Butter Substitutes

Finding vegan substitutes for daily animal-based products is one of the challenges of converting to veganism. Fortunately, there is a market-ready for vegan products

A common misconception about the vegan lifestyle is that it requires you to stay away from delicious food. This is based on the myth that vegan alternatives don’t compare to the non-vegan products used in gourmet foods.

The vegan way of life doesn’t mean you have to stop being a foodie. There are excellent plant-based options for people looking for a healthy, tasty vegan meal. If anything, the vegan lifestyle ensures that you stay healthy while being a happy foodie. Vegan alternatives have more fiber and less unsaturated fat, unlike dairy based cooking ingredients.

Butter is an important part of cooking, often considered a staple ingredient in most households. It is an inevitable part of a wide range of cuisines and recipes ranging from baking and pan-frying to sandwich spreads.

Fortunately, going vegan doesn’t require you to avoid all the recipes that include butter. Plant-based fats exist that can replace dairy-based butter in taste and texture. A little research shows you which product to use for each type of cooking.

 

Oil alternatives

Plant-based oils can adequately replace butter for frying purposes. However, choose your cooking oil depending on the heating temperature the recipe recommends.

Some oils have a higher smoking point than others. You shouldn’t use oils with a lower smoking point in cooking that involves high heat.

This can be extremely harmful to your body. Oils that have higher smoking points include sunflower oil and sesame oil. Extra virgin olive oil has a low smoking point and should not be used in cooking. However, you can use regular olive oil in low heat cooking.

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Coconut oil

cononut oil

Coconut oil comes closest to butter in terms of texture. It can pretty much be used in all kinds of recipes that use butter in a one-to-one ratio.

Coconut oil has a low smoking point like butter, so that it can be used in high-heat cooking as well, just like butter. Even the foaming effect of heated butter can be achieved by mixing coconut oil with cold water, in which case, you should mix three-quarters coconut oil with one-quarter cold water.

Taste is the only significant difference between butter and coconut oil. Coconut oil has a predominant coconut flavor, which usually works well with baking, but not all cooked dishes need the coconut flavor.

Using coconut oil in baking is exactly like baking with butter if certain things are taken care of. The water content helps make cookies soft. This may prove tricky with pure coconut oil since it has no water. But, mixing cold coconut oil with cold water can quickly resolve this issue.

 

Vegan sandwich spreads

vegan sandwich spread

Several kinds of nut butter can effectively replace dairy butter in sandwiches. Nut butter is typically 50% fat as opposed to the 80% fat content in dairy butter.

In baking recipes that require more fat, combine nut butter with an oil, preferably coconut oil, before using. This butter is best used as sandwich spreads, arguably better than dairy-based butter since nut butter is more flavorful.

Nut butter can be used as a 1:1 substitute in baking. Hummus is also an excellent vegan sandwich spread, which works better in flavor and nutrients than dairy-based butter.

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Vegan Butter

butter substitutes

If none of the butter substitutes work for you, don’t worry; vegan butter is available in markets. Vegan butter is made from plant-based milk.

The specific ingredients of vegan butter differ from brand to brand. Some of the most commonly used ingredients are coconut oil, canola, soybean, sunflower oil, flax seeds, palm, and olive oils. Some brands avoid soy since it can trigger allergies in people. Others depend entirely on nuts such as cashew, almond, and macadamia

Understandably, the taste of vegan butter differs from brand to brand depending on the ingredients. However, in general, vegan butter is supposed to taste quite like dairy-based butter and perfectly resembles dairy-based butter in texture.

Vegan butter can be used in pretty much all the ways that dairy-based butter is used. However, the type that suits a particular recipe requires research and asking around. Fortunately, there are several vegan cooking groups and communities online that offer advice on vegan food alternatives.

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Luke is a passionate environmental advocate based in upstate New York. When he's not sharing tips on sustainability and wellness, you can find him hiking with his dog, Max.

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