Parmigiano-Reggiano

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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.

Parmigiano-Reggiano

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 Chicken Broccoli Alfredo

I love cheesy pasta dishes. I was disappointed when I went back to Pittsburgh in August and had lunch at one of my favorite restaurants–Joe Mama’s–and realized that all of my usual orders were smothered in cheesy sauces: Hug Yo Belly Gemelli, Herbed Chicken and Penne, Nonna’s Gnocchi, and the list goes on.

Another Pittsburgh restaurant, Eat ‘n’ Park, was a common place for me and my husband to go for a quick lunch or dinner. Our usual was their Chicken Broccoli Alfredo. In college we loved to go to The Underground at Carnegie Mellon, where we would get a plate of hot pasta topped with creamy Alfredo sauce and marinara. The point is, I used to order Alfredo all the time.

I gave it up for awhile, refining my tastes by ordering complex pasta dishes at Italian places and trying new things with more nutrition. But lately I’ve been craving cheesy things.

The only solution to that is to experiment with dairy alternative products and to create masterpieces. My dairy free chicken broccoli Alfredo is definitely a masterpiece. It tastes better than the real thing and I’m serious.

I could eat this everyday!

I used the most realistic tasting dairy-free alternatives: Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread, Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almond Milk, and Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream. Aged parmesan cheese has very little lactose, 0mg per serving, so it’s not going to bother lactose intolerant people in small amounts. In large amounts it will, so if you eat a lot be careful or take a Lactaid pill. It cannot be eaten by people with a milk allergy.

For a completely dairy-free version, I recommend using Vegan Grated Parmesan Cheese Alternative by Galaxy Nutritional Foods. There’s also a parmesan cheese alternative on the market called Parma. It’s made with walnuts, salt, and nutritional yeast. 

Dairy-Free Chicken Broccoli Alfredo
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. 3 tablespoons Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread
  2. 1 cup almond milk
  3. 1/2 cup Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
  4. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  5. 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  6. 1 tablespoon water
  7. 1/3 cup parmesan cheese or parmesan cheese alternative
  8. 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
  9. 2 chicken breasts, sliced and grilled
  10. 1/2 lb of linguine
  11. 1 1/2 cups fresh broccoli, plus water for steaming
Instructions
  1. Timing is everything in this recipe so prep your ingredients before starting. Make sure your chicken breast is cooking before starting the sauce, pasta, and broccoli. I cut mine into four thin strips and started grilling them on my George Foreman Grill at the same time I started cooking the pasta. I also recommend broiling--6 to 8 minutes per side--for a grilled chicken taste. Start pasta by following the directions for cooking on the back of the box. Prep broccoli for quick light microwave steaming by putting it in a dish with a tablespoon of water and covering it.
  2. Once your pasta and chicken are cooking, start the sauce. Melt Smart Balance in a large saucepan over medium heat. After it is melted add almond milk, sour cream, and garlic powder. Whisk to combine.
  3. Dissolve the cornstarch in water in a small dish and gradually add to milk mixture, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Bring sauce to a simmer. Cook for five minutes or until mixture has started to thicken. Add parmesan cheese and whisk to combine.
  4. While the sauce is thickening, steam fresh broccoli for two minutes in the microwave. Go back to the sauce, remove from heat, and stir in 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley.
  5. Cut your chicken into small strips and combine all ingredients in the saucepan to coat with the Alfredo sauce, alternatively you can layer them: pasta, chicken, broccoli, and sauce. Garnish with a sprig of parsley. Mangia!
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Dairy Free Turkey Broccoli Quiche


We had a ton of leftovers from our 23 lb. turkey this Thanksgiving, so I was coming up with ways to eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A quiche is a great breakfast opportunity to use up leftover turkey, but lactose intolerant and quiche usually don’t go together that well. I replaced the heavy cream and cheese with shredded soy mozzarella, a sprinkle of Parmesan, and, of all things, Silk Nog.

Now, before you go wondering how any of these ingredients can possibly go together, you should know that the result was absolutely divine. My husband and I devoured this entire 9inch quiche in less than two days. You don’t have to use the Nog, which is an eggnog alternative, you can use Lactaid Milk or Lactaid Half and Half (if you can find it), or Almond Milk or Soymilk instead. But if you do see the Silk Nog, give it a try. It has a beautiful blend of spices in it already that tastes great with an egg dish! A perfect Thanksgiving leftovers treat for the person in your family that can’t digest dairy.

Ingredients:

1 refrigerated pie crust
1 1/2 cups fresh broccoli
1 tsp onion powder
Dash of black pepper
1 tablespoon Earth Balance or Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread
1 cup cooked turkey, chopped
3/4 cup shredded soy mozzarella cheese (I use Trader Joe’s)
1 tablespoon of Parmesan Cheese Alternative
4 eggs
1 cup Silk Nog (I also recommend Very Vanilla Soymilk)
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt

Directions:

1. Let the pie crust sit out to adjust to room temperature for at least 15 minutes. Mold it into a 9inch pie dish.

2. Melt 1 tablespoon of buttery spread in a large pan and add the broccoli, onion powder, and a dash of black pepper, cooking over medium heat until just tender and it becomes a bright green color.

brocolli

3. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl, then add 1 cup of Silk Nog, salt, pepper, and curry powder and whisk together until blended.

4. Add the ingredients to the pie in this order: cooked broccoli, chopped turkey, shredded soy mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese. Then, pour the egg mixture evenly over these ingredients. Spread the mixture so that all the ingredients are evenly covered.

Broccoli and turkey in pie shell.

Shredded Soy Mozzarella

uncooked turkey quiche

Uncooked turkey broccoli quiche with egg mixture

5. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes, until the center of the quiche is completely cooked through. Goes well with a steaming cup of pumpkin spice coffee. Happy Black Friday!

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