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Kitchen Staples

Food & Drink, Kitchen Staples

22 Clever Ingredient Substitutes for Healthier Baking

vegan alternatives

Are you looking for clever ingredient substitutes for healthier baking? I’ve got 22 great alternatives that will boost the nutrient count of your bakes, without compromising on flavour.

You know sometimes when you’re browsing things on the internet, and you get sucked into an internet black hole? And you end up reading things on a completely different topic than when you first started out?  Or is that just me?!  Well, there I was on Sunday, browsing away and I stumbled upon a great infographic on healthier recipe ingredient substitutes for when you’re baking.  The authors say “healthy” but I would say “healthier”, just to be pedantic!

The infographic is especially useful if you’re vegan and/or gluten-free and looking for ideas for ingredient substitutes as a lot of the baking swaps (although not all) are for vegan and/or gluten-free foodstuffs.

NB: The original infographic goes into a bit more detail about why the baking substitutions work and some tips for using them:

Clever Ingredient Substitutes for Healthier Baking

healthy sugar substitutions baking
healthy vegan egg substitutions
vegan alternatives to butter
healthy baking tips
healthy flour starch substitutions baking

If you’re using a text reader to read this article, then I will set out below the text:

Healthier Substitutes to Sugar

  • 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce instead of 1 cup of sugar. For every cup of applesauce you use, reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by 1 quarter cup.
  • One half teaspoon of vanilla extract instead of 2 tablespoons of sugar.
  • One teaspoon of liquid stevia, or 2 tablespoons of stevia powder instead of 1 cup of sugar.

Vegan Alternatives to Eggs

  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds and 1 cup of water, left to sit for 15 minutes is a substitute for one egg.
  • Alternatively, 1 tablespoon of flax meal and 3 tablespoons of water, left to sit for 5 to 10 minutes is also a substitute for one egg.

Healthier Baking Alternatives to Butter or Oil

  • Half a cup of unsweetened applesauce and half a cup of fat instead of one cup of butter or oil.
  • 3/4 cup of prunes and 1/4 cup boiling water, blended, is a substitute for one cup of butter.
  • 1 cup of pureed avocado is a substitute for one cup of butter.
  • 3 tablespoons of flax meal and 1 tablespoon of water, left to sit for 5 – 10 minutes, is a substitute for one tablespoon of butter.
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of chia seeds, and one cup of water, left to sit for around 15 minutes is a healthier vegan baking substitute for one cup of butter.
  • 1 cup of mashed banana can be substituted for one cup of oil or butter.

Healthier Cake Fillings & Toppings

  • 1 cup of fluff instead of 1 cup of icing.
  • Substitute 1 cup of natural peanut butter instead of reduced-fat peanut butter.
  • 1 cup of meringue instead of 1 cup of icing.
  • Use 1 cup of evaporated skimmed milk instead of 1 cup of double cream.
  • Crush 1 cup of Graham Crackers instead of 1 cup of crushed cookies.
  • 1 cup of cocoa nibs instead of 1 cup of chocolate chip cookies.

Flour & Starch Alternatives

  • 1 cup of pureed black beans instead of one cup of flour.
  • 1/4 cup of nut flour, or 1 cup of nut flour plus 1/2 teaspoon of a raising agent instead of 1 cup of flour
  • 1/3 cup of coconut flour plus 1 extra egg per ounce of coconut flour plus a dash of extra water instead of 1 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of wholewheat flour in place of 1 cup of flour
  • 3/4 cup of brown rice cereal plus 2 tablespoons of flax meal instead of 1 cup of Rice Krispies.

What do you think about these healthier baking ideas? I haven’t heard many good things about using stevia in place of sugar so I am dubious about that one. Meanwhile, the idea of a cake iced in marshmallow fluff doesn’t especially appeal (although it is vegetarian, surprisingly). However, some of the other suggestions sound pretty good.  

I’d like to give the chia seeds in place of an egg a try, and I for one am especially intrigued by the idea of using black beans in place of flour in chocolate brownies!  It sounds a bit out there, but I am itching to give it a go just to try it!  Would you do it?  Or have you tried it?  Did it work?  Was it tasty?  I’m all ears!

Food & Drink, Kitchen Staples

How to Grow Snow Pea Shoots Indoors

how to grow snow pea shoots indoors

Are you looking to grow snow pea shoots?  You’re in luck! Here’s a guide on how to grow snow pea shoots indoors!

Snow pea shoots are the ultimate in container gardening.  They are also one of the easiest and cheapest things in the whole world to grow.  Let me show you how to grow snow pea shoots indoors so you can see for yourself!

To be honest, I hadn’t heard of snow pea shoots before.  That was until last month when I saw them in a shop for £1.75 for a small bag.  I whipped out my phone and searched on the internet to see what they were.  I discovered that snow pea shoots would be delicious in stir-fries and salads.  And I also found that £1.75 for a bag of shoots is a bit of a rip-off when I could grow my own in a short space of time (and a small space) for much less than £1.75.

So instead I picked up a box of dried peas for the princely sum of 38p and got growing!  A third of a box of dried peas – so less than 13p – got me this bountiful crop:

how to grow snow pea shoots indoors

Here’s how to grow pea shoots so you can have a constant crop of them for not much money.  It’s pretty much fool-proof.  Even if you’re not particularly green-fingered you could do this, and it would be such a fun thing to do with kids as the peas shoot quite quickly, and then they can eat their bounty!

How to Grow Snow Pea Shoots Indoors

How to Grow Pea Shoots

Ingredients

  • A box of dried whole peas
  • A tub – any tub will do.  Any plastic food tray such as the kind you get when you buy tomatoes or grapes will work great, and yay – recycling!
  • Compost cotton wool will also work great if you don’t have any compost – although you will need to feed your peas
  • Water

Instructions

  1. To work out how many peas you need place the dried peas into the empty (soil free) tub of your choosing – ensuring the peas are densely packed in one layer only.
  2. Empty the peas into a glass of water to soak overnight.  Don’t skip this step.  We did the first time round and the peas never came to anything.
  3. The next day drain your peas and line your tub with a layer of compost or cotton wool (perhaps a centimetre thick)
  4. Add your peas.
  5. And there you go – leave on a sunny window ledge, and water when the compost or cotton wool feels a bit dry.  That’s all it takes to grow pea shoots – it really is as easy as that!  You could cover them with a clear plastic tub (again, like a fruit tray) to trap heat.  It should only take about five or six days to get to a good height, ready for eating.

This was our batch of snow pea shoots after only a day and a half:

snow pea shoots

As you can see, they shoot fast!

A little tip – if you use cotton wool you’ll need to feed the peas.  We used cotton wool and the growth of our peas stalled at a few centimeters until we fed them with some cold black rooibos tea, and then they lept up in leaps and bounds.

Once your snow pea shoots are a few inches high, cut and enjoy!  Don’t leave them too long before cutting as once they get a bit taller and the stems thicken they start to taste quite bitter, which isn’t what you want at all!

snow peas

As the internet told me, snow pea shoots are delicious in stir-fries and salads. However, I’ve also found they are tasty on pizzas, in pasta, and in sandwiches.  They taste intensely of pea, which, as a pea lover, is no bad thing.

The good thing about snow pea shoots is as they are grown indoors you can have a constant crop all year round.  After about three days into the growing cycle of the first batch simply sow another batch in another tub.

So there you go, that’s how to grow snow pea shoots indoors for under 50 pence!  Hap-pea growing! ;)

ps: other ideas to how to grow your own food cheaply!