Yogurt, cheese, butter, and milk are all foods many of us grew up eating and loving without much thought. There was nothing quite like ice cream for dessert, buttermilk pancakes for breakfast, buttered biscuits at dinner, and creamy yogurt mixed with some fruit in a pretty parfait glass as a nice, creamy snack. And let’s not forget the milk and cream many of us may have, (or perhaps some still do), use in our morning coffee. All of these dairy-based foods are eaten by people all over the world every single day, although we now know that dairy is one of the most detrimental foods to our health. It’s been linked to cancer, heart disease, inflammation, digestive issues, hormonal changes, and even mood disorders, making it obvious that we’re much better off without it in our diets.
But dairy isn’t always easy to give up at the drop of a hat, even though it’s well-worth it. So to help you transition away from dairy, we’re going to share some of our favorite dairy-free recipes you can implement into your menus to help you on your dairy-free journey.
Whip up some of these creamy dairy-free delights as soon as you can; you’re going to love how awesome you feel and how great these taste!
1. Vanilla Nut Cashew Creamer
Miss the milk and cream in your coffee? Have no fear! You can make a rich, decadent cashew creamer that is truly even more delicious than the dairy-filled kind. It’s slightly sweet, rich, thick, dissolves perfectly in coffee, and unlike milk, cashews are packed with nutrients that benefit your whole health. They’re also mild in flavor so you won’t feel like you’re drinking a handful of cashews, just in case you were wondering! Check out this recipe, or even pick up some dairy-free cashew creamer at your local grocer. It’s available by many brands and will last over a month in the fridge.
2. Cashew Cream Cheese
Okay, so not all dairy-free recipes have to be cashew-based, but when it comes to cheese, cashews are a win! This is especially true when you’re looking to replace cream cheese. One reason being that because once soaked, cashews plump up and blend really easily into a thick, super decadent creamy texture. Try this cream cheese recipe which uses nothing more than soaked cashews and a little bit of salt for flavor. You won’t believe how easy it is! Or, for a thicker spread, you can try cashew coconut cheese that goes great over crackers.
3. Coconut Yogurt
Greek yogurt is one of the most popular selling dairy items today. It’s convenient, high in protein, calcium, magnesium and potassium. But there’s no need to fret because life without Greek yogurt is possible, and you’ll feel much better without all that hard-to-digest protein – we promise! Coconut yogurt is a great replacement to Greek yogurt because it’s thick in texture, very creamy and silky, and it contains a large amount of amino acids, despite not being a complete protein like milk. Coconut is also a great source of healthy fats and fiber to keep you full like Greek yogurt. You can find it at the store (choose unsweetened varieties to avoid added sugars), or for a better option, make your own raw coconut yogurt at home.
4. Homemade Plant Milks
Whether you choose almond, cashew, flax seed, coconut, oat, hemp seed, sunflower seed, or even peanut and cacao milk, all plant-based milks are best when they’re made fresh in your own home. Each one has a unique taste and creamy texture, so try out new varieties to see which ones you enjoy the most. These plant-based milks are full of minerals, vitamins, and even protein and fiber your body can use to keep you satisfied and energized. If you want something with more sustenance, choose nut and seed based options in place of grain milks like oat and rice milk, which are higher on the glycemic index and don’t have as many healthy fats and protein. If you have a nut allergy, try coconut (a fruit), oat, rice or seed-based milks. There’s a little something for everyone! Also check out these tips to see where to use each type of milk for the best results to replace dairy.
5. Coconut Butter
In place of dairy butter, go with coconut butter. It’s the absolute best to replicate the effects of butter in a recipe, though coconut oil also works pretty well. Though these fats are high in saturated fat, they’re much different than the fats in dairy butter. Coconut is free of cholesterol, while butter is very high in harmful cholesterol. Coconut butter’s fats are also predominantly used by the liver to process into energy, though you should still be mindful of how much you eat since a little goes a long way. If you don’t like the taste of coconut, go with non-raw forms of coconut butter which are milder in taste. For the rest of you that love the flavor of coconut and just want something warm and creamy to melt on top of oatmeal, or you need something to bake and cook with (it’s awesome with veggies!), then you’ll definitely make your own, or buy raw coconut butter. It’s life-changing!
Parfaits are a classic dish most people love to enjoy for a snack. They’re quick, easy and a great way to add a variety of flavors and textures into one recipe. The best way to replicate the texture and creaminess of dairy in a parfait is to use a mix of frozen bananas and some non-dairy milk, or implement coconut or almond yogurt in place of dairy yogurt. Try these parfait recipes to give it a shot: Hazelnut Chocolate Parfait, Pumpkin Ice Cream and Brownie Parfait, Banana Split Cheesecake Parfait, Chocolate Mint, Mousse and Berry Parfait, and check out these 5 tips to make a quick vegan parfait in just minutes!
Sorbet is usually naturally vegan since it’s primarily fruit-based, however, some versions at the store do include milk, which is easy to overlook unless your read labels. Most also have added sugars and additives. Let’s just skip all those unnecessary ingredients and make a quick sorbet at home instead. What do ya say? Try our Pineapple Sorbet, Strawberry Banana Sorbet, Mango Sorbet With Banana and Pineapple, or Rhubarb, Rosewater and Lime Sorbet. To make your own sorbet, all you really need is a good blender, some frozen fruit of choice and a splash of non-dairy milk. In just minutes, you’ve got a raw vegan dessert that’s much better than any kind you’ll find at the store, guaranteed!
8. Ice Cream
Ice cream is easy to make vegan, just like plant-based milks or creams are. You can either non-dairy milk into ice cubes and blend those in a high-speed blender to make quick ice cream without a machine, or you can process frozen bananas to make ice cream in a food processor, or blend those in a blender too. Flavor your ice cream however you want, and choose from other base options such as cashews, nut butter and fruit, coconut cream, or even a few other varieties too. Check out our vegan ice cream recipes and let us know your favorite!
9. Creamy Soups
Many soups such as tomato soup, French onion, and clam chowder include milk, cheese, butter, sour cream, and some soups even have them all! The easiest way to replace these items in soup is to go with coconut milk or cashew milk in place of dairy milk, use nutritional yeast in place of dairy cheese, opt for coconut butter or coconut oil in place of butter (or use vegan butter products at the store), and use cashew or coconut cream in place of sour cream (or even whipped cream for desserts!). Check out all our soups that are dairy-free and delicious, no cow’s milk needed!
10. Pies of All Kind!
Pies normally come with some sort of dairy-based topping like whipped cream, sour cream, and many even incorporate ice cream into the mix. To nix the cholesterol in your recipes and go lactose-free, opt for some non-dairy options such as coconut cream, cashew cream, or just use a store bought vegan ice cream product to replicate the ice cream if you don’t want to make your own. Banoffe Pie, No Bake Mississippi Mud Pie, Banana Toffee Pie, Raw Lemon Meringue Pie, and No-Bake Super Creamy Cheesy Peanut Butter Pie are all great options to test out. See more vegan pie recipes here, and check out all of our cake recipes while you’re at it too!
See how delicious dairy-free living can be? Give these a try and let us know which one of these recipe ideas you’re going to make first!
Lead Image Source: Raw Lemon Meringue Pie