Friday FAQs: Swaps for beets, recreating restaurant dishes, coconut subs, and more!

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on May 20, 2016


We’re on the cusp of the Victoria Day long weekend here in Canada, and I’m so thrilled that the weather forecast is promising sunshine and warm temperatures at long last! One of our plans for the weekend is to make our backyard more kid-friendly for Adriana, and I’m looking forward to creating a fun space that she can enjoy all summer long.

I’m so glad that you guys are enjoying my Friday FAQs. You can find previous weeks’ FAQs here: Week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4, week 5.  If you’re looking for some camping-friendly food tips this weekend or next, be sure to check out question #3 in this post, and also read the comments filled with advice as well! I love answering your questions so keep them coming via blog comments or on social media, and I’ll select a handful each week to feature.

Also, just a quick note to let you know that my 21 Weeks pregnancy post is now live, and Issue 7 of In the Glow will be going out later this morning. This issue’s theme? You guessed it: long weekend recipes! You can sign up for our newsletter here.

Q1: Is there anything I could use instead of the pumpkin purée in your Gooey Pumpkin Spice Latte Pudding Cake? This really looks so creamy and delicious and I would love to make it, but where I live you can’t buy canned pumpkin purée and they aren’t currently in season either. Could you please help me out?

A: Great question, Nadja! I think you could try swapping homemade butternut squash purée; it should work best in terms of texture. If that isn’t an option, you might want to try mashed banana. I’ve been wanting to try a chocolate banana bread flavour of this very dessert! I hope this helps, and would love to hear how it goes if you try anything out.

Q2: Great series! I have a question as well: Over the years you have often successfully recreated food items from a store or restaurant. Do you have any tips on how to do this? I tried this amazing fake tuna in a vegetarian restaurant (it was wrapped in an avocado-topped sushi roll) and I’d love to recreate it! The ingredients were sunflower seeds, celery, leeks, organic soy sauce and seaweed. How would you start?

A: Oh wow, sunflower “tuna” in an avocado sushi roll sounds absolutely divine! The ingredients sound pretty simple, so it might not be too hard to recreate at home. I would probably sauté the celery and leek in some oil (coconut oil, perhaps), and then add the soy sauce to taste, followed by some soaked and chopped sunflower seeds (I’d use a food processor to chop them quickly). I have no idea if this is similar to what you were served, but you could always experiment! Sometimes I will use Google to search for ideas if I’m really stuck. Also, you might want to try my chickpea or almond “tuna” salad recipes for a fun twist!

Q3: Hi @ohsheglows do you have any suggestions for substitutions for the beets in the Pink Power Detox Smoothie? I really really really dislike beets!!

A: Hi there, Beets are a love it or hate it food, aren’t they? Feel free to try substituting strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or cherries—I think they would all be lovely!

Q4: Quick question…I saw that you drizzled a hummus and vinegar dressing over your cucumbers awhile ago on Snapchat, it looked amazing and I would love to know what you used in it!

A: Hi Liz, haha—yes I sure love that snack during pregnancy!! All I do is add a couple big spoonfuls of hummus into a small glass and then add a tiny bit of white vinegar to thin it slightly (be careful not to add too much and make it super runny—you still want a thick-ish texture so it sticks to the cukes). I have to warn you—it’s quite sour thanks to the vinegar, but if you’re craving that flavour there is really nothing better. ;)

Q5: Hi there, Thank you so much for your delicious recipes! I have doctor’s orders to stay away from coconut milk/coconut oil. Have you tried your Glowing Spiced Lentil Soup without? Do you think it would be just as tasty? Thanks again!

A: Hi Kelly, I haven’t tried this recipe without coconut milk myself, but I’d recommend replacing it with a homemade cashew cream, if possible. My suggestion would be to blend 1 1/2 cups water with 3/4 cup soaked and drained cashews until super smooth, then stir this in rather than the can of coconut milk. If cashews aren’t an option, an unsweetened, unflavoured almond milk might work in a pinch (although it won’t be nearly as creamy and rich). If you try anything please leave a comment in that post and let us know!

