are required so we were forced to remove our added calcium and vitamins completely from our Canadian formulas.”  This is really unfortunate as those who tend to drink these beverages could benefit from the fortification.  I would say most other products in this category are fortified with Vitamins D, B12 and calcium. Key nutrients for those who follow a plant-based diet and do not drink cow’s milk or eat animal products.

Dream is also a pea-based plant drink that recently launched. It too is not fortified. I emailed the parent company Hain-Celestial to ask them about fortification at the same time I emailed Ripple and have not received a response as of yet.

As far as how the two compare, here is a run down:

Ingredients: 

Dream – water, pea protein, cane sugar, sunflower oil, sea salt, sunflower lecithin, gellan gum, xanthan gum, natural flavour .

Ripple – pea base (water, pea protein), organic sugar, sunflower oil, DHA algal oil, dipotassium phosphate, sunflower lecithin, flavour, sea salt, organic guar gum, gellan gum.

Their ingredients are pretty similar though the products definitely taste and look different. As far as all these weird sounding ingredients, what do they actually do?

  • Gellan gum – It is used in plant-based milks to keep plant protein suspended in the milk.
  • Xanthan gum -It is an effective thickening agent and stabilizer to prevent ingredients from separating .
  • DHA algal oil -Algal oil is a vegetarian DHA oil that does not come from cold-water fish like fish oil. It is a source of Omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Sunflower lecithin – This is used as an emulsifier or stabilizer.
  • Dipotassium Phosphate- It is used as a food additive or preservative used to prevent the beverage from becoming lumpy.

 

Nutrition Facts per 1 cup
Dream Ripple
Calories 110 90
Fat 7% 3%
Sugar 7 g 6 g
Sodium 8% 5%
Protein 8 g 8 g
Calcium 4% 8%
Iron 0 15%

Note these nutritional facts are from the unsweetened, plain varieties.

How do these two compare price-wise?

The Ripple 1.42L jug was $6.99  The Dream product is smaller so total dollar amount is less at $5.49 but on a per ml basis is more expensive.

Last but not least is the taste comparison. In our house, Ripple won hands down. We liked the taste and texture of Ripple better than Dream. It was much richer and creamier. Will I be buying it on a regular basis, probably here and there.  However, my preference is to drink non-dairy beverages for the calcium content and the other products in this category are fortified so they can contain up to 30% of your daily calcium requirements.

But, if you are looking for a great-tasting high protein non-dairy beverage to drink, add to smoothies or even bake with then I would recommend Ripple.

If you have tried these two drinks, let me know what you think. Want more info about shopping for vegan or vegetarian food? Sign up for my newsletter!

 

Sources:

https://draxe.com/algal-oil/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xanthan_gum
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gellan_gum
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dipotassium_phosphate

 

 

Are your kids eating breakfast?

As we have all heard many times “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”  This especially holds true for our kids who are going off to school and need to have the ability to stay alert and focus throughout the day. They need fuel to support their bodies and brains.