Book Review: The Complete Food Substitutions Handbook

Book Details:

Book Title: The Complete Food Substitutions Handbook

Author: Jean B. MacLeod

Genre: Non-fiction, Food, Reference

Publisher: Self-Published / Indie

Publication Date: November 6th, 2018


Book Rating:

4 out of 5 Stars ✩✩✩✩

For the Novice and Foodie Cooks, And Anyone Who Is On A Special Diet, such as Gluten-Free

My Review:

With many dietary restrictions, as well as vegetarian and vegan family members, our recipes often have to be adjusted to accommodate our needs and tastes to ensure that everyone can eat the same meal. This can become complicated at times so that often I am scouring the internet for substitutions.

However, The Complete Food Substitutions Handbook makes this process a lot easier. Not only does it contain a list of substitutions for ingredients that are common, but also for some not so common parts of a meal, as well as quick tips on how to make things like almond milk yourself, should you not have any on hand.

Don’t get me wrong, this book is not just for vegans and vegetarians, but also mentions gluten-free options, and makes substitutions for those of us, with a more standard diet, easier as well.

Some of the listings come with extra information – such as if an ingredient becomes more expensive when using that particular substitution or nutritional differences. Changes in texture and appearance are also often mentioned, which I particularly found informative, and important, considering that I have dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). 

The Complete Food Substitution Handbook is from now on going to be a staple in my household, that I will happily share with everyone in the family.

The only reason I did not give this book 5 stars is that it completely lacks any images. When it comes to cookbooks or food-related books, I prefer at least some images within the context of a book, as it stimulates the appetite, and just simply adds to the overall aesthetic appeal of a food-related book. Otherwise, I highly recommend this book! 

Available On Amazon! 


The Complete Food Substitutions Handbook is a comprehensive listing of thousands of ingredients from the familiar and commonplace to the exotic and hard-to-find, plus all the available substitutes for each particular entry.

Whether looking to replace a missing component, seeking a healthier or leaner equivalent, or merely wanting a cheaper alternative, you won’t be disappointed.

Are you a budding baker, recipe maker, or culinary risk taker? Look no further. There are ideas aplenty to stir the imagination. Plus, a wealth of options to satisfy your creative spirit.

Whether you have food allergies, dietary restrictions, or ethical dos and don’ts, this book has you covered. Also, it’s one you’ll turn to time and time again. Because: choosing the right swap can sometimes spell the difference between a recipe’s success and a recipe’s failure.



About the Author:

Jean B. MacLeod is a native of Liverpool, England and a writer of practical hints for the home and garden. An enthusiastic culinarian, she is a member of the Culinary Historians of Southern California and Slow Food USA. She lives in the Los Angeles area.




  1. With kind crappy food that we ate eating these days we need this book so that we can learn and install dispirine in our choices of what we eat .the book like this need actually to inteegrated  in our learn and so that  we can learn the Importance of eating healthy and hygienically prepared food.

    1. Author

      indeed, we all could benefit from eating healthier. I hope that some of the cookbooks I review on this blog, will help others to be inspired to try something different, and better for them. Thanks for stopping by! 

  2. OMG thanks for sharing, I have been looking to try to eat healthier since the new year. I’m glad I found your site with all this information and particularly this book. So basically it’s a food substitution book, which gives you alternatives to eat healthier. Is this right? also, do you know if the book has any recipes? or at least some substitutions for tex-mex meals? thanks!

    1. Author

      Sadly no direct recipes, but only recipes on how to make substitutes for individual ingredients. That would have been surely great! Amazon allows you to see a sample of the book so you can see if it is the right fit for you. Blessings! 

  3. Your website looks fantastic and the complete food substitutions handbook would be a great addition to the kitchen.  I agree, I like pictures with recipes and it just simply adds to the content.  Just like we write articles, breaking up the words is nice with images.  I never knew there was such a book for substitutions so this was a real eye opener.

    I really like the layout of the article, the website as a whole and I believe you are on the right track.  Keep going!

    1. Author

      Thank you, Jeffrey, I am glad that you like my site. As for the book, I am happy to overlook the small flaw of not including images, however, I hope the Author keeps our comments on this in mind, when she decides to write another food-related book. Blessings! 

  4. Hi – thanks for sharing this review. I am a keen cook and foodie, and love to host dinner parties. It seems that these days that everybody is following some form of restricted diet. This book looks ideal for me, as I could cater for everybody using the different food substitutions. Shame it doesn’t have any images. Is it just a list of the substitutions or are there recipes as well? All the best, Diane

    1. Author

      Hi Diane, yes there are some short recipes on how to create substitutions but not actual full meal recipes. And you are so right about everyone restricting their diet in some way or form for many reasons. My daughter was recently tested for Celiac disease, which thankfully she does not have, but this book would have helped if she would not have been so lucky. Blessings! 

