The recipe looks amazing, but you don’t eat shrimp. That stir-fry sounds so good, but you’re not in the mood for tofu. We’ve all been there. Substituting protein in recipes can seem like a challenge, but today we’re going to explore how to swap proteins like a pro. 

Swapping Proteins Using Tofu, Chicken, & Shrimp 

Luckily, most recipes aren’t hard and fast rules. Whether you don’t eat meat, or you just don’t like chicken, it’s easy to swap a different protein into a recipe with a few basic rules. 

How to swap tofu in for any recipe 

Crispy tofu with bok choy

Swapping in tofu is a great option for vegetarians or flexitarians who are avoiding meat.  Tofu is a unique plant-based protein in that it’s a complete protein meaning it contains adequate proportions of all the 9 essential amino acids necessary in the human diet. Tofu is a nutritional powerhouse: a 1/2 cup of tofu contains approximately 10 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat 227 milligrams of calcium and 1.82 milligrams of iron. 

A good way to substitute tofu in for a meat-based recipe is to cook it separately. To do this, drain the tofu, then press and dry it. Slice it to your desired size and shape. Heat a pan, add olive oil (about 2 teaspoons), and cook the slices for 3-4 mins on each side. Then incorporate it into the recipe of your choice.

How to swap shrimp in for any recipe 

Cumin Sichuan shrimp

Shrimp cook very quickly, so they can be a great substitution if you’re hoping to get dinner on the table in a hurry. 

To swap shrimp into a recipe, cook them by patting the shrimp dry with paper towels (remove the tails, if desired). Season them with salt and pepper. In a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned shrimp in an even layer. Cook, without stirring, 2 to 3 minutes, or until slightly opaque. Flip, and continue to cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque and cooked through. Turn off the heat. Incorporate the shrimp into the recipe of your choice. 

How to swap chicken in for any recipe 

Seared chicken and crispy schwarma rice

Chicken is a popular protein for a reason. It’s lean, satisfying, and endlessly versatile. 

To swap chicken breasts into a recipe, start by cooking them separately. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season on both sides with salt, pepper. In a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned chicken. Cook 6 to 7 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked through. Then slice into your desired shape, and incorporate into your recipe. 

Whatever your dietary needs are, Blue Apron is here to help. With menu customization, more Blue Apron dinners can be tweaked to suit your needs. To try it select the ‘Choose Options’ button or click on the drop down menu for recipes that are already in your box. A popup will appear showing you your available options for the recipe.