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Easy Dairy Alternatives

I’m hoping many of you dashed off to your local market after my last post and tried one of the non-dairy ice cream treats. A friend this past week practically swooned when she was talking about So Delicious, and I discovered that another friend and I share the same enthusiasm for the coconut-milk ice cream. To follow up, I wanted to offer some dairy substitutions for the home. While life without milk and cheese may seem impossible, I think many will find it’s actually very easy to do without dairy most of the time.

  • Milk: Taste the dream… that’s the slogan of a brand that offers non-dairy milk alternatives to pour over your cereal, into your morning cup of coffee, or use in a favorite recipe. There’s soy milk, which seems to be the most popular option. In addition to Soy Dream, another popular brand that I like is Silk.  My personal preference is rice milk, which isn’t quite as heavy and doesn’t have such a nutty flavor.   In addition to Rice Dream, we frequently buy Trader Joe’s Rice Drink.  My husband and mom both love almond milk – and, as I mentioned in the previous post, the almond ice cream sandwiches are insanely good. Hemp milk is another alternatives.  By the way, did you know Starbucks is now making soy frappuccinos?
  • Cheese: I’ve never been a huge cheese fan, and there are admittedly some pretty nasty cheese alternatives out there on the market. If you happen to have had one of these, don’t let it sour you on non-dairy cheese altogether. For a Parmesean substitute, I use Grated Vegan Topping by Galaxy Foods, which also makes a soy-cheese topping. Trust me… I’m Italian, so substituting Parmesean is not something I take lightly. The rice topping works great on pasta, and also makes a mean artichoke dip. Also, Daiya cheese is a wonderful option because it melts really well. I had pizza with Daiya cheese just a couple of days ago, and it was delicious.
  • Eggs: Using cage-free or free-range eggs is a start, but the truth is the dairy cows and hens are not happy, no matter how cute the picture of them is on the cover of the carton. There was a time that my canine kids got cage-free scrambled egg whites for Sunday breakfast; then I discovered they were just as happy about Organic O’s cereal and rice milk. Maybe scrambled tofu is something you’d like. Or dairy-free pancakes. If you’re a baker, there are plenty of substitutes to use in baking recipes that call for eggs, such as applesauce and bananas.
  • Butter: I switched to Smart Balance Light for cooking and for things like popcorn and bagels; and I occasionally use Earth Balance for cooking, which has a higher fat content. (If you’re a cream-cheese on-the-bagel person, try Tofutti.) Again, the baking issue seems to come up when I talk about using a butter substitute. Well, Earth Balance buttery spread comes in sticks, so why not give that a try?

Just switching out these few staples in the home will make a dramatic difference for you and your family (lower cholesterol, anyone?)… and the animals.

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Author: Sharon Discorfano

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