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Mar 13, 2009 08:05 PM

If you HAD to use margarine...

I usually make my tomato sauce similar to the Hazan butter-onion sauce, but I need to modify the recipe for vegans. Has anyone had luck with a particular margarine? I hate to sacrifice the richness.


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  1. I used unsalted Fleischmans all the time, and I have no problems. I also bake with it. I keep a kosher house and can't use butter with meat, and nobody I cook for has ever complained, they all love whatever I make.

    1. I was looking for vegan margarine recently and was surprised how many of them have some milk ingredients in them, so look at the ingredient labels carefully.

      1. I never use margarine so I can't remember the name, but I am sure there is one that is made from olive oil. Would fit in nicely with the Italian theme.
        Is it Oliveta or something like that?

        1 Reply
        1. re: billieboy

          Olivia is good, but not vegan - it has milk solids.

        2. Earth Balance makes a very nice one (I'm allergic to milk so have no choice about not using butter). But word of caution - they just changed their packaging and the vegetarian spread looks almost exactly like their one with part butter! Shame on them. Some Trader Joe's carry it you can also find it at Whole Foods, and Ralphs/Kroger.

          1 Reply
          1. re: hbpthomas

            I strongly second the recommendation for Earth Balance. I don't like margarine at all, but this stuff is not too bad and very handy if you have vegan friends. Though honestly I find it's much easier to just make something that is vegan rather than try to alter something to be vegan. Either way, good luck!

          2. hmmm... What about trying a batch using olive oil to see if it works out okay? Personally, I've never tasted a margarine I liked.

            8 Replies
            1. re: Caroline1

              Nope. It will not be the same - it needs to be a fat that is solid at room temperature to have a chance of doing the same emulsifying magic and it also has to have the predominantly sweet flavor profile of butter. If you go with oil, do a different sauce, not this one. It's all about the sweetness of the tomato fruit, the sweetness of the onion and the sweetness of the butter. Oil fundamentally alters the nature of the sauce.

              1. re: Karl S

                And exactly where did I say it will be the same? Look, there are "solid at room temperature fats" and there are "solid at room temperature fats." Of them all, margarines are, as a group, the least healthy simply because in order to get them to be solid at room temperature, the manufacturers end up doing nasty things to oil (hydrogenating them) in order to gain that consistency. And in my personal tasting experience, there are NO margarines that taste LIKE butter. Some are more reminiscent of butter than others, but for me, the "butter substitute" that tastes most like butter when used properly is a product called Molly McButter, which, even though a "dry" powder form, contains "partially hydrogenated soy bean oil AND milk solids (natural butter flavor) so it's not that good a choice for the OP's purposes either.

                Olive oil comes in a wide variety of natural flavors and is immensely more healthy than any margarine. If you will please read my post again, all I suggested was that she try olive oil to see if she finds the resultant flavor satisfactory. I made NO claim that she would duplicate the flavor that real butter provides. For my own purposes, when I use butter, I use grass fed organic butter, which is far more healthy that the standard butter on the average super market shelf. In cooking, as in life, there are rarely trade-offs that are 100% satisfactory. But occasionally, one does find a trade-off that results in an improvement. You just never know until you try, do you?

                1. re: Caroline1

                  The OP wants similarity. Hence my comment.

                  1. re: Caroline1

                    Though, speaking or "solid at room temperature fats," I wonder if using palm oil or a mix of olive oil and palm oil might work...

                    1. re: jzerocsk

                      Well, it couldn't be an olive oil with pronounced flavor...which sorta exemplifies the problem with using olive oil....

                      1. re: Karl S

                        EXCEPT...... Some people really groove on the flavor of olive oil. Which is why I suggested she try it in a small batch. If she likes it, great. Make a bunch! Olive oil is standardly used in Italian style tomato based sauces. Tomato modifies the flavor of olive oil. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

                        As for using palm oil, jz, the jury is (maybe) still out on just how healthy palm oil is when it comes to saturated fats and cholesterol levels. I say "sort of" still out because there is lots of evidence showing it's not a heart-healthy food, but the governments of some of the countries (one of the countries?) that produces palm oil is trying hard to refute the evidence. Personally, I try very hard to steer clear of saturated fats.

                        1. re: Caroline1

                          That may be, but the flavor and consistency of olive oil would fundamentally make this *not* Hazan's recipe. Which might still be a nice sauce, but it's just something different. It's not a substitution in the proper sense. It's not like subbing a mixture of AP flour and cake flour for pastry flour. It's like subbing stilton for mozzarella on pizza.

                          1. re: Caroline1

                            Well sure, but the recipe is being modified to make it vegan, not more's not like the butter in the original recipe was super heart-healthy to begin with :-)