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Food Allergy Substitution Solutions (Gluten, Eggs, Dairy, Nuts and More)

Whether you are newly diagnosed with a food allergy or sensitivity, or someone you love is, the prospect of cooking can be a little overwhelming. What needs to be avoided? What are the alternatives to dairy products, nuts and flour? With more than 12 million people in the United States affected by food allergies, these are worries for people who must avoid eating these common ingredients.

The good news: Substituting ingredients for dairy products, nuts or flour doesn’t mean you have to miss out on favorite foods, flavors and dishes.

No matter what type of ingredient you are allergic to, there are plenty of tasty Gluten- and Casein-free recipes that hit the spot. You can still enjoy ice cream and cheese dishes. For example, Dairy-Free Super Macaroni and Cheese is always a crowd pleaser. Craving a cold treat? Try the Dairy-Free Rocky Road Ice Cream recipe or Watermelon Fruit Pops.


Substitution Solutions

Milk
Replace 1 cup cow's milk with one of the following:
1 cup soy milk (plain)
1 cup rice milk
1 cup fruit juice
1 cup water
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup goat's milk, if tolerated
1 cup hemp milk

Buttermilk
Replace 1 cup buttermilk with one of the following:
1 cup soy milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice or 1 tablespoon white vinegar (Let stand until slightly thickened.)
1 cup coconut milk
7/8 cup rice milk
7/8 cup fruit juice
7/8 cup water

Yogurt
Replace 1 cup yogurt with one of the following:
1 cup soy yogurt or coconut yogurt
1 cup soy sour cream
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup fruit puree

Butter
Replace 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter with one of the following:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) Fleischmann's unsalted margarine
8 tablespoons Earth Balance (Non-Dairy) Buttery Spread
8 tablespoons Spectrum Organic Shortening
8 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil

For reduced fat:
6 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce + 2 tablespoons fat of choice

Eggs
Replace 1 large egg with one of the following:

  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce (or other fruit puree) + 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon flax meal, chia seed or salba seed + 3 tablespoons hot water. (Let stand, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes or until thick. Use without straining.)
  • Egg Replacer, according to package directions
  • 4 tablespoons pureed silken tofu + 1 teaspoon baking powder

Replacing more than two eggs will change the integrity of a recipe. For recipes that call for a lot of eggs, like a quiche, use pureed silken tofu. Because egg substitutions add moisture, you may have to increase baking times slightly.

Note: To replace one egg white, dissolve 1 tablespoon plain agar powder into 1 tablespoon water. Beat, chill for 15 minutes and beat again.

Nuts
Replace tree nuts or peanuts with an equal amount of the following:
Toasted coconut
Sunflower seeds
Toasted sesame seeds
(use only 2 to 3 tablespoons)
Crushed cornflakes
Crushed crispy rice cereal
Crushed potato chips
Pumpkin seeds

Gluten-Free Flour Substitutions

To make a flour blend, thoroughly combine all ingredients. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator until used. You can double or triple these recipes to make as much flour mix as you need.

Note: If you purchase a commercial flour blend, read the ingredient list carefully. Some blends contain salt and xanthan or guar gum. If so, there is no need to add more.

All-Purpose Flour Blend
Use this blend for all your gluten-free
baking.
1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch/flour
1/4 cup cornstarch or potato starch
Each cup contains 436 calories, 1g total fat,
0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol,
99g carbohydrate, 3mg sodium, 2g fiber, 5g protein

High-Fiber Flour Blend
This high-fiber blend works for breads,
pancakes, snack bars and cookies that
contain chocolate, warm spices, raisins or
other fruits. It is not suited to delicately
flavored recipes, such as sugar cookies,
crepes, cream puffs, birthday cakes or
cupcakes.
1 cup brown rice flour or sorghum
flour
1/2 cup teff flour (preferably light)
1/2 cup millet flour or Montina® flour
2/3 cup tapioca starch/flour
1/3 cup cornstarch or potato starch
Each cup contains 428 calories, 2g total fat, 0g
saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 92g
carbohydrate, 19mg sodium, 5g fiber, 8g protein.

High-Protein Flour Blend
This nutritious blend works best in baked
goods that require elasticity, such as wraps
and pie crusts.
1 1/4 cups bean flour (your choice),
chickpea flour or soy flour
1 cup arrowroot starch, cornstarch
or potato starch
1 cup tapioca starch/flour
1 cup white or brown rice flour
Each cup contains 588 calories, 3g total fat, 0g
saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 128g
carbohydrate, 24mg sodium, 6g fiber, 11g protein.

Self-Rising Flour Blend
Use this blend for muffins, scones, cakes,
cupcakes or any recipe that uses baking
powder for leavening.
1 1/4 cups white sorghum flour
1 1/4 cups white rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch/flour
2 teaspoons xanthan or guar gum
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Each cup contains 514 calories, 3g total fat, 0g
saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 113g
carbohydrate, 1163mg sodium, 8g fiber, 10g protein.

Nutritional analyses of recipes are based on data supplied by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and certain food companies. Nutrient amounts are approximate due to variances in product brands, manufacturing and actual preparation

General Guidelines for Using Xanthan or Guar Gum

Gum (xanthan or guar) is the key to successful gluten-free baking. It provides the binding needed to give the baked product proper elasticity, keeping it from crumbling.

  • Add 1/2 teaspoon xanthan or guar gum per cup of flour blend to make cakes, cookies, bars, muffins and other quick breads.
  • Add 1 teaspoon per cup of flour blend to make yeast bread, pizza dough or other baked items that call for yeast.
Note:

If you purchase a commercial flour blend, read the ingredient list carefully. Some blends contain salt and xanthan or guar gum. If so, there is no need to add more.