Dietary requirement substitutions

With dietary requirements more common for various reasons I have created this post to help you adapt my recipes. Some work well as a swap and others need a little bit of adjusting. If you have a favourite GF/DF ingredient then please comment below so others can try it.



Apart from in baking, which requires a little more trial and error, gluten is an easy substitution. There are a lot of great products on the market to replace burgers buns, pasta, wraps and flour.

Burger buns – these supermarket sweet potato ones are the ones I usually get for Keeley. It’s hard to get good flavour and texture when it comes to GF… I might need to add a GF bun to my list!

Pasta – hands down, the best gluten free pasta is Rummo brand. It’s Italian and it’s great! They do a great chickpea fusilli too

Noodles – For noodle bowls, we really like these thick and chewy rice noodles, they come in lots of different sizes and are also great stir fried. They aren’t so good cold in salads. Check out your local Asian supermarket for lots of different rice noodles. You can also get sweet potato starch noodles which are Korean and are also great for soups and stirfries (more saucier stir fries). I know you can also get 100% buckwheat soba noodles too.

Gluten free flour blend – this comes down to personal preference. Piko Wholefoods in Christchurch do a good blend and also I have heard the Edmonds one at the supermarket works well.

TortillasHandsdown do the best naturally gluten free tortillas I think. Made in Napier, check out their stockists. The Tio Pablo ones from the supermarket work well for a handy supermarket sub.

Crumbing – Cornflour works really well in replace of flour when you want to crumb meat or tofu and you can also get some good gluten free breadcrumbs now from the supermarket. If you are going to buy gluten free bread (which is expensive) save all the crusts and make a batch up and keep them in the freezer.

Bread – for a nutritious GF bread option, try this OMG bread mix – I have heard good things! Keeley(my husband) who is low gluten can eat sourdough so we usually just eat that.




Milk –
In baking milk can be replaced for any plant based milk. In cooking, it can also be replaced but the flavour will be different. As long as you like the flavour then that is all good!

Yoghurt –
Again in baking you can sub any yoghurt for dairy free. In my savoury recipes you will probably need to add a bit more acidity, especially with coconut yoghurt. Lemon juice or vinegar will do the trick. I haven’t tried a dairy free yoghurt that has they same acidic and creamy punch that standard yoghurt has so this sub can be a little tricky for things like salad dressings.

Cheese is a little more tricky. As a condiment, you could use your favourite DF cheese. If it’s in a cheese sauce for flavour then I don’t think that you can do a straight sub. I will work on a DF cheese sauce though – it’s added to the list! For DF cheese, the more expensive the better the taste I think. Ingredients like miso and nutritional yeast are a good place to start for a cheesy flavour.

I mostly use olive for for cooking and use butter for flavour. In most cases you could just use more olive oil. In baking you could try coconut oil. Some dairy free people can also eat ghee which has all the milk solids removed. Might be worth a try! There are also some vegan butter alternatives on the market too.



Meat free cooking


Miso – One of the key flavours you get when cooking meat is umami which is savouriness. The easiest way to achieve this is with miso – one of my favourite ingredients. It tastes quite miso forward if you add it in at the end but if you add miso in at the start then it adds a beautiful savoury note. A key ingredient if you don’t eat meat. For a NZ made miso try Urban Hippy, otherwise supermarkets sell it, look for white or brown miso for all my recipes. Ceres Organics do one.

Fish sauce – The key to Vietnamese and Thai cooking is fish sauce so it would be worth hunting down a vegan fish sauce. Fish sauce is so good in lots of different cuisines! I love it. My favourite brand is this Mega Chef one. It’s a bit more expensive but worth it in my opinion. You can find it at Asian grocers and some supermarkets. I have also experiments and found that for 2 T of fish sauce, you can use 2 T soy sauce (like Kikkoman) and 1 T miso and the flavour is pretty good.

Smoked paprika – The best smoked paprika is the Spanish one. I buy the sweet smoked paprika which you can get from supermarkets. It adds excellent flavour and it great for Mexican and Spanish food.





When I use sugar, I usually match the sugar to the flavour profile of the dish. My view is that lower sugar is better in baking but not too low! I don’t like sugar alternatives and I think coconut sugar tastes weird. I like honey and maple syrup and then brown sugar and unrefined cane sugar. I mostly used the Trade Aid sugar for everyday baking.