Grocery Substitutes When Shelves Are Empty

We’ve all had that moment of panic before. You walk through the grocery store with your list only to find the shelf completely cleared. Perhaps there was a great sale on your favourite brand, or you can’t seem to find it in the store. At some point, you will find yourself in the store unable to buy something that was on your list! If you find ourself in this situation, I have a few handy substitutes that you’ll want to have handy. Here are items to buy when the grocery store is entirely out.

Out of Dairy Milk? Buy Plant-Based Milk Instead

If there is a dairy shortage in your area, or the price of milk goes way up, then you will want to have something handy to substitute it for! If you can’t find any dairy milk, look into some plant-based milk alternatives! Soy milk, almond milk, and coconut milk can usually get the job done in any recipe you’re looking for! The shelf life is also a lot longer on these kinds of milk if they are unopened. Before you start whipping up recipes using plant-based milk, make sure that you do some research first. Not all plant-based milks will be a one to one substitute.

Out of Butter? Buy Margarine Instead

For a lot of recipes, you can use either a plant-based alternative or margarine without noticing a significant difference in your recipe. If your store is entirely out of butter, you can probably safely use margarine to get you through until you’re able to find butter again. Margarine is best when used in cooking over baking, so if you plan on doing a lot of baking, use a plant-based butter substitute instead.

Can’t Find Canned Veggies? Buy Fresh Instead

Canned veggies are great when you are looking for something a little more shelf-stable. They also are typically pre-cooked and cut so you can significantly cut down on your cook and prep time. However, fresh produce can usually do the same job! You can even learn to can it yourself if you want to have something a little more shelf-stable. Some vegetables can also be frozen, so you don’t have to worry about them going bad.

Out of Tomato Paste? Try Canned Tomatoes Instead

Small cans of tomato paste are easy to miss in the store. However, I have not been able to find it countless times! Tomato sauce and canned tomatoes are not as concentrated as the tomato paste you’ll find in a can. So, if you want to substitute this properly, make sure that you double the amount to get your flavours just right. The ratio is about two tablespoons of strained canned tomatoes for each tablespoon of tomato paste you would have used.

Can’t Find All-Purpose Flour? Try Using a Different Flour

If you can’t find regular flour, you may still be able to find gluten-free or even whole wheat flours in the store. Depending on what you’re making, you may be able to use chickpea flour or even self-rising flour. Adjusting your recipe slightly or going for an unconventional flour can help you get the job done in a pinch. While some recipes are one-to-one, not all of them will be! Make sure to look it up online before you buy so that way you don’t buy the wrong kind of flour for your recipe.

Out of Eggs? Try Using Aquafaba

Aquafaba, also known as chickpea juice, is made from the juice from a can of chickpeas. This can work very similar to eggs in most recipes to help you get by until you need to get more eggs. Sure, you won’t be able to whip up a batch of scrambled eggs with Aquafaba, but you’ll be able to bake your cakes still and use them in recipes pretty seamlessly.

Can’t Find Bread? Try Tortillas or Pita Bread

Bread is one of those staples we don’t appreciate until it’s too hard to find. If you want to make a one-to-one swap for your store-bought bread, you can always make your own! It costs pennies to make your own bread and will get the job done just as well! However, if you still want to buy something for the store as a bread replacement, you may be able to always find tortillas or pita bread. These can work great as bread substitutes in many situations. You can make roll-ups instead of sandwiches or make a pita grilled cheese. It’s not the same, but it can help you add some healthy carbs into your diet when you can’t find any bread.

If you can’t find something in the store or don’t want to drive around town looking for it, then these substitutes can be a lifesaver in the kitchen! These work great for nearly any recipe, and will help you out in a pinch!

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