10 Money-Saving Ingredient Swaps Everyone Should Know

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10 Money-Saving Ingredient Swaps Everyone Should Know
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10 Money-Saving Ingredient Swaps Everyone Should Know

Don't worry if a recipe calls for expensive ingredients. You can still get delicious results with these simple, money-saving swaps.

Image Credit: Tarek El Sombati

Swap Fresh Truffle with Truffle-Infused Products.

Fresh truffle has a musky, nutty aroma and rich flavor that beautifully complements pasta, salads, eggs and meats. It is also expensive and has limited seasonal availability. If a recipe calls for fresh truffle, read through the ingredient list to find opportunities to swap in truffle-infused products like oils, salts and cheese. Make sure to use oils and salts infused with real truffles instead of artificial additives.

Image Credit: John Carey

Swap Wine with Fruit Juice or Broth.

Wine can be used as a marinade or cooking liquid, but it can get expensive to open a bottle of wine just to use a small amount for a recipe. Grape juice is an easy substitution, and you can mix it up with cranberry juice, lemon juice or apple cider. Vegetable or meat broth also works to ensure a moist, flavorful dish.

Image Credit: Andreas Levers

Replace Saffron with Paprika and Turmeric.

It takes tens of thousands of crocus flowers to produce one pound of dried saffron, making this spice one of the most expensive available. If you're not picky about getting authentic flavors, you can replace saffron with paprika and turmeric for similar golden coloring.

Image Credit: Tarek El Sombati

Swap Veal with Pork or Chicken.

Veal is an expensive, lean cut of meat that cooks tender and has a delicate beef flavor. For a fraction of the price, you can easily swap in pork or chicken in most recipes and still get delicious results.

Image Credit: Lehner

Swap Pancetta with Bacon.

The difference between pancetta and bacon is that bacon is smoked after curing while pancetta is only cured. If you're afraid that bacon's smoky flavor will overpower your dish, try blanching it in boiling water first.

Image Credit: Patrizia Savarese

Swap Balsamic Vinegar with Other Types of Vinegar.

You can find a wide variety of balsamic vinegar of varying quality at your grocery store, ranging from expensive Aceta Balsamico Tradizionale that's been aging in wooden barrels for many years to more affordable Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena that is made from wine vinegar with food coloring and thickeners. For a cheap substitute, try red wine vinegar with a little sugar or honey.

Image Credit: Dorling Kindersley

Swap Vanilla Beans with Vanilla Extract.

Cooking with whole vanilla pods or baking with its seeds adds wonderful flavor and aroma to foods, but it's a pricey spice. Vanilla extract is much less expensive and will still provide tons of flavor.

Image Credit: Ursula Alter

Swap Allspice with Nutmeg, Cinnamon and Cloves.

If you don't have allspice on-hand, you don't need to go out and buy a new jar. You can find similar flavors by mixing equal parts nutmeg and cinnamon with a pinch of ground cloves.

Image Credit: Maximilian Stock Ltd.

Swap Buttermilk with milk and lemon juice or white vinegar.

You can easily substitute buttermilk with ingredients you have on hand. Add one tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar in a one-cup measuring cup and fill to the rim with milk. Let it stand for a few minutes, and you'll have slightly curdled, acidic milk.

Image Credit: Alexander Feig

Swap Expensive Fish for Less Expensive Species - or buy frozen.

While fish may range in taste from dark and oily to white, lean and flaky, you can exercise some flexibility in swapping one species for another within the same category. Ask your local fishmonger for recommendations. You can save big by buying frozen fish; flash-frozen seafood retains flavor at its freshest.

Image Credit: Thomas Barwick

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All too often we shy away from recipes that call for an ingredient not handy in our pantry or fridge. Sometimes these ingredients can be expensive, like fresh truffles, saffron and high-quality balsamic vinegar, while other times they're an added expense for something that won't be used often.

If a pricey ingredient is stopping you from cooking a new recipe, you can try one of these 10 simple swaps to get delicious results without breaking the bank. Find out what three common spices can stand in for allspice, and discover what protein is a price-conscious option for veal.

Check out the slideshow above to find 10 easy swaps for expensive ingredients.

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