5 Favorite Dairy-Free and Special Diet Cookbooks, 5 Fabulous Recipes


Homemade Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Vegan, Sweet Potato Cookies adapted from Go Dairy FreeLast week’s five-cookbook giveaway was a huge success. I reviewed five of my favorite cookbooks to give away, and over 700 comment entries were submitted. Six lucky winners were selected (in addition to the five regular cookbook winners, one winner will receive an E-Book version of Go Dairy Free), but even if you weren’t among the six, don’t dispair! I have gathered together all of the sample recipes from the week for you to trial and enjoy. If these examples entice, then you can pick up a copy of any of these wonderful cookbooks at a discount on Amazon for yourself or a loved one, or add them to your Amazon wishlist and cross your fingers that Santa comes through!

The following sample recipes were tested and enjoyed in my kitchen as written. I hope they will bring delicious smiles to your household too …

Cinn-ful Sweet Potato Cookies

This recipe is adapted from Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. This book/cookbook is also available as an ebook to be downloaded in an instant worldwide.

These deliciously soft cookies are perfect for sharing this holiday season. See the options at the end the recipe for jazzing them up even more.

If you use coconut oil (as I did), just make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature. I have a bad habit of adding chilled maple syrup, which causes the coconut oil to solidify. Also, if you like a soft cookie, store any leftovers in a ziploc bag once cool. This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Soy-Free, and optionally Nut-Free.

  • 2 Cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour or All-Purpose (Plain) Flour (Can sub your flour blend of choice though I haven’t tested GF flours in this cookie as of yet)
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Melted Coconut Oil, Grapeseed Oil, or other Neutral-Tasting Oil
  • 1 Cup Sweet Potato Puree (can sub pumpkin puree)
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Preheat your oven to 350ºF (175ºC).

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, mix the oil, sweet potato, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture into the wet mixture. The dough will be rather sticky. For best results and better manageability, chill the dough for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour. If using coconut oil, it will firm up particularly well.

Drop the dough by the heaping tablespoonful onto baking sheets (ungreased non-stick or lined with non-stick silpats or parchment paper).

Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until they no longer look wet, and are just beginning to brown around the edges, or to your desired doneness. (I like them a little softer on the insides, so I bake them for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the size).


Cinnamon-Sugar Topping: If desired, combine 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar (white sugar, palm sugar, etc.) and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in a small dish, and sprinkle the mixture atop each ball of dough before baking.

Pecan Topper: I like the festive touch of pressing one nice half pecan into the top of each ball of dough before baking. The pecans toast up nicely.

Flavorful Add-ins: If you like, you can add dried cranberries, raisins, chocolate chips, or nuts to your cookies. Stir about 1/2 cup to 1 cup of your desired add-ins into the dough after you stir in the dry ingredients.

Yields 3 to 4 dozen cookies, depending on how big you make ‘em

Cinn-ful Sweet Potato Cookies - Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Vegan


No Waste: Orange-Oat Muffins

This recipe is from Sweet Freedom by Ricki Heller. See Ricki’s blog for deals and specials on this cookbook. She does ship direct to U.S. and Canadian customers, and also has an ebook available for worldwide purchase.

“Unlike many low-fat muffins, these taste great: they are moist and flavorful, with an intense orange presence. There’s also substantial fiber from the fruits and whole spelt. Using a food processor means these are incredibly easy to prepare!” – or blender in my case as you shall see. And yes, Ricki includes metric measurements for all of the recipes in Sweet Freedom, just like this one. This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, and Free from Regined Sugars.

  • 1 Whole Medium Organic Seedless Orange, washed, whole and with skin [This is one time when you want to spring on that organic orange, since you will be using the peel too]
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) Finely Ground Flax Seeds
  • 3 Tablespoons (45 ml) Water
  • 1/2 Cup (60 g) Chopped Dried Pitted Dates (they should be soft)
  • 3 Tablespoons (45 ml) Sunflower or Other Light-Tasting Oil [I used grapeseed]
  • 1/4 Cup (60 ml) Pure Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) Blackstrap Molasses
  • 1/2 Cup (120 ml) Plain or Vanilla Soy or Almond Milk
  • 1 Cup (140 g) Whole Spelt Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon (5 ml) Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Teaspoon (1 ml) Sea Salt
  • 1 Cup (100 g) Old-Fashioned, Whole Rolled Oats (not instant)

Preheat your oven to 375F (190C). Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners for small muffins or 9 liners for large muffins, or spray with nonstick coating.

In the bowl of a food processor, process the orange segments until almost smooth.  Add the flax seeds, water, dates. oil, maple syrup, molasses, and milk alternative and process almost to a smooth puree (you can leave a few small flecks of date and/or orange, but none should be larger than sunflower seeds). Set aside for a few minutes to rest, while you prepare the dry ingredients.

Alisa’s Note: No Food Processor? I don’t have one either. I simply added the orange sections through the milk alternative to my little old blender, and let ‘er rip until it was well blended, with a few tiny date and orange bits left for interest.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt.  Add the oats and stir to mix.

Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture in the bowl and stir just until combined (it’s okay if a few dry spots remain, you just don’t want to overmix!). Spoon the batter into your prepared muffin cups or tins – they will be quite full.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating the pan about half-way through [I skipped the rotation], until a tester inserted into one of the muffins comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pans before removing to a rack to cool completely.  These taste even better the next day, as flavors meld [I can vouch for that!].  These muffins freeze beautifully [I can’t vouch for this, since we devoured them all while fresh].

