Veganize my love affair with dairy products...
August 11, 2008 8:31 AM   Subscribe

How to veganize my love affair with dairy products? And can I do it in a high-protein manner?

I have been eating a lot of dairy as a major source of vegetarian protein...and now that I want to move to veganism, I love it too much to give up! Almond milk works ok on cereal, but isn't as high in protein--and I LOVE plain yogurt with fruit and non-fat cottage cheese with fruit and don't know if I can give those up without a replacement!

So what I'm looking for is, I think, 'cold and creamy' vegan snacks, and the higher in protein the better. Do these exist? Can I make tofu tapioca? Tofu pudding? Things like applesauce could be a good substitute texture-wise, how could I add protein to that? Fruit-and-veggie smoothies, with a block of tofu on the side? (Currently my best idea is just to put salt on a slice of tofu and eat it like a hard-boiled egg...)
posted by lemonade to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Fruit-and-veggie smoothies, with a block of tofu on the side?

Why not blend tofu into your smoothies? Use soft tofu for this. I'm sure if you google tofu smoothies you'll find a bunch of recipes.
posted by at 8:41 AM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

I've eaten a lot of vegan food, and I have yet to try a fake-dairy product or recipe that wasn't either a pallid imitation or outright disgusting. My suggestion would be to stop trying to replicate the dairy experience, and instead enjoy vegan food that is more honest to itself — tofu that looks like tofu, not tofu mashed with banana and applesauce.

But certainly the vegan cookbooks on my bookshelf have entire chapters full of what you are looking for — this is a desire shared by many (if not most) vegans, and a few minutes browsing cookbooks will show you how many options you have.
posted by Forktine at 9:02 AM on August 11, 2008

tapioca pudding actually works pretty well with substituting soy milk and egg replacer.

there are some very good soy yogurts out there as well. i'm a big fan of wildwood yogurts because they seem tangier than other brands, like silk or wholesoy.

silken tofu also blends quite well in smoothies, so i recommend that.

you might want to just go to whole foods or your local natural foods store and browse the dairy aisle for soy/vegan facsimiles.

i also think you might want to check out some standard vegan cookbooks like how it all vegan and veganomicon.
posted by kendrak at 9:05 AM on August 11, 2008

Hemp Milk has about 4-5x the protein of Almond milk and I find it quite tasty. This and coconut and avocado based ice cream-like desserts seem as good or better than the real thing to me.
posted by verevi at 9:22 AM on August 11, 2008

Yeah, you're going to be disappointed if you set out hoping to recreate the dairy experience, but I think several types of soy yogurt out there taste pretty good, and you can definitely get big tubs of it plain to add fruit to as you like.

Can I make tofu tapioca? Tofu pudding?

VegWeb is totally your friend.
posted by cmonkey at 9:28 AM on August 11, 2008

A great place for these questions is the PPK forum. The good news is that things are really improving. There are many more options now than there were five years ago. There are good tasting soy yogurts now, for example, and good cookbooks.

The first fake-dairy recipe that really astounded me was the cashew ricotta from Veganomicon (I use it in lasagna or stuffed pasta). I don't think you should expect a ricotta taste (I have never eaten real ricotta) but I did find it very dairy-tasting.
posted by davar at 9:35 AM on August 11, 2008

Mmmm... avocados. My raw vegan friend says that when she finds herself craving dairy, she's actually craving saturated fats, and a little avocado satisfies like nothing else. Good avocado and black bean tacos could be a substitute for cheesy enchiladas.
posted by abirae at 9:53 AM on August 11, 2008

I am off dairy for stomach-related reasons and I can tell you there has never been a better find than almond milk. I do still have to take supplements for calcium and almond milk can be expensive. I found that Silk only makes one completely vitaminized soy milk, but it's called "Kid's" and it's this disgusting vanilla flavor.
posted by parmanparman at 9:58 AM on August 11, 2008

If you boil tofu cubes/chunks briefly (about a minute) they have very nearly the same texture as hard boiled egg whites when you fish them out of the water. I can see that subbing quite well for a hard boiled egg.

There is soy yogurt but I find the commercial stuff completely 100% inedible. I make my own soy yogurt at home because homemade is worlds above the commercial stuff.

There is a lot of effort devoted to finding dairy subs in the vegan world. A good source for some solid recipes is the Uncheese Cookbook. It has some really, really good recipes in it for some pretty high protein cheese subs that don't rely entirely upon tofu. Her "Gee Whiz" dip/spread actually tastes better than the Cheez Whiz she's mimicked with it. It's made out of northern beans and nutritional yeast and is high protein.

She also has a "cottage cheez" recipe, meant to mimic cottage cheese, but I have to tell you: it sucks. Cottage cheese may very well be a thing of the past if you do become vegan.
posted by hecho de la basura at 11:08 AM on August 11, 2008

Soy Yogurt! Peach is the best.
Coconut Milk Ice cream (sold at whole foods near the soy ice creams)!!
Tofutti Cuties (They've ruined every flavor but coffee)!
Soy Pudding (It's at whole foods, its got a panda on the pack, the best flavor is banana).
Grande Triple Soy Lattes!

