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how to substitute, without mocking

hello all... i apologize if i've missed a post on this, but i'm wondering if you all can help me with something. i'm looking for a source/list of how to substitute non-vegan/vegetarian ingredients without using processed products. i really don't like to use the "mock-meats" and such, and i think you can make really tasty vegan food without using them, but when i try to modify recipes, and i google substitutes, thats what i generally get... just some specifics of what i mean by substitutes, i recently read (haven't tried it yet though) a recipe that uses butternut squash as a cheese substitute in mac&cheese. sounded so good! at the moment, i'm looking for a good kale recipe, a lot of them include bacon as an ingredient, what would be a good bacon replacement/substitute? it doesn't have to taste just like bacon, only fill that niche... i was thinking that cashews might do the job? does that make sense?

I agree.  I don't need to mock meat.  I have only been meatless for a year and I don't miss it at all so I don't need substitutes for it.  And it is hard to find common recipes that don't use those substitutes.  I get discouraged when I search for something and that is what I find.  So now I just think differently.  Instead of trying to convert my old recipes, I make something new.  I try to stay as close to natural as I can.  

I recently tried kale and didn't like it but I think that was just because of what I did with it.  I tried to make kale chips.  But I also just made a wonder soup from golden beets and included the beet greens.  I think you could easily make a delicious soup using kale.  To fill that bacon niche maybe you can just use olive oil or seasame oil.  There are other flavored oils to but I have not tried them yet.  I see you post is from the 19th so I am sure you came up with something.  What was it?

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I agree that its better to make a new recipe than to try and convert one.

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