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How to Make Virtually Any Recipe Vegetarian-Friendly

Tired of bland salads? These easy substitutions can transform your favorite recipes into healthy, meat-free dishes. From The Skinnygirl Dish: Easy Recipes for Your Naturally Thin Life, by Bethenny Frankel.

You can almost always use extra-firm tofu instead of any meat, poultry, or fish, in an equivalent weight. You can almost always prepare it exactly the same way — marinated, seasoned, grilled, fried, baked, sauteed, and so on. It will soak up the flavors of the other ingredients better and have a meatier texture if it is well drained before marinating or cooking. Open and drain the water, then blot the tofu with paper towels. For even better drainage, wrap it in more paper towels and weigh it down with a cutting board for about ten minutes.

If you want to leave eggs out of your baking, you can buy egg replacement powder (made by Ener-G; this is a popular ingredient in vegan cooking) or substitute about G cup of mashed banana, plain yogurt, or applesauce per egg. Experiment to see what works in any given recipe. This doesn’t always work, so experiment with care.

1 cup milk can be any milk: cow, soy, rice, almond, and so forth.

1 cup yogurt can be low-fat Fage brand or other Greek yogurt, or soy yogurt.

You can always substitute soy or rice cheese for regular cheese. Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet is a good brand that doesn’t contain any casein, a milk product in many of the so-called nondairy cheeses. It comes in a variety of flavors. Nondairy cheese is very processed, but I still use it because I don’t like to eat a lot of dairy. Find what you like and what you are willing to try.

Bethenny Frankel, author of The Skinnygirl Dish: Easy Recipes for Your Naturally Thin Life (Copyright © 2010 by BB Endeavors), and a graduate of The Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in New York City, is the star of her own Bravo show, the second season of which airs in 2011. Her recipes and health tips can be read monthly in Health and her trademark Skinnygirl Margarita is available in stores nationwide. She lives in New York City with her husband Jason, daughter Bryn, and dog, Cookie.


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