Swap This With That: Whole Food Plant-Based Ingredients to Satisfy the Taste + Texture You Crave

Hi, I’m Julia! I’m a retired Olympian, spokesperson and coach for the ‘80/20 Plants’ veg transition app, a vegan blogger, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, and certified plant-based chef behind Hooked on Plants. I was named one of Canada’s top vegan athletes, and certified as a Main Street Vegan lifestyle coach. Last but not least, I’m also the co-founder of the medicinal mushroom company, Stay Wyld Organics and co-creator of the Whistler Vegan Fest podcast.

Getting into the plant life can be as easy as swapping out what you usually eat, with a plant version. I mean, if you take a minute to think about what you actually eat throughout the week, I doubt you have more than 5 different meals on rotation for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Just think of your typical meals, and veganize them! You could definitely switch out your burgers for Beyond’s or cheese with Daiya, or chicken with Gardein, or lunch meats with vegan deli meat, or butter with vegan butter… I encourage you to use all the resources out there to create the familiarity, taste, texture and satiation that you need.

BUT, that said, I always tell people to focus on whole plant foods the majority of the time (80% or more), then explore the vegan alternative realm (for that remaining 20%)! That’s what the 80/20 Plants transition app is all about. This way you can feel your absolute best while you’re living the plant-based life and sustain it throughout your entire life without feeling like you’re missing nutrients or missing out socially. For example, if you’re focusing on vegan meats, vegan cheeses, vegan ice cream, vegan donuts (processed foods with added sugars + oils) for the majority of your day, you’re simply not going to feel like this lifestyle is working for you. But if you’re focusing on whole or minimally processed plant-based foods, you’ll be getting the fibre + nutrients + micronutrients all intact, ready for your body to assimilate, and your microbiota to go crazy for! The diversity of plants within your diet is also key for a healthy gut microbiome, so keep the variety in the plant kingdom flowing. This is SUPER important because a healthy gut = healthy YOU.

SO, how do we veganize our fave meals, textures, tastes and go-to ingredients, with whole plant foods?


  • Your mornin’ cuppa’: use a vegan creamer with minimal ingredients (love Earth’s Own Oat Cafe Edition)
  • Overnight oats: again, you can try using Earth’s Own Oat Original
  • Pancakes: use a chia egg instead of a chicken egg, and a palm oil-free vegan butter on top
  • Scramble: use tofu or chickpea flour


  • Sandwiches: use tempeh instead of deli meat
  • Dip + Veg + Crackers + Cheese: use cashew cheese + hummus
  • Burritos: use lentils instead of beef


  • Tacos: use brown or green lentils or walnuts or jackfruit or beans instead of beef
  • Creamy Pasta: use sunflower Alfredo sauce, or Earth’s Own Culinary Edition cream instead of dairy
  • Mac & Cheese: use potato + carrot + cauliflower sauce instead of cheese sauce
  • Burger night: use lentil or bean or tempeh patties
  • Pizza night: load it up with veggies + drizzle cashew or sunflower cheese sauce all over

Let’s take a deeper dive into the whole food plant replacements for your typical animal products:


  • Tempeh: just heat up and enjoy! This fermented version of the soybean is super healthy for you and your gut.
  • Lentils & Beans: there are so many different kinds!! The best (and cheapest) way to prep them is in bulk. Soak overnight, then strain, then boil with some baking soda to help digestion. Keep extra legumes on hand for taco + burrito + bolognese nights!
  • Jackfruit: if you’re looking for that pulled pork feel, look no further. The texture is unreal! Plus, jackfruit absorbs whatever flavour you add to it. You can buy it plain in the can, or pre-marinated (just make sure there aren’t too many added sugars + additives)
  • Soy curls or TVP: they may not sound appetizing… but they’re incredible when you’re aiming for that meaty texture! Just soak in boiling water for 10 minutes, then strain, and add to your stir-fry, or spice it up like you would for chicken, bake it, and add to any kind of dish that needs meatiness.
  • Mushrooms: all kinds!! Oyster mushrooms for ‘chicken’ or use the stems for ‘scallops,’ Cremini or white mushrooms ground up for ‘beef ground’, marinated portobellos for ‘burger patties.’
  • Eggplants: hello ‘chicken parm.’ Breaded and baked, the eggplant brings the texture and taste you’re craving!


  • Cashew or sunflower cheese: you can get fancy and ferment it with cheesecloth for that tanginess, or simply make a cheesy sauce!
  • Veggie cheese (yup, made from veggies like potato, cauliflower + carrots)
  • Tofu cheese: blend tofu + miso paste + nutritional yeast + plain plant milk + salt + garlic powder
  • Nut Parm: nutritional yeast + soaked cashews + salt + garlic powder: blend


  • Tofu: scrambles + quiches + frittatas! Just make sure you have the right spices (turmeric, black salt, onion pow, garlic pow, pepper, cumin, nutritional yeast)
  • Chickpea flour: omelette heaven!  Just mix water + ‘egg’ spices + flour together, then power into your non-stick pan with omelette fixings.
  • Banana or flax egg or chia egg in baking!


  • Vegetable stock for sautéing
  • Puréed pumpkin or bananas or apple sauce for baking to replace butter
  • Mashed beans with spices for savoury recipes
  • Mashed creamy avocado on toast
  • Hummus on toast
  • Cauliflower butter !! (Yup). 1/2 cup plant milk, 1 cup cooked cauliflower, turmeric powder, a pinch of salt + 1 tsp psyllium husk: Blend until smooth.


  • Vegan creamers + or Earth’s Own Barista milk for your morning cup
  • Simple ingredient milks: love the Naked (4 ingredient) Oat Milk from Earth’s Own!
  • 1 cup soy or almond milk mixed with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar = buttermilk!
  • Silken tofu can be made into yogurt

There you have it.

You can get every taste, texture and nostalgic feeling you’d ever want… all from the plant kingdom.

Have fun swappin’!


@8020plants app: 1:1 coaching, recipes, meal planning, video lessons, community

@hookedonplants Julia’s personal and food account with new recipes + vegan tips

@whistlerveganfest podcast: vegan interviews to inspire

@staywyldorganics medicinal mushrooms


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