Dairy Substitutions

When my doctor first told me that I needed to eliminate dairy from my diet, I thought Oh no! What am I going to eat? It was a lot of learning, experimenting and trial and error. I now prefer my non-dairy alternatives as they’re just as easy to cook with and they don’t cause any of the issues that dairy caused me. Below are my favorites…

Alternatives to milk:

Almond milk-this is my favorite alternative to milk that I would use in a smoothie.  There are a lot of good boxed brands that you can buy, look for unsweetened and read the ingredients to make sure that there isn’t a lot of unnecessary fillers in there. I make my own; it’s easy and quick! The recipe is below.

Cashew milk-this is my favorite alternative to dairy called for in recipes such as quiche that calls for a richer, creamier half and half type of consistency. I make my own, it’s quick and easy! The recipe is below. I also use cashews to make a delicious “ricotta” to use in lasagna, manicotti, on a white pizza or any other recipe that calls for ricotta, it’s also very easy to make and also to make sour cream for dips, dressing and topping on fajitas. A rich and cream ice cream can also be made with cashews. I always keep lots on hand!

Coconut milk–I buy the canned, full fat variety and use it in vegan dishes such as “dairy-free/gluten-free  macaroni and cheese”. It’s also a favorite of mine in desserts. It makes a rich and creamy caramel sauce and is my favorite alternative to real whipped cream! The recipe is below.

Other good dairy substitutes are rice milk, hemp milk and sunflower milk.


Homemade Almond Milk

4 cups of water

1 cup raw almonds

Place the water and the almonds in a high speed blender and blend until mixed well. Put a nut bag into a large bowl (I use a large, 8 cup measuring cup), hold the bag open while pouring the milk through the nut bag to strain the milk and catch the pureed nuts. Pour the milk into a 1 quart glass container and refrigerate. Use within a few days. I put the pureed nuts in my dehydrator at 105 degrees and dehydrate overnight then blend into almond flour and store it in my freezer for use in other recipes.  Makes 1  quart.

Cashew Milk

4 cups of water

1 cup of cashews (soaked for several hours and rinsed) *if you have a high speed blender, you don’t need to soak the cashews

Place water and cashews in a high speed blender and blend until very creamy. No straining is necessary. Place in a glass quart bottle. Use within a few days. I use this in quiches, milkshakes or any other recipe calling for whole milk or half and half. Makes 1 quart.

Coconut Milk Whipped Cream

Canned full fat coconut milk

Pure maple syrup or honey for sweetening

Refrigerate the coconut milk in the can for several hours or overnight so the coconut cream and the liquid coconut milk water will separate. Open the can and gently scoop out the solid coconut cream which has risen to the top and place in a bowl. There should be about 2/3 or more of coconut cream. When you get to the liquid, stop scooping and save the liquid for another use (I like to use it in smoothies). With an electric mixer beat the coconut cream oh high for about 5 minutes until whipped and fluffy. Add a dash or pure maple syrup or honey to taste.
Use within a few days. This whipped cream holds its body very nicely when refrigerated and doesn’t break down like traditional whipped cream does. It can be made a day or two before you need it. I use this as an alternative to whipped cream in cream pies and to top desserts.