It is rare that within a 24 hour period I make four recipes from one cookbook, let alone a newly acquired one. But Go Dairy Free, by Alisa Marie Fleming, is so fantastic, that I needed to dig in immediately.
This is a must-have cookbook for anyone looking to expand their recipe repertoire, regardless of whether you want or need to go dairy-free. Besides fabulous sounding recipes, the book is a wealth of information. First of all, the recipe/allergy index at the back of the book is phenomenal. Listed according to categories (dairy alternatives, breakfast to brunch, baking bread, sips & smoothies among others), each section tells you whether the recipe is vegan, egg-free, soy-free, gluten-free, wheat-free, nut-free and/or peanut-free. This feature alone is worth the very reasonable price of the book (I am not an affiiliate seller for this book – just very pleased!). But I can’t stop there. One of the other great features of the book is the section that talks about calcium. How many of us, when friends and/or family realize we’re not eating dairy ask us where we’ll get our calcium from?! Right? You know what I’m talking about. The author of Go Dairy Free explores this in depth, helping the reader understand how much calcium one really needs and explaining how calcium needs can be met without eating dairy.
Not to be casually mentioned, I just acquired the blender of my dreams – a Vitamix 5200. When the box arrived, I practically kissed the delivery man. I have coveted one of these for years. Whoa. The machine is amazing.
I used my new Vitamix blender for three of the four recipes from Go Dairy Free. It is a power horse of a machine and I couldn’t be happier with its’ performance. I also own a Blendtec which I like. But for now, the Vitamix has taken up permanent residence on my kitchen counter. The only negative comment I can make is that it is loud. But no big deal. It’s not like I run it for that long of a time. It’s a strong, powerful machine and works hard at blending ingredients. Considering how incredible the Vitamix performs, I’m not about to complain about the sound. Yes, it’s expensive, but worth every penny. I’m told you can pick them up at Costco, though haven’t seen them there myself. I would definitely put this on your wishlist, especially if you like to make smoothies that have greens in them, like the one I describe below.
My first foray into the book started with a recipe for Creamy Pesto-Inspired Pasta, seen in the first picture in today’s blog post. If I hadn’t cooked the dish with my own two hands, I never would’ve known it wasn’t a creamy dairy-filled parmesan sauce. And to boot, it was unbelievably easy. Only thing is, I should’ve doubled the recipe. We practically licked our plates!
It didn’t need anything more to improve the taste, but I decided to try the author’s Easy Parmesan Substitute. Three ingredients. Delicious. A great dairy-free alternative to parmesan cheese which we sprinkled over the pasta. Delish. I’m hooked!
This morning, I made one of the author’s smoothie recipes. Again, dairy-free, delicious, full of omega 3′s (flaxseeds) and anti-oxidants (blueberries), and spinach (iron). Yup, you read that right. Spinach. But you couldn’t even tell, not by the color of the smoothie (blueish purple) or by the taste which was mostly dominated by the banana and blueberries.
This afternoon I decided to try my hand at Go Dairy Free’s Five Minute Nachos. I happened to have some homemade corn tortillas, though it would’ve worked just as well with store-bought corn tortilla chips. The sauce literally took five minutes plus two minutes for assembling the ingredients. Still, that’s amazing, don’t you think? And the finished product was fed to four hungry musicians who had just finished a two hour intense rehearsal. I didn’t tell them they were eating dairy-free nachos. I just waited for the reaction. They were wowed! We all loved it and none of us could believe that the sauce had no cheese in it.
I delicately plopped refried beans over the chips, then drizzled the cheesy sauce over the whole thing, then threw it in the oven to warm it for about two minutes. It was sensational.
Alisa – I hope you’re reading this review. I am crazy about this cookbook. Thank you so much for all of your hard work in pulling together so many fantastic recipes and giving us invaluble information that will help me and my readers explore dairy-free cooking.