Dairy-Free

Written by Natasha Bourke

Introduction

Whether you are already vegan or vegetarian looking to phase out dairy and/or eggs or simply looking to replace or scale down your dairy and egg consumption you will find this information incredibly helpful.

Whilst the cutting out of animal flesh in the diet is a positive step towards helping animals, the dairy and egg industries are also full of horrors, not to mention the environmental and health impacts. One of the best things you can do for the animals, yourself and the planet is to eliminate the consumption of animal products and their by-products (including eggs and dairy).

If you need further convincing or to obtain further information, the following sites are very informative:

Replacing Dairy in your Diet

Once you know how, replacing dairy in your diet is incredibly simple.  Your tastebuds will adjust if you are not already a soy fan.

Butter and Margarine

Use Nuttelex (available in all major supermarkets) in place of butter and margarine. Nuttelex also works really well in any recipe that calls for butter or margarine. It can be creamed for cakes and biscuits, used in savoury sauces, on toast, it is the only vegan friendly replacement easily accessible in Australia. Canola and Vegetable oil can also work in some recipes. Try avocado, oil or hummus on bread.

Milk

Replacing milk is probably the easiest of all. There are many alternatives readily available in all supermarkets.

Soy – try different varieties until you find one you are happy with. Soy milk can have a tangy taste until you adjust. Look for brands that contain whole soy beans in the ingredients, rather than isolates (often found in cheaper brands) as they are better for you. Also those fortified with vitamin B12.  Soy milk works great in coffee and savoury sauces.

Rice – rice milk is milder and sweeter in flavour than soy and a bit thinner.  It can also work in coffee. Rice milk works really well in cakes.

Condensed Milk – there is a product now available in Australia called Soymilke which is a soy based condensed milk, look out for it online or in speciality health food stores.

Others – there are many other varieties of non-dairy nut and grain milks (such as almond or quinoa milk) on the market. Experiment and see what works for you. These varieties can be more expensive.

Ice Cream

There are several ice cream options available in Australia (don’t forget to check sorbets and gelatos, as many are vegan friendly):
So Good – look out in major supermarkets for So Good varieties of ice cream.

Imports – if you are after more of a treat look out for Tofutti branded ice
creams in speciality health food stores.

Cream

Replacing cream can be a little tricky, but there are products available:
Soyatoo – Soyatoo is an imported product available in some health food stores and online. It is available in cartons (thickened variety) and in a can (ready whip). Try adding a little vanilla extract to give it some extra flavour.

Coconut Cream – works well on top of cakes, fritters etc in place of cream, not generally used as a cream replacement in recipes where the cream is baked in.

Ice Cream – try melted vanilla soy ice cream as an alternative.

Cashews – cashew cream is easy to make and is nice served over cheesecakes and other cakes. Blend equal quantities or raw or unsalted cashews and water until completely smooth. Try using other varieties of nuts as well.

Silken Tofu – blend a block of silken tofu in the food processor/blender to use in place of cream in savoury sauces, such as creamy pasta sauce. Be sure to add flavour to it, sun dried tomato, garlic etc.

Cheese

Cheese is the tricky one. In time, you just won’t miss the flavour.  There are replacements available:

Nutritional/Savoury Yeast Flakes – usually sold in health food stores, these flakes are packed full of vitamins. They have a slightly nutty/cheesy flavour and are best used “melted’ away in savoury sauces. Mix in a little Dijon mustard for an even cheesier flavour.

Soy Cheeses – soy cheese is relatively easy to find these days. Look out in health food stores for Cheezley, Sheese and Tofutti (note the soy cheese readily available in major supermarkets is not vegan friendly). Soy cheese will not melt as easily as dairy cheese. Use anywhere in place of dairy cheese, finely grated on pizzas, sandwiches etc.

Cream Cheese – Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese tastes great and can be used in cheesecakes or sandwiches. Look for it in Woolworths and health food shops. There are also flavoured varieties which are a little trickier to find. Kingland also make a cream cheese sometimes found in Coles. The Tofutti brand offers lower calories.

If you are keen to try your hand at making your own vegan cheeses at home, check out the Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook by Jo Stepaniak.

Yoghurt

A range of soy yoghurts are available in major supermarkets in vanilla and flavoured varieties. Double check the ingredients as some brands are not vegan friendly (Kingland is suitable).

Sour Cream
Look out for Tofutti Sour Supreme in health food stores, use in place of sour cream in any recipes or as a topping, great on nachos and Mexican dishes.

If you are in the ACT, most of these products can be found at As Nature Intended at the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets and Mountain Creek Wholefoods at the Griffith shops – discounts available for members. Also check out the Allergy Centre at Jamison, your local health food store and Asian and Indian supermarkets.

When using dairy replacement just match recipe quantities, for example, ½ cup milk = ½ cup non-dairy milk.

The list below indicates what dairy replacements to use in foods which commonly use dairy:

Creamy Pasta Sauce
Silken tofu.  Try topping pasta with toasted pine nuts and cracked pepper in place of cheese.

White sauce/béchamel
Nuttelex for the butter, soy milk for the milk, nutritional yeast for the cheese. Add some seeded or Dijon mustard and a squirt of lemon juice for extra flavour.

Pizza
Any of the soy cheeses mentioned will work.

Nachos
Tofutti sour cream and soy cheese.

Cakes/muffins/cupcakes
Rice milk, soy milk will also work.

Biscuits
Rice or soy milk

Cheesecake
Equal quantities of Tofutti cream cheese and blended silken tofu.  Add some vanilla and lemon juice for extra flavour.  Cashew cream can also be used.

Custard
Soy milk with a vegan friendly custard powder (such as Fosters). Add some vanilla extract for extra flavour.

For more information see:

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