Favorite Dairy-Free Swaps: The Ultimate Dairy-Free Resource And Recipe Guide

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Are you dairy-free and looking for some new products to try? Considering cutting back on your milk and cheese intake? Wherever you’re at, I’ve got products and recipes to fill your day with delicious food! My Favorite Dairy-Free Swaps will totally delight you (and they are all soy-free too!). From milk and cream to dinner and dessert, these are the resources that I count on for a plant-based diet!

Why I’m Dairy-Free

I’ve been lactose intolerant as long as I can remember! Since I was a little kid, dairy has just never agreed with my digestive system or my body in general. In high school I developed a more distinct allergy with sinus and headache symptoms, and I’ve been dairy-free ever since. As an adult I’ve learned more about the factory farming industry, animal rights, and the environment impact of milk products, all of which have made me even more passionate about eating plant-based foods. Animals in the meat and dairy industry are treated horrifically, while the environmental impact of factory farming is just not sustainable. Cattle, and animals raised for food, are the number one consumers of water in the US. Two-thirds of agricultural land in the US is used to raise animals for food or to grow grain to feed them! (source)

What You’ll Find in This Post…

With access to an entire rainbow of fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, and nuts right in your local grocery store, we can have a totally nutritious, filling diet without using dairy products. Let me show you how delicious Dairy-Free Swaps can be!

  • How to Go Dairy-Free
  • Plant-Based Milks
  • Dairy-Free Products (AKA how to navigate the refrigerator section at the grocery store!)
  • Cheeses: Recipes & Brands I Love
  • Dinner Time! Creamy Pastas, Casseroles, and Soups
  • Comfort Foods
  • Condiments, Sauces, and Dips
  • Desserts Without Dairy
  • All About Chocolate
  • More Helpful Resources (including meal plans!)
Elaine Gordon Eating by Elaine Pantry Staples

How to Go Dairy Free

The first thing to remember is that you don’t have to do it overnight! Many of us grew up being told that we need milk to build healthy bones and having dairy products as a staple in the house, so an overnight change might feel overwhelming. Start with small and doable Dairy-Free Swaps, such as trying a plant-based yogurt with your breakfast or having your cereal with almond milk. See how your body feels with decreased dairy…I bet you’ll notice a difference! Try not to get discouraged if you try a new product and don’t love it. We experiment with lots of different recipes and brands, find what works best for us, and then pass on the ones that don’t.

Dairy-Free Milks

I make most of my own dairy-free milks at home! Sprouts has bulk bins, which are a great place to shop for raw almonds, cashews, and oats for making your own milks. I love my Almond Cow machine (you can get $15 off with code ELAINE) for this process. If I buy dairy-free milks, I usually go for Whole Foods 365 Almond Milk, Malk brand, Oatly or SoDelicious unsweetened, plain coconut milk, which I get it in bulk at Costco. Here are some of my homemade dairy-free milk recipes:

Dairy-Free Products I Love

These are the odds and ends that I use in my daily cooking! Some of these are products, while some are recipes that I make often and always have on hand. There are so many dairy-filled products that many families don’t think twice about adding to their grocery cart, so I always suggest making a plan ahead of time to have the ingredients you need for success in Dairy-Free Swaps!

My Favorite Dairy-Free Cheeses

Aah, cheese. This is one of the first things people always wonder about! “You don’t eat cheese? How do you LIVE?!” Well…I do eat cheese, and lots of it! I just find options made without dairy, and I think you’ll be shocked by how creamy, flavorful, and absolutely satisfying these vegan cheese Dairy-Free Swaps can be.

Dairy-Free Creamy Pasta Sauces, Soups, and Casseroles

I use cashew cream in many savory dishes! It provides a hearty base, the perfect silky and creamy texture, and subtle flavor that boosts every recipe I’ve tried it in. Also, cashews are nutrient-dense! They’re considered an excellent source of copper, and also a good source of magnesium, manganese, vitamin K, phosphorous and zinc. 

Comfort Foods

The classics! My kids always get so excited for my Best Vegan Mac and Cheese, and for a pizza night, we love Easy Skillet White Pizza with Caramelized Onion, Roasted Garlic, and Basil, Easy Vegan Zucchini Pizza Bites, or we each build our own with Cast Iron Skillet Pizza Crust, Homemade Mozzarella, and a variety of toppings to choose from!

Dairy-Free Condiments

These sauces, dips, and dressings just make foods a little bit tastier! From sweet additions like Nutella and caramel to sauces and dressings like tzatziki and pesto, I’ve made Dairy-Free Swaps for all of your favorites.

Desserts Without Dairy

I am NOT one of those vegans who says, “I don’t really crave sweets! I can skip dessert!” Nope. I need a sweet treat! I have made SO MANY dairy-free desserts, there is something for everyone. If there’s a treat you’re worried about missing out on if you eliminate dairy, check out my list below! You can also search my site to find just the Dairy-Free Swaps your sweet tooth is craving.

Dairy-Free Chocolate

SO MANY chocolates you’ll find at the store have dairy in them! Even dark chocolate will usually have a surprising amount of milk product included. My go-to brand is Hu, especially their chocolate gems (use the code ELAINE for 10% off!). I’ve also made chocolate at home: Homemade Vegan Chocolate. If you’re craving chocolate, my favorite chocolatey recipes are

Elaine unloading veggies in kitchen

More Helpful Resources

I’ve been plant-based for years, and I am always eager to share the things I’ve learned! So much of what I hope to do with Eating by Elaine is inspire you to try plant-based recipes that are approachable and will help you feel your best. I hope these resources are helpful to you!

Rock Your Blender is my cookbook! These dairy-free smoothies taste like an indulgence, but they’re all nutrient-dense and so good for you. I love smoothies and make them almost every day…even in the winter! This cookbook is filled with my all-time favorites (exclusive to the book and not found on the blog!) that I think you’ll love, too.

I have meal plans for every season, and they’re all dairy-free! These include dairy-free recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and desserts. I use in-season produce and recipes to jump start your nutritious eating journey or take some of the stress out of meal planning!

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