Yields 9 to 12 scrumptious muffins

orange-oat muffins from sweet freedom


Honey-Mustard Chicken with Ginger

Recipe adapted from The Garden of Eating by Chef Rachel Albert-Matesz. For faster deliver, this cookbook is available to purchase direct from Chef Rachel via her website.

In the cookbook, it states to cut the chicken into 2-inch wedges. I completely missed this part and broiled them whole – luckily it worked out beautifully. This recipe is Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free, and Free of Refined Sugars.

Prep: 20 minutes ~ Cooking: 8 to 10 minutes ~ Yield: 6 servings


  • 1-1/2 to 2 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

Honey-Mustard Marinade:

  • 3 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Creamy White, Yellow, or Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Finely Grated or Minced Fresh Gingerroot
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Red or Black Pepper

Add chicken to a glass or Pyrex dish. Mix marinade, pour over chicken, and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours, all day, or overnight.

Cook chicken pieces on grill, under broiler, or in lightly oiled, heavybottomed skillet over medium heat, about 3 minutes per side, or until firm, meat is beige throughout, and juices run clear when a test piece is cut in half. I opted for broiling.

To broil, preheat your broiler (about 8 to 10 minutes), and move the oven rack so that the meat will be about 5 to 6 inches away from the element. Spread the meat out in a broiler pan or over a wire rack in a roasting pan, to allow the juices to drip while cooking. Give it a good basting of that thick marinade, and broil for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the chicken begins to brown. Flip the chicken and marinade it again (see the next step for heating up that marinade). Return it to the oven and broil until the chicken begins to brown and the meat is cooked through, roughly another 5 to 7 minutes.

Add a dash of water to any leftover marinade, bring to boil, and simmer 4 minutes. Baste chicken with mixture as it cooks. Serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers and use within 3 days. (They’re delicious cold)


  • In step 1, add 1 tablespoon minced fresh or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, tarragon, dill, or basil.
  • Honey-Mustard Chicken with Chipotlé: Replace ginger with 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotlé. Omit black pepper and garnish final dish with minced cilantro before serving.
  • Honey-Mustard Chicken Salad: Serve chicken over heaping individual plates of raw spinach, arugula, or spring greens, minced scallions, parsley, red radishes, celery, fresh or sun-dried tomato slices, avocado, and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.

Nutrition analysis provided by The Garden of Eating: 1 serving ~ 230 calories, 30 g protein, 7 g carbohydrate, 9 g fat, 15 mg calcium, 128 mg sodium



Chewy Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Recipe adapted fromThe Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook.

Since I used homemade almond flour, and didn’t want to spend all day grinding and sifting, I reduced the batch size of the recipe, and adjusted some of the ingredients accordingly. Also, I didn’t have any agave nectar on hand (we aren’t big fans), but found that honey and maple syrup do sub nicely.

This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Soy-Free, Free from Refined Sugars, and far easier than it looks – boy I do ramble on, don’t I?

  •  3/4 Cup Almond Flour, packed*
  • 2 Tablespoons Arrowroot Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Grapeseed Oil
  • 3 Tablespoons Agave Nectar, Honey, or Maple Syrup – or combination (I used 2 tablespoons honey + 1 tablespoon maple syrup)
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Frosting (optional) (I was sampling the frosting from Sean’s Food, but you can use the Marshmallow Frosting Recipe in the Almond Flour Cookbook, Elana’s Coconut Cream Frosting, the Vanilla Frosting in Go Dairy Free, this Peanut Butter Fudge Frosting, or whatever creamy filling you choose)

Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the almond flour, arrowroot, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the sweetener(s), oil, and vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients in your medium bowl, until well combined.

Scoop the dough by the tablespoon onto your prepared baking sheet. I found the dough to be just a touch sticky but fairly pliable, allowing me to loosely roll them into balls.

Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. Do not overcook them. The tops of the cookies will start to look a little dry and crack a bit when done, but not as much as chocolate cookies that contain eggs. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet or a wire rack for 30 minutes.

If making sandwich cookies, spread frosting (however much you want!) on the bottom of one cookie and top it with the bottom of another cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies. Take a bite, smoosh and enjoy.

*Elana recommends blanched almond flour, which I am sure is superior. If you are like me and just have some raw almonds on hand and want to trial this recipe out, pulse them in your spice grinder until a mealy/floury consistency is reached. This happens very fast, do not overgrind lest you end up with almond butter. Using a mesh sieve, sift the almond flour to extract the finest bits to use for your flour. Repeat until you have the amount you need. Don’t fear waste either; you can turn any rejects into almond butter!

Yields a dozen soft and chewy cookies or six smooshable sandwich cookies

Grain-Free, Dairy-Free Chewy Chocolate Cookies


Hollandaze Sauce

This recipe is from 1,000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson, published by John Wiley & Sons.

  • 3/4 Cup Unsalted Raw Cashews
  • 3 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 Cup Hot Water
  • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Yellow Mustard
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Turmeric
  • Pinch Ground Cayenne
  • 3 Tablespoons Vegan Margarine

In a high-speed blender, process the cashews to a fine powder. Add the nutritional yeast, water, lemon juice, mustard, salt, turmeric, and cayenne and blend until smooth.

In a small saucepan, melt the margarine over medium heat and add to the cashew mixture. Blend until smooth. Serve as is or return the sauce to the same saucepan and heat, stirring, over low heat.

Yields 1 1/2 cups


About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food 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, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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