Summary

When you want to eat a plant-based diet, you can still say "yes" to your favorite treats. With a few swaps, not only will you continue to enjoy treating yourself, but these plant-based goodies get brownie points for bringing more to the dessert table than your average treats.

Yes, you can have your cake and eat it, too: eat more plants and treat yourself to tasty desserts. Plant-based cookies, cake, pie, and more — the possibilities are endless! With a plethora of clever ingredient swaps and some of our favorite dessert recipes, plant-based treats are just a whisk away.

Start Here: Get to Know Ingredient Swaps

Plant-based baking is no longer an elusive mystery. These ingredient swaps take the guesswork out of creating tasty vegan desserts. And, as with any time you eat more plants, it’s a nutritional win. Plant-based treats can add more healthy fats, protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals to your diet.

Instead of Milk, Try...

Cup for cup, almost any plant-based mylk will do for vegan sweets. Soy, almond, oat, and rice mylks provide neutral flavor while coconut and nut mylks, like cashew and macadamia, offer richness and deep flavor. Choose a mylk that pairs well with the recipe you’ve chosen, and enjoy your plant-based treat!

Need buttermilk? For a DIY plan-based version, mix one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice with one cup of plant-based mylk. Gently stir & let sit for 5 minutes.

While plant-based mylk is the obvious choice when you’re lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy, this ingredient swap can be good for everyone. When you use non-dairy mylk to make plant-based treats, you’ll conserve land and reduce emissions, avoid saturated animal fats, and boost your intake of certain vitamins and minerals

Instead of Eggs, Try...

There are so many egg substitution options for making plant-based treats. When choosing which swap to try, consider the egg’s function in the recipe you’ve chosen and what sort of flavor you want. Whether you need something to act as a binder, an egg yolk substitute, or an egg white substitute, we’ve got you covered with these swap suggestions.

To Bind Cake, Cookies, and Bread:

Flax and chia eggs are a great source of fiber, protein, plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. They work great in rustic, earthy recipes like oatmeal cookies and breakfast bars.

Flax egg: 1 Tbsp ground flax + 3 Tbsp water, whisked for 1-2 minutes = 1 egg
Chia egg
: 1 Tbsp chia seeds + 3 Tbsp water; stir & rest for 15 minutes = 1 egg

For a low-fat and fruity egg substitute, try banana or applesauce. These swaps work great in muffins.

½ ripe banana, mashed = 1 egg 
¼ cup applesauce = 1 egg

Nut butter, be it peanut, almond, cashew, or any other nut, also works well as an egg substitute, especially in richer plant-based treats like brownies. Not only do you get great flavor when swapping in nut butter, but it also provides a nutritious boost of protein, heart-healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. When shopping for nut butters, choose varieties that have no added salt or sweeteners.

3 Tbsp nut butter = 1 egg

Sometimes these binder substitutions for plant-based treats produce an end result that’s heavy and dense. To create a light, less dense texture for plant-based treats, mix ½ tsp baking powder into the batter or dough.

To Make a Batter:

Want to enjoy French toast, a breakfast classic, plant-based treat style? Chickpea flour to the rescue! It makes the absolute best batter and it’s high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein. And while it has fewer calories than regular flour, it helps you feel fuller for longer. Magical!

3 Tbsp chickpea flour + 3 Tbsp water = 1 egg

To Thicken and Create A Custard-like Texture:

Try experimenting with these swaps to achieve the thickness and richness that egg yolks typically provide. 

For tasty, perfectly-textured vegan cheesecake, substitute ¼ cup pureed silken tofu for each egg. This will add protein, calcium, iron, and other nutrients to your plant-based treat.

For pudding and custard, use three tablespoons of mashed avocado instead of an egg to create the richest, creamiest plant-based treat ever that’s full of healthy fats, fiber, and nutrients like folate and potassium. Don’t worry about avocado’s color — melted chocolate or cocoa powder will mask the green hue.

