Vegan Swaps


Elizabeth Martinez, Staff Writer

Typically in the New Year, people tend to make healthy swaps in their diet. Here are some vegan alternatives to help kick off that health journey into 2021. These homecooked meals are not only clean but will make you feel happy inside and out.


Starting with the most important meal of the day, I chose pancakes. Personally, these are my favorite breakfast item and are so easy to make. My mom Colleen Martinez added, “This was such a yummy breakfast to make. Lizzie never fails to amaze me with her fun recipes. I am not vegan, but I really enjoyed these pancakes. The ingredients are so clean and I felt nourished after. I would definitely recommend this alternative to anyone because it filled me up and I felt amazing after.


Oat flour/any flour: 1-2 cups

Baking powder: 1 tsp

Banana: 1

OPTIONAL: vanilla/liquid sweetener: .5 tsp

Almond milk/any type of plant-based milk: 1-2 cups

Flax egg: 1

OPTIONAL: cashew butter/any nut butter: 2 tbsp

Brown sugar: 2 tbsp

Salt: a pinch

Add water if needed

OPTIONAL: cinnamon

Blend all ingredients until it forms a thin batter. Fry on a pan with coconut oil/ vegan butter, and add desired toppings!

Yummy pancakes topped with an array of fruits and drizzled with maple syrup.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Martinez


For Ms. Barclays’ request, I decided to do an alternative to chicken tenders and fries. The brand for my vegan chicken varies on what mood I am in. Today I was in the mood for the chicken strips by Gardein, but if you like more flavor, I also recommend the chicken nuggets by the brand Quorn!  I paired these strips with vegan curly fries by Arby’s. My dad Erick Martinez added, “Every time I go to Ralphs, I constantly am getting these chicken nuggets. They are my favorite chicken nuggets because I can’t tell the difference. They are also so easy to pop in the air fryer.”

Ingredients: Chicken strips and fries

Chicken strips by Gardein/Quorn

Curly fries by Arbys

Gardein vegan chicken tenders.
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Curly Fries! (surprisingly vegan.)
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I also included my favorite chicken Caesar salad. I probably have this 5 out of 7 days a week. This is my go-to meal because I get all my protein, veggies, and healthy fats, all in one!

Ingredients: Chicken caesar salad

Chicken strips by Gardein/Quorn



Baby Tomatoes

Vegan Chicken-Less seasoning salt

Everything but the bagel sesame seasoning blend

Vegan Ceasar dressing

Quorn Nuggets vegan chicken nugget alternative can also be used in the Caesar salad.
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Fresh veggies for the salad.
Photo provided by Elizabeth Martinez


Vegan Spices: Vegan Chicken-Less Seasoning Salt by Trader Joe’s (far left). Everything But The Bagel seasoning by Trader Joe’s (far right).
Dressing: Vegan Caesar Dressing by Trader Joe’s (middle).
Photo provided by Elizabeth Martinez
Chicken Caesar Salad topped with colorful veggies
Photo provided by Elizabeth Martinez


For dinner, I love making nourish bowls. This is an alternative for Chipotle Mexican bowls or wraps. This meal is flavorful, and you will never get bored. My sister Kathleen Martinez 23′ added, Normally I hate vegan food, but I love when Liz makes her nourish bowls. From the kale to the siracha tofu all flavors blend so well and I feel so healthy after.”


Tortilla: heat up in a pan

Tofu: pat down with a towel and fry in its own pan with olive oil, nutritional yeast, and siracha

Black beans

Kale: 1 cup

Fajitas: a handful

Lettuce: 1/3 cup

Rice: 1/3 Cup

Salsa: add the desired amt on top

Avocado: 1/2 sliced

Lime: 1/2

Vegan Mexican Tortilla Wrap.
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Vegan Burrito Bowl inspired by Chipotle.
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I had to include dessert because this one is amazing. I made vegan cinnamon rolls. My brother Ben Martinez commented, “This tasted different to me but I still ate it. I love sweets, especially cinnamon rolls. Liz did a good job on these and it took like 5 minutes to make in the microwave.”


Banana: 1

Flour: I blended oats and made oat flour: 2 cups

Baking powder: 1 tsp

Cinnamon: 2 tsp

Vanilla: 1 tsp

Vegan butter/coconut oil: 2 tsp

Brown sugar: 1/3 cup

Almond milk: 4 tsp

Mix all ingredients together until a dough is formed. Once the dough reaches a rectangular shape, evenly spread vegan butter/coconut oil and cinnamon on top. Once evenly spread, roll and split into 3. In a wide mug, mix melted vegan butter, coconut creamer, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Put in microwave for 1 min and 30. You won’t regret making these.

Vegan Microwave Cinnamon Rolls.                                      Photo Credit: @caloriesmix on Instagram

These are my family’s personal favorite meals. From breakfast to dessert, you will feel like a chef making these. So simple and fun, anyone would love these alternatives. These recipes are guilt-free and will definitely make you feel happy after.