List of Vegan Alternatives

Courtesy: D Sharon Pruitt

One of the most popular guest blogs on has been George Nickle’s “Checklist for Going Vegan.” He was kind enough to write it for Jay and I when we were thinking of “going vegan.” It’s been a tremendous hit and George has included some great information and even some recipes in the comments section when readers asked for more from him. Appreciate all his knowledge and willingness to share.

In light of the vegan post’s popularity — I’ve decided to feature another blog on this subject. This one is by a lovely chef from California. Chloe Coscarelli has a cookbook coming out and was the winner of Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars.” I’m actually doing a segment with her where we will try to turn our meat-loving anchor into a vegan convert! She has been a vegan for much of her life and has given me this list of popular swap outs for non-vegan foods. Vegan food is as popular as it’s ever been, even some non-vegans choose to have a vegan day, perhaps a ‘meat-free Monday!’

Top 10 Vegan Alternatives

bu Chloe Coscarelli

I’m dispelling the myth that animal-free cooking is bland, visually unappetizing and full of sprouts! By using my favorite vegan ingredients; you’ll never miss the meat, eggs, butter, or cream.

1. Vinegar

Vinegar is a great egg replacement especially for cakes. When combined with baking soda, vinegar acts as a binding agent and creates a moist texture.

2. Cashews

Blending raw cashews with water is a perfect cream alternative for savory dishes like fettuccine alfredo.

3. Coconut Milk

Canned coconut milk is nature’s substitute for sweet heavy cream! Chocolate mousse, ganache, and whipped cream can all be made vegan with this simple replacement.

4. Mushrooms

Crimini, shiitake, portobello, and oyster mushrooms all have a juicy hearty texture that is perfect for replacing meat. Ground into veggie burgers or charred on the grill, mushrooms are a succulent substitution for meat in any form.

5. Dark Chocolate

Pure dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and is a great milk chocolate replacement for non-dairy desserts.

6. Avocados

This nutrient-dense fruit can add a creamy body and boost of flavor to almost anything. Avocados can be added to pesto sauce as a substitute for cheese or whipped up as a spread for sandwiches.

7. Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is high in protein and B vitamins. Its natural flavor and yellow coloring make it a great substitute for cheese.

8. Tofu

Tofu can be sliced, diced, or cubed to achieve a meaty consistency. For best results, freeze a package of tofu, and then defrost in the refrigerator overnight.

9. Non-dairy milk

Soy, almond, and rice milk are fabulous alternatives to dairy milk. They are lower in fat and can be used interchangeably in any recipe, from milk shakes to creamy soups.

10. Almond Butter

Almond butter has a mild taste and is a great source of protein and fiber. It adds a thick, velvety texture to smoothies or shakes. For nut allergies, try hemp butter.

First breaking onto the national culinary scene by capturing the top prize on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars in 2010, award-winning vegan chef, Chloe Coscarelli has since been turning heads and bringing mouth-watering, animal-free dishes to the mainstream. In March 2012,  Chloe will release her first cookbook, Cook with Chloe (Free Press), which will contain 100 original vegan recipes and photos. Chloe is a graduate from NYC’s prestigious Natural Gourmet Institute and Cornell University’s Plant-based Nutrition program, so her recipes guarantee to be as healthy as they are delicious. 

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