I love dairy; always have. But, it’s a personal preference for me. I can take it or leave it. For others, I’ve realized that the choice is not as easy for them. So, if you're reading this particular post, I assume you likely are or are considering going dairy-free. You may have an intolerance, have been told to eliminate dairy, or just want to have less of it.
Either way, dairy is not an essential nutrient, and there are lots of things you can have instead. These include not just milk, but also yogurt, butter, Parmesan, and even pudding and ice cream!
The good news is that dairy-free products are becoming more and more popular. Nowadays you can easily find them in just about any grocery store. But read your labels! Some contain way too much sugar, or other ingredients you may not want to eat or drink.
And, if you’re feeling experimental, I've put together some simple recipes to make delicious dairy-free foods right in your own kitchen.
Go ahead and try these dairy substitutes.
Delicious dairy-free milk
Dairy-free milk is so easy to make and flavor yourself. You can make milk out of just about any nut or seed. You can even make alternative milk out of grains like rice, oats, or quinoa. And you can flavor them too.
It just takes a high-powered blender, some water, and cheesecloth to filter out any remaining bits.
For flavoring, you can add a pinch of cinnamon, cardamom, or vanilla extract. You can also sweeten your milk with soaked dates, maple syrup, or honey.
To make a super-simple dairy-free milk just soak ½ cup of almonds, coconut, or even hemp seeds for a few hours (if you have the time). Soaking is optional, but it makes the blending process easier and the final milk creamier. Then drain the soaking water, rinse the nuts, and add them to a blender with 2 cups of fresh water. Blend on high until smooth (about 1 minute). Add your flavorings, if desired. Then strain through a nut milk bag, fine mesh strainer, or a few layers of cheesecloth.
If you want to make a dairy-free cream, just blend your nuts, seeds and/or grains with 1 cup of water instead of 2 for a thicker, creamier, dairy-free milk.
Delicious dairy-free yogurt
Technically, with the right yogurt starter probiotic culture, you can make yogurt out of any dairy-free milk. The most common one to ferment into yogurt is coconut milk. But you can use almond milk or other nut or seed milk.
The trick here is with the fermentation. Follow the instructions on the label of the yogurt starter culture, and enjoy delicious dairy-free yogurt in a few days.
Delicious dairy-free butter alternatives
Nut and seed butter is a fabulous substitute for dairy butter. Plus, they have the bonus of fiber, protein, and other nutrients that real butter usually doesn't have.
Have you tried coconut oil? It’s a great dairy-free substitute for butter. You can fry with it, or even bake with it. You can even use it to pop popping corn in a pot on your stove.
I love the mild flavor of coconut oil in anything I bake with bananas. I think it tastes better than butter in this case, anyway.
Delicious dairy-free Parmesan
If you haven’t tried nutritional yeast, you will be pleasantly surprised at how much it tastes like grated parmesan. Plus, it contains some B vitamins as well.
It’s a salty, cheesy, flaky powder that you can use wherever you want to add a pop of savory flavor to any dish.
COACH COOKING TIP: After you've popped your popcorn, sprinkle it with a bit of nutritional yeast for a salty, cheesy flavor.
Delicious dairy-free puddings
Did you know you can make a delicious and thick pudding without dairy? That's right; the plant kingdom has some natural thickeners that are full of fiber.
You can make a chocolate pudding with avocado. Take one whole avocado and blend it up with ¼ cup cocoa powder, ¼ cup dairy-free milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and honey or maple syrup to taste. Then add dairy-free milk to thin if desired.
For chocolate chia pudding, use ⅓ cup chia seeds and place in food processor with 1.5 cups dairy-free milk. Wait for 5-10 minutes until the seeds soak up the liquid. Then add ¼ cup cocoa powder, tsp vanilla extract, and honey or maple syrup to taste. Blend into a smooth pudding.
Delicious dairy-free ice cream
While there are plenty of non-dairy ice creams to choose from at your local grocery store, N’ice cream is another delicious non-dairy dessert you can make at home with frozen bananas. I’ve included the recipe for this HERE.
My Bottom Line
If you want (or need) to go dairy-free, it is certainly much easier than it used to be! Making delicious dairy-free yogurt, milk, butter, Parmesan flavor, and even pudding and ice cream is simple.
Are you going to try any of these recipes? Do you have a great one to share as well?
Let me know in the comments below.
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