To Imitate Whipped Egg Whites:

Beat some aquafaba. This exciting new development in plant-based baking happened late 2014, when it was discovered that the viscous liquid in canned chickpeas, known as aquafaba, magically whips up just like egg whites. Imagine the soft peaks of whipped cream and the stiff peaks of meringue and pavlova, all without dairy or eggs. To make the magic happen, whip the liquid from one 15 ounce can of chickpeas with ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar with a hand or stand mixer for 3-6 minutes.

Instead of Butter, Try...

Vegan spreads like Earth Balance, Califia Farms, and Milkadamia are easy to find and can be used cup for cup as a butter substitute. When you make a batch of cookies with one of these spreads, no one will be able to tell the difference.

For recipes that call for melted butter, heart-healthy plant-based oils are a perfect substitute. Sunflower and safflower oil provide a neutral flavor while virgin coconut oil produces a rich coconut flavor. For pie, achieve perfectly tender crust with store-bought vegan shortening.

Like the benefits of plant-based mylks, choosing a plant-based alternative to butter lowers your saturated fat intake, reduces environmental impact, and adds more heart-healthy fats and vitamins and minerals to your diet.

Instead of These Other Dairy Products, Try...

When a recipe calls for cream cheese opt for store-bought vegan varieties like Daiya and Violife. A DIY cream cheese option for plant-based treats is hung curd. To make, drain non-dairy yogurt in cheesecloth in the fridge overnight. The solids have the same consistency as cream cheese.

For sour cream, store-bought vegan varieties like Follow Your Heart and Good Karma produce tasty vegan desserts. There’s also a DIY cashew-based substitute:

1 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight, then drained + rinsed) + ½ cup water + 1 Tbsp lemon juice + ¾ tsp apple cider vinegar + pinch of salt blended together in a high speed blender. Chill to thicken. Makes 1 ¼ cups.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of substitutions for plant-based baking and treats, let’s talk recipes! Here are a few of Thistle’s favorites.

Next: Try These Plant-Based Treat Recipes

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

Black beans + cocoa + peanut butter? Sounds weird, but go with it. You’ll be glad you did. Instead of eggs and butter, this fudgy gluten-free recipe contains flax and coconut oil.

Five-Minute Avocado Chocolate Pudding

If you’re craving a creamy plant-based treat, search no more. You can thank heart-healthy and fiber-rich avocado for the luscious texture. Top the pudding with some fruit and chocolate shavings, and enjoy. 

Layered Pavlova with Coconut Cream

Time to work some magic with aquafaba! Crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside, this plant-based treat makes for an unforgettable special occasion dessert. Using aquafaba to create a pavlova requires patience, practice, and skill; you’ll feel like a baking show contestant in the kitchen.

No-Bake Samoa Bars

Super easy, and super reminiscent of Girl Scout cookies! Coconut oil acts as a dairy substitute and almond flour keeps it gluten-free. Tips: try toasting the desiccated coconut first, then use almond butter instead of peanut butter for the caramel filling.

Okinawan Sweet Potato Bars

This gluten-free plant-based alternative to sweet potato pie is so fun because it’s purple! Once again, coconut oil stands in for dairy.

Red White and Blueberry Trifle

This fancy recipe is a chance to give several plant-based substitutes a try. Chia seeds act as a thickener. Sunflower oil stands in for butter. Meanwhile, coconut milk and cashews replace the dairy you’d typically find in mousse. Rolled oats and almond meal keep the recipe gluten-free and provide health benefits you won’t find with regular flour, such as cholesterol-lowering properties and a nice boost of magnesium.

Bottom line: When you commit to eat more plants, remember to treat yourself to plant-based desserts. Bake your own using some of the above recipes. Or check out more plant-based treat options on the recipes section on our blog. 

If you’d rather have ready-to-eat plant-based treats delivered to you, give a Thistle subscription a try. We offer a 100% plant-based snack as part of each day’s menu, and it’s often something sweet like a muffin, mousse, or bar. Our breakfast options are sometimes on the sweeter side, too. Here’s to treating yourself as you eat more plants!


Get meals delivered to your door
We believe eating delicious is crucial to a healthy diet. Each week, our team of chefs design a new menu for what's in season, fresh and flavorful.
TRY THISTLE
Posted 
Jan 12, 2021
 in 
Recipes + Meal Hacks
 category.
Summary

When you want to eat a plant-based diet, you can still say "yes" to your favorite treats. With a few swaps, not only will you continue to enjoy treating yourself, but these plant-based goodies get brownie points for bringing more to the dessert table than your average treats.

