Friday, July 17, 2009

Groceries 101: The best vegan dairy-free alternatives - Friday, July 17, 2009

By Joy Harris, Minneapolis Vegetarian Examiner

These are recommendations for the best dairy-free alternatives for vegans, some vegetarians and those with dairy allergies. I buy these products on a regular basis and believe they offer the best taste and texture in the non-dairy grocery product category. Most of the products are good sources of calcium and protein.

So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk. Contains live active cultures, is sweetened with cane juice and comes in many flavors including plain, vanilla, strawberry, blueberry, mango, pina colada and chocolate. I use the plain in Greek and Indian sauces and vanilla in muffin recipes.

Purely Decadent Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert. These pints of frozen goodness are available in non-dairy flavors made with soy and non-dairy flavors made with coconut milk (no soy). I prefer the coconut-based version in flavors including chocolate, cookie dough, mint chip, coconut, mocha almond fudge and vanilla bean.

Tofutti Better than Sour Cream and Better than Cream Cheese. I love Better than Sour Cream. I use it in mashed potatoes and on baked potatoes, to make chip and veggie dips, with burritos and fajitas, and to top my famous veggie chili. The cream cheese comes in several flavors and is a great cracker spread. Tofutti products are a blend of tofu and oils.

Silk Creamer. Made of non-genetically engineered soybeans and sweetened with cane juice, this comes in several flavors – original, French vanilla and hazelnut cream. I’m sure it’s great in coffee. But for those who don’t drink coffee, the creamer has other uses. I use this on my morning oatmeal, poured over berries and peaches/nectarines and the original flavor is great for making creamy soups.

Silk Soymilk. Of all the nut- and grain-based milks I’ve tried, Silk is my favorite. It comes in original, chocolate, vanilla and very vanilla. Most flavors are also available in a Light version with half the fat. It’s wonderful on cereal, for recipes, or just to drink.

Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks. These are conveniently-packaged as four half-cup sticks in a box and are perfect for baking – especially vegan cookies. Earth Balance products are non-GMO and free of hydrogenated oils and artificial ingredients.

365 Everyday Value brand margarine in a tub. This is Whole Foods private label made with a blend of organic, non-hydrogenated oils. It’s great anywhere you’d use a spreadable margarine – on toast, muffins, pancakes and waffles or melted on veggies.

NaSoya sandwich spread. This used to be called Nayonaise, but they’ve updated the packaging and now call it vegi-based sandwich spread. It’s great on sandwiches and for making pasta salads, potato salad and tofu eggless salad.

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