Dairy-Free Shopping List and Essential Plant-Based Recipes

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Nutritional yeast adds rich creaminess, while still dairy-free vegan
Nutritional yeast adds rich creaminess, while still dairy-free vegan

A huge hurdle when beginning a plant-based whole foods diet is eliminating dairy.  Dairy products are in many of the foods we’re used to eating on the Standard American Diet.

However, keeping your kitchen stocked with healthy, plant-based dairy-free substitutions can help you stay on track. I’ve put together this downloadable PDF so that you can have a quick shopping list and recipe guide. Print this out, save it to your phone, or tape it on your fridge.

Use this as a reference when you need help. This will guide you as you navigate your plant-based diet.


Essential Plant-Based Dairy-Free Recipes

Plant-Based Vegan Cheeses

Nuts, seeds, nutritional yeast, and spices create quick, easy plant-based substitutes for dairy cheese. All of these recipes freeze well so make a big batch and keep extras on-hand for future dinners.

5-Minute Vegan Cashew “Parm”

This ain’t your typical Parmesan cheese…this is vegan Cashew “Parm!”  A few ingredients from your pantry come together quickly for an easy plant-based susbtitute for traditional Parmesan cheese.   Sprinkle over your favorite Italian dishes like over Gluten-Free Pasta with Marinara, Big ‘Ole Italian Chickpea Salad, or Winter Vegetable Minestrone.

Spicy Broccoli Garlic Spaghetti Squash Bowl with 5-MInute Vegan Cashew Parm - Healthy Dairy-Free, Oil-Free, Plant-Based Vegan Dinner
Spicy Broccoli Garlic Spaghetti Squash Bowl with 5-MInute Vegan Cashew Parm – Healthy Dairy-Free, Oil-Free, Plant-Based Vegan Dinner

5-Minute Vegan Macadamia Nut Ricotta “Geez!”

Rich, buttery macadamia nuts create a light, fluffy vegan version of your favorite Ricotta cheese.  This simple raw, oil-free recipe comes together in just 5 minutes.  Use as a healthy dairy-free replacement in Southwest Sweet Potato Lasagna, on Whole Wheat Flatbread, or Portobello Mushroom Burgers. It also works as a delicious stuffing for mushrooms or tomatoes.

5-Minute Vegan Macademia Nut Ricotta Geez - Healthy, Plant-Based, Oil-Free, Gluten-Free, Raw, Grain-Free, Vegan Cheese Recipe from Plants-Rule
5-Minute Vegan Macademia Nut Ricotta Geez – Healthy, Plant-Based, Oil-Free, Gluten-Free, Raw, Grain-Free, Vegan Cheese Recipe from Plants-Rule

Vegan Tofu Feta “Cheese”

Traditional Feta cheese is a brined cheese.  Sometimes also referred to as “pickled” cheese, this means the cheese has been matured in a brine made from salt and acid. This preservation method helps inhibit bacteria growth. It also ferments the cheese slightly, giving it umami flavor. This plant-based vegan recipe uses tofu instead of dairy. Use it on Orzo Pasta Salad or Big ‘Ole’ Italian Chickpea Salad. Crumble it for baked potatoes, Pasta Alla Norma, or Stuffed Zucchini.

Vegan Tofu Feta Cheese - Healthy, Plant-based, Dairy-Free, Oil-Free Recipe from Plants-Rule
Tofu is a heart-healthy source of vegan protein, calcium, and other key nutrients.

Vegan Pumpkin Nacho “Geez!” Sauce

This ain’t your typical cheese…this is Nacho “Geez!”  This healthy, vegan sauce uses soaked cashews for rich creaminess.  Use this in place of your typical cheese sauces – like in macaroni and cheese, on nachos, or in casserole. Kid-approved and comfort food for adults, it’s great in a Cheezy Pasta Bake, over Roasted Brussels, or  Twice-Baked Potatoes.  

Vegan Nacho Geez! Sauce on Roasted Brussels - Healthy, Plant-Based, Oil-Free, Vegan Recipe from Plants-Rule
Vegan Nacho Geez! Sauce on Roasted Brussels – Healthy, Plant-Based, Oil-Free, Vegan Recipe from Plants-Rule

Vegan Herbed Cashew Cream “Geez!

