Vegan Dairy Alternatives
The previous blog looked at the rise of interest in veganism and how to cook without eggs, including a delicious vegan chocolate and orange cake recipe. Here are some plant based alternatives to dairy products followed by a couple of delicious vegan desserts.
- Nut & Seed milks – these can be bought or home made. Good nuts and seeds to use include almonds, hazelnuts, cashew nuts, sunflower seeds and hulled hemp seeds. To make your own soak the nuts or seeds for a few hours before blending with water until smooth. For a really smooth milk pour through a fine mesh sieve or piece of muslin. Flavourings such as vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, carob or cacao can be added.
- Nut and seed butters – use as a spread straight from the jar or make a sauce or dip by mixing with enough water to create the desired consistency. Lemon juice, tamari, garlic, herbs and miso can be added for flavour.
- Cashew nut cream – delicious and easy to make. Soak cashew nuts for an hour or more in water, drain and then blend with orange juice until smooth. Seeds from a vanilla pod can also be added.
- Creamed coconut – available as a block that can be cut or shaved into soups or curries to create a creamy taste and texture.
- Avocadoes – can be used to create creaminess in mousses, cheesecakes, smoothies or sauces.
- Soya milk – higher in protein and bit creamier than oat or rice milk.
- Oat milk – widely available from supermarkets and health food shops. Not too sweet so works well in savoury dishes as well as on breakfast cereals. Oat cream is also available.
- Rice milk – sweet tasting so good for rice pudding and custard.
- Coconut milk – rich and creamy. Only small amounts are needed to add depth and flavour to soups, curries and casseroles.
- Coconut water – a refreshing electrolyte rich drink that is perfect for rehydration after exercise.
- Coconut oil – a good alternative to butter and other oils. Can be used for cooking, stir frying, roasting or spreading on bread and crackers.
- Yoghurt – soya or coconut yoghurts are available from health food shops. Or you can make your own using a vegan starter culture or a spoonful of vegan yoghurt mixed with soya or coconut milk.
- Silken tofu – perfect for vegan mousses and cheesecakes or blended into soups and sauces.
- Firm tofu – Roast or fry cubes of smoked or marinated tofu and add to salads or instead of feta cheese in recipes.
- Nutritional Yeast Flakes – can be used to add a savoury almost cheese like flavour. Add during cooking or sprinkle onto salads.
Vegan, gluten free and can be sugar free!
For the Base
110g/4oz dates, chopped
3 tbsp coconut oil, softened
2 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
For the Topping
110g/4oz silken tofu
3 tbsp almond or cashew nut butter
2 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
60g/2oz berries to decorate
3 tbsp flaked almonds (lightly toasted)
- To make the base blend together the almonds, dates and coconut oil. Add the maple syup if using and blend again.
- Press the mixture into a lined dish, cover and refridgerate for a couple of hours.
- Blend together the tofu, nut butter, banana, strawberries and maple syrup, if using.
- Pour over the base, cover and return to the fridge.
- Decorate with fresh berries and lightly toasted flaked almonds.
Chocolate Apricot Mousse
Vegan, gluten free, sugar free!
110g/4oz of dried, unsulphured apricots
Juice and zest of 1 large orange
400g block of silken tofu or 2 ripe avocados
4 tbsp cacao powder
2 tbsp hazelnuts (optional)
- Soak the apricots for a few hours or over night in the orange juice
- Put the soaked apricots into a food processor with the tofu or avocados and cacao powder. Blend until smooth.
- Transfer the mixture to small bowls or glasses, cover and chill in the fridge.
- Lightly toast the hazelnuts then chop finely. Just before serving sprinkle the toasted nuts onto the mousse.