Recipe Substituting

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I’m on this new kick recently where I am trying on the ideals of French parenting a la Bringing up Bebe y Pamela Druckerman in our home, but more on that later. After having read a little bit about what consists of a French meal, where they eat three times a day at very specific times, typically consisting of three courses,  I decided to trying making a habit of having dessert every night. Perhaps one day I will have the energy to add that first course as well but for now putting in an effort for dessert seems much more reasonable and delicious.

So last night while the pasta simmered and the potato pancakes baked I decided to wip up a little pudding. Personally I find creating vegan desserts to be a pleasure. They are less time consuming in my opinion and when they are raw provide instant gratification. ather than spend more time than I had searching for the perfect vegan recipe, I chose to go straight to Karmachow. So far Melissa Costello’s minestrone soup, chickpea filets and chocolate chia pudding have been a big hit in our house.

I found on her site a recipe for Pumpkin Chia Pudding and after eyeballing an extra can of organic pumpkin puree sitting on my pantry shelf from Thanksgiving, I though it would be the perfect base to use in my limited time.

The problem was that I did not have the necessary ingredients on hand. What to do!

That’s where I thought this post would come in handy. What do you do when you want to make something but you don’t have all of the components readily available and putting on “outside” clothes to treck all the way to the supermarket just isn’t happening.

Here is how I circumnavigated this recipe:

Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding

1/2 cup chia seeds – CHECK – The chia is pretty important to this recipe, seeing as it is “pumpkin chia pudding” if I did not have this essential on hand I would have searched for a different recipe all together.

1 can coconut milk (full fat) – N/A – I subbed 1 cup almond milk instead – By the way here she writes coconut milk but does not mean the kind in the carton in the refrigerated section. She means the canned version.

1 cup canned pumpkin or pumpkin puree – CHECK – Again another essential ingredient. Those often tend to be in the title.

1 cup cashews, soaked 2 hours – I had the cashews but not the time to soak. They went in un-soaked which was not a problem since I used a Vitamix to make this dessert. The cashews also make up for some of the missing fat content by substituting the almond milk for the coconut milk.

5 dates pitted – N/A – Dates are a great nutritious way to add sweetness and nutrients to any dessert and are also great for making ingredients stick together when creating cookies and whatnot.

2 tablespoons Grade B Maple Syrup – NA – Since I lacked dates I doubled the maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract – CHECK

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice – N/A – Omitted all together and I would say the pudding was not as “pumpkinie” as I might have been otherwise.

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon – I doubled the cinnamon to give it that missing spice

pinch of Sea Salt – CHECK – I saw Carla Hal on “The Chew” once say that if you don’t put salt in your desserts, they’re no good.

fresh ground nutmeg (garnish) – I’ll be honest here, I don’t really like nutmeg. Instead I garnished with a little more cinnamon.

The trick to substitutions in cooking or creating food I believe is to understand the purpose of the ingredient and then to see what you have available that will act in the same way. For example since I did not have any dates left I doubled the maple syrup since the dates act as a natural sweetener. Sure they also add fiber and minerals to the dessert but in a pinch the syrup works. Substituting the almond milk for the coconut also meant the dessert had a much lower fat content but the pudding was still very rich and creamy. Although my substitutions may have taken away from the nutritional value of the dessert, they still worked in order to make something which was delicious. I’m sure the original recipe is as amazing as every other one I have tried from Karmachow, but sometimes you do what you gotta do! Happy Subbing and thank you Melissa Costello for all of your fantastic recipes!

About The Author



I am a food allergy mama of 4 boys, a former fashion designer, and a master of the five point palm exploding heart technique, keeping it Fantastico.

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