60 Excellent Recipe Links for the Lactose Intolerant


March 1st, 2011

Lactose intolerance, sensitivity or allergy — as with all dietary restrictions, really — certainly provides a challenge to those diagnosed with the condition. And, by extension, the family and friends with whom they share meals. Eating out particularly poses problems, as the lactose intolerant don’t always know exactly how every ingredient they consume was processed. Fortunately, literally thousands of recipes exist for people needing to avoid dairy. Many of them even closely replicate the flavors and textures of favorite dishes now off-limits. The following 60 may not represent even a fraction of the options posted online for DIY types eager to whip up dairy-free delights. But they do showcase a sliver of the ethnic, flavor, texture and ingredient diversity available.

For home chefs wanting to use store-bought products, checking the labels for any sneaky dairy products is absolutely essential when filling the grocery cart. Many of the following recipes include margarine on their ingredients list, for example, which can possibly come blended with butter or other milk solids. When in doubt, pick up the vegan version for greater peace of mind and gastric health.

Appetizers and Sides

  1. Chickpea and Lental Paratha: Vegans and those avoiding soy, gluten, nuts and (of course) dairy should consider this lively, flavorful dish and its accompanying fenugreek-cilantro chutney as a lovely starter or side.

  2. Spinach and Strawberry Salad: This healthy, light eat comes packed with antioxidants and proves that salads don’t need heavy, creamy dressing to be palatable.

  3. Roasted Eggplant Bruschetta: A perfectly roasted eggplant boasts an earthy flavor and creamy texture without any dairy whatsoever. This recipe works well for vegans (depending on the type of bread used) and the soy-free.

  4. Quinoa Tabouli: Enjoy common Mediterranean flavors in this lovely little vegan dish — also suitable for those with other assorted food allergies.

  5. Applesauce: There’s nothing fancy about this simple, satisfying applesauce recipe. Eat it as a snack, dessert or nice accessory to pork chops.

  6. Parmesan-Artichoke Dip: Vegan cheese and milk alternatives allow the dairy-free to enjoy this piping hot classic without fear. Even those without dietary restrictions may want to give it a try, as it is healthier than the original.

  7. Guinness Chicken Wings: Startle friends and partygoers with these unexpectedly sweet, sticky chicken bits marinated in soy sauce, sugar and the eponymous Irish stout.

  8. Jicama with Chili and Lime: A common staple in Mexican cuisine, jicama makes for a terrifically refreshing lactose-free, vegan treat. Nothing more than a simple mix of chili and lime is needed to make it pop.

  9. New Orleans-Style Crab Cakes: Dairy-free, reduced-calorie margarine allows individuals and families with lactose problems a chance to enjoy decadent crab cakes safely.

  10. Homemade Hummus: Try this versatile Mediterranean and Middle Eastern staple as a sandwich spread or a dip for vegetables or a favorite unleavened bread.


  1. Lemonade: Both kids and adults, regardless of their ability to competently digest dairy, can delight in this refreshing summer classic.

  2. Rose Petal Iced Tea: Give the standard iced tea a fragrant, flavorful makeover by infusing the delicate floral taste of roses into the mix.

  3. Tofu-Based Buttermilk Alternative: Replicate the flavor of a dense, flavorful buttermilk using healthier — and of course, lactose-free — ingredients.

  4. Soy Milk Chai: Interestingly enough, this chai contains no tea whatsoever, but still wonderfully replicates the satisfyingly spicy, milky taste of a hot or cold cuppa.

  5. Strawberry-Orange Slushie: Cool off with this fruity treat that proves milkshake and malt drinkers don’t have to have all the fun.

  6. Potato Milk: Whip up homemade potato milk — complete with almonds for the calcium — and drink it up whenever cravings for the lactose-laden version strikes.

  7. Wassail: Even though it possesses an association with the winter months, this aromatic, spicy apple cider can be enjoyed any time of year.

  8. Honey and Orange Blossom Lemonade: Whether lactose intolerant or sensitive, vegan, Celiac or other gluten-free restriction or a raw foodist, honey and orange blossom lemonade certainly satisfies a thirsting palate without stirring up trouble.

  9. Quinoa Chocolate Milk: Vegans and those with lactose, gluten, nut and soy restrictions can still enjoy a frothy cup of tasty chocolate milk using a combination of quinoa and cocoa powders blended with water.

  10. Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie: Enjoy all the fun of a satisfying smoothing boasting a nostalgic childhood taste without worrying about what it might do to the digestive tract.


  1. Pumpkin Bread: Imagine a thick slice of warm, comforting pumpkin spice bread with a favorite tea, coffee or milk alternative starting off the day.

