7 Winning Dairy-Free Recipes for Appetizers, Main Courses and Desserts


It’s time to announce and share the winning recipes from the Dairy-Free 3-Course Recipe Contest! And yes, you read that correctly: 7 winning dairy-free recipes. We had so many wonderful entries in the dessert category that we had to call a tie for the runner-up.

Each of the Category Winners will receive a $500 gift card to Amazon or Whole Foods (winner’s choice!). The Runner-ups will be gifted with 10 Free VIP Coupons for any So Delicious Dairy Free products. AND we have have one bonus “honorable mention” entrant who will also receive 10 VIP Coupons.

After many hours in our test kitchens, the following were chosen as the dairy-free recipes that pleased our tasters, had just the right amount of unique flare and appeal, and made good use of one or more products from So Delicious Dairy Free.

Grand Prize Winner: Dairy-Free Appetizers

Salmon and Potato Croquettes with Creamy Romesco Dip
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The flavors in this recipe, by Alyse Raponi, are rich and spot on. The croquettes taste amazing right out of the oven and chilled as leftovers. We enjoyed them for lunch over salad one day, and rice the next. The dip is simply a delicious bonus. On a second batch, we trialed the recipe with Coconut Milk Beverage (3 tablespoons) in the croquettes (we ran out of Cultured Coconut Milk) - also amazing! Our Tip: We found it beneficial to press extra breadcrumbs onto the croquettes prior to cooking - simply rolling didn't adhere many. However, we did use gluten-free breadcrumbs (delish!)
Serves: 30 2-inch croquettes
Salmon and Potato Croquettes:
  • 1 can 213 grams (7 to 8 ounces) salmon, drained and skin removed
  • 1-1/2 cups grated and squeezed potato (place into paper towels and squeeze to remove excess moisture)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs + extra for rolling croquettes (about 1 to 2 cups additional)
  • ¼ cup So Delicious Dairy Free Plain or Unsweetened Cultured Coconut Milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 grated (or finely minced) small to medium onion
  • 1 can 227 grams (8 ounces) water chestnuts, drained finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 dashes hot sauce or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • Vegetable oil for frying
Creamy Romesco Dip
Salmon & Potato Croquettes
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, except the extra crumbs. Allow to rest 30 minutes to absorb liquids.
  2. Roll mixture in a ball or patty, using a teaspoon or large ice cream scoop depending on the size you want. Squeeze mixture together to hold its shape and roll into extra bread crumbs.
  3. Place in a preheated skillet with ½-inch of oil in pan. Cook to a golden brown on both sides. Place on a baking sheet and finish baking for 20 minutes in a preheated 350ºF oven. (This can be made ahead and placed in the refrigerator uncooked, covered until ready to shape.)
  4. This can be baked ahead of time and frozen in one layer then when frozen, pop into freezer bags for easy storage, up to 2 months. Place on a baking sheet frozen and baked for 30 min to warm through.
Creamy Romesco Dip
  1. Place nuts into a food processor or blender, grind to a fine crumb. Add the pepper, garlic and seasonings, continue to blend to a smooth consistency. Stir in the yogurt. Scrape into a decorative bowl.

Runner-up: Dairy-Free Appetizers

Easy Curried Chicken Skewers
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Something about the simplicity and spice mix of these chicken skewers by David Groveman at Life Without Six intrigued all of our testers. Fortunately, the amazing dairy-free yogurt marinade actually exceeded our expectations.
Serves: 6 to 8 skewers
  1. Mix the cultured coconut milk and seasonings and mix with chicken so that all of the meat is coated. Place in a sealed container and marinate in the refrigerator for at least six hours.
  2. Prior to cooking be sure to soak the bamboo skewers.
  3. Preheat a grill pan on medium-high heat.
  4. Skewer the chicken evenly and lay across the pan. Turn the meat every couple minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
  5. Allow the meat to cool for several minutes before serving. We served this with mango chutney for dipping.

Grand Prize Winner: Dairy-Free Main Courses

Coconut Curry Shrimp and Grits
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Kadija B. of Spice Lime says, "You've never had shrimp and grits this good!" - and our tasters agreed. This flavorful Indian-inspired dish has a fun Southern flare, using coconut milk beverage in both the sauce and the grits!
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon snipped chives
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • ½ tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 cup So Delicious Dairy Free Unsweetened Coconut Milk Beverage
  • ½ tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
For the Curry:
  1. Combine the shrimp, lime juice, garlic, chives, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix well to evenly distribute the ingredients, cover, and place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to marinate.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 3 minutes. Add seasoned shrimp and curry powder. Sauté shrimp until pink on both sides, about 6 minutes. Stir in coconut milk beverage and brown sugar. Let simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro and remove from heat.
For the Grits
  1. In a medium pot, combine the coconut milk beverage and water. Bring to a rapid boil over medium heat. Slowly stir in grits and salt. Reduce heat to low and cover. Let cook until thickened, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Divide grits between 4 plates and spoon curry shrimp with sauce over top. Serve immediately.

