Cream Cheese Alternative

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don't miss dairy

Emily Stokes
I'm a lady who loves cheese, sour cream, & ice cream, but I recently became lactose intolerant. My key focus in recreating dairy recipes is taste, but I try to be as health conscious as possible. Some of my recipes are low lactose rather than dairy free. I'm also a writer, teacher, nanny, dog mom, housewife, native Yinzer, current Californian, and social organizer extraordinaire.

Cream Cheese Alternative

Blueberry Cashew “Cream Cheese”

Blueberry Cashew Cream Cheese from dontmissdairy.com
Last month I had the pleasure of trying a delicious cashew cream parfait made by a friend on a weekend getaway to Santa Barbara. It was light-tasting, creamy, and delicious. I must say, I was reluctant to embark on the cashew cream experience, but it does open up a new world of dairy-free possibilities. 

One drawback to cashew recipes is prep time. Depending on what you make, it can take days to complete. Cashews usually require soaking, a high powered blender, and patience, and this blueberry cream cheese recipe is no exception. I do have a few options, though, for those who like to take the faster route.

Either way, the result is this: a soft and sweet cashew spread in a delectable shade of purple, perfect for topping bagels or even spreading on cakes. 

Blueberry Cashew Cream Cheese from dontmissdairy.com

For a firm cream cheese, like you would normally buy in a block at the grocery store, you have a few options. The simplest is straining the cream cheese after processing in a cheesecloth overnight.

Do this before adding any extra flavors to the cream cheese but after you add the salt, lemon juice, and vinegar. I do this by fitting the cheese cloth over a bowl, large cup, or pitcher with a rubber band and setting the cream cheese on top.

Blueberry Cashew Cream Cheese from dontmissdairy.com

Plain cashew cream before straining.

Blueberry Cashew Cream Cheese from dontmissdairy.com

For a firmer cream cheese, strain using a cheesecloth positioned with a rubber band over a tall cup like this.

Make sure to cover the exposed cashew cream with plastic wrap to avoid it drying out. You can leave on the countertop or in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours. Extra liquid will drip to the bottom of the bowl, leaving you with a firm, shapeable cream cheese base. There’s so much you can do with this, like adding different flavors or even shaping into a cheese ball.

Blueberry Cashew Cream Cheese from dontmissdairy.com

Set the cashew cream into the cheesecloth and cover with plastic wrap. Allow liquid to drip overnight or up to 24 hours. I put mine in the fridge.

Blueberry Cashew Cream Cheese from dontmissdairy.com

This one I let drip for about 16 hours. The liquid will collect at the bottom.

Blueberry Cashew Cream Cheese from dontmissdairy.com

Finished cashew cream cheese, ready to be eaten, mixed with seasonings, or shaped into a cheese ball.

A faster option for a firmer cream cheese is to add 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil or a thickener such as tapioca flour or xanathan gum (found in your local Whole Foods store) to your cashew cream, along with your flavor additives, then refrigerate. This will affect the taste, however.

The easiest option is to skip the thickening, which will result in a soft and fluffy cream cheese. It will have more of a whipped cream consistency–still thick enough  to spread on a bagel yet thin enough to spread on a crumbly biscuit or muffin. The softer version of the cream cheese is pictured. Make it your own and enjoy! 

If you do, share it on Instagram with #dontmissdairy. I’d love to see your version! Sharing dairy free recipes is so inspiring to others with lactose intolerance!

Blueberry Cashew "Cream Cheese"
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight
  2. fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon
  3. 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar*
  4. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  5. 1/4 cup water
  6. 1 cup frozen blueberries
  7. 2 tablespoons white sugar
Instructions
  1. To soak cashews, place in a medium bowl and add water until just covered. Allow to sit overnight, or at least 8 hours. Strain the liquid and rinse the cashews well.
  2. In a high powered blender, add soaked cashews, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, and water. Blend until you achieve a smooth consistency, scraping the sides to incorporate. If necessary you can add more water 1 tablespoon at a time, but this will thin your final product. For a firmer cream cheese, strain in a cheesecloth overnight. For a faster, softer cream cheese, move on to the next step.
  3. In a small saucepan, simmer frozen blueberries and white sugar over low heat for about 10 minutes. Liquid should be so much reduced it is almost all evaporated. Remove from heat.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix cashew cream cheese and blueberry reduction until combined. Add a quick thickener if desired, such as melted coconut oil.** You can also add more sugar to taste. Refrigerate for at least four hours to cool and firm. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Notes
  1. *Optional (Gives it that tangy cream cheese flavor. If you don't like the slight taste of apple cider vinegar, you can omit)
  2. **Blend with 1 tablespoon coconut oil for a quick firmer cream cheese option.
don't miss dairy http://dontmissdairy.com/
Blueberry Cashew Cream Cheese from dontmissdairy.com

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Dairy Free Spinach Artichoke Dip

Cheesy, gooey, hot spinach and artichoke dip with a little kick. It’s okay lactose intolerant person, this is for you. This recipe is made fresh and flavorful to taste better than your average restaurant style artichoke dip. I served it to a group of cheese-loving, dairy-eating ladies and they ate it all up! It’s a lot healthier than an average dish of the dairy version of this dip, as the soy cream cheese and dairy free shreds are low in saturated fat and cholesterol free. I even used light mayonnaise to make it healthier.

