This Is Not a Tub of Cream Cheese

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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.

This Is Not a Tub of Cream Cheese

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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Olive and Pimento Cream Cheese Alternative

Mini bagels with olive pimento cream cheese.

I really miss cream cheese. I have cravings for it all the time. When I lived in Pittsburgh, PA, one of my favorite places to go for breakfast was Bruegger’s Bagels, where they had a delicious selection of cream cheese to choose from, including strawberry, pumpkin, and, my all-time favorite, olive and pimento.

I used to make my own flavored cream cheese when we first came out to California and had great success with pumpkin, blueberry, and olive pimento, but when dairy started bothering me I stopped. I’ve tried to come up with cream cheese alternatives, first by using creamy goat cheese instead. I mixed it with raspberry preserves to make raspberry cream cheese. It was a great option, until excess goat cheese started bothering me as well.

The cream cheese alternatives were my best options. Nowadays there are multiple brands without harmful ingredients like hydrogenated oils. This is Not a Tub of Cream Cheese This is a Tub of Non-Dairy Spread is the Trader Joe’s brand. Yeah, that is literally what it’s called. This particular cream cheese alternative is made out of coconut oil, sunflower oil, soy protein, and lots of thickeners. It is cholesterol free and also free of hydrogenated oils. The only problem with it is that it tastes nothing like cream cheese. It just looks and spreads like cream cheese. So I went to work to try to make it edible. I figured that adding strong flavor to it would really make a difference, so I mixed in some green olives and the spread became really something to be happy about. I devoured the two halves of my mini bagel with olive pimento spread and needed more. So I made another one. And another. It’s almost like eating cream cheese again! Definitely worth a try. I would love to try pumpkin next.

Ingredients:

1 container This is Not a Tub of Cream Cheese This is a Tub of Non-Dairy Spread
1/2 cup Manzanilla olives stuffed with minced pimentos
1 teaspoon Manzanilla olive juice

Directions:

1. Dice the green olives with pimentos still inside.

Diced green olives.

2. In a small bowl, thoroughly mix the diced olives with the cream cheese alternative and the olive juice. You can easily add more olives if you want. The more olives added the more it tastes like green olives and the less it tastes of the spread.

Cream cheese alternative mixed with diced green olives.

3. Spread it on your favorite toasted bagel and enjoy!

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