Totally Serious Quarantine Food Swaps

Totally Serious Quarantine Food Swaps

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If you’re like me, it’s been more difficult to buy some the supplies you need to make your favorite and not so favorite meals. Flour? Fuhgeddaboudit. Butter? That’s a big maybe. Eggs? Nearly as scarce as toilet paper but still, good luck.

So I’m here to help with a few simple substitutions. Inside your pantry or vegetable bin are the correct items to complete recipes in a pinch.

Quarantine Food Swaps – Baking Supplies

Did you know that applesauce or pureed avocado could replace butter? Or an equal amount of maple syrup can be exchanged for vanilla extract? And you can substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream?

Baking Powder
1 teaspoon baking powder = ¼ teaspoon baking soda + ½ teaspoon cream of tartar + ¼ teaspoon cornstarch

Baking Soda
½ teaspoon baking soda = 2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup salted butter = 1 cup margarine
1 cup salted butter = 1 cup vegetable shortening + ½ teaspoon salt
1 cup salted butter = 7/8 cup lard + ½ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter = 1 cup salted butter = 1 cup vegetable shortening = 1 cup lard *minus* ½ teaspoon salt from recipe

1 egg = ¼ cup applesauce
1 egg = 1 tablespoons ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water
1 egg = ¼ cup silken tofu pureed
1 egg = 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 egg = ½ banana mashed with ½ teaspoon baking powder

1 cup whole milk = ½ cup evaporated milk + ½ cup water
1 cup whole milk = 1 cup skim milk + 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

The Ultimate Guide to Baking Substitutions

Quarantine Food Swaps – Produce

Next up, produce. During a pandemic, produce is short in supply. It’s easy to substitute typical romaine lettuce for kale or spinach. But did you know that swapping arugula for baby spinach with a sprinkle of pepper achieves the same spicy flavor?

Root vegetables are the most versatile of them all. Out of russet potatoes? No problem. Try using sweet potato or parsnip or turnip or rutabaga.

Out of broccoli? Try cauliflower or Brussels sprouts or asparagus or kale.

  • Bok choy — Napa cabbage, Swiss chard or spinach.
  • Broccoli Rabe — Broccoli or mustard greens.
  • Swiss Chard — Kale, beet greens, collard greens or spinach.
  • Kale — Swiss chard, collard greens, spinach, dandelion greens or beet greens.
  • Arugula — Watercress, curly endive, mustard greens or a mix of spinach and watercress.
  • Napa Cabbage — Bok choy, savoy cabbage or green cabbage (increase cooking time).
  • Mustard Greens — Kale or collard greens.
  • Asparagus — Green beans or broccoli.
  • Parsnips — Turnips, celery root, rutabagas, carrots or sweet potatoes.
  • Mushrooms — Zucchini, eggplant or bell peppers.
  • Butternut Squash — Sweet potatoes, carrots or winter squashes such as delicata, Hubbard or pumpkin.
  • Leeks — Green onions, shallots, onions or green onions.
  • Okra — Green beans, red peppers or mushrooms.
  • Lemon Juice — Lime juice, orange juice or half as much white or white wine vinegar.
  • Shallots (2 tablespoons chopped or 1 bulb) — White parts of four green onions or 2 tablespoons of chopped onion

Quarantine Food Swaps – Meat and Cheese

Finally, what can meat lovers substitute for ground beef? It’s easy! Try chicken or ground turkey without losing the taste. As a bonus, it’s heart healthy too.


Salmon – mahi-mahi or cod

Steak – Portobello mushrooms

Beef/sausage – beans, legumes or lentils

Fish or chicken – tofu

Chicken – eggplant

Bacon – tempeh

Or how about going vegetarian? Did you know you could substitute vegetables for meat without sacrificing the familiar flavors you love?

Beans and legumes can replace meat to make burgers. Try using chickpeas instead of chicken or turkey.

Final Thoughts

There you have it. During a quarantine, you can still eat the foods you love with a few simple adjustments and some ingenuity. Keep cooking!

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