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Substituting Recipe Ingredients

by Pre Brands May 18, 2020

Substituting Recipe Ingredients

Recipe Substitutions: How to swap ingredients and balance flavors


If you are like most of us these days, a trip to the grocery store can seem more like a covert rescue mission from an action movie. You prepare your list, put on your protective gear, and head to the store. Or otherwise, select the items you need on your online list and arrange for a pickup time when they bring everything out to you. Only to find the store didn't have a lot of what you needed. What are you going to do? This new cooking experience in your kitchen can be frustrating, especially to a novice cook, but it doesn't have to be! This is why we've put together a list of substitutions you can use in your recipes when the store or your kitchen doesn't have what you need on your shopping list.

Check out these tips on how to find the right substitutes for your grass-fed beef recipes.


Most common ingredient swaps

There are some common recipes swaps that can be really easy if you've just got a few staples on hand. Here are some simple fixes you can use!

  • Bread crumbs = cracker crumbs
  • Sour Cream = buttermilk and plain yogurt
  • Buttermilk=whole milk and a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice
  • Lemon juice = vinegar (it's all about the acidity really)
  • Quinoa = millet or couscous
  • Red peppers = pimientos
  • Sugar = Honey

Read more: Cooking without a recipe, what you need to know

Kitchen essentials

Even if you don't cook all that often, you should have your kitchen stocked with these items that you will use most of the time once you get your cook on.  

Essentials to Have on Hand

  • Salt
  • Pepper (Fresh ground is best, if you can get the grinder and refill it!)
  • Olive oil (Extra Virgin tastes the best, but isn't necessary) or Grapeseed oil
  • Butter (unsalted)
  • Vinegar (Apple cider or white)
  • Honey
  • Hot Sauce
  • Coconut Aminos or Soy Sauce

Canned Goods

  • All things tomato: Tomatoes not only provide flavor to a dish, but also the acidity needed to bring a dish together. Stock up on diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste to cut the prep-time and increase the shelf life of this versatile fruit/vegetable.
  • Marinara sauce: From frozen cheese sticks to your favorite pasta recipe, having marinara sauce on hand cuts your cooking time down significantly.
  • Canned beans (black, white, kidney, etc). Easy to open a can and drop into recipes for protein and texture. Or see below in dry goods for a better option.
  • Canned Corn: A long shelf life is guaranteed with this versatile starch, even in the off-season.
  • Tuna: So many uses, from sandwiches to salads or casseroles
  • Beef and Chicken broth: These can come in little cubes too, but the canned variety tastes the best. You can even find jars of stock. Perfect for making gravies, sauces, or reductions. Check online if you are feeling daring enough to make your own stock from leftover bones! It's what your favorite restaurant probably does.

Dry Goods

  • Beans: They are mentioned above, but a little bit of prep time can change your mind on these legumes when you start from dry.
  • Pasta: Long shelf life, and wide variety in your pantry
  • Lentils, peas: A nice assortment of starchy/protein-filled goodness
  • Rice: Maybe as essential to have as pasta. Stock up!

Get back to your roots

From starches to the base for most soups (called a mirepoix if you want to get technical), you should to have these on hand:

  • Potatoes
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Condiments
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Worcestershire sauce

Spice it up!

Salt and pepper are a given, but what about the rest? You can take on nearly any recipe with a decent assortment of spices.

Spices on the counter for stocking up the pantry

  • Dried basil
  • Bay leaves
  • Ground cumin
  • Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Ground sage
  • Whole Rosemary leaves
  • Ground cayenne pepper
  • Red pepper (ground and flakes)
  • Chili powder (really just a combination of cumin and ground red pepper)
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Oregano
  • Smoked paprika
  • Cinnamon

Read more: 3 Easy Steak Rubs to Spice it Up

Cooking with Pre beef

If you would like to learn more, check out our cooking guide. We can show you how to bring it all together to make your next cooking adventure delicious and memorable. Want to learn more? Want to become a beef geek? Just join our email list to get delicious offers, events, recipes, and more!



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