Dairy-free and Delicious

Cow’s milk is the perfect food designed for a nursing baby cow. When it comes to humans, it’s a different story.

Dairy: Fat, cholesterol, blood, pus, food-borne illnesses. Heart attacks, strokes, obesity, diabetes, impotence and osteoporosis.

Dairy-free: No animal suffering, a fraction of the fat, no cholesterol, less fossil fuels and fresh water used to produce, and…delicious!

According to Viva!USA, “investigations have revealed that most cows are kept in confined areas on dirt and cement floors; and the babies, sometimes only a few hours old, are taken from their mothers. Because cows produce significant amounts of milk for only ten months after they have birthed a calf, they are forced to continuously have babies in order to keep the milk flowing.” For the babies, males become veal calves while females are raised as replacement “dairy cows”. Dairy cows are sent to the slaughterhouse after their production levels decreases, typically at age 5-6 versus the normal 25 year lifespan for a cow.

  • Sour Cream
  • Cinnamon Orange Ice Cream
  • Cheeze Sauce for Nachos
  • Tofu Ricotta

If you’re looking for new ways to incorporate dairy-free dishes into your daily diet, milk and butter are two of the easiest foods to replace with vegan options. Soy, almond, rice and oat milks are sold everywhere, and it’s fun to make your own. Olive oil and Earth Balance make great butter replacements. If you replace the cow’s milk with soymilk, or the butter with Earth Balance, it’s an exact replacement and you don’t need any special recipes.

Here’s some easy dairy-free recipes:

Sour Cream

2 boxes Mori-Nu silken tofu
1/2 cup safflower oil
2 Tb cider vinegar
½ cup lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
1 Tb salt
½ tsp white pepper

Puree in a food processor with the “S” blade until creamy smooth. Taste and add more seasonings if you need to. Refrigerate. Serve on burritos, tacos, potato pancakes, etc.

Cinnamon Orange Ice Cream

This one is a little silly, considering that BAV members mostly live in the Bay Area—home of Maggie Mudd’s. If you want incredible vegan ice cream, the best thing to do is visit 903 Cortland Avenue (www.MaggieMudd.com). However, if you enjoy serving more scratch recipes to your guests, here’s a fun way to create your own ice creams.

2 tubs softened vegan vanilla ice cream (soy or rice)
1 Tb orange extract
Zest of 2 oranges
Juice of 2 oranges
2 Tb cinnamon

Mix well and re-freeze overnight.

Other flavor combinations, all based on softened vanilla:

Fresh strawberry or berry
Cranberry (dried cranberries, fresh cranberries, cherry concentrate)

Cheeze Sauce for Nachos

The old vegan cheese sauce was good, but packed with fat (generally made with gobs of margarine). Here’s a healthier version for nachos, pasta, or a dip:

1 cup flour
1 cup nutritional yeast
2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
2 cups water
½ cup safflower oil

1 Tb wet mustard
1 Tb cider vinegar

Mix dry ingredients well, with a whisk in a heavy sauce pot.
Whisk in water and oil. Add mustard and vinegar.
Cook until thickened.

Tofu Ricotta

1 box Mori-Nu silken tofu

1 lb firm, fresh tofu
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tb chopped garlic
2 Tb nutritional yeast
1 Tb salt
1 tsp pepper
2 Tb herbs (basil, parsley, oregano, etc)
¼ cup lemon juice

Puree in a food processor with the “s” blade, but not too well—ricotta has a little bit of texture, it’s not completely smooth. You can also make in a bowl with a potato masher. Taste and adjust seasonings to your own personal tastes. Bake in a lasagna or on polenta.


  1. Stephen Weststeyn [Visitor] says:

    As a dairy producer, I am appalled about the information you convey about the dairy industry. People life yourself need to further research the dairy industry instead of making such hasty generalizations. Since you obviously know nothing about the dairy industry, allow me to share a few things.
    Cows are not confined to cement floors and freestall barns; in fact they are given a large coral which allows them to roam freely. During the winter the cows actually dislike exiting their comfy barns as they find them to be more comfortable than the pasture or coral. All dairy cows may not be allowed on a green pasture, but some cows are. When a lush green pasture is given, cows would rather eat the food that they are given rather than eat pasture grass. The cows on our dairy are quite content and are not suffering beasts.
    Furthermore cows are not forced to produce milk as they actually enjoy being milked. When it is time for them to be milked, all of the cows are waiting at the gate to the barn so they can be the first ones to be milked. If a cow was unallowed to be milked the result would be atrocious as the cow’s udder would explode! Not milking them would be a harsh punishment.
    The facts about the dairy industry that you write about are severely misguided and incorrect. The PETA website is definitely not an accurate source of information! You should choose more reliable sources that actually see and work with cows. Milk is far more beneficial than you may think. Almost all of the nutrient your body needs can be found in milk. There are far worse foods that you can be consuming than milk such as Pepsi or coke. I am astounded that you believe milk causes osteoporosis! Milk is the single best source for the prevention of osteoporosis. The benefits of milk are innumerable. You can go on not drinking milk but I am sure I will live a much longer healthier life by consuming the healthiest beverage around, milk.

  2. I want to try these vegan dairy substitutes. On the ricotta – it that a 1 POUND block of firm tofu? And on the nacho cheez sauce – safflower OIL? Thanks!

  3. meri jo [Visitor] says:

    Stephen Weststeyn: You may want to read a book called, Dont Drink Your Milk, authored by an M.D. about all of the concerns of drinking milk like osteoporosis, diabetes, etc.

  4. Pati [Visitor] says:

    Red Star Yeast, the manufcturer of nutritional yeast, is one of the worst polluters in Oakland. If you go to 6th & Mandala or anyone near that area you will immediately notice the horible stench that the residencce of al of West Oakland have been living with for as long as anyone has lived there. Local activists have tried for years to get them just to comply with the pollution regulations which they have consistently been in violation of without repercussions. Please don’t eat or promote Red Star Yeast. This is an extreme case of eco-racism.

  5. Pati [Visitor] says:

    Oops. Sorry about the typos. But I correctly spelled RACISM which is what Red Star Yeast is guilty of.

  6. Thank you so much for these inspiring recipes. I have put them up on our site with direct note of Alex Bury and a link back to this site. Wonderful recipe ideas!

  7. Cynthia Helmuth [Visitor] says:

    I grew up on a dairy farm, and was appalled (and somewhat amused) at the charges you make about dairy. Our cows went out to pasture every day, and like Stephen (above comment) said, they love to be milked. In fact, there’s been a few times that, due to an emergency, we were late with the milking. When we came home, the cows were all up by the barn, loudly complaining that they hadn’t been milked yet! Now perhaps there are some dairies that the cows are on concrete all the time. I certainly hope not, and I don’t know of any, but I know our cows were happy cows, and we were a happy farm family, loving the fresh, nutritious milk and butter that our cows gave us!

  8. Jennifer [Visitor] says:

    I’m not vegan and my boyfriend for whom I regularly cook isn’t either. But he is allergic to dairy and these substitution recipes make him more happy than they ever would make someone who has ever had the real thing. Thanks to your recipes he will have his very first lasagna at 30 years old. And that makes both of us very happy. Thank you.