Sign up for the Protein Buff Newsletter to get awesome subscriber perks!

Ingredient Substitutions

Ingredient Substitutions

So say you don’t have the EXACT ingredients listed in the recipe, or you would like to make a recipe vegan or gluten-free, or maybe you just want to change things up a bit. Here’s a list of potential ingredient substitutions that I trust, or would try.

PROTEIN POWDERS

My protein powder of choice is plain unflavored whey protein isolate. Other unflavored powdered can be substituted, but it may change the taste/texture. Egg and beef protein powders can be used fairly interchangeably with whey. Brown rice protein powder and casein can be used to some degree of success. Hemp, pea, and other vegan protein powder blends can be used in savory or chocolate applications.

Flavored powders can be used, but be sure to reduce the erythritol and stevia amount accordingly as the flavored powdered are already sweetened (I would reduce the amount of erythritol called for by about 1/8 of a cup (2 tbsp) per 1/4 cup of flavored powder used).

I have created recipes specifically for most of the different protein powders mentioned above, so if in doubt, stick to those if you want to use another powder besides plain whey.

SWEETENERS

My sweeteners of choice are the dynamic duo: erythritol and stevia powder. If you prefer to use liquid stevia instead of powdered, you can substitute 3-4 drops for 1 packet of stevia powder. You can use xylitol instead or erythritol if you prefer. I don’t like xylitol as much though because although it tastes very much the same as erythritol, a) it has more calories, and b) if I have too much it gives me a bit of an upset stomach. If you want to use a less processed sweetener than either of those, and you’re not too worried about sugar or calories, you can always use honey, coconut palm sugar, or just regular sure if you don’t mind that sort of thing. Just bear in mind these changes will drastically impact the nutritional info I’ve calculated for you in each recipe!

OILS AND FATS

My favorites are butter and coconut oil, which can both be used interchangeably. Nut butters can be used instead if you wish to reduce the fat content of the recipe and/or increase the nutrients and fiber (but beware, lowering the fat content more than 1/3 can negatively affect texture!). Full fat dairy or coconut cream can also be used instead of butter or oils, but again, beware of the drawbacks of low-fat. Another option is palm oil shortening, which I haven’t tried yet myself, but I plan to.

DAIRY/MILK

To add some moisture to recipes to combat the drying effects of protein powder and erythritol, I usually use low-fat greek yogurt. Possible substitutions include low-fat cottage cheese or ricotta (blended in a magic bullet – you don’t want chunks), quark,or low fat plain yogurt or sour cream. You can also use the full fat versions of course, or cream cheese, mascarpone, or creme fraiche for a richer option. For some vegan option, you can use soft tofu (pureed), or plain soy or coconut yogurts.

My milk of choice is unsweetened almond milk. It’s low in calories, high in nutrients, and has a nice mild flavor. You can also use regular cow’s milk for a more traditional taste, though it is a bit higher in carbs. Organic soy milk (less likely to be GMO than non-organic), coconut milk (the kind that comes in a carton, not a can), and hemp milk are other great options. Rice milk works, but is fairly nutritionally void. For some full fat options, you can use cream, buttermilk, or canned coconut milk or cream (the canned variety).

I’ve also heard great things about goat’s milk products. If you are familiar with them and enjoy the taste, go for it.

EGGS

You can use eggs interchangeably with egg whites, or liquid egg whites in most recipes. one whole large egg is roughly equal to 1.5 to 2 egg whites, or 1/4 cup of liquid egg whites.

Vegan egg substitutions (per 1 egg) include 1/4 cup pureed soft tofu, egg replacer like Ener-G, 1 tsp flax seed meal mixed with 1/4 cup water, 1 tsp baking soda mixed with 1 tbsp white or apple cider vinegar, vegan buttermilk (1/4 cup vegan milk + 1 tsp vinegar/lemon juice, or 1/4 cup pureed fruit/pumpkin/sweet potato. These all have applications that they are best for. Check out egglesscooking.com for more details.

 FLOURS

If you want your protein baked goods to taste like their traditional counterparts, white flour is your man. No it’s not healthy per say, but it tastes good. Sometimes compromises need to be made.

A close second is oat flour, which has a similar taste and feel to white flour, while being gluten-free and and a bit higher in fiber, protein, and micronutrients.

I would use whole wheat flour in muffins, breads etc, but for things like cookies and cakes, the taste and textural differences aren’t worth the tiny bit of added fiber in my opinion.

