Want to eat foods that use dairy, but without actually having dairy? Whether you're after buttered toast, cereal, a cake or something sweet, there are always plant-based alternatives to dairy that can be found. Many come up trumps too when it comes to nutrition, and of course, taste, and "yumminess"! Our expert nutritionist Lucy-Ann Prideaux takes a look at some dairy-free alternatives to common foods:
Dairy allergies and sensitivities, coupled with many peoples ethical decisions to avoid dairy-based foods, means dairy-free milks are sky-rocketing in their popularity, and sales. Dairy-free milks are
now widely available in all major supermarkets, as well as independent health stores. Look for almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, and oat milk which are possibly the most popular, as well as being delicious when used for smoothies, or enjoyed with oats, mueslis or granolas.
Of course you can make your own nut milks at home, simply by soaking nuts or seeds overnight and blending with water. Nut milks are best strained, and the pulp can be used in dessert recipes, curry sauces, or added to smoothies. All are nutritious and highly digestible too.
Nut and seed butters are the best replacements to dairy butter. Almond butter, hazelnut butter and pumpkin seed butter are exciting to use, perfect as spreads, additions to smoothies, or for homemade energy bars and desserts too. However don’t discount avocado, which is also known as “Midshipman’s butter”! This dates back to the 1700’s when European sailors used avocado as a spread for biscuits! There is also coconut butter which can be used in any way one might use dairy butter.
I think the best replacements or “alternative choices” to cheese are avocado, and hummus. Try blending avocado and hummus together with a teaspoon of Dijon mustard… a perfect creamy spread or dip! I also like cashew cheese which is simple to make and utterly delicious.
To make a cup-size amount, you will need:
- 1 cup of raw, unsalted cashew nuts, soaked overnight in water
- 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon of flaxseed oil, hempseed, rapeseed or extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (a good source of B12)
Once the cashews have been soaked, rinse them and drain well. Put the cashews, along with all the other ingredients, into a blender or food processor. Blend or process until you achieve a smooth consistency, akin to a cream cheese. Scoop the “cheese” into a bowl, cover with cling film and allow it to chill in the fridge.
You can play around with this basic recipe, adding fresh herbs of choice, chopped olives, chopped chilli, ground peppercorns, organic tomato puree, or crushed garlic. The cheese will store in an airtight container in the fridge for about 5 days. It is best however, eaten as fresh as possible!
Cakes and sweet treats
Humans are programmed to love something sweet now and again, and we need never feel deprived when eating a natural, wholefood diet! Sweet treats and desserts using plant-based foods are some of the most delicious dishes you will ever taste! We have a selection of simplerecipes here at Nakd wholefoods, and the internet is awash with fantastic ideas and recipes, ready to be explored by the growing number of wholefood enthusiasts. Think about some of the following ideas to satisfy your sweet tooth…
- Nakd bars - enjoy any of our delicious raw food bars, all of which are dairy-free.
- Banana ice-cream – simply peel and freeze fresh bananas, remove, place in a blender, and scoop out into a bowl!
- Try our Vegan chocolate brownie recipe
- Chia puddings – try soaking chia seeds in almond milk for a few hours or overnight. Top with fresh fruit and honey for a delicious breakfast or dessert.
Worried about getting enough calcium?
Here are some common foods that exceed milk (gram for gram) with their calcium content.
- Raw almonds
- Sesame seed butter/tahini
- White beans
- Kidney beans
- Navy beans
- Leafy greens - collard greens, turnip greens etc.
- French beans
- Brazil nuts
- Seaweed and sea vegetables
- Dried figs
- Mung beans
Daily tips to enjoy your plant-based diet…
- Add ground flaxseeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds or pumpkin seeds to your morning muesli, porridge, fresh fruit or smoothie. This adds calcium, fibre and plenty of essential fats.
- Try adding a teaspoon each of tahini and honey to fresh fruit for a delicious dessert.
- Freeze pieces of fresh fruit like peeled banana and mango in zip-lock freezer bags. Remove and simply blend for delicious ice-cream and sorbets.
- Keep your meals "GREEN" - choose daily portions of kale, spinach, watercress, cabbage, and broccoli, and make a large main course salad every day. Go for 5-7 different coloured foods before topping with fresh herbs, nutritional yeast, seaweed flakes, or seeds.
- Soak chia seeds and raisins in almond milk for a quick and delicious dessert.