Plant-Based Eating Made Easy Thanks To These Ingredient Swaps

You don’t have to compromise flavour with these swaps to your favourite dishes.

Be it for ethical, environmental, health or other personal reasons, more and more Canadians are eating plant-based and plant-forward diets. Making this lifestyle change doesn’t have to mean it’s all or nothing—you can make little changes to your favourite meals while maintaining the flavour. A great starting point is with dairy. With the increased availability of non-dairy products in the market, it’s easy to swap out dairy for plant-based alternatives such as Earth Balance. Their products can replace butter 1:1, can be easily incorporated into any recipe and are just as tasty and satisfying as butter.

“Plant-based meals can be just as flavourful as your traditional favourites, but it does take time to re-learn how to create those flavours when you aren’t using meat or dairy. The fats in those foods intensify the flavours of the dish, as many flavour molecules are fat-soluble,” says Desiree Nielsen, RD. But where there’s a will, there’s a way! You can easily recreate the flavours you love and crave with plant-based, non-dairy substitutes by applying Desiree’s handy tips and tricks.

For flexitarians or full plant-based diets alike, we have delicious recipe ideas to satisfy any craving (including snacks!). So whether you opt for the traditional spread, buttery sticks or the soy-free variety, Earth Balance has something to suit every need. The best part? They taste and perform like butter so you don’t have to miss the dairy. 

Breakfast ideas to start your day with the right bite

Naturally sweetened and packed with fibre, these Plant-Based Super Seed Bars are the perfect on-the-go breakfast and can work as a midday treat, too.

Are your mornings usually a mad dash? Made in 15 minutes with six ingredients, these Southwest Breakfast Sandwiches make the perfect morning bite.

Desiree’s tip: “Amp up the flavour factor with herbs and spices [when cooking and assembling your meals]! Create richness with cumin and coriander, add a bit of smoke with smoked paprika, use sazon to bring out the umami and brighten your dishes with parsley and cilantro.”

Enjoy savoury and satisfying lunch options to get you through the afternoon

Forego the takeout and enjoy these Mandarin Orange Peanut and Plant-Based Chick’n Noodles for a flavourful meatless meal. With plant-based chick’n dressed in a mandarin orange sauce, tossed with sautéed vegetables and noodles, you’re sure to be satisfied until dinner.

Enjoy a quick and tasty lunch with these Meatless Banh Mi Sandwiches, ready in less than 30 minutes. Made with meatless meatballs, vegetables marinated in fresh lime juice, salt and sugar, and topped with vegan kimchi, these plant-based banh mi are the perfect balance of tangy and savoury for an easy, flavour-packed meal.

Desiree’s tip: “Garlic, onions, leeks and shallots create a richly savoury base for any meal. Plus, they contain gut-boosting FODMAPs that help feed your gut microbiome. Paired with the delicious taste of Earth Balance, it’s a win-win!”

Add a little decadence to your dinners

If you’d rather do a little less work at the end of a long day, opt for this Tomato Florentine Pasta Casserole that takes only 15 minutes to prep. Build flavour with a medley of fresh mushrooms, and aromatics, so you can kick back and let your oven do the rest.

If you’re craving comfort food, look no further than this Vegan Queso Mac. The traditional mac and cheese is given a flavour boost for a spiced up, plant-based version that’s so creamy you won’t believe there’s no actual cheese.

Want to really impress? Try Desiree’s easy Vegan Alfredo with Buttery Sautéed Mushrooms. “A rich and creamy alfredo topped with mushrooms sautéed in the buttery taste of Earth Balance spreads hits the spot every single time,” she says. “Add a bit (maybe one to two tablespoons) more fat than you normally would to your recipe. Fat carries flavour, and plant proteins such as legumes and tofu are naturally lower in fat than most animal proteins.”

Desiree’s tip: “Have a bit of patience when you cook because building flavour takes time: Let onions cook down until they’re translucent and golden. Let mushrooms sizzle until they brown. Let stews bubble for more than just a few minutes so that flavours can blend and intensify.”

Keep your friends close and your snacks and desserts closer

Banana bread is a forever staple in any snacker’s arsenal and this one-bowl vegan and gluten-free Banana Bread made with Earth Balance Buttery Spreads is the one to try. It’s the perfect sweet snack any time of the day.

Need a treat to help you get over that midday slump? This calls for Gigantic Turtle Treats. Made with buttery popcorn and mouthwatering scoops of caramel and chocolate morsels, they’re the sweet and crunchy break we’re all looking forward to after and between meals.

Earth Balance is available in the cold section at grocery stores nationwide. Learn more about Earth Balance and their products here, and find more tasty plant-based recipe ideas on readyseteat.ca.

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