Yes, you can have your cake and eat it, too: eat more plants and treat yourself to tasty desserts. Plant-based cookies, cake, pie, and more — the possibilities are endless! With a plethora of clever ingredient swaps and some of our favorite dessert recipes, plant-based treats are just a whisk away.

Start Here: Get to Know Ingredient Swaps

Plant-based baking is no longer an elusive mystery. These ingredient swaps take the guesswork out of creating tasty vegan desserts. And, as with any time you eat more plants, it’s a nutritional win. Plant-based treats can add more healthy fats, protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals to your diet.

Instead of Milk, Try...

Cup for cup, almost any plant-based mylk will do for vegan sweets. Soy, almond, oat, and rice mylks provide neutral flavor while coconut and nut mylks, like cashew and macadamia, offer richness and deep flavor. Choose a mylk that pairs well with the recipe you’ve chosen, and enjoy your plant-based treat!

Need buttermilk? For a DIY plan-based version, mix one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice with one cup of plant-based mylk. Gently stir & let sit for 5 minutes.

While plant-based mylk is the obvious choice when you’re lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy, this ingredient swap can be good for everyone. When you use non-dairy mylk to make plant-based treats, you’ll conserve land and reduce emissions, avoid saturated animal fats, and boost your intake of certain vitamins and minerals

Instead of Eggs, Try...

There are so many egg substitution options for making plant-based treats. When choosing which swap to try, consider the egg’s function in the recipe you’ve chosen and what sort of flavor you want. Whether you need something to act as a binder, an egg yolk substitute, or an egg white substitute, we’ve got you covered with these swap suggestions.

To Bind Cake, Cookies, and Bread:

Flax and chia eggs are a great source of fiber, protein, plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. They work great in rustic, earthy recipes like oatmeal cookies and breakfast bars.

Flax egg: 1 Tbsp ground flax + 3 Tbsp water, whisked for 1-2 minutes = 1 egg
Chia egg
: 1 Tbsp chia seeds + 3 Tbsp water; stir & rest for 15 minutes = 1 egg

For a low-fat and fruity egg substitute, try banana or applesauce. These swaps work great in muffins.

½ ripe banana, mashed = 1 egg 
¼ cup applesauce = 1 egg

Nut butter, be it peanut, almond, cashew, or any other nut, also works well as an egg substitute, especially in richer plant-based treats like brownies. Not only do you get great flavor when swapping in nut butter, but it also provides a nutritious boost of protein, heart-healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. When shopping for nut butters, choose varieties that have no added salt or sweeteners.

3 Tbsp nut butter = 1 egg

Sometimes these binder substitutions for plant-based treats produce an end result that’s heavy and dense. To create a light, less dense texture for plant-based treats, mix ½ tsp baking powder into the batter or dough.

To Make a Batter:

Want to enjoy French toast, a breakfast classic, plant-based treat style? Chickpea flour to the rescue! It makes the absolute best batter and it’s high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein. And while it has fewer calories than regular flour, it helps you feel fuller for longer. Magical!

3 Tbsp chickpea flour + 3 Tbsp water = 1 egg

To Thicken and Create A Custard-like Texture:

Try experimenting with these swaps to achieve the thickness and richness that egg yolks typically provide. 

For tasty, perfectly-textured vegan cheesecake, substitute ¼ cup pureed silken tofu for each egg. This will add protein, calcium, iron, and other nutrients to your plant-based treat.

For pudding and custard, use three tablespoons of mashed avocado instead of an egg to create the richest, creamiest plant-based treat ever that’s full of healthy fats, fiber, and nutrients like folate and potassium. Don’t worry about avocado’s color — melted chocolate or cocoa powder will mask the green hue.

