healthy recipe swaps March 27 2016

April 1st is known as “All Fool’s Day”, a celebration of falsehood-fueled fun.  But what’s no joke - healthy ingredient swaps that will trick your taste buds into thinking there are more calories, fats and sugars than there really are in your favorite recipes.

I have a dairy allergy, so seeking out substitutes for common baking ingredients like milk, cream and butter, is a necessity.  Luckily, my ‘in-house chef/baker’, Chris, and I have become adept at finding workarounds that make dishes Alison-Friendly and still delicious to the rest of our dairy-eating guests. 

Here are a few things we’ve found:


Instead of Butter or Oil, use Applesauce:
Keep your baked goods lower in fat and calories, yet still high in taste, by replacing butters and oils with applesauce.  The exchange is 1:1, meaning if the recipe calls for 1 cup of oil, use 1 cup of applesauce.  If you also want to reduce your sugar intake, use unsweetened applesauce. 

Instead of Cream, use canned Coconut Milk:
Cream adds, well, creaminess to soups and desserts, but canned coconut milk does too!  The replacement is 1:1 ratio so, like oil:applesauce, 1 cup translates into 1 cup.  Coconut milk does have a natural sweetness so you can even whip it up with a mixer and turn it into whipped cream!

Instead of Buttermilk, use a mixture of non-dairy milk and white vinegar:
Chris makes some super awesome pancakes, but his recipe calls for buttermilk… so being super awesome himself, he sought a substitute so I wouldn’t miss out (read: whine). 
To make 1 cup of buttermilk:

  • Take 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and put it in a measuring cup
  • Add non-dairy milk (almond, soy, container coconut or rice) to the measuring cup until the mixture makes 1 cup
  • Stir the mixture
  • Let it sit for about 10 minutes.

Instead of Eggs for baking, use tofu, a banana and baking powder, or flax seed:
The most-requested dessert I make is brownies and, a few years ago, I had promised a batch to my colleagues for an office birthday celebration.  After a long work day, plus a car that broke down on the highway, I got home quite late and then found I was out of eggs for baking.  A quick Google search, and several minutes of venting later, I found a few substitutes that would have the same binding properties as eggs for baking: 

To replace 1 whole egg, use:

  • ¼ cup of pureed silken tofu
  • ½ mashed banana and ½ teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed OR chia seeds soaked in 3 tablespoons of water
Remarkably, the ground flax seed was the one I had on-hand, and my coworkers were none the wiser!