Comments of the Week:

“I just want to send appreciation for the beautiful work you do. I’ve been swamped at work, which means I’d rather order takeout than stop and cook a meal, but seeing new recipes download into the gorgeous recipe app inspires me to keep being diligent in making choices that are good for myself. Finally, I brought your Life Affirming Warm Nacho Dip to a potluck Sunday, and literally every person there said they loved it and wanted to know where to find the recipe. I am so delighted to share the joy of Oh She Glows with them. :-). Maybe I need to buy the book in bulk to give out at potlucks? Hee hee.”

Hey Ruth, Oh I’m so thrilled to hear that the app is inspiring you so much! I can relate to feeling the urge to order takeout lately, and I agree that sometimes all it takes is scrolling through some beautiful dishes to ignite the inspiration again. I’m also happy that my Life Affirming Warm Nacho Dip (p. 83 of The Oh She Glows Cookbook) was such a hit. It’s a favourite in this house. Thanks for spreading the love!

“Hi Angela! I’ve been following you for about a year now and love your recipes, your little stories, and your take on life! I even started a blog of my own which, along with some of my own recipes, features my progress as I cook ALL the recipes from your cookbook. You’ve liked a few of my tweets on the subject, which was such a thrill for me :) This week is the last week of my self-titled “#osgcookbook challenge” and I’m super excited—just 3 recipes to go! I wanted to ask you—do you have any suggestions for substitutes for the apples in a lot of your smoothies? I have an allergy, so I’ve been using pears, but I’d love to explore other options. Thanks in advance!”

Hey Ashley, I’ve been following your #osgcookbook challenge, and I’m super impressed by all the dishes you’ve made and shared! Thank you so much. I hope that even more people find your challenge now, and are inspired to do the same. (If anyone wants to check it out, Ashley’s blog is here.) As for subbing apples, I think pears are a great swap, but if you want to mix it up you can try changing up the flavours with mango, peaches, oranges, plums, grapes, or berries. Each fruit will change the flavour of the smoothie, so it kind of depends on the recipe, but I don’t think you can go wrong with any of those really! Let us know what you come up with or if there are any recipes in particular you’d like help with.

Happy weekend everyone!

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicole W May 20, 2016 at 1:03 pm

A playspace for Adriana will give you much joy in watching he explore and play and much needed time off of your own feet!
In the newsletter, you asked for mentions of outdoor play area equipment…
The little house with slide will b such fun for her, you can equip it with its own set of play dishes for extra fun! We have a 35′ by 15′ area covered with playground chips with playhouses, climbers, slides, tettertotters a little picnic table…it keeps the weeds away for easier breathing and munchkins can play on it even minutes after a rainfall without getting covered in mud :)
A place to run, a place to climb, a place to rest and dream, a place to make wishes and a place to sparkle…that’s all children need!


Angela Liddon May 25, 2016 at 10:41 am

Nicole, your play area sounds like a dream! I love your idea of adding some play dishes to the playhouse too. I hadn’t thought of that! We did end up picking her up a playhouse and she’s loving it so far. :)


Srivani May 20, 2016 at 2:02 pm

LOVE these FAQs … thanks for doing them.
As for backyard activities/toys… we have a 2 1/2 year old and she LOVES her sand table (comes with a lid to keep rain and cats away!). Lots of great cheap sandbox stuff at the dollar stores (measuring cups, etc.). Otherwise, you seem to have some fantastic ideas. Enjoy!


Angela Liddon May 24, 2016 at 2:57 pm

Oh you just reminded me that we picked one of those up last summer! We used it for water, but we should totally get some sand for her this summer. Thanks for the idea. :)


Marina May 20, 2016 at 3:18 pm

Hi Angela! So happy to see you back on the blog with these fun posts and pregnancy updates. Hope the 2nd pregnancy is going well! I remember reading your first pregnancy and baby write-ups and learning lots, and then they came so handy, as my son is exactly 1 year younger than Adriana :) just wondering re: first question, could yams work?


