Dairy free recipes don’t have to taste like they’re missing something. In fact, some of Chef V’s favorite meal creations are vegan recipes with delicious cheese substitutes such as nutritional yeast and cashews.
For some people, cheese is an essential ingredient for all things pasta and pizza. But I want to share with you some delicious dairy free recipes. Some of these meals I’ll share with you are actually vegan recipes.
Personally, I’m not vegan. Nor am I dairy free. I’ll eat a cheeseburger once in a very blue moon.
Before I share some of my favorite dairy free recipes and vegan recipes with you, allow me to elaborate on what I just said above. You see, my eating philosophy mirrors that of famous food writer Michael Pollan: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
In Pollan’s book “Food Rules,” he has some other advice I wholeheartedly agree with:
“If it’s a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don’t.”
“Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of your milk.”
“It’s not food if it arrived through the window of your car.” (The good news is you can enjoy delicious drive through vegan recipes if you’re in the San Diego area. Thanks to Plant Power Fast Food.)
I also agree with his last rule in Food Rules: “Break the rules once in awhile.” That’s why once in a very blue moon I’ll have a burger or steak. And that’s why if you’ve never tried dairy free recipes or vegan recipes, try breaking your rules of eating. And with the recipes I’m about to share with you, you won’t be disappointed!
Dairy Free Recipes for Pasta that are also Vegan Friendly
Who says you need real cheese in pasta? Dairy is one of the most inflammatory-promoting foods. And in the U.S., we consume way too much calcium from dairy. This is bad news for your bones. Although calcium is thought to be good for your bones, too much is very bad. In fact, the countries with the highest calcium consumption also have the highest rates of hip fractures and osteoporosis. The relationship is not a coincidence. Hopefully, this frightening fact provides motivation for you to try one of my favorite dairy free recipes, Vegan Alfredo.
Alfredo dishes are usually very heavy, loaded with cream and cheese. But my version uses raw cashews and almond milk. This combination, believe it or not, gives this pasta dish a creamy mouth-feel without making you feel sick, bloated, gassy or guilty! Check out the recipe here.
I have a couple other pasta dairy free recipes. If you’ve been following this blog, you may know my fondness for pumpkin recipes. One of them is a gluten-free, vegan-friendly pumpkin lasagna with faux ricotta. The ricotta is made from macadamia nuts. Speaking of nuts, how crazy is it that you can make nuts have a cheesy texture? (Thank you, Vitamix!) To be honest, about a decade ago, I don’t think I would have been able to be vegan. But now, with all these great recipes, it’s super easy. The best part is you don’t feel like you’re missing out. Even though the meals are lighter than their dairy counterparts.
Another one of my favorite dairy free recipes that uses macadamia nuts instead of cheese is my gluten-free Pumpkin Ravioli.
Dairy free recipes and vegan recipes that taste amazing thanks to nutritional yeast
Let’s hop culinary continents. If you love Mexican food, you can make your favorite dairy free recipes with my vegan sour cream. How does it taste so creamy? Cashews. But there’s one vegan and dairy-free ingredient in my sour cream you might not be familiar with: nutritional yeast.
I can’t do without nutritional yeast in my pantry. Now, I realize the name nutritional yeast might not sound appetizing (thanks to you, yeast infections!). But if you can get over the name and give it a try, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Nutritional yeast recipes have flourished over the years because of its uncanny ability to mimic the texture and taste of cheese.
One important nutritional yeast health benefits for vegans is its relatively high amount of vitamin B12. B12 is critical for your nerve cells. Nutritional yeast allows vegans to get their B12 requirements without getting a B12 injection. (But I recommend if you are vegan to get a blood test by your doctor to make sure your B12 is adequate.)
Other nutritional yeast health benefits include other vitamins and minerals. Aside from the B12 benefit, many people who use nutritional yeast probably don’t use it as a superfood; they do so because it helps dairy free recipes taste rich and nutty.
Another of my dairy free recipes with nutritional yeast is Raw Vegan Avocado Zoodles. Instead of regular noodles, I use zucchini (hence, zoodles).
Dairy free recipes: dessert
I can’t sign off of this blog post without giving you at least one dairy free recipe that also happens to be vegan. Warning: this dessert is decadent. But who says you have to feel guilty while eating decadently? With my Vegan Homemade Tiramisu, you don’t. You might be wondering, Chef V, what do you use for the mascarpone? Glad you asked! Surprise, surprise, I use nuts (cashews). For the lady fingers I use coconut oil.
Now look, if you don’t exercise, eat a bunch of chips (even if they are vegan and dairy-free) and several slices of my tiramisu, that’s not healthy either. But isn’t it nice to know that you can lead a balanced life and enjoy the finer things in life without sacrificing taste, texture and your health?
I have several more dairy free recipes and vegan recipes in my cookbook, Making Healthier Easier.