Monthly Archives: November 2013

Dairy-free Dare: dairy substitutions for vegans

Looking for a way to substitute dairies in your diet? You came to the right place! Keep reading! It is easy and accessible!


Personally, I find that dairies are essential in cooking. Many of my favorite dishes have either cream, milk or cheese. So for me, it is very important to know how to replace them. There are many options of vegetable milks (no animal milk) that are mainly from nuts and cereals. Some are better for cooking, while others are better for drinking and it will all come down to what taste you like the most. My preferences? I love to drink almond milk, cook with coconut milk, substitute cheese with tofu and use cashews as cream. Try it for yourself! Here is a list of ideas for dairy replacements:

Milk Soy Milk, Almond Milk, Rice Milk, Hemp Milk, Cashew Milk, Coconut Milk, Peanut Milk, Flax Milk. There are some grain milks from oats, rice, rye, quinoa, spelt and einkorn wheat, but they are lower in proteins and higher in carbohydrates compared to cow milk. Common milk replacement brands are: Silk®, Blue Diamond®,

So Delicious Dairy Free®, Living Harvest Tempt®, Pacific Naturals®, Good Karma®, FlaxUSA®, Rice Dream®, Organic Valley®, Kirkland®, 365®, Thai Kitchen®, Goya®…

Cream Soy Cream, Cashew Cream, Coconut Cream.
Butter* Vegetable oils like: coconut oil, canola oil, olive oil, sesame oil, hazelnut oil, avocado oil, grape oil, sunflower oil or No-trans fats Margarine spreads, for example: Country Crock®, I Cant Believe is Not Butter®, Earth Balance® (NOT Smart Balance)
Buttermilk Homemade Vegan Buttermilk: Soy or Almond milk + 1 tbsp. of white vinegar or lemon juice (MIX)
Yogurt* Look for Vegan yogurt recipes or buy Soy Yogurt like Whole Soy & Co®. Cultured Coconut Milk or Cultured Almond Milk like So Delicious Dairy Free®.
Sour cream* Greek Soy yogurt, Tofutti® Non-Hydrogenated Better than Sour Cream
Homemade Vegan Sour Cream: 16oz of Silken Tofu + 1 tbsp. of Olive oil + 4 tsp. of lemon juice


2 tsp. apple cider vinegar (or 2 tsp. more of lemon juice instead) + 1 tsp. of brown sugar + 2tsp. of salt.

Blend all together until smooth and creamy and put in the refrigerator for about 1 hour to thicken.

Cheese, cream cheese, cottage, ricotta* Silken Tofu for cream cheese and crumble for ricotta or cottage. See also commercial vegan cheeses like: GoVeggie®, Follow Your Heart®, Daiya®, Tofutti® Non-Hydrogenated Better than Cream Cheese
Creamer* Silk® Creamer (vanilla, original or hazelnut)
Ice cream* Soy based, Rice based and Nut based Ice creams like So Delicious Dairy Free®.


Savory dishes (Creams, mashed potatoes, sauces, salad dressings, curry, stroganoff, etc.)

  • Plain Almond Milk
  • Plain Soy Milk
  • Coconut Milk
  • Cashew Milk
  • Plain Flax Milk
  • Original or plain Hemp Milk

Savory creamy dishes (soups, curry, stroganoff, Alfredo sauce)

  • Unsweetened coconut milk or cream
  • Cashew cream


  • Tofu

Sweet dishes (cereal, desserts, smoothies, etc.)

