I recently had a great comment from a friend’s mum (thanks Mrs. Berryman!) on SwapMeat. She mentioned that I should give more explanation on this site about things that I and other non-animal consumers take for granted; for example egg replacer – I know what it is, but do you?! The comment was, what is it, what does it do, and where can I buy it?
I started building this site as a vegan resource and to keep myself on track, however, it seems that I have a few followers that are not vegan, but have gluten allergies or starch allergies, or just want to eat a little healthier overall. So, I started to think of a way I could compile this information and I thought to put it here so it’s easily accessible at any time whether you are making a recipe, or are just interested in the topic for general knowledge.
This page explains a few things that may be common terminology to a vegan diet, but not necessarily to the rest of the world! This page is alphabetical, so you can scroll to easily find what you are looking for. I have also started to link these items in the recipe pages, so that if you are not sure, you can click the link and it will bring you here for further explanation on what that ingredient is.
This page is a work in progress. It will grow as the recipe database grows and as new information comes available to me. I hope you find it useful, and if you have suggestions or questions on anything regarding this site or the recipes, please do not hesitate to contact me and share your input!
Pronouced “uh-gAH-vay”. This is a nectar that comes from the agave plant, which resembles an aloe or cactus. It is sustainably harvested in southern Mexico. This liquid sweetener is slightly less viscous than honey and can be used in the same way, however I use it in replacement to a lot of refined, granulated sugars in baking as well. According to some baking books this is a “no no”, but I’ve never had a problem – however if you are going to attempt this, you have to reduce the liquid in the recipe and use about 2/3 less of the sweetener than what the recipe is calling for in granulated sugar.
Agave can be found in supermarkets such as Whole Foods, Famous Foods, Donald’s Market, and Choices Markets.
Chanam Masala is a blend of Indian spices, traditionally served with chickpeas. The spices include mango powder, pomegranate powder, fenugreek leaves, garam masala, tumeric, chile powder and salt. I found mine at a local Indian market on Main Street in Vancouver.
Earth Balance makes a number of buttery spreads, shortening and margerine sticks (for baking). You can buy it in most supermarkets such as Whole Foods, Donald’s Market, Choices Market, Famous Foods etc.
Egg Replacer is a product for substitution of whole eggs in recipes for cookies, pancakes, waffles, cakes, brownies, muffins and other baked goods. It contains no cholesterol or animal products and stays fresh for up to one year without refrigeration. There are several brands out there. Ener-G Egg Replacer is a brand that I hear a lot about which contains no soy, however I have yet to see it in the stores. I use Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer (although it does contain some soy flour). I have bought Bob’s Red Mill at Donald’s Market, Whole Foods, Famous Foods, and Choices Market. I’ve even seen it at Save-on-Foods.
“Stevia is a genus of about 240 species of herbs and shrubs in the sunflower family (Asteraceae), native to subtropical and tropical regions from western North America to South America. The species Stevia rebaudiana, commonly known as sweetleaf, sweet leaf, sugarleaf, or simply stevia, is widely grown for its sweet leaves. As a sweetener and sugar substitute, stevia’s taste has a slower onset and longer duration than that of sugar, although some of its extracts may have a bitter or licorice-like aftertaste at high concentrations.
With its steviol glycoside extracts having up to 300 times the sweetness of sugar, stevia has garnered attention with the rise in demand for low-carbohydrate, low-sugar food alternatives. Because stevia has a negligible effect on blood glucose, it is attractive as a natural sweetener to people on carbohydrate-controlled diets”. Wikipedia
Xanthan Gum is a polysaccharide derived by a process involving fermentation of glucose or surose by the xanthomonas campestris bacterium! Say what?! It is used as a stabilizer, thickener or emulsifier. This is what is going to be the binder (or the “gluten”) when using non gluten flours. I just wish it had a less “bad sounding” name as it’s really not all that bad and is quite useful in cooking without gluten! I have picked up a Whole Foods brand in the baking section of Whole Foods. This is usually carried in health food stores or the specialty stores like Whole Foods, Choices Market, and Famous Foods.