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TOFU – Known in China as "meat without bones," tofu is a delicate, mild white cheese made from soy milk instead of cows’milk.  There are two basic types of tofu: regular and silken.  Regular tofu is grainier and firmer than silken tofu and adds texture and chewiness to recipes.   Silken tofu is creamy and custard-like.  Both kinds may come in a range of firmnesses from soft to firm to extra firm.  Both are available in reduced fat versions.  It is also comercially available already baked and flavored.  Tofu can take on many different flavors and can be used to make anything from lasagna to cheesecake.

TEXTURED VEGETABLE OR SOY PROTEIN – textured vegetable or soy protein is a food product made from defatted soy flour, cooked under pressure and extruded into flakes, granules or chunks.  Dry textured protein must be rehydrated and cooked.  Flakes and granules provide a texture similar to ground beef and are good meat replacements in recipes such as chili, tacos, sloppy joes and spaghetti sauce.  Chunks can be used to replace meat strips in stews or stir-fries.  They are also available flavored to taste like ham, beef or chicken.

TEMPEH – protein-rich food made from split and hulled cooked soybeans and grains that are combined with a mold culture and incubated for eighteen to twenty-four hours.  The result is a "cake" of beans which is covered with an edible white mold. It has a distinctive taste similar to mushrooms. Tempeh has a chewy texture that makes it a good substitute for meat in dishes like tacos and stew. When it is grated, it can easily replace ground meat in recipes like chili. It can also be marinated and grilled like a burger.

SEITAN – (pronounced say-Tan), is also known as wheat meat.  It is made from cooked gluten, one of the concentrated proteins in wheat or spelt.  Its origin dates back thousands of years to China where it was originally developed as a meat substitute by Buddhist monks.  To make seitan, a dough is made by mixing together wheat flour and water.  The dough is kneaded to develop the gluten.   Then it is rinsed under running water until all the starch and bran are washed off.   A faster method calls for the use of instant gluten flour which is derived from pure wheat gluten.  No rinsing and very little kneading is needed to make gluten from this product.  Raw gluten can be simmered in a seasoned soy sauce broth which gives a "beefy" taste."  After it has been cooked, the gluten is called seitan.

     Seitan can be used to replace meat chunks and slices in recipes such as stew, stroganoff or chili. It is available packed in its seasoning broth, fresh, frozen or in jars at natural food stores.

BEANS – beans are high in protein, calcium, phosphorus and iron and are an excellent source of dietary fiber.



SOY MILK – can be found plain, sweetened, or unsweetened, or containing flavorings such as vanilla, chocolate, or carob. It is available in full-fat, lite, and/or enriched versions. Enriched versions can provide 30% of the daily requirement for calcium per serving. It is also loaded with isoflavones. It has a rich, creamy consistency that thickens well in cooking but may curdle at high temperatures.

NUT MILK – is commercially available in ready-to-drink liquids made from almonds.  It has a rich, sweet flavor.

RICE MILK – is available plain, or containing flavorings such as vanilla, chocolate, or carob. It is available in full-fat, lite and/or enriched versions as well as soy-rice combinations.  It is sweeter than soy milk and makes an excellent beverage or cereal topper and in cooking is best suited to baked goods.


     1 cup soy milk, nut milk or rice milk plus two teaspoons of lemon juice or vinegar.

     cup silken tofu, blended with cup water plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar plus a pinch of salt plus a little sweetener (optional).


     Commercially produced casein-free, soy and nut-based cheese substitutes. Note: casein is a dairy product.

     Mashed, water-packed tofu plus a little lemon juice for ricotta or cottage cheese.


     Soy margarine

     7/8 cup vegetable to replace 1 cup of butter in recipes.

     Fruit purees (such as applesauce and prune puree) can replace some of the fat in baking.


     Eggs are used as binders and thickeners in casseroles and as binders and leavening agents in baked goods.  Most commercially available egg replacers still contain egg products so you must read the label.

     A popular, totally egg-free replacer is put out by Ener-G foods and sold in natural food stores as well as in some supermarkets.  It is a powder made from a variety of vegetable starches.  It must be beaten with liquid prior to using and is best used in baked goods only.

     Many baked goods do not require a great deal of leavening and those that call for only one egg can be made without the egg.   Just add two or three additional teaspoons of liquid to the batter.

     If your recipe calls for eggs – first determine what purpose it serves – binding or thickening or lightening baked goods.

To bind or thicken when preparing recipes such as veggie burgers, bean and grain loaves or casseroles use:

     Arrowroot starch, potato starch, cornstarch, oat flour, whole wheat flour or unbleached wheat flour, quick cooking rolled oats, cracker meal, matzo meal or breadcrumbs, cooked oatmeal, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, instant potato flakes, tahini and nut butters, tomato paste, soft silken or water-pcked tofu blended with whole wheat pastry flour (1 tablespoon flour to cup tofu).

To lighten baked goods, use:

     1 teaspoon Ener-G Egg Replacer beaten with 2 tablespoons water.

     2 tablespoons flour plus 1 teaspoons vegetable oil plus teaspoon non-aluminum baking powder beaten with 2 tablespoons water.

     1 tablespoon cornstarch plus 1 tablespoon instant soy milk powder beaten with 2 tablespoons water.

     cup soft silken or water-packed tofu blended with the liquid called for in the recipe.

     cup mashed banana (or applesauce) plus teaspoon non-aluminum baking powder.

     1 heaping tablespoon soy flour or garbanzo flour beaten with 1 tablespoon of water.

     1 tablespoon finely ground flaxseed blended with 3 tablespoons water until frothy and viscous.  Let the mixture rest in the refrigerator an hour or more before using. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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