Becoming an expert with food substitutions

Substituting healthier ingredients for less healthy options is a good idea when cooking or baking.

There may be times when you are missing one or more ingredients for a recipe, want to swap out ingredients to change the flavor profile of a dish, or would like to make a particular recipe healthier. Some cooks are hesitant to stray from a printed recipe, but with a little practice, creativity, and knowledge about how ingredients function in a recipe, you may come up with a number of new favorites.

If you are missing an ingredient for a recipe, you need to first determine what role that ingredient has in the recipe. Is it for adding moisture, flavor, texture, leavening, color, or some other function? You can then brainstorm possible other ingredients that can do the same thing. For instance, if you are trying to reduce the calories in a quick bread recipe, instead of the higher calorie oil as the liquid ingredient, you could replace some or all of the oil with fat free buttermilk or yogurt plus a little milk. Both would provide additional nutrients as well.

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