Cooking Substitutions for Special Diets

Food allergies and sensitivities can make cooking tricky, especially when it comes to replacing allergenic ingredients with safe ones. Below you’ll find several suggestions for how to modify your favorite recipes with allergen –free alternatives that actually taste great. There are many products available that help make this task easy, and below are some suggestions, but don’t hesitate to ask for employee recommendations when shopping in our stores. And remember, if you have multiple food sensitivities or allergies, be sure to read the entire label of any food, even the ones listed here, before using it.

Corn Substitutions | Dairy Substitutions | Egg Substitutions

Gluten Substitutions | Grain Substitutions | Nut Substitutions

Substitutions for Corn

If your recipe calls for… Try this instead… Things to be aware of…
Baking Powder Whisk together 1 part baking soda and 2 parts cream of tartar. Add 1 part arrowroot or potato starch if you plan to store it for later use.
Corn Starch Arrowroot Powder
Tapioca Powder
Corn Syrup Honey
Brown Rice Syrup
Dissolve 1 cup of granulated sugar in ¼ cup of hot water for each cup of corn syrup
Polenta Bring 1 cup of rinsed millet and 3 cups of broth or water to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes. Use as you would polenta.

Substitutions for Dairy

If your recipe calls for… Try this instead… Things to be aware of…
Butter Unrefined Coconut Oil May impart a slight coconutty taste to your cooking and baking
Palm Oil/Shortening Unrefined palm oil has a very distinct red color owing to its high level of beneficial carotenes, but it gives a yellow hue to the foods cooked with it.
Olive Oil or Macadamia Nut Oil
Non-hydrogenated butter substitute such as Earth Balance® Spreads
Buttermilk Combine one cup of your favorite unsweetened, plain non-dairy milk with 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before using.
Cheese There are many non-dairy cheese substitutes. Shreds and blocks available. Daiya brand is a popular choice. Some cheese alternatives still contain dairy in the form of casein or whey, so be sure to read the entire label when trying new products.
GoVeggie!® Dairy Free Parmesan Grated Topping
Crumbled Tofu Makes a good  replacement for ricotta cheese
Nutritional Yeast Sprinkled on top of or into dishes, it adds a mild ‘cheesy’ flavor.
Cream Plain, full-fat canned coconut milk
Dairy-free creamers such as SoDelicious® Coconut or Almond Creamers and Silk® Soy or Almond Creamers
Cream Cheese Daiya Cream Cheese Style Spreads, GoVeggie!® Classic Plain Cream Cheese or Tofutti® Non-Hydrogenated Better Than Cream Cheese
Evaporated Milk Simmer 3 cups of unsweetened, plain non-dairy milk over medium-low heat until the volume is reduced to 1 cup.
Milk There are many dairy-free milk alternatives including almond, soy, rice, coconut, flax, hemp and cashew milks. Some are flavored and sweetened and some are not; experiment to find your favorites.
Low-Sodium Broths This substitution works well in mashed potatoes and some casseroles. Note that the end product will be flavorful, but not creamy.
Sour Cream Mix one cup of well mashed ripe avocado with 1 Tbsp of lemon or lime juice and a pinch of salt.
Dairy-free sour cream is made by several brands including Tofutti® Non-Hydrogenated Better Than Sour Cream and Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet® Sour Cream
Sweetened Condensed Milk Simmer 3 cups of unsweetened, plain non-dairy milk and ½ cup of sugar over medium-low heat until the volume is reduced to 1 cup.
Whipped Cream Refrigerate one can of full fat coconut milk (without any gums listed as ingredients) for at least 8 hours. Open the can and carefully scoop out the solid coconut cream into a chilled bowl. (Save the remaining coconut water for another use.) Whip the coconut cream until light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract and sweetener to taste; whip again briefly before using. To eliminate the step of refrigerating and separating the coconut cream from the water, start with Native Forest® or Thai Kitchen® pure, unsweetened  coconut cream
Soyatoo!® Soy or Rice Whipped Creams (in ready to eat spray cans or in boxes you can whip yourself.)So Delicious® CocoWhip Original and CocoWhip Light
Yogurt So Delicious® Coconut Milk, Almond Milk or Greek Style Yogurts, Whole Soy & Co® Soy Milk Yogurts,Silk® Soy Milk Yogurts
Unsweetened applesauce, fruit purée, sweet potato or winter squash purée can substitute for yogurt in baking. Match the puree to the flavor of your baked good.