Angela Liddon May 24, 2016 at 1:12 pm

Hi Marina, thank you for the well wishes! I’m so happy to hear you found my pregnancy posts helpful with your own pregnancy, and it’s lovely that you’re enjoying following along with this round. :) Yams or sweet potatoes might work, though I worry they might absorb too much and throw off the “gooey” pudding texture. If you (or anyone else!) gives it a try, I’d love to hear how it goes!


Molleen May 20, 2016 at 10:55 pm

Love your blog, Angela. And I am obsessed with your Gooey Pumpkin Spice Latte Pudding; I make it at least twice a month. Once I mistook frozen carrot purée in my freezer for frozen pumpkin purée. I made a batch using the carrot – didn’t realize it until later, but believe it or not, the batch was equally delicious! Just another sub possibility for your question!!!


Angela Liddon May 24, 2016 at 10:00 am

Thanks so much for sharing, Molleen! Gotta love happy accidents like that :)


Susan May 21, 2016 at 7:01 am

For the person who hates beets,try Red Velvet Cake Smoothie from Superfood Smoothies by Julie Morris. My husband hates beets but LOVES this smoothie. Also, another friend that hates beets LOVED this smoothie also.


Barbara May 21, 2016 at 7:17 am

I will be visiting Victoria with a group of my lady friends in August…I would love to know some great restaurants that serve healthy food for me, but have other choices for my friends. I would appreciate your advice! Thanks for “loving” food!!!


Angela Liddon May 27, 2016 at 12:15 pm

Hi Barbara, I recommend Café Bliss in Victoria, BC. =) I don’t know of any others, but hopefully they are still open!


yogamom May 21, 2016 at 7:19 am

Our boys particularly enjoyed a very large plastic easel equipped with paint pots, large brushes (easier for little hands to grip) and a roll of white butcher paper. They could paint and make a mess to their hearts content and I could hose off hands and deck.
Plus you will have priceless works of art to display in your home!


Angela Liddon May 24, 2016 at 3:01 pm

That’s such a cool idea! It never occurred to me to take an easel outdoors. :)


Sol May 21, 2016 at 7:44 am

Hi Angela!
Would love to know if you have any tips on how to cut a butternut squash. I love this squash but cutting it is always a mess.. anything that might make this easier?
I don’t like pre-cut because I feel like it doesn’t stay fresh for long.
Thank you.


Angela Liddon May 27, 2016 at 12:15 pm

Hi Sol, My best advice is to use a good chef’s knife and to sharpen it just before use (be careful of course). I always trim the two ends off first and then slice it down the middle. You can get a better grip on it if you peel it AFTER slicing in half and seeding, too. I’m sure the internet has some other tips as well. Good luck!


Regina Taron May 21, 2016 at 2:34 pm

Hi, Angela,

I love your recipes I get in the email, and I also appreciate the FAQ’s and answers. In May 20th post, you mentioned you like hummus with a bit of vinegar on cukes, but cautioned against too much vinegar as it’s sour. Perhaps rice vinegar would work for those not wanting the mix quite so sour as it is milder in acidity.

Just a thought I wanted to share.



E C Nielsen May 21, 2016 at 4:15 pm

I’m so curious to know what circumstances might lead a doctor to tell a patient to avoid coconut milk or oil? I wonder if your writer (Kelly) would be willing to elaborate? I’ve never heard of anything like this before and would really like to be enlightened. Great blog and newsletter!


Lilian May 23, 2016 at 11:07 am

I got excited when I saw “coconut subs” in the title because I’d asked a question related to that on the previous week’s Friday FAQs, but was disappointed because it was a different question with an answer involving nuts. :( Would still love to know if there are good dairy-free, nut-free coconut oil substitutes (even if it’s just answered here, not in a FAQ)….reposting my question here:

“Do you have any dessert recipes that are both nut free *and* coconut free, or have suggestions on how to substitute for coconut oil? One of the (many) reasons I follow your blog despite not being vegan is that I have a dairy sensitivity and know that I don’t have to worry about that with your recipes! They’re also a great resource when baking for my mom, who has a severe dairy allergy and can’t tolerate dairy in baked goods like I can. Unfortunately, coconut is now off-limits as my husband is allergic to it (along with peanuts/tree nuts). I know I can use a different dairy-free milk instead of coconut milk, but I’m not always sure how to substitute for coconut oil given that its high melting point makes it different from other oils, and 27 pages of dessert recipes is a lot to sift through to find ones that don’t use it!”


