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Dairy Alternatives

By Hannah Stein, ChopChop Kid Advisory Board Member

Do you have an allergy to dairy? Do you like to cook? Have you ever found cooking with your allergy hard to do? Well, it doesn’t have to be. There are many alternatives! So many people in this world have allergies to dairy including my sister. Since my sister has a dairy allergy, I have had to use substitutes in my recipes. Almost all of the alternatives listed below I have used in my recipes. I hope this table helps you change your recipes so you can eat them.
Milk: Oat, almond, cashew, coconut, rice, and soy milk are just some of the many substitutes for regular cow milk. Some great brands that sell dairy- free milk are Almond Breeze, Rice Dream, Pacific natural foods, Silk, and So Delicious. That should get you started I think.

Butter and Cheese: Oil, Crisco, and Shortening are great substitutes for butter. You can also find dairy-free butter made with vegetable or coconut oil. A great company that makes dairy-free butter is Earth Balance. As for cheese, you can find dairy-free mozzarella and parmesan. A good brand that makes non-dairy cheese is Daiya.

Buttermilk: Dairy-free buttermilk is really easy actually. Just mix 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of almond or another dairy-free milk.
Half/Half and Heavy Cream: For heavy cream try coconut cream. It is thick and can be used as a substitute. A brand you can use is Native Forest. For half and half try mixing some coconut milk (about a ¼ cup) with some coconut cream(about a ¼ cup). Hopefully, that will satisfy your taste buds. You also may be able to find some at your grocery store.
Yogurt and Kefir: For yogurt, I’ve found multiple brands that sell soy, almond, and other dairy-free yogurts. Those brands include Daiya, Good Karma, Almond Dream, Stonyfield, and Ripple. As for kefir, try finding goats milk or a nut milk kefir at your grocery store. You probably won’t find any recipes that call for kefir, but if you are interested in drinking kefir, feel free!
Sour Cream and Cream Cheese: Cream cheese wise Tofutti is a great non-dairy cream cheese. As for sour cream, Daiya makes a good dairy-free alternative.
Note: Not all recipes will work out with just any substitute, you will have to experiment to make sure. But most times dairy-free substitutes will taste good with the recipe you are working with.

Here is an example of a recipe you can use substitutes:

ChopChop’s Buttermilk Pancakes!

Adult: Yes 
Hands-on time: 10 minutes 
Total time: 20 minutes  
Makes: 8 (6-inch) pancakes

1 cup all-purpose white flour
¾ cup whole-wheat flour
¼ cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk (use the vinegar/almond milk recipe)
½ cup milk (use almond, oat, rice, soy, or cashew milk)
2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or melted butter (use oil or dairy-free butter)
Maple syrup or jam for topping

1.  Put the dry ingredients (flours, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) in a large bowl and stir until combined.
2. Crack the eggs into the small bowl and beat with fork until the white and yolk are pale yellow. Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water after handling raw eggs!
3. Add the remaining wet ingredients (‘buttermilk’, ‘milk’, and the 2 tablespoons of oil or ‘butter’) to the small bowl and mix well.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. The batter will be lumpy; do not keep mixing until it is perfectly smooth because this will make your pancakes tough. If the batter seems too thick, add another 1/4 cup milk (thinner batter will make thinner pancakes; thicker batter will make thicker ones).
5. Put the skillet on the stove and turn heat to medium. When the skillet is hot, add the remaining tablespoon oil or ‘butter’.
6. Drop ladlefuls of batter onto the skillet and cook until there are tiny bubbles on the edges of each pancake’s surface. Using the spatula, flip the pancake over and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Serve right away, drizzled with maple syrup or topped with a spoonful of jam.

I hope you learned some other substitutes for dairy and continue to cook with your allergy.

Written: October 30, 2018

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