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How to Go Veg

How to Make Over a Recipe: Four Steps

Incorporating healthier meals into your daily menu is easy. You can start by adapting the recipes you already use. Using healthy versions of favorite dishes will make your new diet much easier to follow. The step-by-step process below will show you how to make over a favorite recipe.

Step 1: Substitute plant ingredients for major animal-product ingredients in a recipe. This is often the only adjustment necessary. Some examples include:

  • Vegetarian pasta sauce instead of meat sauce. Use vegetarian burger crumbles or texturized vegetable protein (TVP) to make a vegetarian "meat" sauce. Another option is to use plenty of chunky vegetables to make a vegetable marinara sauce.
  • Bean and rice burritos instead of beef burritos
  • Moo shoo vegetables instead of moo shoo pork
  • Barbecued tofu instead of barbecued ribs
  • Bean chili instead of meat chili
  • Veggie burger instead of meat burger
  • Chickpea salad instead of chicken salad
  • Scrambled tofu instead of scrambled eggs

Step 2: Replace minor animal-product ingredients with plant ingredients or leave them out.

  • Use vegetable stock instead of chicken or beef stock.
  • Leave the bacon bits, anchovies, and fish sauce out of recipes that call for them and add some additional herbs or spices instead.

Replacing eggs and dairy products is easy:

  • Try leaving the eggs out of the recipe. This works best with breads and pancakes.
  • Use a commercial egg-replacer powder (available at health-food stores).
  • Other easy egg replacers include mashed tofu, ground flaxseed blended with hot water, cornstarch, or a banana. Replace cow's milk with soymilk, rice milk, or almond milk.
  • Leave the cheese out of salads, sandwiches, and casseroles, and make pizza without cheese, using plenty of sauce and vegetable toppings instead.

Step 3: Reduce or eliminate added fat or oil. Sautéing in water or vegetable stock is an easy way to replace the oil. In baked goods, use prune purée, applesauce, mashed low-fat tofu, or bananas to replace some or all of the fat.

Step 4: Reduce or eliminate added salt. This is especially important when using ingredients like canned foods that already have sodium in them. A dash of lemon juice or vinegar will bring out the flavors without extra salt.

Step 4: Let herbs and spices boost the flavor. After reducing the fat and salt content, herbs and spices can increase the flavor. Be sure to taste the dish as you add small amounts and add more to suit your taste.


Recipe Makeover Example >>