Rich, creamy, and ridiculous…
It’s Cashew Cream “Geez!” This is a must-have recipe if you’re trying to go dairy-free. My raw, vegan clients love it on sliced tomatoes and marinated mushrooms. Check out this quick recipe video to see how it easy it is to make:

Vegan Herbed Cashew Cream “Geez!”


Plant-Based Oil-Free Salad Dressings

Dairy can be a sneaky ingredient in salad dressings. Sometimes buttermilk is used as a base. Or, perhaps Parmesan and Asiago get blended into a creamy Caesar dressing. These plant-based recipes are all oil-free and full of flavor. Again, they freeze well. Make a big batch and keep some on-hand so you have delicious toppings for your vegan salads.

Oil-Free Vegan Caesar Dressing

Creamy white cannellini beans create a rich texture and healthy vegan protein in this healthy Caesar Salad dressing.  Based on traditional Caesar flavors, this gets a plant-based, dairy-free twist with ingredients like nutritional yeast, Dijon mustard, and vegan Worcestershire.  A must-have recipe if you love creamy dressings.

Oil-Free Caesar Dressing - Healthy, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Plant-Based Salad Recipe  with Creamy White Cannellini Beans from Plants-Rule
Oil-Free Caesar Dressing – Healthy, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Plant-Based Salad Recipe with Creamy White Cannellini Beans from Plants-Rule

Green Goddess Silken Tofu Dressing

Green Goddess Dressing is a classic recipe full of fresh, herbal flavors. It celebrates the first flavors of Spring with a mixture of tarragon, parsley, and chives.  The traditional recipe uses mayonnaise and sour cream.  This healthy, plant-based vegan version swaps out for silken tofu. Use this to top Quinoa-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Green Goddess Dressing, Chickpea Garden Veggie Burgers,Twice-Baked Smoky, Cheezy Stuffed Potatoes, on salad, or as a dip for crudité vegetables.

Green Goddess Dressing from Silken Tofu - Healthy, Plant-based, Oil-Free, Gluten-Free, Creamy Vegan Recipe from Plants-Rule
Green Goddess Dressing from Silken Tofu – Healthy, Plant-based, Oil-Free, Gluten-Free, Creamy Vegan Recipe from Plants-Rule

Oil-Free Raw Chipotle Cashew Dressing

For a spicy twist on traditional Ranch dressing, this salad dressing hits the spice. Soaked cashews are the base, replacing traditional buttermilk for a creamy, dairy-free substitution. Use it as a healthy, plant-based sauce over Southwest Salad.

Raw Southwest Corn Salad with Oil-Free Chipotle Cashew Dressing - Healthy, Vegan, Oil-Free, Raw, Gluten-Free, Raw, Plant-Based Spicy Recipe with Mexican Smoky Flavor from Plants-Rule
Raw Southwest Corn Salad with Oil-Free Chipotle Cashew Dressing – Healthy, Vegan, Oil-Free, Raw, Gluten-Free, Raw, Plant-Based Spicy Recipe with Mexican Smoky Flavor from Plants-Rule

Plant-Based Oil-Free Condiments

Butter, sour cream, and cream cheese are traditional dairy condiments. They are spread onto dinner rolls, dolloped onto baked potatoes, and spread onto breakfast bagels. For dairy-free, plant-based substitutes, you can make your own “Buttah”. You can also use store-bought items like hummus, avocados, and cashew butter to add rich, creamy flavor.

Roasted Garlic Shallot Plant-Based “Buttah”

Roasted garlic, shallots, and creamy cashews create a healthy plant-based substitute for butter. This vegan recipe is full of rich, satisfying flavor. Spread it onto toast or use it as a dairy-free substitute for sour cream.  If you love this recipe, you’ll also love Roasted Garlic White Bean Spread,  and Smoky, Oil-Free Poblano Hummus.