Runner-up: Dairy-Free Main Courses

Mushroom Pasta Bake with White Wine Cream Sauce (Vegan)
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This is a wonderful meatless Monday meal by Christina Coopman. It's easy to throw together and tastes wonderful straight from the stovetop if you can't wait for it to bake. I actually liked it best when just cooked, but baking it did entice our mushroom-hating niece who said that it "smelled amazing." Note that our testers preferred the higher amount of salt for a bigger flavor boost. (Picture above by Alisa Fleming)
Serves: 4 servings
  • 2-1/2 cups uncooked short pasta
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped mushrooms, different varieties (I used button, portobello and shiitake)
  • ⅓ cup finely diced onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups So Delicious Dairy Free Unsweetened Coconut Milk Beverage
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • ¼-3/4 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons dairy-free margarine
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ cup panko or breadcrumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain and rinse.
  2. In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onion, garlic, thyme and chili flakes. Cook for 4 minutes, until onions are softened.
  3. De-glaze the pan by adding the wine. Cook for another couple minutes.
  4. Add in the coconut milk beverage, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, salt (to taste) and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring and bring down to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. While simmering prepare the roux in another saucepan. Melt margarine over medium heat. Once melted and in the flour, stirring until fully mixed and the roux is pulled away from the sides of the pan. Continue to cook for another couple minutes. Remove from heat until mushroom sauce is ready.
  6. Once simmered for 10 minutes, pour ⅓ of the sauce into the pot with the roux, whisking continuously over medium heat. Continue to whisk until thickened. Add another ⅓ of sauce and repeat the process. Repeat with the rest of the sauce. Continue to cook and thicken for another 3 to 5 minutes.
  7. Add in the pasta and stir until fully mixed. Portion into individual baking dishes or a loaf or casserole dish. Sprinkle the top with panko and bake for about 30 minutes or until as crispy as desired.
  8. Serve with a fresh salad and enjoy the amazing flavor of dairy free!

Grand Prize Winner: Dairy-Free Desserts

Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies (Gluten-Free and Vegan)
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Sarah H. of Sarah Bakes Gluten Free gets so many kudos for this fabulous recipe. The title alone put it on our must trial list, but the recipe itself is what makes this a grand prize winner. Not only was every last little cookie devoured in 24 hours (even by sweets lovers who could eat both gluten and eggs!), but the process for making these is just so perfect. Sarah's instructions are seamless, and allowed us to flow perfectly in the kitchen for relatively elaborate cookies in what seemed like no time at all.
Serves: 34 to 36 cookies
Sugar Cookies:
Brown Sugar Filling:
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil, melted
  • ⅓ cup organic brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Vanilla Glaze:
  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour blend, baking powder and salt.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (we used a hand mixer), beat together the powdered sugar, coconut oil, coconut milk beverage and vanilla until creamy. Add the flour mixture and continue to mix until combined, 1-2 minutes (add an additional tablespoon of coconut milk if the dough appears too dry).
  3. Form dough into a patty and wrap in plastic wrap. Let rest in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.
  4. For the filling, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
  5. On the counter, lay out a large piece of plastic wrap. Place the cookie dough in the center and top with another piece of plastic wrap. Roll the dough into a 16x18-inch rectangle.
  6. Remove the top layer of plastic wrap. Spread melted coconut oil over the dough and sprinkle with brown sugar filling. Starting with 16-inch edge, carefully roll up the dough into a log. Slice in half and wrap each log in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes or until firm.
  7. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line baking sheets with parchment paper (or silicone baking mats).
  8. Using a sharp knife, slice dough into ¼-inch thick slices. Place cookies on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.
  9. For the vanilla glaze, mix together the powdered sugar and coffee creamer (add more creamer if needed). Place in piping bag with small, round tip and pipe onto cookies.
  10. Once the icing is set, store cookies in an airtight container.
*For this recipe, Sara uses her lighter flour blend by replacing the sorghum flour with white rice flour. Rather than making a whole batch, we scaled it down and use 1 cup brown rice flour (superfine if possible) + ½ cup sweet white sorghum flour + ½ cup potato starch + 3 tablespoons tapioca starch + 2 tablespoons cornstarch + 1-1/4 teaspoons xanthan gum.

