Have you ever considered going dairy-free?  There are a variety of reasons you may be considering it ranging from allergies, intolerance, preference, wanting to try new recipes, ethical,  weight-loss, or simply just want to have less of it, etc.    I went dairy-free in 2006 and I can’t lie, it was a bit more difficult than I thought it would be.  Back then, not a lot of dairy substitutes existed so it had to a tad hardcore.  I think because my reasons for eliminating dairy fell in line with how I was choosing the way I ate overall, it was easier to adhere to, but still, it took practice and leaning into it.  That said, I personally am so happy I made the decision.  These days, it is much easier but still be patient with yourself!

No matter the reason it is good to know that 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, cheese, pudding, and even ice cream!

Dairy-free products are becoming more and more popular. Nowadays you can easily find them in the grocery store. But read your labels!  Just because they are dairy-free does not mean they are healthier for you. Some contain way too much sugar, or other ingredients you may not want to eat or drink.    They are still processed foods so watch the intake.

I’ve put together some simple recipes to make delicious dairy-free foods right in your kitchen. So you can have fresh, non-processed, substitutions.

Give some of these a try and remember it’s new, so it takes practice and patience.

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 (which you can pick up in almost any grocery store) 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, and add 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 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 air pop my popcorn and then take my hands and mix up some coconut oil in it – delicious!!!

I love the mild flavor of coconut oil in anything I bake with bananas. It tastes better than butter anyway.

For baking, this is one area I do use a pre-bought dairy-free butter.  My personal favorite is Earth Balance but there are a few out there so experiment and find what you like.

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.  I use it on top of everything from Italian dishes, chili, tofu scramble, kale chips, etc.  I had to get over the name (it doesn’t sound very appealing) and once I did, it became a quick staple item.

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

N’ice cream is another delicious dessert made with frozen bananas. I’ve included the recipe for this below and can tell you, I’ve made it many times and both kids and adults love it!

Conclusion

 Dairy-free is easy! 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.

Recipe (dairy-free): Chocolate Almond N’ice Cream

 Serves 2

2 bananas, chopped and frozen

1 tbsp cocoa powder, unsweetened

2 tbsp almond butter, unsweetened

Instructions:

1 – Add chopped frozen bananas to a food processor. Pulse or lightly blend until almost smooth.

2 – Add cocoa powder and nut butter. Pulse or lightly blend until mixed.

Serve immediately & enjoy!

Tip: Try different nut and/or seed butter. Or instead of cocoa powder and/or seed butter, use just the bananas with a ½ cup of frozen berries. The recipe combinations are endless.

In Health and Happiness,

~Nancy🍃