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10 Creamy Dairy-Free Pantry Staples

dairy free Feb 24, 2018

If you would have asked me a few years ago to name some "creamy" foods, I would have listed all of the dairy products known to man-kind.

And although I still consider whole, organic (pasture-raised) dairy to be a nourishing food, many people simple can't digest and process it's contents without negative side-effects. 

Just last year when I was chugging multiple glasses of whole milk each day along with consuming cheese, sour-cream and other dairy products on a regular basis, I was dealing with chronic digestive issues along with constant drainage in my sinuses that made breathing during exercise extremely difficult. 

I basically spent my days with this constant "drip" going on, kleenex in hand and wishing I could talk without sounding like I had a perpetual cold. Additionally, our youngest son has chronic sleep apnea which makes his breathing progressively worse at night when consuming mucus-producing dairy. 

Fast forward through a year of experimenting, trying new foods and adjusting my tastebuds, I can honestly say I don't miss a big glass of milk....something I never thought I'd say in my life. 

I consume a sprinkle of feta or other cheeses on my salads and tacos from time to time without any side-effects, so it's nice to enjoy on occasion and not suffer from the drainage and allergies that plagued me for 30 years. 

Here are 10 creamy foods we have successfully replaced dairy with that everyone is our family now craves and looooves:

1. Refried Beans

We buy these in bulk from Costco and add taco seasoning + coconut oil to make it extra tasty.

How we consume:

+ fry corn tortillas in coconut oil and top with refried beans, rice and avocado for a quick dinner or lunch option. Add some ground turkey, green onions, lettuce and hot sauce for a dynamite meal!
+ add to a bowl of rice with spinach, green onions, avocado, tomatoes, hot sauce and crushed red pepper. 

2. Avocado/Guac

We buy our avocados (and guac) in bulk at Costco and then refrigerate for the best ripening results. 

How we consume:

+ on morning eggs/omelets
+ on tostadas/any form of taco
+ wrapped up in smoked salmon or turkey
+ spread on toast with crushed red pepper

3. Hummus

We buy this at Sprouts and in bulk at Costco for school lunches. You can also make your own!

How we consume:

+ dip for grilled chicken
+ mix with rice + grilled chicken + veggies for a salad bowl
+ dip for carrots sticks + bell pepper slices
+ use as sauce for lettuce chicken wraps

4. Cashew Sauce

Whole Foods, Sprouts and Trader Joes carry a ton of cashew sauce products like "nacho cheese" but we purchase raw cashews in bulk at Costco and make our own sauce for the recipes listed below. 

How we consume:

+ in our Cheeseburger Soup
+ cheese sauce on our tacos
+ cheese sauce over gluten-free pasta, taco salads, chicken, etc.  

5. Coconut Milk or Cream

We buy canned coconut milk (full-fat) from Costco and Sprouts. Coconut cream can be found at Sprouts, Whole Foods, Trader Joes and many other stores. 

How we consume:

+ protein mocha (or just blend into coffee without any other ingredients)
+ spread coconut cream on top of buckwheat pancakes
+ whipped cream
+ coconut pudding (1 can full-fat coconut milk + 3 T chia seeds + 2 t pure maple syrup; stir and cover and place in refrigerator overnight; top with fresh berries in the morning!)

6. Nut Butters

Look for natural peanut butters without hydrogenated oils. Try a variety of nut butters like almond, cashew, pecan and sunbutter. 

How we consume:

+ melt on top of pancakes
+ dip for celery sticks & apple slices
+ in our smoothies
+ mixed with dark chocolate chunks

7. Nutritional Yeast

I know, this one has a weird name...it's not really yeast and adds an absolutely delectable flavor to so many dishes. Additionally, it provides wonderful protein + b-vitamins which help with energy levels, anxiety/moods and thyroid health. We purchase ours here but it can be found at most health food stores and Amazon as well. We get ours here. 

How we consume:

+ sprinkled on salads
+ "cheese" topping for pasta bowl
+ in chicken soup for a rich flavor
+ in cashew cheese sauces (from above)
+ sprinkled on top of meatballs
+ sprinkled on popcorn

8. Squash

Other than pumpkin and sweet potatoes, I feel as though squash get neglected and overlooked. Not only is it creamy, it provides a wonderful source of complex carbohydrates for healthy brain food and curbs sugar cravings..... + there are so many varieties!

How we consume:

+ roasted and pureed with cinnamon and pure maple syrup + topped with pecans
+ creamy Butternut Squash Soup
+ chunked and roasted for a perfect side dish (we loved roasted kabocha squat with our meatballs and gluten-free pasta and lots of crushed red pepper)
+ spaghetti squash as a pasta sub with turkey burger meat + marina and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast

9. Chocolate Sauce

We love to consume our chocolate in the form of Theo 85% bars, cacao powder in my morning mocha and this sauce on top of errrrything! 

How we consume:

+ on top of fresh or frozen berries
+ drizzled on top of paleo doughnuts
+ a dip for apples
+ drizzled on top of nice cream

10. Potatoes

Being a family that eats dairy and gluten-free, potatoes are a staple for almost every meal we eat. We love to get a variety of colors and types to benefit from the varying flavors and textures available.

How we consume: 

+ smoked sweet potato home fries
+ whipped regular potatoes, pureed with roasted garlic and olive oil
+ whipped and placed under a protein
+ Creamy Chicken Pot Pie Soup

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