Vegan (non-dairy) alternative to cream (for a cream sauce)
I'm lactose intolerant and have been pretty okay with giving up most dairy, but I keep having cravings for pasta with an alfredo or other creamy sauce. I even have a couple of great recipes lined up that I'd like to experiment with, but I have yet to find a good non-dairy cream alternative. I know it won't taste exactly right, but I'm willing to play around with this until I get it right.
Anyone have any good brands to recommend? I live in NYC so I have access to just about everything...
If you're interested in a vegan bechamel sauce, there's a pretty good one in The Whole Soy Cookbook. This is actually part of a 'creamed' corn recipe, but you could just use the sauce.
Soy Bechamel Sauce (paraphrased):
Over med heat, melt 3 tlbs soy margarine in a saucepan; let it bubble. Gradually add 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, stirring constantly. Cook this for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture becomes pale yellow in color. Then slowly whisk in 2 1/2 cups soy milk (milk should be at room temp before adding it; I wouldn't use FF soy milk for this).
After adding the soy milk, stir constantly and bring up to a boil; this should take 2-3 minutes, then remove it from the heat. (At this point you'd add the 20 oz. steamed corn for creamed corn.)
I made a delicious deconstructed asparagus lasagna a few weeks ago w/ a dairy-based bechamel laced with nutmeg. I'll bet that would work wonderfully w/ this sauce, as soy milk has a slightly nutty flavor and would be good w/ the nutmeg and asparagus. If you eat meat, throw a little prosciutto into the lasagna folds when assembling and it would be fantastic.
Years ago, Cooks Illustrated had a recipe for a lowfat alfredo sauce that used roasted garlic as an emulsifier to make up for the fact that lowfat dairy products lack body. It was delicious. I don't have the recipe anymore, but if you like roasted garlic, you could use this idea, combined with some of the other ideas, to give you the creamy texture you're looking for.
If you're not satisfied with the vegan alternatives, I highly recommend goat's milk cream/milk/butter. It's known to go over well with the lactose intolerant.
I've been buying goat's milk butter from Whole Foods. It is so good with bread in the morning.
I normally use puréed silken tofu. However, Fat-Free Vegan had a recipe using puréed cauliflower that I'm dying to try...