To Imitate Whipped Egg Whites:

Beat some aquafaba. This exciting new development in plant-based baking happened late 2014, when it was discovered that the viscous liquid in canned chickpeas, known as aquafaba, magically whips up just like egg whites. Imagine the soft peaks of whipped cream and the stiff peaks of meringue and pavlova, all without dairy or eggs. To make the magic happen, whip the liquid from one 15 ounce can of chickpeas with ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar with a hand or stand mixer for 3-6 minutes.

Instead of Butter, Try...

Vegan spreads like Earth Balance, Califia Farms, and Milkadamia are easy to find and can be used cup for cup as a butter substitute. When you make a batch of cookies with one of these spreads, no one will be able to tell the difference.

For recipes that call for melted butter, heart-healthy plant-based oils are a perfect substitute. Sunflower and safflower oil provide a neutral flavor while virgin coconut oil produces a rich coconut flavor. For pie, achieve perfectly tender crust with store-bought vegan shortening.

Like the benefits of plant-based mylks, choosing a plant-based alternative to butter lowers your saturated fat intake, reduces environmental impact, and adds more heart-healthy fats and vitamins and minerals to your diet.

Instead of These Other Dairy Products, Try...

When a recipe calls for cream cheese opt for store-bought vegan varieties like Daiya and Violife. A DIY cream cheese option for plant-based treats is hung curd. To make, drain non-dairy yogurt in cheesecloth in the fridge overnight. The solids have the same consistency as cream cheese.

For sour cream, store-bought vegan varieties like Follow Your Heart and Good Karma produce tasty vegan desserts. There’s also a DIY cashew-based substitute:

1 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight, then drained + rinsed) + ½ cup water + 1 Tbsp lemon juice + ¾ tsp apple cider vinegar + pinch of salt blended together in a high speed blender. Chill to thicken. Makes 1 ¼ cups.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of substitutions for plant-based baking and treats, let’s talk recipes! Here are a few of Thistle’s favorites.

Next: Try These Plant-Based Treat Recipes

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

Black beans + cocoa + peanut butter? Sounds weird, but go with it. You’ll be glad you did. Instead of eggs and butter, this fudgy gluten-free recipe contains flax and coconut oil.

Five-Minute Avocado Chocolate Pudding

If you’re craving a creamy plant-based treat, search no more. You can thank heart-healthy and fiber-rich avocado for the luscious texture. Top the pudding with some fruit and chocolate shavings, and enjoy. 

Layered Pavlova with Coconut Cream

Time to work some magic with aquafaba! Crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside, this plant-based treat makes for an unforgettable special occasion dessert. Using aquafaba to create a pavlova requires patience, practice, and skill; you’ll feel like a baking show contestant in the kitchen.

No-Bake Samoa Bars

Super easy, and super reminiscent of Girl Scout cookies! Coconut oil acts as a dairy substitute and almond flour keeps it gluten-free. Tips: try toasting the desiccated coconut first, then use almond butter instead of peanut butter for the caramel filling.

Okinawan Sweet Potato Bars

This gluten-free plant-based alternative to sweet potato pie is so fun because it’s purple! Once again, coconut oil stands in for dairy.

Red White and Blueberry Trifle

This fancy recipe is a chance to give several plant-based substitutes a try. Chia seeds act as a thickener. Sunflower oil stands in for butter. Meanwhile, coconut milk and cashews replace the dairy you’d typically find in mousse. Rolled oats and almond meal keep the recipe gluten-free and provide health benefits you won’t find with regular flour, such as cholesterol-lowering properties and a nice boost of magnesium.

Bottom line: When you commit to eat more plants, remember to treat yourself to plant-based desserts. Bake your own using some of the above recipes. Or check out more plant-based treat options on the recipes section on our blog. 

If you’d rather have ready-to-eat plant-based treats delivered to you, give a Thistle subscription a try. We offer a 100% plant-based snack as part of each day’s menu, and it’s often something sweet like a muffin, mousse, or bar. Our breakfast options are sometimes on the sweeter side, too. Here’s to treating yourself as you eat more plants!


Get meals delivered to your door
We believe eating delicious is crucial to a healthy diet. Each week, our team of chefs design a new menu for what's in season, fresh and flavorful.
TRY THISTLE
Posted 
Jan 12, 2021
 in 
Recipes + Meal Hacks
 category.