I remember talking to a friend about a recipe once. She wasn’t sure what to do because she didn’t have the specific type of cheese needed for what she was making. This dilemma isn’t limited to cheese. It can be difficult to know what to do if a recipe calls for carrots, but all you have are parsnips. Or any other fruits and veggies for that matter. One solution is to go out to the grocery store when you’ve forgotten an ingredient. From time to time that’s essential. When you’re baking, for example, unless you really know what you’re doing, it’s tough to substitute and have it turn out, because all of the ingredients are there for a specific purpose. No baking powder? Don’t just substitute with baking soda. You’ll get a very different result. But, with regular cooking, making soups, pastas, frittatas… sub away my friends!
I’m very thankful that I’m pretty good at substituting in recipes (the non-baking kind). I actually prefer to cook without a recipe. It’s much easier for me. A recipe makes me feel confined. I like to cook with what I have and am pretty good at figuring out what works well together (I also love to use The Flavor Bible and The Vegetarian Flavor Bible as tools for paring and substituting).
Whether you like to use a recipe or not, it’s always good to learn how to substitute. The more that I’ve cooked, the more that I’ve gotten to know my ingredients, and I’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t.
Here are some of the things that I will substitute.
|Original Ingredient||Substitute With||Substitute With||Substitute With|
|Carrots||Parsnip||Sweet Potatoes||Winter Squash|
|Garlic||Garlic Chives||Green Garlic|
|Bok Choy||Tokyo Bekana||Red Choi||Mei Qing Choi|
|Daikon Radish||Red Radish||Black Spanish Radish|
|Green Beans||English Peas||Snap Peas|
|Winter Squash||Sweet Potatoes||Pumpkin|
|Arugula||Dandelion Greens||Arugula Flowers||Mizuna|
|Broccoli Rabe||Broccoli||Broccoli Di Cicco||Rapini|
|Fava Beans||English Peas|
|Zucchini||Pattypan Squash||Crookneck Squash||Scallopini|
|Acorn Squash||Butternut Squash||Delicata Squash||Kabocha Squash|
|Spaghetti Squash||Spaghetti Noodles|
|Bell Peppers||Sweet Peppers|
|Beefsteak Tomatoes||Cherry Tomatoes||Roma Tomatoes|
|Chives||Green Onions||Spring Onions|
|Lemon Balm||Lemon Basil||Lemongrass|
|Rice||Bulgur Wheat||Quinoa||Orzo Pasta|
|Cheddar Cheese||Monterey Jack|
|Sour Cream||Greek Yogurt||Plain Yogurt|
|Cream Cheese||Ricotta Cheese|
|Ground Beef||Ground Turkey/Chicken||Bulgur Wheat||Tempeh|
|Chicken Stock||Vegetable Stock|
|Butter*||Olive Oil||Coconut Oil||Canola Oil|
(Please note that many of these original ingredients can also be substituted for the ingredients to substitute with.)
*Except when baking, unless you know how to adapt the recipe. 😉