Happy Herbivore Blog

Banana Substitutions (Subbing out the Banana, Replacing Bananas)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: FAQ

A common question that keeps cropping up in my email is "How do I replace a banana in [recipe]?"

Unfortunately this is one of those foods that doesn't have a straight forward or universal substitution. It really depends on the recipe and how the banana is being used.

Bananas can wear a lot of hats: they can be a binder, they can add creaminess, they can add sweetness, and the most obvious: they can add flavor. 

Unless you know what they're doing, it's hard to know how to substitute them out correctly. My hope is with these tips you'll have an idea of what to do, and if it's one of my recipes, feel free to email me and we'll work something out together.

In Smoothies: In green smoothies, like HH's Green Goddess Smoothie, the banana helps create a creamy texture. The other components don't make for a smooth smoothie, so the banana comes in and creates that homogenous and silky texture we all crave in a smoothie.One time, when we were out of bananas, Andrea tried to make the Goddess by adding in peanut butter instead. She said it came out okay.

Other smoothies (those that don't have greens), like HH's PB Cup Smoothie, the banana adds a creamy flavor. The bananas, combined with nondairy milk, make it really thick and creamy -- like ice cream. However you can just use more non-dairy milk, or even silken tofu, to achieve that but you might also have to add some kind of sweetener (like a date or agave) because bananas often act as a natural sweetener and tofu and nondairy milks are generally unsweetened. 

However, sometimes the bananas give the smoothie a specific flavor. For example, HH's Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie and HH's Cinnamon Bun Smoothie doesn't taste spot on without the help from the banana flavor. 

And in fruit-based smoothies -- smoothies that taste like fruit and are very fruity -- you can just replace the frozen or ripe banana with other frozen or ripe fruits. That's easy.

In Muffins: with whole wheat muffins, it's usually pretty safe to replace 1 banana with 1/2 cup of applesauce but you never want to use more than 1 cup of applesauce in an entire recipe, so you'll need to keep that in mind. Another option is silken tofu, or a yogurt, but you might need to scale back your applesauce... Only adding as much as necessary to get the mixture to the right wetness. (Dry batter is never good). 

Caution:if it's a gluten-free recipe or you're using white flour, you must use the banana or another kind of binder. Whole wheat has gluten, so it will bind on its own without the banana, but white flour (all purpose) doesn't really and gluten-free flours absolutely won't. One of the reasons I like whole wheat so much (aside from it being healthier than white flour) is I don't have to use a binder most of the time. 

In Cookies: It really depends on the cookie, but you might be able to get away with peanut butter (though obviously not a low fat option) or pureed beans. See HH's butter bean cookies for guidance.

HH's Black Bean Brownies: I've been unsuccessful trying to omit the bananas -- I find they're needed to give the brownies the right texture and firmness, but a lot of people have left comments saying they've had luck with applesauce if they made other changes to the recipe too (you can dig through the comments here). I've also heard avocado works, but have not tried it myself -- and of course, that would greatly change the nutrition of the recipe.

Have a cooking question for me -- email [email protected] and I'll answer it on the blog!

More Necklaces! (Sold Out)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: News

We sold out! Thanks! 

If you still want a necklace, please email lindsay-at-happyherbivore.com and I'll send you an email if we start taking more orders.


After dozens of emails poured in asking me to make more necklaces; I've decided to undertake the project one more time!

Supplies are limited but I'll be taking orders for Happy Herbivore's cute elephant necklace. All the proceeds from each necklace go to our friends at the Elephant Sanctuary.

Buy a necklace. Help an Elephant!  Add to Cart (only $35 each)

For more information and pictures, see our necklace page.

The Old vs. The New (The Difference Between My Two Cookbooks)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: FAQNews

I keep getting a lot of questions about my new cookbook, Everyday Happy Herbivore; Questions like "are there are a lot of the same recipes?" and "what's the difference between the books?" 

So I figured I'd talk about my new book and tell you what you will (and won't) find in Everyday Happy Herbivore. 

First off, Everyday Happy Herbivore, is totally new. It's not my old cookbook in a new package. I wrote over 175 new recipes for EHH.

Now, at the back of the book, I did include some recipes for things like vegetable broth, and mayo, and spice blends, for your convenience, but they weren't counted in the total recipes and there's only a handful of them anyway. 

I also pulled a couple recipes from this blog to put in the book (like HH's PB Cup Smoothie) but those recipes aren't in the last cookbook and there's only about a dozen of them, if that. I included blog recipes in my last book too -- the books are a result of this blog so I like to include "fan favorites" in keeping with that spirit. 

What you will find:

* 175 NEW recipes. 

All new recipes, but they still follow my same "everyday" cooking style. I dare say these recipes are even easier.

* More fresh foods. 

Although I still love the ease of dry spices, you'll find a few recipes with fresh spices and herbs and you'll find a lot of recipes with fresh vegetables and greens. 

* More variety. 

There are more "sections" to this book: (1) smoothies, yogurts & granola (2) hot breakfasts & brunch (3) muffins, biscuits & breads (4) sandwiches, burgers & more (5) soups & stews (6) salads & dressings (7) veggie dishes: stir-frys, curries & dals (8) casseroles & rice dishes (9) beans & faux meat (10) pasta & noodles (11) simple sides (all of which can be built into a full meal with my tips!) (12) desserts (13) condiments & spice blends (14) sauces & gravies.

* New flavors.

I really fell in love with Cajun food when I was writing this book. I also looked to a lot of international cuisines for inspiration. You'll find a lot of diversity in these recipes. I still rock the comfort foods we all love (and there are plenty of those!) but you'll find recipes inspired from all over the world, too: Africa, South America, Europe, Asia, just to name a few. I also added some recipes from the Caribbean, where I now live, like Rum Cake, which will blow your mind! 

* New Icons

I added a lot of new icons this time around: Quick (30 minutes or less), Fat-Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, One-Pot Meal, Make Ahead (make in advance), Budget (total meal is $5 or less) and Single-Serving. 

* Nutritional Information

Included and with much more detail. For example, I'll say "Per 1/4 cup serving."

* Pictures

If you think my last book had a lot of pictures -- just wait until you see this one. Almost every recipe has a picture and my photo skills have really improved, too!

What you won't find:

TVP and any kind of commercial substitute. I only used TVP and meat subs a handful of times in my first book, but because I can't get either here, they're totally absent from this new book. 

As with my last book, you also won't find recipes that call for white flour, gobs of oil or margarine (the entire book is oil-free), and other junky ingredients. The junkiest ingredient in my book is ketchup!

So what are you waiting for? Pre-order your copy of Everyday Happy Herbivore!