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By Annie Ferland, Nutritionist, PharmD

Whether you want avoid a trip the grocery store or they are out of the ingredients you need, I want to tell you about some extremely useful substitutions, so you can stay home instead of having to run to the store every time you’re short an ingredient. Don’t forget to allow yourself to be creative and flexible. Substituting the odd ingredient won’t ruin your recipe!

Here are my ten handy substitutions you can use during the COVID-19 pandemic (or anytime!)

You can replace an egg with…

  • 15 mL (1 tbsp.) chia seeds or ground flax seeds that soaked for 5 minutes in 45 mL (3 tbsp.) water
  • 45 mL (3 tbsp.) aquafaba (liquid from canned chickpeas or other beans)

You can replace white flour with…

  • oat, spelt, chickpea or Kamut flour
  • powdered oatmeal or almonds that you can make yourself in a food processor
  • the same amount of cornstarch or potato starch
  • cauliflower

You can replace white sugar with…

  • the same amount of brown sugar
  • the same amount of date purée
  • honey (for one cup sugar, use 180 mL (¾ cup) honey and reduce the liquid in the recipe by 45 mL (3 tbsp.)
  • maple syrup (for one cup sugar, use 250 mL (1 cup) maple syrup but reduce the liquid in the recipe by 100 mL (⅓ cup + 4 tsp.)

You can replace puff pastry with…

  • a tortilla or flatbread
  • a rice or quinoa crust for savoury dishes
  • a graham cracker crust for desserts

You can replace breadcrumbs with…

  • the same amount of crackers crushed into crumbs using a food processor
  • put some fresh bread in the oven for 10 minutes at 180°C (350°F) and pulse in a food processor to make breadcrumbs
  • quick-cooking oatmeal, which you can also pulse in a food processor to make crumbs, if you wish

You can replace sour cream or mayonnaise with…

  • plain Greek yogurt
  • cottage cheese mixed with 30 mL (2 tbsp.) milk and 15 mL (1 tbsp.) lemon juice

You can replace ground meat with…

  • the same amount of textured vegetable protein (TVP)
  • the same amount of canned green lentils
  • the same amount of crumbled tofu

You can replace regular onion with…

  • dried onion
  • another type of onion (any colour)
  • fresh or dried chives
  • green onion or shallots

You can replace pasta with…

  • lentil pasta
  • rice vermicelli
  • udon noodles
  • rice
  • vegetable noodles
  • cauliflower rice

You can replace olive oil with…

  • canola, peanut, camelina or grape seed oil
  • butter
  • coconut oil
  • applesauce (in desserts)

Before substituting an ingredient, I always look it up on the Internet see what the recommended proportions are. For example, you don’t replace a cup of sugar with the same amount of honey! There are many sites out there that provide reliable information, so don’t hesitate to use them