Lauren’s Kitchen: My Favorite Dairy Free Hacks

May 11, 2015

Summer is probably the easiest time to ditch dairy as the appeal for “creamy and rich” certainly lessens when the temps and humidity creep up. Having said that, I fully believe this is not an either or proposition. You can have creamy and rich AND be dairy free, it will just come from plant based sources.

While switching what you put in your coffee or tea and what you give the kids to drink can be fairly straight forward, maneuvering in this new territory when preparing meals can, at first, pose a challenge. Stocking your kitchen with some basics and having a few handy substitutions in your repertoire will allow you a good deal of flexibility in your cooking as well as permit you to continue using your tried and true recipes.

Here are some of the Hubele Family favorites from a variety of sources you may want to check out. I hope they inspire you to make the leap!

Coconut yogurt replaces crème fraichcoconut yogurt
Katy Salter, blogger for The Debrief, sings the praises of coconut yogurt in place of crème fraiche which is a staple in most European kitchens. She found that it can be served with deserts as well as to make savory dips and dressings by adding lemon, seas salt and herbs. It can be bought at most grocery stores or you can certainly DIY it.

Whipped coconut milk replaces whipped cream
Coconut milk saves the day here. By placing a can in the fridge for several hours and then spooning out the thick top to whip, you can create delectable cream for desserts. The remainder can be used in smoothies, soups or curries. I suggest keeping a can or two in the fridge this way you will always be prepared. Want to give this a test run? May I suggest making this incredible parfait by Delish Knowledge.

Cashew cream replaces whole cream
An easy recipe for cashew creamCashew cream is one of the most powerful tools that any vegan home cook can have in his or her arsenal. This simple cashew cream can be modified according to the application; add a bit of sugar for desserts, or lemon and sea salt for savory dishes.

Makes 2 1/2 – 3 cups (can easily be halved)
2 cups raw cashews
1 cup cold water, plus more as needed
1/2 – 3/4 teaspoons sea salt (optional)
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)
2 tablespoons evaporated cane juice, demerara sugar, or maple syrup (optional)
Here are the full instructions.

“Cheezy” sauce replaces cheese sauce
While there are countless recipes out there, this is a family favorite because it is simple and has only 5 ingredients. It can be made ahead or in batches if you a cheese sauce kind of family.

3/4 cup unsweetened, organic unflavored almond milk (I prefer Califia Farms)
6 tbsp nutritional yeast (Bob’s Red Mill makes one you can find most grocery stores or bulk food stores)
1 tbsp Earth Balance or other non-dairy buttery spread
1 tbsp all purpose flour (replace with brown or sweet rice flour for GF)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder, we replace with a scallion or a tablespoon of a small chopped shallot
1/2 tsp kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Here are the full instructions.

Hemp seeds replaces cream in dressingsHemp cream
While there are several plant based ingredients that will make your salad dressing creamy, my go-to these days happens to be hemp seeds. I love the powerhouse of nutritional benefits they provide and since we sub cashews and coconut for many other uses, it gives me an opportunity to mix it up a bit.

Here are the ingredients to make a standard hemb-based dressing in a blender, but you will certainly want to read further for several variations offered by Veggie Voyager.

2 T hemp seeds
1/3 cup citrus juice, lemon, lime, orange, or combination
1/2 cup olive oil
1 scallion
Salt & Pepper to taste


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