Angela Liddon May 26, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Hey Lilian, sorry for the delay! :) This is a great question. You’re right, in recipes where coconut oil is counted on to help harden/thicken the end product (like in my Coconut Oil Chocolate Bark), it can be tricky to replace. (In the bark, it MAY be a possibility to swap in cacao butter, as used in chocolate making, in lieu of the coconut oil; both have hardening properties, although cacao butter has quite a different flavour from coconut oil. I haven’t tried it myself, but if you do, I’d love to hear how it goes!) However, in other desserts where that’s less of a concern, you can often substitute it with another type of oil, preferably one without a heavy flavour, like grapeseed oil. In my Fail-Proof Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes, for example, you could use either coconut or grapeseed oil. In terms of desserty recipes that are both nut-free (or easily made nut-free) and coconut-free, you could try my (Almost Instant) Chocolate Chia Pudding, Heavenly Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal, Baked Apples Stuffed with Cinnamon-Date Pecan Oatmeal, Creamy Chocolate Hemp Smoothie, Basic Chia Seed Pudding, Vegan Bananas Foster Baked Oatmeal, and Double-Layer Chocolate Fudge Cake (The Oh She Glows Cookbook, 249). I hope this helps!


Ashley May 23, 2016 at 1:52 pm

Hi Angela! Thank you so much for the shout out! It means a lot to me to know you have been checking out my blog :) Also gives me the motivation to step it up a bit! I can’t wait to try out your latest green smoothie with some of the fruits subs you suggested. Never would have thought of using grapes so I’m excited to give that a try!


Angela Liddon May 26, 2016 at 1:44 pm

Hey Ashley, I’m so glad you saw your comment! And definitely no need to step it up. You’ve already set the bar high! ;)


tracyp May 23, 2016 at 7:39 pm

Another good sub for pumpkin when not in season is sweet potato. It is available in most grocery stores, and mine stocks organic as well. Bake them and scoop them out of the skins and use as you would pumpkin, or cube them, boil them until soft (super quick…8-10 minutes) and mash.


Amanda May 25, 2016 at 9:26 am

Hi Angela,

I have been suffering severe digestive issues for over a year now, and recently discovered with the help of a naturopath that I have difficulty digesting the enzymes in raw fruits and vegetables. I love salads and raw fruit (especially in the summer) but don’t want to spend the summer feeling gassy/bloated and sick. Do you have any suggesting for veggie heavy summery dishes that are cooked?


Angela Liddon May 26, 2016 at 2:02 pm

Hi Amanda, I’m so glad your naturopath was able to help you out—digestive issues are no fun at all. Some of my favourite cooked, veggie-heavy, summery dishes include my Warm Spring Salad, Long Weekend Grilled Salad, Golden Beet Salad with Shallots, Parsley, and Orange-Miso Dressing, Protein Power Goddess Bowl (The Oh She Glows Cookbook page 175), Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas (page 147), and Crowd-Pleasing Tex Mex Casserole (page 149). Hopefully one of those will hit the spot! If all else fails, never underestimate the power of simple grilled veggies on the barbecue! I love to brush on some melted coconut oil and season them with pink salt and black pepper. It’s how I enjoy a lot of veggies in the summer.


Lori May 25, 2016 at 1:16 pm

Hi Angela
What is the parfait in the picture?
It looks delicious!!!


Angela Liddon May 25, 2016 at 1:47 pm

Hi Lori, thank you! It’s a new chia pudding recipe I’m working on. :)


Izzy Bruning June 2, 2016 at 2:46 pm

Such a lovely post!
I love seeing all the comments of the week as they make me so happy!
Keeping creating all these amazing recipes
Izzy xx


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