Runner-up #1: Dairy-Free Desserts (Tie!)

Champorado Infused with Ginger and Thai Chili (Vegan and Gluten-Free Chocolate Risotto)
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Though easy to make, this spicy recipe by Mimi Chang is anything but plain or boring. We used small chili peppers and it still had quite the kick. I think the touch of intense heat is what made this milk chocolaty pudding (I would actually liken it to dairy-free milk chocolate risotto) so addictive. We liked just a touch more sweetener (added a few drops of stevia to taste) than the ¼ cup, and felt that the contrasting coconut whip is an absolute must! (Photo shown above by Alisa Fleming.)
Serves: 4 servings
Chocolate rice pudding:
  • 4 cups So Delicious Dairy Free Unsweetened Almond Plus AlmondMilk, divided
  • 2 Thai chili peppers, sliced crosswise (if you can't find these, you can substitute fresh serrano or cayenne peppers) (use just 1 and deseed for less heat)
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped coarsely
  • 1 cup sushi rice (short grain white or Arborio also work)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoon pure dark cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup sugar (or more, to taste)
Whipped Topping:
  1. Combine 1 cup almond milk, chili peppers and ginger in a pot. Bring to a boil, then immediately remove pot from heat. Allow milk to stand for 20 minutes. Strain milk pressing solids against strainer to extract flavor.
  2. Put milk back into pot. Add rice and salt to infused milk and over low heat, cook until the milk is absorbed. Add the next 3 cups of milk cup by cup, allowing each addition to absorb before adding more. Stir throughout until mixture becomes thick, starchy with a pudding like consistency. Stir in cocoa powder and sugar until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and put into 4 individual bowls.
  3. Open coconut milk container (I cut the top off the box). Place about half of the thick solid parts into a medium bowl. Beat on high with hand mixer until it becomes whipped. Add the sugar, vanilla and ginger. Beat again.
  4. Serve "whipped crème" on top of each serving of champorado. Sprinkle each with a pinch of cocoa powder. Voila!

Runner-up #2: Dairy-Free Desserts (Tie!)

Indian Gingerbread (Gluten-Free)
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Shandi of Not Perfectly Paleo dazzled with the warm, spicy flavors and perfect tenderness of this easy gingerbread. Never mind that it's grain-free and even nutritious - this is a dessert to be reckoned with according to our tasters (ranging from little kids to discerning adults)!
Serves: 8 to 10 servings
Dry Ingredients:
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
Wet Ingredients:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF
  2. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly with a fork until no lumps of soda or flour remain.
  3. In another medium-sized bowl, combine all wet ingredients except the apple cider vinegar until smooth and consistent (adding the ACV too soon curdles the coconut milk).
  4. Add the apple cider vinegar to the combined wet ingredients, mix thoroughly.
  5. Gently pour the wet mix into the dry ingredients, quickly and gently fold the wet mix into the dry mix until the batter is thoroughly combined (the ACV acts as an acid which reacts with and activates the soda creating more air bubbles, stirring too much or too slowly allows all the bubbles to escape creating a flat batter).
  6. Pour the batter into a 9x9-inch cake pan or two loaf pans
  7. Place in your preheated oven and bake at 350ºF for 25-35 minutes or until a knife can cleanly pierce the gingerbread.

Honorable Mention: Fiona Verdon

Fiona just missed making our top batch of winning dairy-free recipes, but how could we not give a big kudos to our youngest entrant! At just 17 years old, she whipped up several amazing dairy-free AND gluten-free recipes for this contest, including a Gluten-Free Carrot Cake, Grain-Free Angel Food Cake, and what we call Nutty Superfood Oatmeal. Go Dairy Free and So Delicious want to keep Fiona cooking, so she is also receiving 10 So Delicious free product coupons.

Over 175 Recipe Entries

Want a peak at the rest? See this post: Dairy-Free 3-Course Contest Round-Up: Over 175 Recipes!

Get Ready: The Next Dairy-Free Recipe Contest is on Deck!

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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  3. WOW! Those all look fabulous. Congrats to all the winners! I’m not surprised that Sarah’s cookies won. If they had only been half as good as they looked, I think they might have still won! 😉

    Shared on FB and of to share more. Thanks to Go Dairy Free and So Delicious for inspiring folks to create such amazing recipes! 🙂


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