For plant-based eaters and the lactose intolerant, finding no-compromise dairy alternatives can sometimes present a challenge. First and foremost, the substitute has to taste good. Secondly, it has to be nutritious in some way—similar to its dairy-based counterparts. Dairy offers a balance of nutrients to keep you satisfied and nourished. Anything designed to mimic it should provide that as well.
I get questions about great-tasting, higher protein foods and drinks from customers frequently, so I thought compiling a simple resource here might help folks find what they need without spending too much time scrutinizing labels. There are some good options out there, and your Co-op is the place to find many of them.
Good Karma Vanilla Unsweetened Flax Milk + Protein
This is our Owner Services and Outreach Coordinator, Amy’s, milk of choice! She says, “To be honest, I only tried flax milk because it was on sale one week a couple of years ago, but it has the Omega-3s I’m always looking for, so I’ve been buying it ever since then. I also like that the kind I get has added protein and there’s no sugar even though it’s vanilla, plus it’s creamier than some other milk alternatives, so it’s perfect for my smoothies and coffee.”
Ripple Unsweetened Original
Ripple was founded by two scientists interested in creating healthy, sustainable, plant-based foods while supporting the health of the planet. Ripple milk boasts 8 grams pea protein (“Ripptein®”) per 1 cup serving and half the sugar of regular 2% milk (zero added sugars and <1 gram carbs in the unsweetened version). Ripple is also higher in calcium and iron than dairy and some other milk subs, making it a great choice for people aiming to add more of these important nutrients to their diets.
Silk Almond & Cashew
This almond-cashew blend is also fortified with pea protein to give this milk 10 grams of protein per 1 cup serving. It’s also high in healthy fats from the nuts and sunflower oil and contains 30% daily value for calcium. This milk is thicker than other nut milks, making it one of the best no-compromise dairy alternatives to add to smoothies, chia pudding and iced coffee!
Daiya Yogurt Alternative with Coconut Cream
Daiya’s new recipe is made with coconut cream for an indulgent take on a plant-based yogurt. Daiya supplements their product with B12 (a “nutrient of concern” for vegans and vegetarians) as well as calcium and vitamin D. This yogurt comes in 6 flavors, boasts 6 grams of plant-based protein and is definitely worth picking up.
Nancy’s Oatmilk Non-Dairy Yogurt
We’ve carried Nancy’s probiotic cottage cheese and dairy yogurt for some time, but a newer addition to our no-compromise dairy alternatives lineup is their oat milk yogurts. Oat milk is all the rage right now. This yogurt follows that trend to offer a nutritious, tasty product that comes in a variety of flavors with 6 grams of protein per 6-ounce cup.
Kite Hill Almond Milk Yogurt
I polled my vegan friends about their favorite alt yogurts, and this was a definite fan favorite. The plain unsweetened contains 5 grams of protein, no added sugars and the gut-friendly live active cultures you expect from a good yogurt. One friend says, “I live and breathe for Kite Hill Almond Milk Yogurt. It has the best texture of all the non-dairy yogurts I’ve tried! I like the unsweetened one and then adding a little agave and some fruit and granola.”
Lisanatti The Original Almond Cheese
Lisanatti makes a wide variety of cheeses made from vegetarian ingredients. Their almond chunk cheeses closely resemble the blocks of dairy cheese you’d find in our cheese department. Lisanatti does use casein (a milk protein), so it is not for our vegan friends, but, for those who may simply need to avoid lactose, this cheese is one to try. The casein helps mimic the texture of dairy cheese and also contributes to the higher overall protein content—6 grams per ounce.
Kite Hill Ricotta Cheese
I remember a customer looking for all vegan lasagna ingredients one day and coming up short when it came to a suitable ricotta substitute. At that time, we didn’t carry the Kite Hill ricotta and we ended up suggesting a tofu or cashew cheese replacement (more work for her). I was so glad when I saw this product on our shelves. This has one of the shortest ingredient lists of the no-compromise dairy alternatives: only 5 ingredients—the first being almond milk—and it offers a good bit of protein to boot (5 grams in ¼ cup).
Violife 100% Vegan Cheeses
Cashier Stephanie says, “Violife cheeses are my personal favorite. The provolone is my go-to for sandwiches and I put the parm on EVERYTHING.” This is the type of feedback I consistently receive about Violife from my vegan friends. They make a variety of alt cheeses that one might confuse for the real deal if they didn’t know better. Vegan Parmesan you can grate into pasta? Melty mozzarella for pizza? Crumbly feta for greek salads? Sign this routine-dairy-cheese-eater UP! This cheese does not contain any protein, but it is supplemented with 30% daily value for B12.
Do you have a favorite milkless product that you swear by? Anything I didn’t include that should be on this list? Let us know on social media or feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If there’s a no-compromise dairy alternative you’d like to see us carry that we currently don’t, we invite you to drop a suggestion card in the box located at the Hospitality Desk!