8 Vegan Substitutes for Common Pantry Cooking and Baking Items

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One of the nasty pitfalls of becoming vegan or pursuing a more plant-based, healthy lifestyle is the allure of vegan or low-calorie products. These packaged goods mock the “real” thing with often not so forgiving preservatives, colorants, and other additives. That’s why one of the biggest challenges is finding simple, within-hands-reach ways to replace the most common ingredients with their vegan or healthy (and just-as-real) counterparts.

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Soft & Crunchy

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Sautéed garlic and spinach atop toasted bread makes for a lovely combination. You get the creaminess of butter-wilted spinach and the chewiness of your favorite bread all in one. One very important point when it comes to greens is to rotate them. Overeating any one green can actually be detrimental to your health, since all green leaves contain toxic substances in order to prevent predation. Therefore, overloading on one can cause a build up of that green’s specific toxin. Rotating avoids that from ever happening.

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Spinach contains oxalic acid, which prevents the absorption of iron and calcium. Overconsuming spinach can increase the risk for kidney stones. In addition to rotating between spinach and other greens, which makes all these toxins completely harmless, cooking spinach helps to break down the oxalic acid, which stops it from affecting the absorption of iron and calcium.

Didn’t think spinach could be harmful, eh? Well, too much of a good thing…la dee da.

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Nevertheless, spinach is a nutrition powerhouse and truly glows.

Spinach: provides 20% of the recommended daily allowance of dietary fiber in just one cup, prevents cancer with flavonoids, has anti-inflammatory property, prevents osteoporosis, atherosclerosis and high blood pressure, protects the eyes from cataracts with lutein and zeaxanthin, provides 337% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A and 1000% of vitamin K, promotes healthy skin, and strengthens bones, the brain and nervous function. The implications of all its vitamins, nutrients and minerals on the human body are virtually endless.

Sauteed Garlic Spinach on Bread

by Aylin @ Glow Kitchen

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 2 cups of tightly packed spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic, slivered
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • Dash of salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of butter per slice of bread
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese for garnish

Instructions

Begin by removing the stems of the spinach and washing with cold water thoroughly. Slice the garlic into slivers.

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In a saucepan, melt the butter on medium heat with the garlic. Cook the garlic to release the aromas for about 30 seconds. You don’t want to burn the butter.

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Add the spinach, salt and pepper. Cook until wilted. The volume will reduce dramatically.

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Toast slices of your favorite bread. I used whole-wheat.

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Slab a teaspoon of butter on each slice (optional) and top with the wilted spinach.

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Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

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Enjoy!

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Bon Appetit!

xo Aylin

Garlic Lime Shrimp Stew

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NOW, for some shruuuump.

In these parts – along the Turkish Mediterranean, specifically – shrimp stew is a popular dish that is traditionally baked in an earthenware pot with spices, topped with white cheese, and broiled to perfection. However, when using frozen shrimp, which is more budget-friendly and easier to prepare (cleaning shrimp hater, right here), I generally cook the shrimp stovetop as to boil off the pool of water the shrimp would otherwise end up swimming in if baked, transfer to a single-serving pot, top with cheese, and then broil to perfection. I also like to add some traditional flavors reminiscent of the Caribbean, such as lime and red pepper.

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If you have normal cholesterol levels, shrimp is completely acceptable in the diet, except don’t fry it! Grill, bake, or steam shrimp and you’ve got yourself a glowing prospect.

Shrimp: provides the body with 48% of the daily value of cancer-fighting selenium, keeps the skin, hair, and nails healthy, prevents anemia due to its vitamin B12 content, boosts energy with iron, builds strong bones with phosphorus, aids in processing fats due to its niacin content, fights depression with omega-3 fatty acids, promotes prostate health with zinc, contributes to a healthy thyroid due to copper content, and stabilizes blood sugar levels with magnesium.

Garlic Lime Shrimp Stew

by Aylin @ GlowKitchen

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (1 serving)

  • 300 grams baby shrimp
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1/2 cup white cheese, grated
  • Lime slice and red pepper flake garnish

Instructions

Begin by melting the butter over medium heat with the chopped garlic. Once melted, add the baby shrimp.

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Pour in the juice of half a lime and add the salt and red pepper flakes.

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Close the lid of the pan for approximately 1 minute. Remove the lid. As the frozen shrimp cooks, it will melt off a lot of water. You know the shrimp is done when the water evaporates completely.

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Sizzlin’!

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The flavors have concentrated and the shrimp are just tender. In a small, single-serving dish, put the shrimp and top them with freshly shredded white cheese. You could use cheddar or Monterey jack cheese. Pop into the broiler on high for approximately 1-2 minutes, or until the cheese is just melted or slightly browned (for those of you who like crispy cheese).

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Serve with a slice of lime and a garnish of red pepper flakes. Enjoy!

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Bon Appetit!

xo Aylin