How to Poorganicify Your Recipes: 5 Easy Substitutions

If you’d like to learn how to “poorganicify” all your recipes, this is the post for you.  I have a few poorganic recipes that I’ve created, but most of what I make isn’t really an original invention of my own. So many great recipes already exist!  Instead of trying to write my own recipes, I usually just use Allrecipes.com and substitute my “poorganic” ingredients for the more traditionally used ones.

Here are the most common substitutions that I make in recipes.

1. Coconut Oil instead of shortening/oil–Especially in baking, I substitute coconut oil for shortening, vegetable, or canola oil.  I buy my 54 oz of Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil through Vitacost.com for $20.99. That is the best price I’ve found.  I can refer any new customers to Vitacost.com to get you (and me) a $10 off coupon, so leave me a comment if you’d like me to refer you. I also use organic olive oil and butter in my cooking.

2. White Whole Wheat Flour instead of all All Purpose Flour— For the most part, WHITE whole wheat flour works very well in all recipes. If you are just transitioning to whole wheat, you might want to use half whole wheat and half all-purpose, but DEFINITELY get WHITE whole wheat if you are going to use 100% whole wheat. It is a lighter grain.  I buy my white whole wheat flour at Trader Joe’s where it is $2.99 for a 5 lb. bag.

3. Mushrooms/Veggies/Beans instead of Meat–Since organic and grass fed meats are expensive, I reduce or omit the meat in lots of recipes and replace it with chopped mushrooms, veggies, and beans. 

Stir Fry

In Italian recipes, I use chopped mushrooms, zucchini, onions, peppers covered with sauce.  In Mexican dishes, I use beans, onions, peppers, and carrots.  Baby Portobella Mushrooms, which I buy at ALDI, are the closest in consistency to meat when chopped, so I use them a lot in cooking. My kids think they don’t like these veggies, so it is best if they don’t know what they are eating. If they hold up a pepper and look at it askance, I tell them it is capsicum and they usually gobble it right up.  :)

4. Honey, Maple Syrup, or fruit syrup instead of Sugar— I reduce or omit the amount of white and brown sugar in most recipes and replace it with honey or maple syrup. If it is a dense flavor, I will use blackstrap molasses.  In banana bread, I heat the bananas till they reduce and the banana liquid into a syrup with honey. I buy local honey at the Farmer’s Market, and  I stock up on 8.5 oz Grade A maple syrup from ALDI for $3.99 when I see it there. We STILL do have and use refined sugar in our house, but I am finding that if I don’t add as much of it to recipes, I feel okay when my kids want to sprinkle a little on some on oatmeal.

5. Real Fat for Low Fat/ Fat-Free–I don’t buy any reduced fat, low-calorie, or “smart” products anymore because they are usually full of added sugars and weird thickeners. If you are buying fat-free creamer, NOTICE that the second ingredient is CORN SYRUP! Ickk.  Smart Balance margarine is loaded with so many genetically modified fats that you are better off just using REAL butter.

If you want to reduce fats overall, USE LESS of the fatty product, but don’t switch to an inferior product.  Yogurt can be substituted for sour cream.

Why are there SO MANY chemicals in these “smart” spreads? Just give me a pat a butter, folks!

Water or whey (the liquid on yogurt) can be substituted for milk. Veggies can be substituted for meat.  Grate cheese more finely and you’ll use less.

That should give you a good start at poorganicifying your recipes.  What other substitutions do you find yourself commonly making to keep food REAL and affordable?

19 Responses to How to Poorganicify Your Recipes: 5 Easy Substitutions

  1. Teri October 22, 2012 at 4:31 am #

    At my Costco this week they had a 54 oz jar of organic coconut oil for under $20. I didn’t buy it because I didn’t know if it was a good price or not, but now that I see the Vitacost price, I’m going back for some!

    • Katrina October 22, 2012 at 6:14 am #

      That IS a good deal! I am not a Costco member, but I think I remember noticing they also had a good price on organic olive oil and organic honey. (Although I prefer local honey to organic.)

  2. Stacy @Stacy Makes Cents October 22, 2012 at 8:10 am #

    You’re a girl after my own heart. :-) Sounds like my kitchen!
    Stacy @Stacy Makes Cents recently posted…Creative Ideas for Decorating Your Table + GiveawayMy Profile

  3. Shannon October 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    You’ve convinced me to try the coconut oil! Could you refer me?

    • Katrina October 22, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

      I did refer you. Let me know if you don’t get the coupon.

  4. Sarah October 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

    Thanks for the post! I am always looking out for ways to make my food more “real”, and we are certainly a “poorganic” family!

  5. r October 22, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

    Wow. that was a really simple and great post!! Ok I have to look at the T.J.’s I go to in Charlotte, because that is the flour I use and I didn’t know they had it!! What Trader Joe’s do you go to?

    • Katrina October 22, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

      Piper Glen

  6. Anitajoye October 23, 2012 at 12:34 am #

    i don’t really have much to add, although i have heard that you can substitute a ground flax seed/water situation for eggs… if you’re out or allergic.
    i did want to just revel in having bought 5 org/free range chickens on managers special at Kroger last week. my kids were so excited!

    • Katrina October 23, 2012 at 6:14 am #

      I think you are right about the flaxseed. Actually I think you can substitute some ground flaxseed for a certain amount of the oil in a recipe. Congrats on the chickens! That’s awesome. :)

  7. MyPeaceOfFood October 25, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    I have a tendency to just bake on a whim, so when I find out I don’t have eggs I go to FoodSubs.com and just see what I have on hand to use as a substitute (I think I’ve used corn starch and water before). I’ll often use applesauce instead of butter if I’m out, and they also have a handy list of solid/liquid fat substitues and sugar equivalents. I almost never make a recipe word for word as listed…too expensive and then you’re left with one carrot, 5 stalks of celery, half an ounce of cream cheese…the extra bits all go to waste that way in my house if I’m not feeling extra resourceful and have the time to get creative. Even if I’m short on something, I swear no one has ever noticed!
    MyPeaceOfFood recently posted…This is it. This is my cause.My Profile

    • Katrina October 28, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

      I think I’ve heard that flaxseed can sub for eggs and oil too. Have you heard that one before?

  8. Joanne November 19, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    My first time on your blog and I’ve been enjoying the posts. I would also love a referral from vita cost.

    • Katrina November 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

      I just had a referral sent to this email Joanne. Let me know if you have any trouble with it. :)

  9. Linda February 21, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

    I have just heard that you cannot put honey in hot tea because it turns toxic when heated. Is there any worry about using it in baking? Also do you substitute same to same amounts when using honey/maple syrup?

    • Katrina Ryder February 21, 2013 at 11:36 pm #

      Interesting. Where did you hear this? I’ve heard that some of the nutritional aspects of raw honey can degrade, but I’ve never heard that it becomes toxic.

  10. Linda February 21, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

    I am interested in trying coconut oil. Could you please refer me. Thank you.

    • Katrina Ryder February 21, 2013 at 11:39 pm #

      I sent you a referral link that should get you $10 off a $30 purchase. ENJOY!

  11. Joni April 13, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

    Can I get a referral, please? Thanks in advance. Also, I miss your posts…