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Clever Dupes For Expensive Ingredients

Taste matters, not the shopping bill!

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1. Pine Nuts → Sunflower Seeds

Pesto recipes usually call for pine nuts, but they can be quite difficult to get hold of. Sunflower seeds are a much more common substitute, which can be bought at a fraction of the price and have the added benefit of being suitable for anyone with a nut allergy.

2. Crab Meat → Cod

Crab meat is undeniably expensive, to the point where there is a whole market out there just for "imitation" crab meat (Surimi, a ground meat from Japan is the most common). However, if you'd rather avoid the imitation label, there are plenty of white fish varieties that work great, with cod being one of the easiest swaps.

3. Vanilla Essence → Bourbon

Admittedly, yes, bourbon is more expensive. But which are you more likely to have in the pantry? Rather than buy a new bottle of vanilla essence to use a few times, bourbon is a great substitute.

4. Mascarpone Cheese → Cream Cheese + Plain Yogurt

An absolute staple in cheesecake recipes, but by no means irreplaceable. As cream cheese alone is a bit too thick, combine two parts with one part plain yogurt for an effective substitute. Meanwhile, if tiramisu is your weakness, then stretch out that ratio to 3:1.

5. Tahini → Peanut Butter

Tahini is a thick sesame-butter paste that's usually found in hummus or baba ganoush recipes. It sounds exotic, but there's an easy substitute to be found much closer to home: peanut butter.

Peanut butter hummus might not sound like the most sophisticated or even likely combination, but it's actually very good!

6. Filet Mignon → Ribeye

You can often save approximately one third by switching from filet mignon to ribeye, which is a perfectly acceptable substitute. While less lean and tender, if you pan-fry, you can obtain a similar texture that only the harshest critic would notice.

7. Veal → Pork

Veal is slowly starting to come back into vogue, but it can be an expensive option. Beef, you would think, would be the obvious option, but it lacks the tenderness that characterises veal.

A better substitute is pork, which you'll be able to swap into the majority of recipes without compromising on the dish.

All images courtesy of ThinkStock

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