Pams Prep Kitchen – Our Guide to Cooking Substitutes 

There's nothing worse than getting going in the kitchen, only to find you don't have what you need. But not to worry - most ingredients can actually be easily swapped out, with awesome results! Read on for our handy guide to simple kitchen substitutions.

We've all been there: you've got a recipe, just the right one, and you're all ready to get going. But as you measure out the ingredients you suddenly realise - you're missing something! Do you run to the supermarket? Leave it out and hope for the best? Give up on the recipe altogether? Don't panic - we've got you.

Utilising what’s in your kitchen when missing ingredients, or on the last of your stock, is the ultimate way of adapting to fit your favourite recipes. It’s always a great time to celebrate your freezer favourites, tuck into your tinned collection and make the most of what’s already in your fridge and pantry with smart solutions. If you haven’t got a key ingredient, don’t worry, we have you covered! Ingredient swaps and substitutes are all part of the Pams Prep Kitchen fun, where we can juggle new flavours and bring innovative kitchen ideas to life.

We’re here to offer easy, accessible, and delicious ingredients and recipe ideas, as well as supplying you with tips, tricks, and hacks to make your cooking experience that tiny bit easier! 

Baking  

Baking is a science, where measurements and specific ingredients are crucial to the correct outcome of your bake. However, when inspiration strikes, we don’t want to have to run to the shop just for one or two ingredients and, even as a craft of precision, baking can be definitely be achieved with some easy substitutions. The outcome might be slightly different, but that’s half of the fun! We’re sure whoever is eating your tasty treats won’t mind. 

Need some inspiration? Try our easy Oat Flour Anzac Biscuits - using rolled oats blitzed in a food processer or blender instead of flour, they prove that delicious results don't depend on having a perfectly stocked pantry!


Here's a helpful table to make baking with substitutes a bit easier

Cooking  

If you can’t source a specific ingredient mentioned in a recipe you want to make, don’t panic! Almost all meat, veggies, condiments and pantry staples can be substituted or replaced by something you have on hand. No potatoes? Try using other root veggies such as kūmara, pumpkin or even turnips. No spinach? Try substituting for another dark leafy green such as silverbeet or kale. Or, if you're out of fresh produce altogether, remember that frozen veg is an easy and convenient swap. Not convinced? Try our Simple Saag Curry using Pams Chopped Leaf Spinach out of the freezer for a quick, easy and delicious meal.

Need to spice up a meal, but run out of seasoning? Rather than running to the store to buy one or two herbs or spices for a recipe, try substituting for what you do have on hand, or make your own spice blends. Dried herbs can pack more of a punch during the drying and grinding process, so it’s best to stick with the flavour profile the dish permits. Replace and interchange woody herbs with their woody counterpart - rosemary, oregano, thyme and sage. Same goes for switching around soft herbs – parsley, coriander, mint, basil. Feel free to go a bit wild with your aromatic combos -it's a great way to discover new flavours.


Here's a helpful table to make cooking with substitutes a bit easier

Make the Most of Your Pantry 

It’s always a great time to have a deep delve into the back of your pantry and tuck into the tinned and canned goodies that you’ve had lying around. Soups, stews and sauces are delicious when packed full of frozen vegetables and tinned legumes. They warm and fill up hungry tummies! Affordable, accessible and abundant with recipe ideas, we’re all about utilising pantry staples.

Bulk up your mince with lentils, blend cannellini beans for a zesty lunch-time dip, or even roast some chickpeas to give your salads some crunch – the opportunities are endless! There’s no better way to save your lunch or dinner (or even breakfast – hello homemade Cheesy Baked Beans!) than the secret weapon that is canned goods. 

Bake kūmara or potato and top with beans of your choice - we love taking inspiration from recipes like these Mexican Stuffed Kūmara. Run out of fresh seasonal produce? Frozen vegetables are a great substitute that are just as healthy and packed full of goodness as fresh. Try out our 10-Minute Stir-Fry for the perfect weeknight meal, where you can swap out the ingredients with anything on-hand. Feel free to even substitute the prawns for your favourite protein - like crispy tofu or cooked chicken. Serve with noodles, or on a bed of fluffy white rice. 

Frozen pastry is adaptable and budget-friendly, as well as being the foundation for great family-friendly lunches and dinners! Use any leftover curry, bolognese, or stew in place of butter chicken in our Butter Chicken Pies. They’re quick to cook, and a perfect way to limit your food waste! 

All you need to make the most out of your pantry are your basic ingredients and a bit of inspiration. Try it for yourself today.