Living Soy-Free on a Whole Foods, Plant-Based (vegan) Diet
Every Meal Mentor recipe includes a soy-free option, but here are a few substitutions that make soy-free cooking more intuitive in general.
Topics covered in this post:
- How to replace tofu and tempeh
- Is there a soy-free tofu? (yup! below)
- What is dairy-free yogurt made from? (coconut or almond milk)
- Can you use almond milk to make yogurt? (yes!)
- Can you make yogurt with coconut milk? (yes!)
- How to make soy-free vegan yogurt at home
- How do you use coconut aminos?
- Does coconut aminos taste like coconut? (not really)
- Is soy good or bad for you?
- Homemade soy-free vegan yogurt via instapot or slow cooker
- Soy-free vegan mayonnaise
- Soy-free soy sauce
- Soy-free paleo teriyaki sauce (gluten-free too)
- Soy-free (nut-free, oil-free) vegan sour cream
- Soy-free vegan cheese
- Soy-free miso paste
- Soy-free tempeh
EDAMAME: use green peas or cashews in salads and stir-fry dishes
SOY MILK: use almond milk or another option
Solid coconut cream from a can will also work in small amounts. Place a can of coconut milk upside down in your fridge over night. When you open the can the next morning, there will be a firm, waxy layer on top. This is the coconut cream you will use. You can freeze leftover cream for use later or prepare vegan coconut whipped cream.
YOGURT:Kite Hill and Daiya make additional soy-free vegan yogurts. You can make your own soy-free vegan yogurt using coconut milk (best) or almond milk (instructions here) but you’ll need to purchase a vegan probiotic starter (like this) and agar. If you have an Instapot, the process is slightly easier thanks to the yogurt function (see your manual for instructions). You can also make yogurt in a slow cooker. FYI not all probiotics are vegan.
SOUR CREAM:Use unsweetened coconut yogurt or the recipe below.
FIRM TOFU: Firm polenta or Burmese tofu (recipe below) grill and bake beautifully.
BLENDED TOFU: If tofu is blended to make a quiche or tofu-based “cheese” use a 1 (15-oz) can of chickpeas or white beans plus 1-3 tbsp tahini for added flavor and creaminess.
If you are worried about soy and your health, this is a good article to read.
R E C I P E S
Soy-Free Teriyaki Sauce Recipe(about 3/4 cup)
1 cup water
¼ cup coconut aminos
1 tbsp cornstarch (or arrowroot)
1 tbsp light brown sugar
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp garlic powder
In a saucepan, whisk together. Bring to an almost boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered until it reduces down to a teriyaki sauce consistency. Taste, adding more coconut aminos or sugar as desired. In a pinch, combine 2 parts coconut aminos to 1 part sugar.
¼ cup coconut aminos
Heat ¼-cup water in the microwave. Add prunes and soak 10 minutes. Transfer soaked prunes and any leftover water to a blender and puree into a smooth paste. Add coconut aminos plus a few dashes of ginger and garlic. Blend again briefly, adding hot water if needed to thin consistency. Taste, adding more coconut aminos or spices. If it’s too runny, heat over low uncovered until it reduces.
White Bean Sour Cream (about 1 cup)
15-oz can white beans
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp salt (optional)
Drain beans (reserving liquid) and rinse. Transfer beans to a food processor and add remaining ingredients. Puree until smooth and creamy, adding 1-2 tbsp bean liquid as necessary. Taste, adding more vinegar, lemon, or garlic as desired. Refrigerate. If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, use 1 tbsp red wine vinegar with 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice.
Image by Meal Mentor user @amybzzzz
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp garlic powder
1 ¾ cup water or broth
Line a bread pan (9x5) with parchment paper, enough so the paper comes up along the sides, or grease the pan with oil. (Set aside). In a saucepan, whisk flour, salt, garlic and water together until well combined and there are no lumps. For best results, blend in a blender then pour into the saucepan. Heat over medium, stirring continuously, until it thickens evenly, about 5 minutes. Once it is very thick and stiff, reduce heat slightly cook for 3 more minutes or until the batter doesn’t taste bitter or like uncooked flour. Pour prepared mixture into your bread pan and spread around evenly with a spoon or spatula. Let cool completely then refrigerate for at least one hour. After it has chilled remove slab from pan and cut. Use within 3 days, refrigerate.
Soy-Free Mini Quiche(makes 12)
1 cup chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour
2 ½ cups vegetable broth
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1-2 tbsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp black salt
1 jalapeno (seed, dice)
½ cup corn
1 cup black beans
1 tomato, diced
½ cup cilantro—optional
Preheat oven to 475F and set a muffin pan aside. In a blender, combine flour, broth, nutritional yeast, Dijon mustard and salt until smoothy, creamy, and frothy. Add remaining ingredients and mix with a spoon but do not blend. Pour batter into muffin pan. Bake 10 minutes then reduce heat to 450F. Bake 3-7 minutes more, until golden and firm in the center. Cool for 10 minutes. Refrigerate or Freeze. This recipe is from my Holidays Cookbook.
1 cup chopped carrots
2 cups mashed potato
½ cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp yellow mustard
2 tbsp chickpea miso (see above)
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
This recipe is from Meal Mentor meal plans. Cook carrots in water or steam until very tender. Transfer to a food processor with mashed potato, nutritional yeast, mustard, miso, lemon juice, spices, and ½ cup water. Blend until smooth and thick.
Image by Meal Mentor user @tasheatplants
Plus this super Quick Vegan Queso can be prepared soy-free.
Soy-Free Vegan Pizza Cheese—it melts!
1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot
2 tbsp white whole-wheat or brown rice flour
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp chickpea miso (see above)
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp dry mustard (the spice)—optional
This recipe is from Meal Mentor meal plans. In a saucepan, whisk ingredients together then heat over high until it is bubbling. Reduce heat and allow to thicken, stirring constantly. Spoon marinara over pitas (if using pizza dough, cook most of the way first). Spoon cheese sauce over top and bake 4 to 7 minutes at 450F, until cheese has melted and formed a “skin” on top. Cool for 3-5 minutes before eating (you’ll burn your mouth).
Image by Meal Mentor user @flveggiegrandmom
Soy-Free Vegan Cheddar Cheese Sauce use almond milk, chickpea miso, 2 tbsp cornstarch.
Plus the Instant Vegan Cheese Sauce Mix can be prepared soy-free.
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp black salt
¼ tsp paprika—optional
1 tbsp coconut aminos
This recipe is from Meal Mentor meal plans. Whisk flour, nutritional yeast, baking powder, and spices together, plus salt and pepper if desired. Add coconut aminos, Dijon mustard, plus ½-cup cold water and whisk again.
For “egg” sandwich patties: Heat a nonstick skillet or place parchment paper in your skillet (cut paper to fit). Drop batter approximately ¼ of the batter in the center and use a spoon to smooth around into a patty. Cook until you see bubbles in the center, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook 1 minute more. Repeat 3 more times.
Image by Meal Mentor user @mrs.r55
For “omelettes”: Pour all or half the batter into a skillet and let cook until you see bubbles in the center and it pulls away from the edges. Flip and cook another minute or so.
Image by Meal Mentor user @Amybzzzz
For scrambled “eggs”: If you’re including vegetables, put in the pan and cook first. Once cooked, pour batter into the skillet (over vegetables if adding) and let cook undisturbed. Once it looks firm on the top, flip and cook halfway, then start to break it apart with your spatula. Keep cooking and breaking it apart so it “scrambles”. This can take 1-5 minutes. Once all the broken pieces start to crisp, you’re done. Season with salt and black pepper.
Image by Meal Mentor user @missddarling