  • Rice Milk (it is naturally sweet!)
  • Almond Milk – any flavor (plain, vanilla, chocolate, etc.)
  • Soy Milk – any flavor (plain, vanilla, cappuccino, chocolate, etc.)
  • Flax Milk (plain or vanilla)
  • Coconut Milk (sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla)
  • Hemp milk (original, vanilla or chocolate)

 Screen Shot 2013-10-16 at 3.29.00 PM

Since were talking about vegan replacements, if you are interested, here are some options to substitute meat, broths and sugar:

MEATS* Protein Equivalents: Tofu and soy products or Vegan dairies above, legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas) or nuts (cashew, almond, peanuts, walnuts) best if combined with a cereal (e.g. Rice and beans, hummus and pita bread, minestrone soup)
To replace the taste*Best brands out there Gardein®, Quorn®, Yves®, Light Life®, 365® (Whole Foods), Vitasoy®, Amys®, Wildwood®, etc.
BROTHS Vegetable broth or water with herbs.
SUGAR* Best: Stevia, Truvia®, Sweetleaf, Agave and Whey Low. Other (not the best but better than plain sugar): Splenda®, Honey and Brown or Cane sugar.

*All the commercial brands listed are suggestions of the best considered options of Vegan products available. Most products are Organic, have No-trans Fats, are GMO free, MSG free and some are Gluten free. It is still recommended to consume moderate amounts of processed foods. Most can be found at Publix and Target, some even at Wal-Mart.

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Basic Cashew Cream and more

Recipe for: about 2 cups of cream
Total Cook and prep. time: over night (or 1hr) + 15-20 minutes.

This is a basic recipe for a cashew cream that can be used to replace dairy cream in  many recipes like lasagnas, soups, stroganoff, deserts, etc. Check out the 2 basic steps:


  • 1 cup of raw cashews
  • ½ – 2 cups of cold water (depending on the consistency of cream desired)

Directions (2 basic steps): 

Step 1: Leave cashews covered with cold water over night or boil them for 1 hour before anything else.

Step 2: The next day or after boiling them, drain the water and place cashews in a blender or food processor with ½ a cup of fresh water and blend until smooth for a very creamy result. Keep adding water if you want a more liquid result.It took me about 5 min. from when I started blending everything until I got to the desired texture. 

NOW STOP. Now you know how to make cashew cream. You can use it like this, even freeze it for later or you can keep adding ingredients to the blender and transform this base cream into a pesto, mushroom sauce, Alfredo sauce or a simple sweet cream.

Next, you will see 2 different options for “step 3” that I believe to be the most important in my vegan kitchen: the famous vegan Alfredo sauce and vegan Chantilly cream. I called them Alfredo’s Cousin Sauce and Cashewlly Cream.


Pasta with Alfredo’s Cousin Sauce and Kale

Extra ingredients: (cashew cream +)

  • 1 ½ tsp. of lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tsp. of minced garlic or 2 cloves of garlic.
  • ½ tsp. of salt
  • ½ tsp. of pepper
  • ½ cup of coconut milk (if on the base cream you only used ½ cup of water)
  • 1 tbsp. of olive oil (optional)

If you want the texture to be more liquid, add more coconut milk.

Step 3: Blend all the ingredients with the base cream and warm up over stove.

Collard greens’ cuscous wrap with tomato sauce & Alfredo’s Cousin Sauce.

This Alfredo sauce goes very well with whole grain pasta and steamed vegetables! You can also use it on casseroles, pizzas, vegetables, enchiladas, lasagnas, in a sandwich or even in tacos. It is amazing!


Strawberries topped with Cashewlly Cream

Extra ingredients: (cashew cream +)

  • 3 tbsp. of honey or agave syrup (if you are diabetic use Stevia)
  • ½ tsp. of vanilla extract (if you want, you can use orange extract or coconut extract for another taste profile)

Step 3: Blend all the ingredients with the base cream and put in the refrigerator.

You can use this cream over any dessert. I love it over fresh fruits like strawberries, peaches, mangos, apples or blueberries. Enjoy!!!

Something extra…


To make Cashew Milk simply add more water to the basic cashew cream. Have in mind that to make cashew milk the ratio of cashews to water is 1 to 4. So, 1 cup of cashews will need 4 cups of water (5 cups of milk) You can add some flavor by adding 1 ½ tsp. of vanilla extract or 1-2 tbsp. of honey or agave, or even some chocolate! Try and see!

If your blender can’t totally break down the cashews you can strain the milk through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth. Store the milk in a covered container in the refrigerator and it can last 3 to 4 days.


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