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Oct 31, 2012 06:21 PM

Sources for dairy-free recipes?

Our 3-year-old may be allergic to milk and i'm looking for dairy-free versions of some things he loves, such as mac and cheese. I've searched for dairy-free recipes but many of them are also vegan, or also gluten-free and the end result is a dish that's far afield from whence it came.

I have tried a few versions of dairy free cheeses. Some have tasted ok and melt well, make things creamy etc but the ingredient list is kind of scary - hydrogenated oils in the Tofutti cream cheese, ugh. I'm hoping to find versions of dishes that don't require too many of these products. For example, I tried a lasagna where you puree tofu in the food processor and use that as a replacement for ricotta. Combined with just a little of the fake cream cheese, it made a decent fake lasagna.

I would love to be able to make a dairy-free mac and cheese for my little guy. I guess in terms of the amount of effort, I'm willing to whir up a block of tofu but I'd rather buy almond milk than make it myself, mostly for the convenience. I;m just trying to limit the amount of the highly processed stuff.

Anyone in the same boat? Got recommendations for websites with dairy-free recipes that don't use a lot of expensive, harder-to-find ingredients?

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    I've heard great things about this recipe. You can get nutritional yeast at whole foods or any health food store.

    8 Replies
    1. re: cheesecake17

      second this. sunflower seeds or cashews plus nutritional yeast was going to be my suggestion as well.

      1. re: cheesecake17

        Can you please explain the benefits of nutritional yeast?

        1. re: Ruthie789

          I read somewhere that the yeast is supposed to help create a "cheesy" flavor. i'm guessing that in this recipe and others, the sunflower seeds or cashews contribute creaminess, and the yeast contributes "cheesiness."

          1. re: Ruthie789

            benefit in what sense? for flavor, it's known as vegan Parmesan - it has a slightly cheesy, nutty flavor, and it turns creamy when heated with liquid.

            nutritionally, it's rich in B12, which is essential for vegans and many vegetarians to supplement since it's only otherwise found in animal products.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              I was wondering about the health benefits, the B12 is good healthwise and as well what to use it for.

          2. re: cheesecake17

            Thanks. Sunflower seeds has me thinking that I might be able to do something with sun butter. I found a few more ideas on the web with searching for sunbutter, though many of those are using it as a peanut replacement.

            1. re: gimlis1mum

              the problem with most commercial sunbutters is that they contain sugar & they're pretty salty. it's great as a PB substitute but it can be tricky if you're incorporating it into a savory recipe. the organic version from the SunButter brand contains no salt or sugar, but it's hard to find. if you can find Maranatha, it contains a little salt, but no sugar.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Aha - I have not bought sunbittern before so I didn't know that . I'll look for the maranatha brand. Thanks!

          3. I like the daiya brand "cheeses" pretty well, they have a couple mac and cheese recipes on their website IIRC. (using their products of course. :) )

            12 Replies
            1. re: jujuthomas

              Look to kosher recipe books and websites. There will be many recipes for "pareve" foods, meaning that they contain no milk or meat products. Just make sure it says 'kosher' and not 'kosher style'.

              And, by the wY, Daiya non dairy cheese is a great alternative to cheese. And I've recently become a huge fan of both almond and almond/coconut milks. Great on cereal!

              1. re: Miri1

                excellent point about kosher recipes, I hadn't thought of that.

                1. re: Miri1

                  oh, great idea. Found lots of recipes for brownies, cakes, etc. that use "regular" ingredients. Thank you!

                  1. re: Miri1

                    We love almond milk. It's parve, not super expensive, and has a great flavor. I like the almond breeze unsweetened vanilla best, but I prefer the shelf stable boxes rather than the ones sold near the regular milk.

                  2. re: jujuthomas

                    I am interested in the daiya cheese, what is special about them versus othe brands?

                    1. re: Ruthie789

                      Daiya just tastes better. It's a rice milk based cheese, comes in cheddar, mozzarella and pepper jack shreds, as well as a coup,e of flavors of wedges that I've heard are great, though I haven't tried them yet.

                      1. re: Miri1

                        I agree, it does taste better. And many of the other rice-based brands have milk protein in them, which rules them out :-(

                    2. re: jujuthomas

                      Daiya is one of the brands we've tried. It tastes pretty good, gets sort of melty, and doesn't have that odd smell that some of the tofu-bases cheese have. I wish it had more protein in it, though - my boy used to get a lot of his protein from dairy. Thus my interest in the tofu lasagna...mixing in a bit of the daiya cheese did hlep to make the filling more melty-cheese-like.

                      1. re: gimlis1mum

                        I made spinach tofu dumplings last week. My toddler ate about 4 one night for dinner. It's not what you originally asked for, but maybe your son would be interested?

                        1. re: cheesecake17

                          I'm interested! My boy loves dumplings.

                          1. re: gimlis1mum

                            Very easy to make, freezes well.

                            1 box spinach
                            1 pkg firm tofu (1lb)
                            Soy sauce
                            Chopped scallions (about 1 tablespoon)
                            Toasted sesame oil
                            Chili garlic paste (can skip it if he doesn't like spicy)

                            Defrost spinach and drain very well. Squeeze in a dish towel.
                            Blot water out of tou and press between layers of paper towels.
                            Combine all ingredients in food processor. I used btwn 1 tsp- 1 tb of the oil and soy sauce. Pulse until combined. It'll be green and white flecked and sticky.

                            Fill dumpling wrappers. I used about 48 round dumpling wrappers. I gathered the edged and sort of pulled together so the top had an opening, but you could also make them in a half moon shape with crimped tops.

                            Steam or freeze.

                    3. There's a decent recipe for butternut squash mac & cheese on the vegan web site Oh She Glows. I made the sauce before and it was not bad.

                      You could also check out the online recipe index for Vegetarian Times magazine.

                      1. And.... Earth Balance has a great dairy-free, soy-free buttery spread.

                        1. I'll second all the Daiya suggestions.

                          Their wedges are great.... not a big fan of their shredded products. I've made mac n cheese with their products and it's pretty tasty. Also, they are soy free a HUGE benefit for us in the dairy free, allergy world.