  5. Hello Claudia,

    I enjoyed reading your blog. This was quite a read. I’ll be looking to get this for my wife, she loves cooking especially for my bi family. The Complete Food Substitution Handbook would be a good buy, at least it would help my wife with new recipes and options to our normal diet.

    How much does this book cost and can we get all the ingredients listed in Africa?

    Thanks for sharing

    warm regards

    1. Author

      Hi there, considering that I have never been to Africa, it would be presumptuous for me to tell you yes, however, there are many substitutions for individual ingredients, so you may get lucky. As for the price, at this very moment it is 3.99 US Dollars on Amazon, however, that is always subject to change, and the physical book is much cheaper. I hope that helped. Blessings! 

  6. Thank you so much for this review. I am a vegan and you do not know how much i appreciate to know that a book like this exists. So many times i follow recipes to find out that there are ingredients that i can’t use because of my dietary choice, but now thanks to you my problem has been resolved. Thank you really so mcuh and i will be ordering this book straight away.

    1. Author

      I am glad that you are – yes, a vegan (like my daughter) will greatly benefit from this. We have been digging for substitutions all around Google, over the last few years, but having a resource for it all, just made our lives so much easier. Blessings! 

  7. Hey there Claudia,

    for quite a long time as of now I’ve been a vegetarian, however I am seriously thinking about going vegan because I see a lot of amazing health and environmental benefits that come with becoming one. Just like with every type of diet, it is very important to have it properly balanced, and being vegan is definitely not easy, especially at first when You are making the switch. Therefore I am very happy that I’ve stumbled across Your article because this book might be just what I am looking for! I am really impressed by The Complete Food Substitutions Handbook because it does contain a huge and detailed list of substitutions for common ingredients which would truly help me out a lot particularly when I am preparing meal for my whole family. I’ve also found the fact that this book offers very helpful tips & tricks, like how to make almond milk yourself and more to be very exciting and helpful. As I spent a lot of time in the kitchen daily (and I love doing so by the way, haha!) sometimes I might not have a few so needed products, thus it would be very cool & beneficial to learn ways on how to make some of them myself from the ingredients which I do have.

    Thanks for such informative article, it truly motivated me to start making a transition to veganism! Keep up the great work Claudia and best of luck to You 😉

    1. Author

      thank you so much. My daughter is vegan, my son is vegetarian, my husband a meat eater, and I am on dietary restrictions due to allergies, and swallowing difficulties – and all of us have benefited from this book! I hope you will enjoy it as much as we have. Blessings! 

  8. Thank you so much for this review. My old mama has been looking for a book like this, she has been restricted to a particular kind of foods. She wants to reduce weight and keep a good shape. She now eats more of vegetables and fruits, she is getting tired of it already. 

    I do hope this book will offer solutions by way of other foods she can eat without gaining weight. Thank goodness it is available on Amazon. 

    1. Author

      Hi there, I am sure your Mama could get quite a bit of use from this book. There is something for everyone in there, and I especially enjoyed that it mentioned if the substituted ingredient would make the dish a lot more expensive. As many of us are on a budget, that was surely a nice addition. Blessings! 

  9. This looks like a most useful book to have. I love that it gives both hard to find and then more common food replacements. I am sure that people with allergies and people on special diets will find this very useful to have.

    I see the price on Kindle is only $3.99, and 4 x that amount if bought as a paperback. I personally would rather pay a little extra as it’s always best to see and reach for a physical book than try to find it on your Kindle each time you need it.

    1. Author

      I would suggest the physical book as well, even if it is quite a bit more expensive. I got it on Kindle before I noticed my mistake, but will be giving the physical edition to my friend for her birthday shortly. Thanks for reading the review. Blessings! 

  10. Hello Claudia.  The review was great info – I had no idea food substitution info was available.  Would it be possible for you to give us some actual examples of substitutions?  Is it also possible for you to include a picture of one or even part of a page just so we can see what the book looks like before we buy?  Are they only for health or vegan options?  For example, I am an American living in South America.  There are lots of spices, sauces, and other things we used in the US that they simply don’t carry down here.  For example, yesterday I went to the grocery store looking for cocktail sauce for fried shrimp, but they don’t carry it.  So then I looked for horseradish to mix with ketchup, but they didn’t have that either.  But they did have Wasabi powder which I learned is mostly horseradish, so problem solved.  Are there issues like that in the book?

    Thanks again.

    1. Author

      Hi there Steve, due to copyright, I am not at the liberty to share that much information about a book. It would violate the Author’s rights. However, if you want to see a sample of the book, Amazon allows a sneak peek of it.  Yes, you could have found substitutions for horseradish in the book, however not for condiments, like cocktail sauce. You will also be able to find dairy-free options, egg-substitutions, gluten-free options and many other ways to work around recipes to make them your own. I hope that answered your question. 

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