The Ultimate Vegan Soy Substitute (Soy Alternatives) List

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?

 

RECIPES INCLUDED:  

  • 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

 

 

SOY SAUCE: use coconut aminos, which also replaces tamari, shoyu and Braggs

 

MISO: Miso Maker or South River make chickpea miso. Order online or use store locator

 

EDAMAME: use green peas or cashews in salads and stir-fry dishes 

 

SOY MILK: use almond milk or another option 

 

MAYONNAISE: Just Mayo and Vegenaise offer soy-free vegan mayos. Alternatively, substitute unsweetened coconut yogurt by SO Delicious for less calories. 

 

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. 

 

BUTTER: Earth balance and Miyoko’s Creamery offer a soy-free vegan butter. Alternatively, use hummus, guacamole, jam, or peanut butter as a spread.

 

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. 

 

SILKEN TOFU: “Plain” soy-free vegan yogurt. SO Delicious, Kite Hill and Daiya brands.

 

TEMPEH: use Hempeh or make soy-free tempeh yourself using beans and this starter.

 

CHEESE: Daiya, Kite Kill, Chao, and Miyoko’s Creamery offer soy-free vegan cheese. 

 

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. 

 

 

(Sugar-Free) Soy-Free Teriyaki Sauce Recipe (½ cup) 

4 prunes

¼ cup coconut aminos

ground ginger

garlic powder

 

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

 

Burmese Tofu (soy-free tofu) 

1 cup chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour 

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.

 

 

Soy-Free Vegan Potato Queso

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.

 

Soy- Free “Egg” Scramble & “Omelette” 

½ cup chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour 

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp turmeric 

¼ tsp black salt

¼ tsp paprika—optional

1 tbsp coconut aminos 

1 tbsp Dijon mustard—optional 


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