If you’re just beginning your vegan journey or have been with us all along, trying to veganize recipes that have been created using dairy products can be confusing. Obviously this is a topic that is near and dear to our hearts, so we have put together our favourite recipes and a simple to follow guide to swapping out those dairy products with their plant-based alternatives!
When I got started on my plant-based journey in 2020, the vegan options at the grocery store were VERY limited. We've come a long way with the pre-prepared options available in main stream grocery stores here in Canada, and sometimes you have to try a few different brands to find your favourites because they are not all created equally.
As far as cheese goes, Zengarry has several different flavours and textures that can replace dairy cheeses in most of your favourite recipes. If you're looking for something for bagels, sandwiches, wraps or dipping vegetables, try our Fresh Cultured Cashew Spreads: Garlic and Fine Herbs or Sun Dried Tomato and Basil.
If you're looking for a Brie replacement, our Double Crème flavour is meant for just this purpose. It can be crumbled into salads or onto tacos, baked in pastry as a Brie en Croûte, warmed in the oven as a Baked Brie or mixed into sauces to give them a creamy texture. I stir it into my tomato sauce to create a simple Rosé sauce.
Our Smokey Jalapeño and Ale Aged Cultured Cashew Wheels are great alternative to cheddar. Spread it onto burgers, sandwiches or crackers, mix it into soups or freeze it and grate it right onto chilli or pasta. They also make rich and creamy vegan mac n' cheese dishes the whole family will love.
There are several vegan parmesan alternatives on the market now, but it is so easy to make at home that I never buy the prepared versions. Seriously, 4 simple ingredients pulsed in your food processor for 30 seconds is all it takes.
Vegan Parmesan Ingredients:
1/2 cup ground almonds
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1-2 tsp. yellow miso paste
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. sea salt
Keep this in a mason jar in the fridge for up to 3 months and sprinkle it on your pasta, salad, soup, cooked veggies and especially popcorn. Mmmmm. In a pinch, plain old nutritional yeast will do too.
Vegan Ricotta is an essential ingredient in lasagna and it's also very easy to make in your food processor.
1 package Fauxmagerie Zengarry Garlic and Fine Herbs Cashew Cheese
Juice from ½ a lemon
1 block of firm or extra-firm tofu
Salt to taste
Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until fairly smooth, like the texture of ricotta cheese. I usually add spinach to this mixture when making lasagna or stuffed pasta shells. I thaw a package of frozen spinach, squeeze out the water and fold it into the ricotta in a large bowl.
I have yet to find a pre-made vegan sour cream that I like, so I use this recipe A LOT. One thing you need to make it is a powerful blender. I swear by my Vitamix, it's my favourite kitchen tool for making creamy dairy alternatives that are not grainy. The other trick is to make sure you soak your cashews. I recommend soaking them for 6-8 hours, but if that's not in the cards for you, cover them in boiling water and let them sit for at least 30 minutes.
1 cup of raw cashews, soaked for 6-8 hours
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 heaping tsp sea salt, or to taste
Add all ingredients to a high powered blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
Refrigerate it before serving preferably since it does thicken up when it's cold. Serve it on soups, baked potatoes, tacos, nachos, chilli or anything really.
If you're looking for a thick cream to use in sauces, chowders or dips, a simple cashew cream will do the trick. I make this in my Vitamix, but any blender should work. All it takes is equal parts soaked cashews and water and sea salt.
1 cup raw cashews soaked 6-8 hours
1 cup water
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Other alternatives include coconut cream or full fat coconut milk, soy creamer or Barista blend oat milk.
Simple Plant-based Dairy Swaps for Everyday
This list will help you navigate most recipes, but if you run across a recipe that you just aren't sure about what to use, feel free to drop us a line!