It takes a while but when you’re gluten and dairy free you get creative with finding alternatives to certain foods, to ensure a good variety of meals.
Think you can’t have carbonara? Or pesto? Or a lovely creamy potato salad? Think again.
When I first found dairy free cream (either soya or oat) there was a little squeal of joy. Since discovering decent gluten free pasta, tomato based sauce pasta dishes are a regular meal choice, when I want cooking to be easy and a nod towards my Italian roots.
But, after a while I needed an alternative and thought about carbonara – and when I found dairy free cream (that also is lower fat) it was perfect!
These cream substitutes can be used in exactly the same cooking methods as regular dairy cream – so many many recipes are suddenly back on my cooking list.
[ carbonara ] Ingredients //
Broccoli, carrots, spinach, courgette, mushrooms, peas – all work in this dish
*chopped up salmon fillets or tinned tuna
Carton of dairy free cream
Wedge of vegan cheese (I’ve found decent ones in both Tesco and Waitrose)
Gluten free pasta
*if you don’t want fish just leave it out!
The carbonara is the easiest. I (fry) cook whatever veg I have to hand from my weekly veg box (often courgette, mushrooms, broccoli… Even carrot) with onion and garlic. To make it ‘super’ then it’s easy to also add in things like chia, flax and other superfoods powders and seeds to boost the protein, fibre etc ( See previous post ) If you’re a pescatarian like me then salmon or tuna is a great addition to this dish.
Meanwhile I’ll cook some gluten free pasta (Sainsburys own brand is a particular favourite of mine) and once that’s done then I’ll finish the sauce. All I do is add a carton of dairy free cream and often a little vegan cheese too. Quick stir and heat through (just wait for cheese to disappear) and it’s ready. I always take the pasta from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and into the pan of veg and cream mixture as it creates a good moist flavoursome pasta dish.
Recently I wanted to make a dairy free but traditional creamy potato salad. After a bit of a search The Guardian came up trumps. From their recipe I’ve now got a great creamy pesto sauce recipe than can be used hot (on pasta) or cold (on potatoes) or even poured over fish is wonderful too.
[ Creamy dairy free pesto ]
20g Sunflower seeds* or pinenuts
20g fresh basil
100ml soya cream
10ml olive oil
1 garlic clove
¼ tsp salt
*use sunflower seeds for any nut allergys
To make the pesto dressing, first fry the sunflower/pinenuts for a minute or so in a hot frying pan without any oil, stirring a couple of times. Once they have browned lightly, take the pan off the heat. Allow to cool.
Rinse the basil and place with the seeds in a small food processor (I used my Nutribullet). Add the soya cream, olive oil, garlic and salt. Blend until you get a smooth, pale- green mixture.
This can then be poured over cooked potatoes. I love roasting baby new potatoes in their skins and using them for the salad. The Guardian suggest green beans and olives which sound amazing too.
This pesto can be heated through with cooked pasta or popped in a jug to serve with fish.
Handily, it can be stored in the fridge for a few days and lasts longer than a dairy product would!
So suddenly my range of easy go-to recipes got bigger. Quick evening meals are tasty, healthy and everyone seems to enjoy them!