Over 100 Recipes + 12 Power Foods to Satisfy Rich & Creamy Dairy-Free Cravings

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For me, dairy-free living isn’t about giving up anything but health issues. In fact, by breaking away from our dependence on one food, we’re able to discover an abundance of delicious foods to satisfy our every craving. And though I’m not one to long for cheese, I do get rich and creamy cravings from time to time … okay, daily. Fortunately, there are no shortages of foods to fulfill my creamy dairy-free demands.

Here is my top list of creamy dairy-free “power” foods along with dozens of rich non-dairy recipes for using them. All of these recipes are dairy-free / non-dairy, vegan (or with a vegan option), and gluten-free (or with a gluten-free option). Most are also soy-free, and many are nut-free, too – so enjoy exploring!

100+ Rich and Creamy Dairy-Free Recipes and Foods (vegan-friendly, mostly gluten-free and soy-free, too)

Avocado

I’ve heard many moms contend that they just couldn’t imagine using avocado in anything beyond guacamole, but this luxurious fruit has unique properties that can offer decadence to desserts, body to savory sauces, and even stand-in for fat, nut butter or eggs in recipes. That is, so long as you can get past it’s brilliant green hue!

100+ Creamy Dairy-Free Recipes and Foods (pictured - Roasted Garlic Avocado Soup With Herbed Yogurt Crackers)

Bananas

By now you’ve likely heard of “nice cream” made with frozen bananas – this has actually been a favorite in my house for over 10 years, and frozen banana shakes are a near daily breakfast. While bananas can offer fresh indulgence, and work magic in baked goods, we think they are best when broken into chunks, flash frozen, and blended into cool treats.

100+ Creamy Dairy-Free Recipes and Foods (pictured - Breakfast Power Smoothie)

Cauliflower

The cooked version of this cruciferous vegetable has become a hip new healthy ingredients in soups, sauces, and more. We agree, it’s stark white color and low starch content make it a lovely base with lots of versatilty. Just steam until tender and blend away.

100+ Creamy Dairy-Free Recipes and Foods (pictured - Garlicky Grilled Vegan Caesar Salad)

Chocolate and Cacao Butter

Chocolate is a naturally dairy-free treat… no really, it is. Many lesser brands add milk solids, lactose, butter oil, cream and other unnecessary (in my opinion) ingredients to effect the taste and consistency. But chocolate has its own natural rich ingredient in the form of cocoa butter (don’t let the name fool you, it is dairy-free!). You can take the easy way … using melted chocolate on everything (I won’t tell) or experiment with cacao butter for a pure finish.

100+ Rich & Creamy Dairy-Free Recipes and Foods (pictured - Chocolate Pudding with Raspberry Infusion)

Coconut Milk

Available in lite or full-fat original, the versatility of pure coconut milk is bar none: fluff it into whipped “cream,” stir into a rich savory sauce, use to make cream pies or ice cream, and even bake with it. As you can tell from the longer list of  recipes, this is a popular ingredient for making just about any type of creamy dairy-free recipe!

100+ Rich and Creamy Dairy-Free Recipes and Foods (pictured - Buckwheat Crepes with Coconut Cream)

Cultured Dairy-Free Milk

Otherwise known as non-dairy yogurt, the thickening process that happens during the production of yogurt makes it a nutritious and creamy add-in, even when vegan! It does work fabulously in baked good recipes, but to preserve the probiotic goodness of creamy dairy-free yogurt, use it in uncooked recipes or add after cooking and cooling of the recipe has occurred (i.e. as a garnish on soup).

100+ Rich and Creamy Dairy-Free Recipes and Foods (pictured - Healthy Parfait Perfection)

Legumes

From hummus to Mexican-inspired soups to cheesecake made with silken tofu, beans offer a fulfilling base to many creamy dairy-free dishes. They are sometimes a little too unctuous on their own, but when softened with a touch of add-ins, like tahini, roasted garlic, sweetener or a touch of milk beverage, everything comes together.

To note: for those of us who aren’t soy allergic or averse, organic silken tofu can provide a lean, protein-rich creamy dairy-free finish for the occasional treat or savory dish. Just like any food, keep this legume in moderation and stick to organic, if possible, since this is a common GM food. Silken tofu is sometimes available in different consistencies, from soft to firm, with applications ranging from smoothies to chilled cream pies!

