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Many of you know my ongoing choice to have a dairy-free diet. Although dropping dairy was initially due to figuring out my baby’s tummy troubles, I’m actually really liking the current benefits. Like losing all the baby weight and having less tummy troubles of my own. Now it seems like Nolan is past any problems with dairy, but surprisingly, I’m not ready to give it up yet. Sometimes I cheat here and there, but mostly, I’m maintaining the dairy-free lifestyle.
People still tell me that going dairy-free sounds impossible to them, that they could never give up ice cream, and pizza, and macaroni and cheese. Believe me, I know. My favorite food group used to be cheese, butter, and cream. But it still surprises me how little I feel like I’m missing. There are so many dairy-free options now, and even without the substitutions, I am loving what I eat.
Curious about how to go about it? Here are some of my best dairy-free dinner and dessert ideas, complete with recipe and product links to get you started.
Vegan Pumpkin Pasta with Sage – To satisfy your creamy pasta craving. I would happily pass up fettuccine alfredo for this. And for those who fear it’s too “pumpkin-y”, I wouldn’t say it is.
Oven-Roasted Vegetable Fajitas – SO easy for fresh fajitas. I added portobello mushrooms for a little more flavor. Use guacamole and salsa instead of sour cream and cheese.
Paleo Chicken Casserole with Lemon, Herbs & Potatoes – Another thing I thought I’d have to give up going dairy-free – the staple chicken casserole. This one is definitely lighter without the cream, but still has a bit of a cheesy flavor, thanks to the nutritional yeast. Hint: nutritional yeast flakes are good on pasta too, when you wish you had some mac and cheese.
Dairy-Free and Whole30 Zuppa Toscana – Another one of those “so good, you don’t realize it’s missing cream” recipes. Tastes just like Olive Garden’s version to me. Can be done in the Instant Pot – bonus points for that!
Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Chicken Recipe – So much yum. Again, this is for my Italian side, which goes for all things pasta, cream, cheese, and butter. And this satisfies all of those cravings – without any of those ingredients. This recipe doesn’t actually call for pasta, but I always serve the chicken and sauce on top of spaghetti.
Taco Chili – One of the best quick dinner recipes, and can be frozen, too. Sip the shredded cheese, and instead top generously with tortilla chips and guac.
Greek Turkey Meatball Gyro – These meatballs are amazing and surprisingly simple to make. You do have to skip the tzatziki sauce, but use mayo or dairy-free ranch dressing instead. (Also, dairy-free ranch exists, and it is divine!!)
Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy Ice Cream. Because Ben and Jerry can do no wrong, even with non-dairy.
So Delicious Dairy-Free Ice Cream Bars and Sandwiches. It will blow your mind how good these are.
Larabars. One of my favorite treats.
Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Muffins. These are so yummy. But I warn you – cashew milk wasn’t great on my stomach. I have yet to experiment with a different kind of non-dairy chocolate milk in this recipe.
And here are some I have pinned but haven’t tried yet!
Dairy-free Chocolate Mousse. I haven’t tried this yet, but sounds amazing because I do miss pudding. And it’s three ingredients!
Strawberry Banana Oat Bars. For those who are even healthier than I. I may need to add chocolate to this.
Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Muffins. For when breakfast and dessert lines are blurry.
Most pies are dairy free, but check to be sure the crust doesn’t contain dairy.
And don’t forget that anything vegan doesn’t contain dairy! You might be thinking, “DUH”, but I didn’t realize that at first.