Just know, real mayonnaise is completely dairy free. I try to point this out as much as I can, because I’ve noticed a general misconception that mayo is associated with dairy. Either people associate eggs as being dairy, or just mayo as being made with cows milk, but real mayonnaise is made only with eggs–no cow products at all. The Best Foods mayonnaise I used contains the following simple ingredients: soybean oil, water, whole eggs, vinegar, salt, sugar, and lemon juice. No lactose whatsoever. It’s an important ingredient in most artichoke dip recipes.

The other dairy free ingredients I used were Trader Joe’s This is Not a Tub of Cream Cheese, This is a Tub of Non-Dairy Spread, though I also recommend using either Tofutti Cream Cheese and/or Tofutti Sour Cream. I used Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds to substitute real cheese, but I recommend Trader Joe’s Soy Mozzarella as well. For the second cheese you can use real Parmigiano Reggiano, which is said to be completely lactose free due to the process it is made and aged. But to keep this dish completely dairy free, use Galaxy Foods Vegan Grated Parmesan or Parma! instead. Last but not least, in every recipe that calls for butter, I replace it with Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread, which is completely dairy free, yet still tastes amazingly like real butter.

Cooking all these non-dairy ingredients together really brings out their dairy flavor. Eating them all separately and cold makes you never want to buy them again-so don’t do it! Combine them by cooking with other ingredients and spices to get the same level of comfort food satisfaction. I absolutely love this spinach artichoke dip.

Ingredients:

1 large bag fresh baby spinach
2 cans artichoke hearts, chopped
1 medium size yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 6oz containers This is Not a Tub of Cream Cheese
1 cup real mayonnaise
2/3 cup plus 1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano or Vegan Grated Parmesan
3/4 cup plus 1/4 cup Daiya Mozarella style shreds
3 tablespoons Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:
 
1. Chop up your onion, artichokes, and garlic. Melt the Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread in a large saucepan over medium heat.
2. Once melted, toss in the onions and cook until translucent, about five minutes. Throw in the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds with the buttery onions.
3. Add red pepper flakes, sea salt, and black pepper to the pan, immediately followed by all of the spinach. Spinach takes up a ton of space when first added, so it will be easier to add it to the pan in portions. It will cook down quickly. Cook spinach in butter, onion, and garlic mixture for 2-3 minutes once all added.

4. Remove pan temporarily from heat. With a slotted spoon, remove the spinach, onion, and garlic from the pan, leaving as much flavored butter behind as possible. Set spinach mixture aside.  I set my spinach on a cutting board and chopped it up to make it more manageable to eat.

5. Add the artichokes to the remaining flavored buttery liquid in the pan and return to heat. Cook until the liquid is cooked off and the artichokes begin to brown. Add more Smart Balance if needed.

6. While artichokes are cooking create the base for your dip. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Soften the tubs of non-dairy cream cheese in the microwave for 30 seconds. You want them to be easy to work with. Add the non-dairy cream cheese to a large mixing bowl.
7. Add mayonnaise to the non-dairy cream cheese and combine until smooth.
8. Next add 3/4 cup mozzarella shreds and 2/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano or parmesan alternative, spinach mixture, and browned artichokes to the cream cheese and mayo mixture. Stir until well combined.
9. Transfer to a large baking dish and top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan. Cook for 15 minutes, or until mixture is hot and bubbly. Cooking these non-dairy ingredients together is the key to their delicious dairy taste. When I served this dish, no one could tell it was dairy free.
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Dairy Free Buffalo Chicken Dip

I never thought I would be able to eat this stuff again! I mean, the main ingredients are three types of cheese. I used a combination of cream cheese alternative and non dairy cheese to make this highly addictive dip much healthier than it’s original version. It’s completely free of lactose, trans fat, and the only cholesterol in it is added by the lean chicken! It tastes so amazing and so close to the original version you won’t even notice the difference! Even if you can eat dairy, don’t eat the regular version of this dip again–this recipe eliminates so much of the fat and cholesterol that you should not be putting into your body. Trust me, this is good.

Ingredients:

8oz This Is Not a Tub of Cream Cheese This Is a Tub of Non Dairy Spread from Trader Joes
2-3 tablespoons Franks Red Hot Sauce (depending on how spicy you want it)
5oz canned chicken
1/3 cup Daiya Chedder Style Shreds

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Soften the cream cheese alternative in the microwave for 30 seconds, then mix all ingredients together until well blended. It’s easier to blend if you mix the cream cheese and Frank’s first.

Canned chicken.

Cream cheese alternative.

Franks mixed with cream cheese alternative.

Cream cheese mixture with fake cheese.

3. Bake for 20 minutes to melt it all together and OMG the result is divine. Enjoy with some lime tortilla chips and tell me how much you love it.

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