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Dairy Substitute in Soups

  • m

This month's Sunset magazine has a delicious-sounding recipe for corn chowder with chicken. But it's got cream and my husband has developed severe lactose intolerance. Any ideas for a substitute that will retain the creaminess of the soup?

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  1. I love coconut milk in soups! My favorite is carrot-leek-coconut. Yum.

    1. Julia Child has a recipe where you add rice to the broth, and then puree it - adds a nice creaminess to the soup.

      1. Along MMRuth's line, corn chowder often has potatoes in it. Puree some of the potatoes for thickening.

        1. i'm sorry if this is an insensitive comment (i don't know a lot about lactose intolerance) -- but why not just by lactose-free milk/cream? it's sold most places.

          1. I too can't tolerate milk in my soups... but you are in luck... corn has its own "creaminess". Instead of adding cream, just take 1/2 the soup (before you add the chicken, and puree... also, if you are using fresh corn (which I would assume you would).. I suggest "milking" the cob after you cut off the kernals (I use the dull side of a butter knife.. just run it down the cob to extract some of the corn "milk"... this works great for old fashioned creamed corn as well as adding a little body to the soup.

            1. Well, heavy cream (not whipping cream) has a very small amount of lactose, so if your husband tolerates small quantities of heavy cream (many severely lactose intolerant people do, after all), you might be able to use some. It's milk that's the prime culprit, because when they separate out the cream, the milk sugars are with the milk rather than the fat.

              1. I frequently use Silk brand soy milk as a substitute for milk or cream in soup and other dishes. Use the regular rather than vanilla or sweetened. You'll be surprized how little a compromise this is.

                1. Learn your husband's lactose threshold, measured in grams.

                  Karl S. is mostly correct.

                  While milk may cause upset --
                  at 11 grams lactose for 1 cup reduced fat milk --
                  ½ cup of half and half or light cream contains only 4 grams lactose.

                  Whipping cream contains even less – for ½ cup, less than 4 grams lactose
                  Sour cream -- 1/4 cup contains 2 grams lactose

                  Yogurt or cottage cheese may work:
                  Yogurt, plain, low-fat, 5 grams lactose
                  Cottage cheese, 1/2 cup 2-3 grams lactose
                  Swiss cheese, 1 oz. 1 gram lactose
                  Ice cream, 1/2 cup 6 grams lactose

                  Intereesting tidbits: Hard or aged cheese contains little or no lactose. Yogurt with active cultures and without milk solids can digest the lactose while in the bowel, so that is another possibility.

                  You've received some excellent suggestions -- to puree cooked rice or the chowder potatoes with some of the chowder liquid to create creaminess. And I love the pureed cauliflower idea because that flavor would merge with the corn so well.

                  Soy milk is a good dairy-free option, as would be almond milk.

                  Be sure your husband has lactose intolerance and not milk allergy. One is an inability to digest a sugar, the other a severe reaction to a protein, the casein molecule. The symptoms differ:

                  Symptoms of lactose intolerance:
                  Gas
                  Abdominal pain or cramping
                  Nausea
                  Diarrhea
                  Symptoms of milk allergy:

                  Symptoms of milk allergy:
                  Itchy, red rash
                  Eczema
                  Hives
                  Swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue, face, or throat
                  Abdominal pain or cramping
                  Gas
                  Diarrhea
                  Vomiting
                  Wheezing

                  Lactose intolerance can fade in and out, like a bad radio. For several reasons, the body can stop producing lactase, the needed enzyme, and then start producing it again. Quantity is also an issue -- while a half-cup of milk may be fine, a whole cup won't be. Again, get informed by consulting a doctor and reading credible information sources -- lots of inaccurate info out there about LI and milk allergy.

                  1. a puree of cauliflower also might work..

                    1. see if you can find a non dairy creamer or similar in a kosher market.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: smartie

                        I was told by a restaurant supply salesman that many restaurants use non-dairy creamer in their soups because it is more stable through the day than actual cream or milk. I think it is worth a try.

                      2. We've used almond mylk in soups as well as for baking and on cereal. We prefer Pacific brand lowfat vanilla for most things.

                          1. http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...
                            Depending on the seasoning in your original recipe, this recipe uses avocado puree to give a creamy quality. Alternatively you could try tempering an egg and working it into the soup.