Recipes

Interchangeable Ingredients List

Romulo Yanes

Romulo Yanes

Whenever a recipe calls for something you don’t have, use this list for Plan B. The ingredients not in bold can be substituted for those in bold and vice versa. Cooking times may vary a bit, but building some flexibility and adaptability into your everyday cooking will not only make it faster, but more enjoyable.

PANTRY AND FRIDGE STAPLES

STOCK: Water, wine, beer (to taste, of course)

NUTS AND DRIED FRUIT: Any nut or dried fruit can be substituted for another.

VINEGAR: Any type will work; lemon and lime juice too.

FISH SAUCE: Soy sauce

DRIED OR FRESH RED CHILES: Red Chile flakes or cayenne

COOKED/CANNED BEANS: Totally interchangeable

SOUR CREAM: Yogurt

HEAVY CREAM: Half-and-half (unless you’re whipping it)

CANNED/JARRED TUNA: Canned sardines

Herbs

CILANTRO: Parsley, basil

TARRAGON: Dill, mint, chives, chervil

ROSEMARY: Thyme, sage, oregano

SHALLOTS: Onions, leeks

LEMONGRASS: Lemon or lime zest

MEAT, POULTRY, AND SEAFOOD

GROUND BEEF: Ground pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, or duck 

MEAT FOR STIR-FRY: Flank or sirloin steak; pork shoulder, leg, or loin; lamb shoulder; boneless chicken (preferably thighs)

MEAT FOR STEW: Boneless beef chuck or round, cubed beef brisket, pork shoulder or fresh ham (pork leg), leg of lamb or lamb shoulder.

PORK CHOPS: Bone-in chicken thighs (which will require more cooking) or pork medallions cut from the tenderloin (which will cook more quickly)

BONELESS, SKINLESS CHICKEN BREASTS: Boneless chicken thighs (they generally take a little longer to cook); pork chops or steaks; turkey or veal cutlets; tofu steaks

SALMON: Trout 

COD: Halibut, hake

SNAPPER: Catfish

SHRIMP: Scallops, squid

MUSSELS: Clams (they’re heavier so go by count not weight)

PRODUCE

Winter

BEETS: Turnips or rutabagas

CAULIFLOWER: Broccoli, broccoflower, Romanesco, or broccoli rabe

BRUSSELS SPROUTS: Cabbage

FENNEL: Celery

ORANGES: Grapefruit, pomelos, clementines, tangelos, or tangerines

COOKING GREENS LIKE KALE, CHARD, ESCAROLE, MUSTARD, BEET GREENS, OR BOK CHOY: All interchangeable; cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of their leaves and stems; or use cabbage

LEEKS: Onions, shallots, or scallions

JÍCAMA: Radishes, especially daikon; kohlrabi

PINEAPPLE: Oranges

Spring

ASPARAGUS: Green beans, snap peas, or broccoli rabe

LETTUCE AND SALAD GREENS LIKE ARUGULA, MESCLUN, ICEBERG, ROMAINE, SPINACH, AND SO ON: Raw, they’re all virtually interchangeable

TENDER GREENS FOR COOKING, LIKE SPINACH OR ARUGULA: Watercress or Napa cabbage

RHUBARB: Cranberries or tart cherries

FAVA BEANS: Lima beans or edamame (frozen are fine)

SNAP OR SNOW PEAS, OR FRESH PEAS: Frozen shelled peas

Summer

MANGO: Papaya or cantaloupe

BASIL: Cilantro, mint, chives, or parsley

PEACHES: Apricots, plums, or nectarines

CHERRIES: Currants, raspberries, blueberries, or grapes; for tart cherries, try cranberries

CUCUMBER: Celery, kohlrabi, or water chestnuts

CORN: Frozen corn

TOMATOES: Canned tomatoes

APRICOTS OR PLUMS: Dried apricots or plums

BELL PEPPERS: Mild cabbage like Napa or Savoy, or frozen bell peppers

Fall

SHALLOTS: Any onion, especially red, or the white part of leeks

EGGPLANT: Zucchini or summer squash; celery root

APPLES: Pears

SWEET POTATOES: Carrots, parsnips, or winter squash

PARSNIPS: Carrots

CookingMark Bittman