Just because you eat a vegan diet doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the good stuff. In fact, all it means is that you can have more of the good stuff! While you should eat everything in moderation, it’s less of a guilty pleasure (and more of just a pleasure) because vegan desserts tend to be lower in calories, fat, cholesterol, and of course, are cruelty-free.
There are plenty of vegan recipes out there that only use vegan ingredients and avoid the common milk, eggs, and sugar. But if you’re really hooked on your favorite non-vegan cookie recipe or you come across a recipe online you’re dying to try that does include these ingredients—don’t despair. Simply be aware these substitutions to easily adapt non-vegan recipes into delicious vegan indulgences.
Butter. You can substitute any recipe that calls for butter with vegan margarine- make sure the ingredients list doesn’t include whey, casein, or rennet—all milk derivatives.
Milk. Equal parts of any vegetable or legume-based milk can be used in recipes that call for milk. Soymilk, rice milk, almond milk, hemp milk, coconut milk, and cashew milk are all excellent options. Buy the kinds not flavored with vanilla, unless you’re going for an extra vanilla-y flavor.
Raw milk. If a recipe calls for raw cows’ milk, you can use any raw almond butter (Maranatha and Artisana are two brands that provide this product) and mix a tablespoon of the nut butter and two cups of cold water in a blender. If you want to make vegan chocolate milk, just add some raw coconut nectar and 1 tablespoon of cacao powder.
Cream. Coconut milk creamer, like Soy Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer, is a great substitute for any recipe that calls for cream, especially mashed potatoes.
White sugar. All natural Xylitol Sucanat is the closest vegan sugar imitation, though it is a little pricey. You can also use Muscovado, Turbinado, coconut sugar, date sugar, maple crystals, and Florida Crystals.
Eggs. Ener-G Egg Replacer is the holy grail of egg substitutes. If you’re replacing one egg (or egg white), use 1 ½ teaspoon of dry Egg Replacer with 2 tablespoons of water. One egg yolk is the equivalent to 1 ½ teaspoon of dry Egg Replacer with 1 tablespoon of water. Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replace and Silken Tofu also accomplish the same thing. To replace one egg, you can also use 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water. Other common egg replacements, depending on the flavor of the recipe, include mashed banana and applesauce.
Honey. Maple syrup, agave nectar, yacon syrup, and coconut syrup can all replace honey, but are generally very high in fructose. You can make a honey-like paste with dates, which contain natural sugars that are more slowly absorbed in your blood stream. Soak 1 cup of Medjool dates for three to four hours in ¼-½ cup of water until they are soft. Using that water, blend with the dates until you get a smooth paste.
Chocolate chips. Most chocolate chips are actually vegan by nature, just check the ingredient list to double check for added milk derivatives.
Marshmallows. For topping your vegan hot chocolate, or for making smores, vegan marshmallow options exist, such as Sweet & Sara Vegan Marshmallows and Dandies Air-Puffed Vegan Marshmallows