We’ve all been there… You suddenly have a craving for something delicious and the energy to whip it up, but some of the ingredients are not in the kitchen cupboards and the shops are closed! Which is why we’ve put together a list of food substitutes to keep handy in the kitchen so that you can satisfy almost all cravings with ease.
Ran out of flour for baked goods
Don’t fret if you’ve run out of cake flour, just whip out your rolled oats from your breakfast cupboard and grind it up in your smoothie maker. The oats will turn into a floury texture which works well when making biscuits, muffins and even cake.
Oops, no buttermilk
Buttermilk is just one of those ingredients that’s not always on the grocery list, but that doesn’t mean if it’s not in your cupboard, that you have to forego the baking. Take ordinary milk and stir in a spoonful of lemon juice or white vinegar, and leave for five to 10 minutes before using. It won’t look like buttermilk but it will do the same trick when used in baking.
Argh, where are the eggs for the meringue?
…Or maybe you’ve chosen to follow a vegan lifestyle? Crack open a can of chickpeas for an easy egg substitute. Drain the chickpeas and use the aquafaba (the water it was cooked and stored in), or you can also make your own. Three tablespoons of aquafaba equal one egg and can replace egg whites in meringues, mousse, buttercream, mayonnaise and to butter a pie crust.
Stock up on wine
Want to add depth of flavour to your stew, curry or casserole, but don’t have any chicken or vegetable stock? Then open up a bottle of wine instead. It works as good as stock… and as a side to your dish!
No wine for me, please
Not particularly a fan of wine in food? Substitute it with white grape juice for sweetness. For a more tart flavour, try adding a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice per cup of grape juice.
Use vinegar as a substitute for lemon juice
While rice vinegar and apple cider vinegar have strong taste profiles, white vinegar could be the answer when there is no lemon juice around. No more than one tablespoon of acid is required in a recipe.
Read more: Guilt-free braai substitutes
No fish sauce
Craving Thai sweet curry but don’t have fish sauce or don’t particularly like the taste? Combine mushroom broth, salt and soy sauce for an equally delicious and fragrant flavouring.
Substitute miso paste
While nothing can really substitute the taste of miso in an authentic Japanese dish, you can try using a teaspoon of soy sauce, vegemite or marmite to help it give a similar flavour.
Go nuts with seeds
If you have a nut allergy, or simply don’t have nuts in the house even though a recipe calls for it, the next best thing to use are seeds – think flaxseeds and sunflower seeds. They work well in savoury dishes, granola bars and loaves of bread.
Veggie pasta & rice
Forgot to grab spaghetti or lasagne sheets during your last shop? Substitute your spaghetti with spiralled or ribboned baby marrow or butternut, and use sliced eggplants in place of lasagne sheets. Grate and steam cauliflower if you’ve run out of rice!
Thicken up pasta sauce
How else would you thicken up pasta sauce if you didn’t have any tomato paste on hand? Well, the answer is probably in your fridge – tomato sauce should do the trick.