Roasted Corn with Garlic Shallot Plant-Based “Buttah”: Vegan Butter Substitute - Oil-Free, Gluten-Free, Sauce, Dip, Condiment Recipe from Plants-Rule
Roasted Corn with Garlic Shallot Plant-Based “Buttah”: Vegan Butter Substitute – Oil-Free, Gluten-Free, Sauce, Dip, Condiment Recipe from Plants-Rule

Store-Bought Plant-Based Condiments

Avocadoes, hummus, and cashew butter are easy, store-bought items you can always keep on hand. Use these in place of traditional dairy condiments like sour cream, cheese, and cream cheese for your healthy plant-based diet.

Helpful Video for 7 Plant-Based Dairy-Free Vegan Substitutions:


Plant-Based Vegan Dessert Sauces and Curd

It’s hard to avoid dairy in desserts. Butter, cream, and milk are the basic ingredients for most pastry recipes and dessert sauces. However, you can substitute many of those ingredients for plant-based foods like tofu, cashews, and peanut butter. All of these vegan recipes freeze well, so it’s a good idea to make extra. Plus, they are all whole foods, using on unrefined ingredients like bananas and dates for sweetness. There are no refined sugars, syrups, or oils.

Vegan Tofu Lemon Curd with Berries

Silken tofu, dried dates, and fresh lemon come together for this healthy, plant-based vegan dessert recipe. Top with fresh berries. Perfect for 4th of July summer parties.

Vegan Tofu Lemon Curd with Berries - Healthy, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Oil-Free, Summer Dessert Recipe from Plants-Rule
Vegan Tofu Lemon Curd with Berries – Healthy, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Oil-Free, Summer Dessert Recipe from Plants-Rule

Spicy Mexican Chocolate Sauce with Pineapple

If you love hot fudge, this sauce is for you! Traditional chocolate sauce uses dairy milk or cream. Yet, this vegan Chocolate Sauce recipe uses almond milk. It gets some Mexican spice with cinnamon and chipotle powder.  Natural sweetness comes from dates. Serve with a side of pineapple, pour overBanana “I-Scream, or just dive in with a few fresh berries. Chocolate lovers rejoice!

Mexican Chocolate Sauce with Pineapple - Healthy, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, No Sugar Added, Spicy Vegan Dessert Recipe from Plants-Rule
Mexican Chocolate Sauce with Pineapple – Healthy, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, No Sugar Added, Spicy Vegan Dessert Recipe from Plants-Rule

Plant-Based Vegan Pecan Vanilla Frosting

Rich pecans and dried dates come together for this plant-based vegan frosting. Spread it on Peach Cake, cupcakes, or cookies for the ultimate dessert.

Plant-Based Peach Cake with Vegan Pecan Vanilla Frosting - Healthy, Oil-Free Dessert Recipe from Plants-Rule
Plant-Based Peach Cake with Vegan Pecan Vanilla Frosting – Healthy, Oil-Free Dessert Recipe from Plants-Rule

Vegan Peanut Butter Banana Frosting

Traditional frosting often uses butter as the base. However, this plant-based dairy-free version uses rich, creamy peanut butter. Paired with bananas and dates for natural sweetness, this recipe is a must-have. No one – child or adult – can resist this classic combination.

Chocolate Monkey Bars with Peanut Butter Banana Frosting - Healthy, Plant-Based, Oil-Free, Date Sweetened, Whole Wheat Vegan Baking Dessert Recipe from Plants-Rule
Chocolate Monkey Bars with Peanut Butter Banana Frosting – Healthy, Plant-Based, Oil-Free, Date Sweetened, Whole Wheat Vegan Baking Dessert Recipe from Plants-Rule

5-Minute Chocolate Banana “I-Scream!”

Frozen bananas do double-duty when replacing traditional ice cream or frozen yogurt. First, they pure into a smooth, creamy texture. Second, they add natural sweetness. Keep some frozen bananas on hand and you can whip up this creamy, healthy vegan treat any time.  A must-have recipe for anyone with a sweet tooth.

Chocolate Banana I-Scream - Healthy, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, No Refined Sugar or Syrup, Plant-Based, Dairy-Free, Vegan Recipe from Plants-Rule
Chocolate Banana I-Scream – Healthy, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, No Refined Sugar or Syrup, Plant-Based, Dairy-Free, Vegan Recipe from Plants-Rule

More Help at:

Plant-Based 101 and the Essential, Oil-Free Vegan Recipes you need


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