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Substitutions for Vegan/Vegetarian Cooking

Josi Fisher

Being vegan or vegetarian is very beneficial to our environment and to our diet. It can push us to try new foods and healthier options. However, it can be difficult trying to find substitutes for many of the foods we like. If you are vegan or vegetarian or just want to try spicing up your dishes, here are alternative ingredients and foods to use in your vegan/vegetarian cooking!

Oat Milk:

This is a great alternative for dairy milk and it leaves a far smaller carbon footprint than almond and soy milk. Oats require less water to grow which makes oat milk a more sustainable milk. However, oats are used in high frequency for livestock which causes shortages in oats. Brands like Planet Oat and Oatly offer different flavors of oat milk such as vanilla, dark chocolate, extra creamy, unsweetened, and more. I have started using oat milk since Covid lockdown and it really adds a kick to my cereal. Dipping some cookies in oat milk doesn’t taste so bad either.


My family has used Morning Star for awhile now and we really enjoy it! MorningStar Farms is a plant-based protein brand that offers veggie foods and ingredients. You can buy their freezer foods and check out their website for recipes. My mom will use MorningStar in her chimichangas and cooking. Personally, I can’t tell a huge difference in flavor between MorningStar and real/processed meat. I highly recommend applying it in your cooking!


Another soy based food, tempeh is a great alternative in vegan/vegetarian cooking. When my mom makes tempeh, she usually frys it with a pinch of olive oil. I enjoy eating tempeh on my salads as a substitute for chicken. You can also put it on your sandwiches. In my school lunch, I used to bring a tempeh sandwich with arugula and mayonnaise. Tempeh can be substituted in many different dishes, not to mention it has a delicious and unique flavor.

Crio Bru:

Made 100% pure without any use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or GMO’s, Crio Bru is an excellent vegan coffee option. Not only is it vegan, but it has many health benefits as well such as boosting your immune system, natural source of magnesium, increases focus, low acidity intake, promotes weight loss, contains antioxidants, and it is incredibly natural. Crio Bru can last longer and be more pleasant than caffeine. Their website offers more details about health benefits and product sustainability.


These bars are made with 2-9 whole food ingredients. They are dairy-free, vegan, non-GMO, soy-free, Kosher, and gluten-free. Ranging from protein bars to cereal, Larabar provides a great snacking option for vegans and vegetarians. They have several different flavors of bars and brownies for everyone to enjoy. The peanut butter chocolate chip is really good.

Finding substitutes in vegan/vegetarian cooking can be difficult, but it’s surprising all the options that are out there! Have fun with your cooking and if you are trying to go vegan or vegetarian, apply these in your cooking to help you get started. Enjoy!


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