I LOVE coconut flour – the taste is oh so rich and coconuty, and it’s full of healthy fiber. NEVER substitute coconut flour completely for another light flour like wheat or oat flour though, as it is much denser and fibrous, and you will end up with something resembling a dry brick. I would substitute up to half coconut flour though for a tasty fiber boost.

Gluten-free flour options that I use a lot include oat flour, coconut flour, and almond flour. For almond flour I would follow the same rules as coconut flour – substitute up to half, but not the full amount as it will turn out hard and dry from all the fiber. Glutenfreegirl.com posts a great recipe for an all purpose flour: 200 grams of sorghum flour, 200 grams of millet flour, 300 grams of sweet rice flour, and 300 grams of potato starch. (That’s for 1000 grams of flour mix). You can make up a big batch and then use it in pretty much any recipe as needed. To make this flour mix more of a whole grain mix, you can add other flours into the amount the recipe calls for.

For a list of other (gluten-free) flours to consider trying, refer to the gluten-free page.

I’d Love To Hear Your Thoughts!

Leave a comment or question below, or just say hi!
7 comments… add one
  • When substituting real sugar or honey for the fake sweeteners is it one for one or what is the ratio?

    Reply
    • I wish I had an easy answer for you, but unfortunately sugar/honey react differently in recipes than the erythritol/stevia combo I use. I would try using a bit more sugar than I call for of erythritol, and lessening the amount of the main moisture giving ingredient (e.g. greek yogurt/milk..) as well. This is because sugar and honey are both humectants, so they help make recipes moist where erythritol tends to dry them out. Also, if you want to go high protein without going sugar free, you can probably take most “regular” baking recipes and substitute up to half the flour for protein powder, possibly upping the moisture content slightly. Good luck!

      Reply
    • It depends on which sweetener you are using and whether you are replacing honey or sugar. Honey is sweeter per cup used so you will need more of your sweetener of choice to replace it. Most of the time however, you will probably be replacing sugar, so I will give some advice based on that. Erythritol is 70% as sweet as sugar, so you would need approximately 1.4 cups of erythritol to be as sweet as sugar. However, I find that erythritol on it’s own doesn’t taste as good as when it’s combined with Stevia powder, so to substitute for a cup of sugar, I would usually use about 2/3 to 3/4 cup erythritol, and 6 packets of the NOW brand stevia balance powder.

      As for other sweeteners, I don’t have any recommendations, as working with the erythritol and stevia combination has worked so well that I haven’t found the need to experiment further with it since!

      Reply
  • Hi Angie. I stumbled over your website when looking for high protein recipes and I’m glad I did! I just have one question on a flour substitution for you. I use fava bean flour as it’s really high in protein and it gives a great density to my morning muffins. I’m wondering if I should use my normal substitution in your recipes, that being 1/3 of the flour becomes bean flour. Since you say to substitute half for the denser flours, I’m wondering if I could do the same and still have the same results with bean flour? Is this a flour you’ve ever used? Thanks for your time and a great website!
    Lynn

    Reply
    • Hi Lynn, glad you like the site! I haven’t tried fava bean flour yet, so I can’t give specific advise for you. However if/when I would test it out for the first time, I feel like substituting 1/3 to 1/2 the flour would be about where I’d start. I’ll have to give it a shot at some point!

      Reply
  • Hi Angie!
    I am so excited by your website! I currently use an Australian brand of stevia and erithrytol called Natvia. In baking, it can be substituted for sugar at the same amount. I was wondering how that would convert in your recipes??
    Also, I found out about your website from the Australian Thermomix Recipe Community Forum – does that mean you are a thermomixer as well???
    Thanks!
    Kellie :)

    Reply
    • Hi Kellie, I use a product similar to Natvia, called Truvia. I haven’t used it for baking yet, but I’m familiar – it goes in my morning coffee, and sauces etc. :) You should be able to substitute Natvia for the amount of erythritol I use in my protein powder recipes. Stevia has very little weight so it’s volume in the measurements is negligible. I usually use less erythritol than I would with a similar recipe with sugar though, so you might want to add in an extra bit of Natvia if you like. Perhaps 1 cup of Natvia if I call for 3/4 cup of erythritol.

      I stumbled upon the Thermomix website awhile ago and thought my recipes might be of interest for some of the forum users, glad that I was right! I actually don’t have a thermomix myself, definitely on my wish list, but they’re hard to find outside Australia and New Zealand. Their website states that they’re only available through an in home demonstration, and the ones I have seen online are over $2,000 used! So not in the budget for the moment unfortunately. Looks like an amazing product, I could probably do away with half my kitchen appliances when I buy one!

      Glad you like the site Kellie, thanks for commenting!

      Reply

Leave a Comment