The Dairy-Free Store Cupboard

Switching your eating habits can be quite a chore especially when you are out with your friends and requesting for restaurants to put your dressings or sauces on the side or checking with the chef if there are certain ingredients that should not be in the dish. It can become tedious and quite a pain especially in social settings. From experience, it is always good to plan ahead to prevent any lapse in your meal planning.

When you have the choice of cooking your own meals, it is best to plan ahead, stock your fridge with versatile ingredients and you’ll always be read to make a wealth of delicious dairy free meals and desserts or whatever you need to cook up.


A rich source of calcium. Without milk in the diet, you need 1000-1300mg per day depending on your age. Sprinkle flaked almonds on your oatmeal or cereals in the mornings. Keep a bag of whole almonds on hand to snack at work. A better alternative to you Snickers or Kinder Beuno’s don’t you think?

Almond Milk

Unsweetened almond milk contains calcium and taste pleasant in tea and on cereal. It works well as a baking ingredient and works well as a substitute for cow milk.  Mixing lemon juice with almond milk is an alternative to buttermilk. Interesting fact huh..

Look for brands made with non-GM ingredients, fortified with vitamins like B12 and E and unsweetened.


Avocados are extremely creamy and are also known as ‘butter pears’ . They are packed with nutrients like Vitamin E, iron and potassium and are a useful dairy-free ingredient. They can act as a spread on toast for breakfast replacing your butter and cheese.

Baking Margarine

We understand that when baking, unsalted butter is often used and for a dairy-free lifestyle , butter is just not going to cut it. We recommend using block baking margarine to make flaky pastry, short biscuits or cakes. It has a similar taste to real butter without the creaminess of real butter but the consistency is similar. Normally to add more oomph to baking margarine, we add vanilla extract or cinnamon. Doing this enhances the flavour of the cake or biscuit.

Cacao Nibs

Cacao nibs are little roasted chips of the cacao bean. They are usually ground into paste to make chocolate. They can be easily found in health stores. Don’t assume that they taste like chocolates though they are an important ingredient for making chocolates. They have an intense, earthy flavour-chocolatey but not sweet. They really are great. Packed with antioxidants and minerals including magnesium. Eat a handful as a snack, sprinkle onto cereal and porridge.

Cocoa Powder

Hey, a dairy-free diet does not mean you have to give up your favourite chocolate desserts. Quality cocoa that contains 70% cocoa does not contain cow’s milk , so you can use it in cakes and pudding or to make a hot cup of choco. Look for dairy-free or vegan brands that are guaranteed free from traces of milk.

Coconut Cream

The best substitute for double, clotted cream or thick cream. It is thick, luscious and has a mild flavour that goes well with vanilla extract.

Coconut milk

Coconut milk is great for curries, noodle dishes like Laska and incredibly useful in dairy-free cooking. It is pretty much a versatile cooking ingredient that you must have in your cupboard. For most cooking, it would be better to use full fat coconut milk.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil comes from the meaty coconut flesh and is solid at room temperature but meals with a little gentle heating. It is heart-healthy so don’t worry about the cholesterol levels. Look for extra virgin raw coconut oil. Great for frying and roasting vegetables.

Dairy free margarine 

To substitute for butter in cooking, baking and spreading, try a dairy free margarine.

Dark Chocolate

70% Cocoa solid dark chocolate is a key ingredient in many of cakes and desserts. Good quality brand shouldn’t contain any milk, so check the labels. Sometimes with cocoa powder, some brands may contain traces of milk so if you have a dairy allergy , look for specialised dairy free brands.

Dark Leafy Greens

Green Leafy vegetables like kale, broccoli, spinach, watercress and Kai Lan are an excellent source of calcium. Add these vegetables to dishes whenever you can.


Good quality mayonnaise should not contain any milk. It is normally made with eggs and oil and eggs are not considered dairy.

Olive oil

Light olive oil makes incredible cakes-fluffy sponges and moist chocolate puddings. Good substitute for butter.

Sesame Seeds

Another excellent source of calcium. Sprinkle sesame seeds on yoghurts, salads, curries and whatever dishes that goes well with sesame seeds.


Spices are  a great addition to cooking and can be mixed with other ingredients to taste like dairy. Did you know nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla all add flavour to desserts and cakes missing the creaminess of butter?


A good source of calcium. It takes on strong flavours easily. A great addition to curries, Thai or Vietnamese dishes.


Since we won’t be using a lot of butter and will be replaced with other products, vanilla extracts are needed to mask free-from products to add more flavour to the dish. This is why you need to use a good quality vanilla extract or vanilla powder.

Vegetable, groundnut, rapeseed or sunflower oil

Great to make light and delicious cakes.

Vegetable Shortening

Vegetable shortening is a solid fat that makes perfect crumbly pastry. Look for brands that don’t contain trans fat and that use palm oil from sustainable sources.


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