Since it’s still Vegan January at Spirit Voyage, here are some tried and tested alternatives I’ve found to dairy products. While you can buy your own dairy alternatives, these suggestions are much less processed than their grocery store cousins and happen to be soy-free.

5 Vegan Dairy Alternatives

1. For “Parmesan Cheese” (both of these options adhere to the pasta in a similar way to cheese)

a) Cashew method: In a blender or coffee grinder, grind a handful of cashews per person into a super-fine powder. Sprinkle over hot pasta. (This also makes a great filling for lasagna as a ricotta substitute. The texture once cooked is very similar.)

b) Flax method: In a blender of coffee grinder, grind up a handful of flax per person with a pinch of sea salt into a super-fine powder. Sprinkle onto hot pasta.

2. For “Whipped Cream”

In a powerful blender, blend cashews, a little water or orange juice, some vanilla extract, and a pinch of sea salt. Blend until mixture becomes a “cream.” Dollop over anything or eat with a spoon!

3. For “Milk”

Using any kind of blender, blend 1 part nuts to 2 parts water. Blend until well-mixed. Strain through cheese-cloth (messier option), nut milk bag (purchase on online raw food websites), or clean pantyhose material. This will keep only 2-3 days, so don’t make too much in one batch! Almonds, cashews and hazelnuts are mild and work well. Brazil nuts and walnuts are nice to mix in, but, in my opinion, not great on their own.

4. For “Butter”

a) Coconut oil: This has a really rich taste and I love to spread it on muffins with a little sea salt. Coconut oil also has a very high smoke point, so it’s safer to cook with than most other commercial oils.

b) Olive oil: This may be an acquired taste, but I love olive oil on toast. If you pour olive oil into ice trays and freeze, you can actually spread it!

5. For “Ice Cream”

a) Instant method: if you have a Cuisinart, Vita-mix, or something similar, you can make sorbet in an instant. Blend any frozen fruits and with a splash of nut milk or water (the least amount to get the blender going). You can add sweetener, spices, vanilla, orange rind, cacao powder… get creative! My favorite is bananas and cardamon

b) Avocado Ice Cream: This is not for everyone, but I love it! The procedure is similar to making guacamole, but hold the garlic and onion! Blend the flesh of four large avocados, sweeten to taste (a little mor than you think, because it’s harder to taste the sweetness as food gets colder), 3 TB of lemon juice, and 1 tsp vanilla extract, until you have a smooth avocado cream. Place in ice cream maker and follow instructions. If you do not own an ice cream maker, place the mixture in a tupperware and press plastic wrap over it so there is no air touching your ice cream. Allow to freeze for several hours. Yummy!

If you follow instructions for the whipped cream and the ice cream, you are on your way to a very decadent vegan dessert!

Bon appetit!

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