Vegan Oatmeal Cookies

Today, my mission was to rework an oatmeal cookie recipe to be more heart-healthy and vegan. Oats are already a heart-healthy food so I didn’t have much work to do there; but I have not done much vegan baking. This was going to be a challenge! I ended up making two batches of oatmeal cookies. One is low-fat and the other is vegan. You decide which one fits into your healthy eating goals better.

I started with a basic oatmeal cookie recipe and focused on the ingredients that needed to be swapped out.

Ready to make oatmeal cookies!

Ready to make oatmeal cookies!

First up, vegetable shortening. Great for flakiness and flavor in baking; but it contains trans fat which is about as far away from heart-heatlhy as you can go. For the low-fat recipe, I swapped 3/4 cup vegetable shortening with 1/4 cup butter and 1/2 cup mashed banana to retain moistness and flavor. In my experience, when I replace more than half the fat in a recipe with a fruit puree, the final product loses some “yummy.” This wouldn’t do for the vegan version however since butter is a dairy/animal product, so I chose refined coconut oil. The refining removes some of the coconut flavor and leaves you with a solid fat that is good for baking. This swap removes the trans fat; but it adds some saturated fat. I think I could find a better option; but this is at least a baby-step towards heart-healthier.

Next replacement was the egg for the vegan version. Mixing 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water makes for a nice egg replacement. If you buy flaxseed from the bulk bins, it is much cheaper! I was about to spend $4 for a bag of ground flaxseed and ended up spending $0.65 on a small amount of seeds from the bulk bin. Shop smart!

Flaxseed - before and after grinding

Flaxseed – before and after grinding

Ground flaxseed mixed with water is a great egg replacer

Ground flaxseed mixed with water is a great egg replacer

Finally, I wanted to add more fiber. I swapped half the all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour and called it a day.

Rolled oats coated with all-purpose and whole wheat flour and baking soda

Rolled oats coated with all-purpose and whole wheat flour and baking soda

There was a difference in the batters as well as the final cookies when they came out of the oven. The vegan batter was drier than the low-fat batter. If I were to recreate the vegan recipe, I would add more water for a more moist batter and cookie.

Vegan Batter

Vegan Batter

Low-fat Batter

Low-fat Batter

Into the over for a quick 14 minutes and both cookies spread a little while baking. I didn’t adjust cooking times at all from the original recipe.

Vegan Cookie

Vegan Cookie

Low-fat Cookie

Low-fat Cookie

I was a little disappointed in the nutritional changes. The low-fat and vegan cookies both had fewer calories than the original and no trans fat. These are both heart-healthy changes. The vegan cookies had the same about of total fat and a more saturated fat that the origial due to the coconut oil. I still think that’s more heart-healthy than having a cookie with trans fat. The catch is not to eat so many cookies that the fat starts adding up! Finally, the fiber content didn’t increase as much as I’d hoped.

 Per 1 cookie Original Low-Fat Vegan
Calories 70 60 50
Fat 2.6 1.5 2.5
Saturated Fat 0.6 0.5 2
Trans Fat 0.3 0 0
Cholesterol 2.6 4.5 0
Sodium 11 11 8
Carbohydrate 11 11 8.5
Fiber 0.7 1 1
Protein 1.4 1.5 1

The important thing is how they tasted, right? I preferred the vegan cookies because they had a sweet brown sugar flavor, are more oat-ey, and have a nice crispness. The low-fat cookies are softer and moister; but they had a bit of a banana flavor. I don’t know about you; but I’m not looking for banana in my oatmeal cookies! In the future, I’d consider adding dark chocolate chips or walnuts to boost the heart-healthy properties of these cookies.

Whichever cookie you prefer, I hope you now have some strategies for adjusting recipes when baking and that you will enjoy that occasional cookie, even on your heart-healthy diet!

A day's work for an RD

A day’s work for an RD

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Vegan Oatmeal Cookies

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