7 Tips for Ingredient Substitution
These days I hardly think twice about swapping different ingredients when I’m cooking but I wasn’t always this confident. I remember how frustrating and limiting it used to feel not knowing what would work. The good news is that you to can develop your substitution confidence. Here are 7 tips to make your journey as easy and pain-free as possible.
1. There are no rules
The only result we’re after is something that tastes delicious, it doesn’t matter how you get there.
2. Look for similar ingredients
The easiest place to start. The more similar ingredients are the more likely your substitution will be successful.
3. Look for similar functions
For example, say you’re making a salad that calls for roasted almonds and you need to avoid nuts. What function are the almonds playing in the salad? If they’re there to make the salad more filling and substantial, maybe you could try some avocado chunks or goats cheese. If they’re there for textural interest maybe some crispy bacon pieces would work or some finely diced red capsicum (bell pepper).
4. Trust your instincts
You’ve got all those years of eating behind you so even if you aren’t experienced in substitution you know what tastes good to you.
5. Remember Clancy’s ‘Law of Cooking’
“If you think it’s going to taste delicious it probably will!”
6. Everyone makes mistakes
We all have a failures. Take it as a learning experience and keep trying.
7. Practice makes perfect
Seriously, the more you experiment, the better you’ll get!
Your Ingredient Substitution ‘Cheat Sheet’
Here are some favourite ‘adaptable’ recipes
(with substitutes in brackets afterwards)
Quick Veggie Soup
(canned beans substitutes – canned chickpeas, canned lentils, cooked quinoa, cooked rice, cooked pasta)
(zucchini substitutes – snow peas, frozen peas, cooked sweet potato, broccoli, cauliflower)
Warm Chickpea Salad
(rosemary substitutes – thyme, mint, parsley, smoked paprika, curry powder, thai curry paste)
(almond substitutes – just skip them, other nuts such as cashews, pinenuts, pecans, cooked crunchy bacon pieces, poached egg, canned tuna or salmon, cooked chicken)
Salt Crusted Burgers with Lentil Hummus
(beef substitutes – ground / minced chicken, lamb, pork, buffalo, sausage meat, canned chickpeas + egg)
(lentil hummus substitutes
(tahini substitutes – peanut butter, almond butter, extra olive oil, whole nuts (puree before using))
(rosemary substitutes – chill flakes or chopped chilli, thyme, parsley, garlic, skip it, spices such as coriander seed, chives)
(chickpea substitutes – 2 extra eggs, roast veg, grilled veg, other canned legumes or beans, asparagus, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, cooked potato, cooked chicken, proscuittto, cook mushrooms)
(parmesan substitutes – other cheese such as goats cheese, cheddar, blue cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta, skip it)