100+ Rich and Creamy Dairy-Free Recipes and Foods (pictured - Creamy Light Ginger-Sesame Dressing)

Nuts

If you can do cashews or macadamia nuts, they are the ultimate in creamy dairy-free luxury. I use cashews most often for their versatile, lightly sweet flavor, less oily consistency, and fair price tag. That said, other nuts do have their place when “rustic” or more richness will do. Almonds, peanuts (yes, I know, a legume, but we enjoy them like a nut!) and pine nuts are a few other gems that I reach for whenever the flavor profile fits. All nuts can be ground into a flour, then a paste, then a rich nut butter. When freshly ground and blended into soups and sauces, they soak up moisture and quickly act as a natural thickener with a silky finish.

100+ Rich and Creamy Dairy-Free Recipes and Foods (pictured - Creamy Roasted Tomato Vodka Sauce with Penne)

Oils

From coconut to extra-virgin olive, flax to sesame, nutritive oils are a wonderful staple in my kitchen. Coconut oil helps chilled goods set up, while other liquid oils can provide a luxurious base, add that finishing touch, or even be emulsified into a creamy whip. And did you know that mayonnaise is a naturally dairy-free oil emulsion? It does contain eggs though – fortunately, vegan mayo is pretty darn good, too.

100+ Rich and Creamy Dairy-Free Recipes and Foods (pictured - Key Lime Cheesecake Bars)

Root Vegetables

Like cauliflower, many root vegetables dissolve into a rich abyss when cooked. Potatoes and sweet potatoes are particularly tender, but don’t be afraid to experiment with other earthy vegetables, from parsnips and carrots to celery root! They work great as a base to soups, sauces, and even shakes.

100+ Rich and Creamy Dairy-Free Recipes and Foods (pictured - Cream of Celery Root Soup)

Seeds

More pronounced in taste and not quite as creamy as nuts, seeds still have a place in creamy dairy-free recipes. Tahini in particular adds amazing pungency and just a dab will do it. I also adore chia seeds for the body they provide to milk beverage and sunflower seed butter as an allergy-friendly stand-in for peanut butter or nut butters.

100+ Rich and Creamy Dairy-Free Recipes and Foods (pictured - Forest Berry Yogurt Chia Parfaits)

Squash

Think of squash, such as butternut or pumpkin, like sweet potatoes only less starchy, and more silky. The creamier consistency makes squash ideal for soup, sauces, smoothies, baking, you name it really. I’ve even seen a few butternut mac and “cheese” recipes that are reportedly quite amazing.

100+ Rich and Creamy Dairy-Free Recipes and Foods (pictured - Chocolate Pumpkin Pie)

What other foods help you satisfy your creamy dairy-free cravings?

This post was made possible by our sponsor, So Delicious Dairy Free, but the food picks are all my own personal recommendations.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Senior Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

27 Comments

  1. Pingback: Escaping an Abusive Relationship (with Dairy) | Suzanne Scacca

  2. Pingback: My Abusive Relationship (with Dairy) | Peanut Butter Sauce

  3. This is a fantastic list! I must say, I rarely ever crave dairy, but I will keep these in mind for the days that I do! Avocado has changed my world as far as not needing dairy products in many meals.

  4. Hi Alisa, I dont think we have been formally introduced, but I am so excited we are (well kinda) now! What a list of goodies, beaauuuttiful! I dont even know where to start! Oh I know, I LOVE so delicious too! They are a wonderful brand, and their products are amazing. I can’t wait to start following your journey in life….starting today 🙂

    • So great to *meet* you Tina! Happy to hear you like our list of creations! Yes, and hold onto your hats… So Delicious just sent me their newest product to trial out and oh-my-goodness! I’ll be sharing it next week 🙂 Heading over to check out your site!

  5. A fantastic round-up. I love that you broke it down by ingredient. I’m loving avocado in sweet treats these days. My daughter was allergic to egg and dairy for many, many years…and I am very sensitive to the issue. Although we don’t have to be quite as careful these days, we end up liking the vegan version of creamy treats anyways!

    • I have a close friend who says the same thing. Her son recently tested out of dairy and eggs, but they are having trouble incorporating dairy into his diet (their allergist advised them to do so) as they all prefer the dairy-free and vegan versions!

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