The following is a general guide to using ingredient substitutions for soy allergy. Please verify the ingredients and safety of any products named to make that it is safe for your child.
If you need additional help in finding product suggestions or where to find ingredients for substituting, post a message in the KFA Food and Cooking Support Forum (registration is free) to get suggestions from other parents who are also managing the same food allergies.
Basic Ingredient Substitutions for Food Allergies
Many common allergens are also common ingredients in your favorite recipes. There are some ingredients which can be easily substituted. There are others that may be more challenging.
Whether or not a “safe” version of a recipe can be successfully made often depends on two important factors. First: what is the role of the ingredient in the recipe? Second: how many of the recipe’s ingredients require substitutions? If the recipe only has 5 ingredients and you need to swap out 4 of them, the end result might bear little resemblance to the original dish. The bottom line: sometimes you can create a “safe” version of a recipe, and sometimes you are better off finding a different recipe altogether.
Substitutes for Soy Oil
Highly processed soy oil is generally regarded as safe for someone with soy allergy. But if you’re looking for other options, soy oil can be substituted with another oil safe for the allergies you are managing. Canola oil has a mild flavor and is a good substitute for baked goods or desserts, while oils with a distinct flavor such as corn oil or olive oil can be substituted in savory dishes.
Substituting for Soy Margarine
Soy-free margarines can be substituted with real butter if you are not managing a milk allergy. For those needing a milk- and soy-free margarine, there are some readily-available vegan options or Kosher for Passover margarines that are available in the early months of each year when makers of Kosher margarines reformulate their products to be free of legumes. At other times of year, the Kosher margarines will have soy in them, so read packaging carefully. Kosher for Passover margarines freeze well. If you purchase in bulk and double wrap, you can buy a supply that will last from one year to the next. Some Kosher web sites may have Passover margarine available throughout the year. Be sure to verify the ingredients to make sure it is the Kosher for Passover version.
Substituting for Soy Sauce
Soy sauce in recipes generally serves the purpose of adding a salty flavor, so any substitute used should have a salty flavor to impart the same quality to a recipe. There is chick pea-based miso that works well.
Other options to try that will impart a unique flavor with a salty component are olive brine, umeboshi vinegar (also called ume plum vinegar) or balsamic vinegar plus a fair amount of salt. You can also use coconut aminos with a bit of molasses (to darken the color).
Substituting for Teriyaki Sauce
There is a coconut aminos teriyaki sauce available. Two other options to try are a sweet and sour sauce if you can find one with ingredients safe for the allergies you are managing, or a combination of balsamic vinegar, orange juice, white or brown sugar, water, olive oil and pepper.
Substituting for Soybean Paste (Miso)
For recipes calling for soybean paste, non-soy-based miso pastes are available that are made of chick peas and rice or azuki beans and rice.
Updated December 2022.