I've got a vegan and a lactose intolerant in my house. These are the foods they eat that I have come to love.
posted by shadowfelldown at 11:12 AM on August 11, 2008

Once I found a can of soy whipped topping at the store. I bought it. It was kind of yucky.
posted by amtho at 11:17 AM on August 11, 2008

i am a dairy lover who has become a mostly-vegan since moving in with one. i still crave cheesecake and a good gouda now and then (and i don't martyr myself by denying it), but i've found that with time and experimentation, i don't miss it too much. soy yogurts are pretty okay, especially if you mix them with fresh berries. Better-than-Sour-Cream or Tofutti work in various things, and soft silken tofu (blended smooth) is a great way to add protein to anything from smoothies to soups. soy milk is really an acquired taste, but i find that i seriously don't miss milk one bit.

you must invest in some of Sarah Kramer's books--plenty of tips and tricks that have made life muy better.
posted by RedEmma at 11:33 AM on August 11, 2008

My dad used to make delicious tofu salad sandwiches when he was a hardcore macrobiotic. He'd mash firm tofu with tofunnaise, pepper, and spring onions and spread it on this incredible vegan grain sourdough (toasted). It was so delicious, I used to eat the mash out of the bowl when he wasn't looking.

Thanks for reminding me. I'm making this today.
posted by rhinny at 11:43 AM on August 11, 2008

Don't go too crazy with the unfermented soy products. Soy can interfere with thyroid and immune function. Plus, I tend to agree with Forktine about "honest food"- why have a not-so-good fake dairy experience, when you can have a yummy tofu, or avocado, or coconut experience? There are so many delicious non-dairy foods out there that are rich and creamy and healthful, I don't know why anyone settles for paler imitations of food they're avoiding. I would drink nut milk (easy to make at home), make and coconut ice cream, eat avocados on toast, learn to make yummy deserts with starches (like rote grutze), make curries thickened with cashews, add ground flaxseeds to smoothies; and just generally avoid unsatisfying dairy replacements except when it's necessary to make a particular recipe come out right.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:51 AM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

I do not think the cashew ricotta I posted about is a "pale imitation of the food I am avoiding". It are all natural, healthy ingredients that people have been eating for centuries, and it is delicious in its own right. The taste just reminds me of the taste of dairy, and calling it ricotta is easy because it gives people a reference as to how to use it (as opposed to tofu-cashew-lemon mashup or something).

It is my understanding that soy and thyroid are usually only a problem if there is a Iodine deficiency. Of course I do agree that it is never smart to eat too much of any one food. Some vegans eat way too much soy because it is easy to substitute everything you used to eat with a soy based equivalent. That's not healthy, but it would not have been healthy to eat that much dairy either.
posted by davar at 12:34 PM on August 11, 2008

You can use white bean puree as a basis for heartier creamy dishes. Start with a can of cooked white beans, rinse well, blend thoroughly and optionally strain through cheesecloth. Add some nut milk, sweeteer, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and a bit of peanut butter and you have chocolate pudding. It sounds crazy but you have to believe me. It's mindblowingly yummy and very high in protein.

David's Pure Vegetarian Kitchen was a great resource while I was learning vegan cooking. It has a lot of recipes for vegan basics - nut milk, tofu scrambles, bean cakes, etc. The recipes are straightforward and emphasize healthy ingredients. They're also pretty easy to make. I love Sarah Kramer's books too but a lot of her recipes are more involved than I have time to make on a typical weeknight.
posted by rhiannon at 12:36 PM on August 11, 2008

Why not just force yourself to drink one glass of water mixed with whey or soy protein powder in the morning, then you won't have to worry about finding vegan cold and creamy snacks that are also high-protein? I got tired of trying to find creative ways to incorporate protein into my diet, so now I just eat whatever tasty food I want and supplement with the protein shake. The shakes are not great tasting, but they're certainly a lot easier than trying to prepare difficult or impossible-to-locate-at-a-neighborhood-grocery-store super foods that meet such exacting criteria.
posted by HotPatatta at 2:53 PM on August 11, 2008

I do not think the cashew ricotta I posted about is a "pale imitation of the food I am avoiding". It are all natural, healthy ingredients that people have been eating for centuries, and it is delicious in its own right.

I wasn't referring to that at all. I'm talking about things like soy sour cream and egg replacer and other wannabe dairy. I'm not sure why you assumed I was specifically talking about your post.
posted by oneirodynia at 7:31 PM on August 11, 2008

I'm not sure why you assumed I was specifically talking about your post.
I didn't! The cashew ricotta was just an example of "fake dairy" that I happen to like, and that I think is a fine example of good tasting fake dairy, but there are many more. The tofu cream cheese that I can buy in the store is also just soy beans, water, ferment, rice syrup and herbs. I think it is just as much a "honest food" than the food it is trying to imitate. I just do not agree with you that those products necessarily give a "not so good fake dairy experience". It used to be that way, but recipes have come a long way. Of course, YMMV.
posted by davar at 10:33 AM on August 12, 2008

avocado smoothies are great. vietnamese summer delicacy.

the non-vegan recipe is, in blender:
sweetened condensed milk or vanilla ice cream
maybe a little extra sweetener (simple sugar syrup at the place in my neighbourhood)

a vegan version would sub anything for the creamy portion...
frozen banana,
vegan yogurt + sweetener (agave, whatever)
vegan milk + sweetener
and maybe a dab of vanilla

also good with espresso mixed in.

posted by twistofrhyme at 6:04 PM on August 31, 2008

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