5 on-the-go dairy substitutes for vegetarians and vegans
Emily Nickles, Editor-in-Chief
When I first chose to be a vegetarian in high school, about four or five years ago, typical marketplace stops were just starting to carry vegan and vegetarian friendly options. Just in case we have a few people who are unsure to make a choice based on the fear of availability and accessibility here are few options to substitute every day basics:
There are far more dairy-free “milk” options available for vegans due to the fact that there is also a demand from people who are lactose intolerant. For example, there are two major brands that provide an almond milk variation: Silk and Blue Diamond.
Silk also makes coconut milk, cashew milk, and soy milk—including their chocolate milk counterparts. I prefer almond milk due to the value of nutrients, but it’s truly a test and try type of situation. There are frequent manufacturer coupons and offers online—so check your sources before you head off to the grocery store.
Oh blessed be the person inspired to create dairy-free ice cream. Although somewhat expensive, compared to the all-revered gallon of Blue Bell ice cream, you can now find at least three different varieties in any popular marketplace.
Of the brands I have seen locally, there are SODelicious, Almond Dream, Arctic Zero, Lactaid, Purely Decadent, Rice Dream, Amy’s, NadaMoo, and the elusive Larry & Luna’s. Granted, there are some brands not included such as the Breyer’s Dairy-Free and a few outliers. I include the top brands you are most likely to see.
Some of the brands, such as Lactaid, Amy’s, and Breyer’s, attempt to emulate the texture and flavor of typical ice cream. SODelicious, Almond Dream and Rice Dream have a unique flavor that reflects the main ingredient; such as almonds or coconut. I would personally recommend these, they do not fall flat of expectations.
The only available vegan butter that I am aware of is Earth Balance. It is now becoming more common for this product to be on the shelves of big-wig shopping centers such as Wal-Mart, Kroger and Tom Thumb. They also carry a vegan mayo, stick butter, peanut butter, snacks, and quick-fix meals.
The next best option is to create vegan butter from scratch using recipes from the many vegan blogs and websites at large.
Dairy-free yogurt is not available in as many options as Greek and regular yogurt nor in as many varieties. However, SODelicious, Almond Dream, Silk, WholeSoy Co., Stoneyfield and Daiya have products to offer. It seems that the consistency similar to that of yogurt can be made from coconuts, soy, almonds or a combination of those ingredients. I recommend an almond or coconut base for a unique flavor or Daiya’s vegan take on a dairy-free Greek yogurt for a thick, whipped texture.
Daiya is without a doubt the go-to for a dairy-free cheese that hits the mark. They offer packaged pizzas, frozen mac, cheese cake, cream cheese spread, sandwich slices, cheese blocks and the essential “sprinkle” cheese.
The flavor of their cheeses is slightly more sharp and similar to that of an aged cheese. Depending on preference and maybe pickiness, the flavor may not suit everyone, but for a budding vegan it is essential to try this one out.
I have also seen GoVeggie! cheese alternatives that are just as adequate—in fact their specialty is creating a vegan cheese substitute. Both products can be found at Natural Grocer’s, Wal-Mart, Kroger and Albertson’s.
With all these products, prices are going to be inflated because the resources used to make the substitutes are not as capitalized by industry at the same rate as milk, eggs and cheeses that come directly from animals. I encourage students to look for manufacturer coupons on the respective websites or for sales in-store. There is always at least one coupon available per product each week.