Substitutions for Eggs

If your recipe calls for… Try this instead… Things to be aware of…
Eggs in baking ½ tsp baking powder,  1 Tbsp vinegar, and  1 Tbsp liquid
1 Tbsp ground flax or chia seeds soaked in 3 Tbsp warm water for 10 minutes
Soften 1 Tbsp unflavored gelatin in 1 Tbsp cold water, add 2 Tbsp boiling water and stir well. Cool and beat until frothy.
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce and ½ tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp mashed or pureed fruit plus ¼ tsp baking soda
¼ cup plain yogurt (dairy-free yogurt works too)
¼ cup pureed tofu
Ener-G® Egg Replacer™Bob’s Red Mill® Vegetarian Egg Replacer
Eggs for dredging ¼ cup milk or unsweetened, plain non-dairy alternative milk
Light coating of mustard or egg-free mayonnaise
Melted butter or olive oil Works best for breading foods that will be baked in the oven
Eggs in quiche or scrambles Pureed or crumbled silken tofu (1/4 cup equals one egg). Add a little turmeric for coloring. Note that baking/cooking times may need to be adjusted.
Mayonnaise Follow Your Heart® Vegenaise®, Earth Balance® Mindful Mayo® or Just Mayo™

Substitutions for Gluten

If your recipe calls for… Try this instead… Things to be aware of…
Breadcrumbs Pulse 4 pieces of your favorite gluten-free bread in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 325⁰ for 15-20 minutes stirring once. Allow to cool completely before storing.
Crushed potato chipsCrushed GF flake cerealGround GF Oats
Ian’s® Gluten Free Breadcrumbs
Couscous Lundberg® Brown Rice Couscous Available in Organic Plain Original and Mediterranean Curry
Farina Hot Cereal Bob’s Red Mill® Creamy Brown Rice Farina
Ancient Harvest™ Quinoa Hot Cereal Flakes
Pocono Cream of Buckwheat Cereal
Flour for baking There are many excellent products available, including Bob’s Red Mill® Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour and Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, King Arthur Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour, and Pamela’s® All Purpose Flour Artisan Blend Note that if your mix does not contain xanthan gum, you may choose to add a small amount to improve the overall texture and elasticity of your baked goods.
Flour for coating Most any gluten-free flour or gluten-free flour blend can be used.
Flour for thickening soups/stews Rice or sorghum flour can be used like regular flour for making a roux or thickening soups and stews
Potato Starch Add at the very end of cooking and do not boil.
Corn Starch, Arrowroot, or Tapioca Flour/Starch Use 1-2 Tbsp to thicken 1 cup of liquid and mix well with a small amount of water before adding near the end of cooking.
Soy Sauce Gluten Free Tamari
Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos
Whole wheat, rye, spelt or barley grains (for pilafs, grain salad or added to soups) Quinoa, rice, wild rice, millet, or buckwheat The textures will not be exactly the same and you will need to adjust the water to grain ratio according to which grain you choose.

Substitutions for Grains

If your recipe calls for… Try this instead… Things to be aware of…
Grain flour for baking Coconut Flour For more information on baking with grain-free flours check out·NGVC Grain Free Flours handout·Cooking with Coconut Flour by Bruce Fife·Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam
Nut Meals/Flours (such as almond and hazelnut)Note that nut meals tend to be coarser than nut flours
Tapioca Flour
Arrowroot Flour
Dowd & Rogers Gluten Free Italian Chestnut Flour
Flour or breadcrumbs for coating Nut meal/flour and/or unsweetened shredded coconut
Flour for thickening Potato Flakes Add at the end of cooking to thicken soups or stews. They also make an excellent replacement for breadcrumbs in meatloaves and meatballs.
Arrowroot or Tapioca Starch/Flour Use 1-2 Tbsp to thicken 1 cup of liquid and mix well with a small amount of water before adding near the end of cooking.

Substitutions for Nuts

If your recipe calls for… Try this instead… Things to be aware of…
Peanut Butter Sunflower butter When baked with sunflower butter, the end product may turn a subtle green color due to a reaction between the chlorophyll in the sunflower seeds and the baking powder/soda. The taste is not affected.
Other nut or seed butter such as almond, cashew,  or sesame (a.k.a. tahini)
Soy Nut Butter
Chopped Nuts Toasted shredded coconut
Sunflower, pumpkin or sesame seeds
Old fashioned oats Makes a good breading or topping
Crushed Potato Chips Makes a good breading or topping


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