By Erin Trauth
Oh, sweet Jello… as Bill Cosby once said: “you can’t be a kid without it.” While Bill was spot on at the time, many of us Jello-loving kids are now grown up…and vegan. Jello, of course, is basically modified and flavored gelatin. Gelatin is also usually used in baking for holding more pliant materials together and is often used in pies, cheesecakes, candy molds, and all of those Jello concoctions. It’s also the base of those delicious strawberry-blueberry-banana “pies” necessary at every 4th of July party. However, gelatin (and, thus, Jello!) is a giant vegan no-no – made of ground animal bones and skin, this ingredient is one you’ll want to steer away from in your baking endeavors.
Never fear, though – there are several substitutes for gelatin. Agar-agar, which is derived from seaweed, can be modified depending on how much “gel” you want to create in your baked item. Agar-agar comes in flake, liquid, or powder form and can be found in most baking aisles. Substitute equal parts agar-agar for gelatin in your recipes.
If you have a Kosher section in your local store, give their gelatins a try – most are completely vegan. Try Carmel’s KoJel’s, or Lieber’s unflavored variations for some vegan gelling action. Better yet, as vegan options rise in popularity, more and more vegan gelatin options are hitting store baking supply aisles — so, kids, you can still have your favorite wobbly goods — sans the animal byproducts. Double win!
What’s your favorite vegan gelatin substitute?