Want your whole family to love nutritious, dairy-free living? Look to worldwide cuisine for inspiration. Internationally, there are so many flavors and fun presentations to choose from that no one will miss that box of mac ‘n cheese. This week, take your dairy-free meals to …
Mexico: Loaded Burritos
Nothing could be easier and more filling than a burrito. To keep it healthy, use medium-sized wraps (not the over-sized ones used by burrito shops) and stuff it with seasoned cooked chicken or ground turkey, black beans, some sautéed onions and peppers, guacamole or fresh avocado, and your family’s favorite salsa. If there’s room, you can also add lettuce, sliced olives, and a little brown rice.
For gluten-free, go with tacos instead. Use soft or crispy tortillas, and fill with meat, olives, guacamole, lettuce, and fresh salsa. Larger gluten-free wraps are available, but some are difficult to work with.
Great Britain: Baked Fish Sticks
Fish makes a wonderful weeknight dinner since it cooks so quickly. Traditional fish and chips aren’t the healthiest, but you can easily eliminate tons of oil by baking the fish. It can also be coated ahead of time for a meal in minutes.
Easy Baked Fish Fillets – Simply season 3/4 lb of your favorite fish fillets (cod, tilapia, sole, etc.) with salt and about 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Whisk an egg in a bowl, and dip the fillets to coat and then roll them in a coating mixture (I use 3/4 to 1 cup crushed organic cornflakes, 3/4 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon onion powder). Place the breaded fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray, and bake at 400ºF for approximately 10 minutes, or until just cooked through.
Serve with roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes for the “chips” and a side of steamed broccoli with olive oil, salt, and powdered garlic sprinkled on.
Italy: Pizza Night
In Italy, pizzas are quite simplified compared to American versions. The crust is often thin, the toppings are sparse, yet flavorful, and yes, some are even cheese-free. Pizza dough is very easy to make, but for even quicker dairy-free meals, many grocery stores carry ready to bake pizza dough. You can even get gluten-free pre-baked crusts if needed.
Our favorite way to top a pizza is with extra sauce, mushrooms, onions, diced bell peppers, homemade or sliced Italian sausage, and a sprinkling of oregano or crushed red pepper. To round out the meal, serve with a side salad of greens, red onions, olives, and vinaigrette. No cheese required!
Thailand: Chicken Lettuce Wraps
It can get a little messy, but scooping the filling, rolling them up, and attempting to finish the wraps without dropping a bite makes you (and little ones!) forget that a salad is being consumed in the process. Boston lettuce leaves are particularly good to use for the wraps due to their broad surface area and pliability, but most types of lettuce will work in a pinch. Precooked chicken breast slices will make for very easy 10-minute dairy-free meals.
Homemade Thai Peanut Sauce – To up the tasty factor, purchase or make an all-natural peanut sauce (use almond butter or sunflower seed butter if peanut or nut allergies are a concern). In a bowl, simply whisk together 1/3 cup peanut butter (or other noted option), 2-1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar or lime juice (to taste), 1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce or wheat-free tamari (for gluten-free), 1 tablespoon of sweetener (honey, maple syrup, or sugar), and around 3 tablespoons of water, or as much as needed for your desired consistency. If your family likes things a little spicy, you can sprinkle in crushed red pepper to taste.
China: Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry
Stir-fries are wonderful for packing vegetables into dairy-free meals. To speed up the process, you can pre-steam the broccoli (I do this in a rice cooker steamer while the rice is cooking), and use pre-sliced beef or even pre-cooked chicken (for a white meat alternative). This allows you to skip the oil for stir-frying, too.
Simple Stir-Fry Sauce Recipe – For an easy sauce, whisk together 4 teaspoons of cornstarch or potato starch, 2/3 cup chicken broth, 3 tablespoons of soy sauce or wheat-free tamari (for gluten-free), 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar (can use white vinegar or lime juice in a pinch), and 2 teaspoons of sweetener (honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar). Add the sauce while heating the meat and vegetables. Bring it to a boil, and cook for about 2 minutes to thicken. You can customize the flavor with ginger, garlic, pepper, and/or sesame oil.
Note that Applegate shared some of their meats with us, which inspired this post – hence the link-ups. But this is not a sponsored or paid post – it is straight from our kitchen!