HEYYY, Long time no check in. Like usual life (and summer) are flying by!
I often get asked what would be a good substitute for an ingredient. We get used to what should be in a dish but what if I told you that Mac and Cheese can be made with cashews or butternut squash and some nutritional yeast – say wha??? And still delicious? Yes.
Today I’m breaking down 12 Dairy Free Swaps for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks, and even Dessert.
Let’s start with WHY dairy-free?
It’s entirely a personal choice. Some do it for digestion and bloat, others have intolerances and /or allergies, many like to avoid the hormones found in dairy, some see benefits in their skin, others see
I started easing up on dairy a couple years ago and immediately noticed tummy and skin improvements. In addition, I just feel that because we are not baby cows, we don’t NEED dairy. Protein, calcium and vitamin D do exists in other forms 🙂
The idea that we need dairy to get our calcium is just not true because… kale, collard greens, and spinach (among a ton of other veggies!) all have plenty of calcium!
Dairy is also super inflammatory, and inflammation leads a slew of health concerns and symptoms. While cheese is delicious, do you need it?? This post is to prove that there are many replacements that feel just as decadent and yummy as the real deal.
Note: gluten, soy and refined sugars / processed foods can also be inflammatory, so if looking to reduce inflammation don’t forget that it’s not ALL due to dairy.
Dairy-Free Breakfast – All about the nut milk.
Breakfast is one of the EASIEST ways to go dairy-free. Between smoothies/smoothie bowls (sub almond, cashew or hemp milk), oats with nut milk, coconut yogurt, and chia pudding, you’re golden.
Here are some of my favorite breakfast recipes and combos + recipe for HOMEMADE nut milk. It’s easier than you think…
1. DIY Nut Milk Tutorial : While you can totally grab store bought, and trust me, I usually go that route, you can make your own and it’s delicious. My girl Jess over at Health Coach Philly has this tutorial that taught me how to milk my own nuts right at home.
2. Coconut Yogurt with Made in Nature Dried Fruit: What’s better than a parfait with crunchy granola and sweet bites of dried or fresh fruit? Coconut yogurt is a great source of healthy fat – leaving you full and satisfied. Try topping yours with Made in Nature’s mangos, banana slices, or pineapple for a tropical vibe. Made in Nature Dried Fruit can be found here!
3. Pancakes: YUP totally ok to replace regular milk with nut butter, and use coconut oil rather than butter on the pan. If you’re already thinking about fall before Labor Day, or just want an excuse for a summer pumpkin recipes, check this one out.
Dairy-Free Lunch – Dressings and sauces are key.
1. Tahini Based Sauces for Nut-Free Creaminess: Tahini is made from sesame seeds, and lends an earthy, and creamy texture when added to dressings and sauces. I love using it, because it’s super versatile and is nut-free, great for allergy concerns. Here’s a recent post to our B+YND Blog – it’s a zucchini noodle dish with spicy tahini dressing!
2. Cashew Based Dressings: Caesar and ranch dressing … like, come on… how hard are they to give up? I’m amazed how easy it is to recreate the taste using soaked cashews. Soak cashews (or almonds) overnight, or quick soak for 30 minutes in boiling water, and blend the cashews with desired spices and seasonings to recreate a super creamy dressing without the loads of dairy! I’m really proud of this caesar dressing recipe. It’s easily one of my most popular on the blog and I still make it almost weekly to keep in the fridge for lunchtime!
3. Avocado Caprese Salad: Avocado is nature’s butter. I love this fat which is actually a fruit -did ya know? Great on toast in place of butter, duh – but I wanted to give you all a more creative way to use this substitute.
I hope you had a chance to enjoy a caprese salad this summer due to the fresh tomato and basil we have abundant right now. It really is the best kind of salad, light, refreshing and full of different flavors and textures.
But what if you’re avoiding the dairy, try swapping the slices of moss for avocado. They lend a similar texture as the soft cheese. Then top the salad with balsamic reduction and some fresh cracked pepper and course seasalt.
Dairy-Free Dinner – Mac and NO Cheese.
1. Almond Parmesan For…EVERYTHING: Almond Parm is simply ground almonds (use a high speed blender) plus garlic, salt and nutritional yeast OR you can skip the first step and combine the seasonings with almond flour that works too! I like to use this on anything
2. Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese: I know, when I heard that you can substitute butternut squash for cheese I was not buying it either, but TRUST. This flavorful squash pureed and combined with some cashews and a touch of dijon mustard actually brings a depth of flavor and rivals the real deal.
Here’s a recipe I’m dying to try : Oh She Glows
3. Tofu or Almond Ricotta for Pizza: “I could NEVER give up pizza”. Yeah, me neither, and I sure haven’t! Ricotta is my favorite nut or tofu cheese to whip up for a pizza night. A little fresh basil, some great pizza sauce, and a couple spoonfuls of this on the crust and you’ll never miss the cheese. Plus, less gross- no grease.
Here is a tofu ricotta recipe I have tried (and loved) : Simple Vegan Blog
SNACKS ON SNACKS ON SNACKS… + Dessert.
I live for snacks. I love snacks that are crunchy, salty, and cheesy. But I also balance with sweet. Here are a few ways I enjoy dairy-free snack foods.
1. Made in Nature Kale Chips: You guys know by now that I love Made in Nature products because they’re the cleanest out there. The kale chips are no exception. Made with cashews (hell yes) the Bedda Than Chedda Flavor is truly better than any kale chip I’ve ever had. I also love the Rosemary Truffle. These are my go to when I’m craving something salty and savory.
By the way, all Made in Nature Snacks are Dairy-Free! They have tons of gluten-free and vegan options, great for anyone suffering from allergies.
2. Popcorn with Nutritional Yeast: The best for movie nights, I sprinkle sea salt, a drizzle of olive oil and some nutritional yeast (high in b12!) on popcorn for a cheesy flavor. I like using Braggs nutritional yeast best.
3. Time for the grand finale – DESSERT. My favorite dessert swaps are below. I included non-dairy swaps as well – like preferred sugars or egg replacements!
Bake with almond milk rather than dairy milk
Mix vinegar with soy milk to make a buttermilk
Swap a flax egg for a regular egg in recipes (1 tbsp flax + 1 tablespoon water)
Enjoy Life Allergen Free Chocolate Chips – no dairy or soy!
Earth Balance vegan butter in place of regular butter (great for frostings)
Coconut sugar for white sugar – in any dessert that calls for plain white cane sugar, I make sure to use the less refined coconut sugar option.
Dates as a sweetener. You can use Made In Nature Dates to sweeten breads, muffins, and of course smoothies!
This post was sponsored by Made in Nature, but as always, opinions are my own!