Plant-Based Substitutes

plant-based substitutes
Plant-based substitutes are easy once you know them. Whether you’re taking on the #veganuary challenge, trying to eat more plant-based whole foods or maybe you are cooking fro friends or family, here are some basics plant-based substitutes to know:


  • ‘Flax Egg’
    • In baking, use a flax egg instead of an egg. A flax egg = 1 TBs Flax powder + 3 TBs water. Allow the mixture to sit for at least 10 minutes, before you use it. This can also work as a binder for veg meatballs, fritters, burger patties etc.  (Flax powder is simply ground flaxseeds)
    • Other egg alternatives in baking are apple purée or mashed banana. 
  • ‘Chia Egg’:
    • A chia egg is similar to a flax egg. 1 Chia Egg =  1 TBs Chia Seeds + 3 TBs Water
  • ‘Tofu’:
    • A soybean curd – your go-to substitute for Savoury Dishes like scrambled eggs or omelettes. It is high in protein and low in cholesterol. 
  • ‘Aquafaba’:
    • This one you may find hard to believe – it is the water/brine from a tin of chickpeas. It is commonly used as an egg white substitute or a binder in recipes. To make a fluffy meringue, you can whisk up chickpea brine to stiff peaks just like egg whites. Simply drain off the brine from your chickpeas and get whisking. We also used it to make these Aquafaba homemade tortillas or this vegan french toast recipe! 


Replace honey with maple syrup, golden syrup, date syrup, agave syrup, Stevia syrup. In baking, you can also use molasses.

Substituting MEAT FOR FRESH VEG:

  • Cook up some mushrooms with smoked Paprika and BBQ sauce
  • Grill Baby Marrows on the braai (slice them in half and drizzle with a touch of olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs)
  • Beans or Chickpeas to make burger patties


Plant-based food is high in bio-available protein. Many animals rely solely on plant foods for complete nutrition.
Here are some protein-packed foods: 

  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Quinoa
  • Vegetables (especially green veg ie: spinach, broccoli, etc.)


Read more about the benefits of plant-based milk alternatives here.

  • Almond Milk
  • Soy Milk
  • Coconut Milk
  • Oat Milk
  • Rice Milk
  • Macadamia Nut Milk (at Seattle Coffee Bars)

Here are a few popular options that can be found in your local Food Lover’s Market stores.


Replace butter with oils in cooking and baking: *For baking – half a cup of butter (1/4 pound/4 ounces/110g/1 stick) use 1/3 cup of oil.

  • Canola oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Nut Butter


Either avoid cheese completely or use cheese alternatives that are becoming more available. Violife is a range of award-winning vegan alternative to cheese products that can help you dive effortlessly into a plant-based diet. It is free from dairy, preservatives, casein, lactose, gluten, nuts and soy. It is based on coconut oil and is fortified with Vitamin B12, which plays an important role in the metabolism of every cell in our bodies. 


  • GUDNESS products can be bought in some of our stores. They are ready-to-eat plant-based deli sandwich slices. 
  • HERBIVORE offers delicious burger patties filled with nutrition. 
  • FRY FAMILY FOODS: a meat-free range with many varieties of meat-free foods like sausages, mince, strips, nuggets, schnitzels, ‘fish’, burger patties, pies, etc.
  • MAYONNAISE – our Food Lover’s Canola Mayonnaise is vegan! (It is bottled by B-Well)
  • TOFU – available at some Food Lover’s Market stores


Flour is still plant-based but there are many flour alternatives from regular white flour, such as higher protein flours, gluten-free flours, and ‘healthier’ flours for more whole foods diet. Aside from great flavours and textures, it will aside more fibre and protein into your diet. Read more about the types of flours here. 

  • Spelt Flour
  • Chickpea/
  • Whole Wheat
  • Almond
  • Coconut
  • Macadamia

Some plant-based inspiration that we love:

Bosh TV – Fun filled recipes and techniques.

Health Alignment –  Michaela is part of the Food Lovers & Co 2019 team, her recipes are swoon-worthy and good for you too!

➜ The Green Dietitian  – Cape Town-based Jessica knows her facts. Follow her pages for the best insight into your health.

Leozette – Author of the South African Vegan Cookbook – a great inspiration for Whole Foods Plant-Based eating.


If you want to learn more about vegetarian/flexitarians/vegans and the differences, read here. 

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