  2. Polenta and Fruit: When time is not an issue, settle in for a dairy-, egg-, soy- and gluten-free “cereal” of wholesome polenta and flavorful fruits. The effort will not go wasted.

  3. Turkey Sausage Patties: Carnivorous members of the dairy-free community will love noshing on these nourishing breakfast sausages packed with protein and spices.

  4. Vegan Crepes: Enjoy these thin, eggy pancakes…without eggs. Or any other dairy products for that matter! The best part is customizing them with a favorite topping.

  5. Vegan Coconut-Banana French Toast: This creamy, delicious and dense breakfast classic gets a tropical vegan twist suitable for plenty of different dietary restrictions.

  6. Granola: Splash some granola into a bowl of milk substitute or throw it into a fruit smoothie for a beautifully nourishing breakfast.

  7. Potatoes O’Brien: When pan-fried in olive oil, potatoes, onions and bell peppers create an excellent, heavy start to an incredibly busy day. These taste especially amazing with a splash of vinegar-based hot sauce.

  8. Asparagus Frittata: Both gluten- and dairy-free, a tasty, healthy asparagus frittata (or any of these excellent egg dishes) is sure to delight parents and kids alike.

  9. Vegan Lemon Pancakes: Individuals on strict dietary regimens don–t have to miss out on one of breakfast’s most enduring staples!

  10. Blueberry Muffin: Baking with soy milk probably raises a few eyebrows in those unfamiliar with the art, but it’s a nice way to ensure the lactose-free can enjoy some of their favorites sans anxiety.


  1. African Peanut Soup: Warm up a cup of this unique, satisfying soup either alone or with a nourishing (lactose-free, of course) sandwich for a quick lunch from home.

  2. Mock Tuna Salad: Enjoy the texture and flavor of a classic lunchtime staple without any animal products whatsoever — perfect for vegans and the lactose-free alike.

  3. Bagel and Lox: Pick up a package of guaranteed dairy-free bagels and substitute the traditional cream cheese with avocado for all the texture with none of the digestive disrupts.

  4. Mock Egg Salad: Replacing the mayonnaise with its vegan counterpart renders this deliciously messy dish a tasty, far healthier alternative to the real thing.

  5. Jalapeno Chicken Salad: Add a delicious (if not outright spicy) kick to one of lunchtime’s absolute staples — and using vegan mayonnaise ramps up its nutritional value.

  6. Grilled Cheese Sandwich: When the hankerin’ for a hunka (grilled) cheese descends, the lactose-free and vegans of the world don’t have to miss out on its comforting flavor and texture!

  7. Barbecued Pulled Pork: Slow cook this meaty delight ahead of time and fashion quick sandwiches for work and school all week. If using commercial rather than homemade sauce, be sure to check for any milk solids that may have wormed their way into the recipe.

  8. Chicken Spring Rolls: The beauty of this simple, classic Asian recipe is the fact that the chicken can be replaced with turkey, tofu, shrimp, beef or pork to suit any particular dietary need or preference.

  9. Vegetarian or Chicken Pitas: Pick either of the provided fillings and stuff them in a pita with pistachios for a lunch as healthy as it is quick. Both the vegetarian and chicken recipes also make for nice wraps.

  10. Lettuce Wraps: Omit the beef for a healthier stuffing to this crisp, refreshing, Asian-inspired meal. These may be a smidge unwieldy and messy for lunchtime at the computer, though.


  1. Fettuccine Alfredo: Regardless of whether or not one includes the chicken with this recipe, he or she can still enjoy a traditionally creamy entree entirely sans dairy.

  2. Crock Pot Chicken Vindaloo: Enjoy a world-renowned dish from the Goa region of India straight from a simmering stint in the crock pot, with or without chicken depending on taste and dietary needs.

  3. Grilled Salmon: Soy sauce and brown sugar are all it takes to bring out the rich, oily flavors to be found in a slab of grilled salmon.

  4. Winter Squash with Apricot Stuffing: Serve up this vegan dish when a chill starts snapping through the air. Family and friends, regardless of whether or not they consume animal products, will come to consider this an essential comfort food.

  5. Pork Stew with Rosemary and Lemon: This dense meal concludes the day with flavor, warmth and absolutely no dairy products whatsoever.

  6. Quinoa and Black Beans: Fans of black beans and rice looking for a venerable interpretation of an old classic may want to experiment with quinoa.

  7. Pad Thai: Thailand’s most popular dish abroad should be a flavorful cornerstone of every dairy-, soy- (though not every recipe will be as such) and gluten-free diet. A couple of tweaks can make it vegetarian as well.

  8. Wasabi Grilled Tuna: One of the most infamous condiments on the planet accompanies fresh slabs of grilled tuna in this sumptuous pescatarian entree.

  9. Pot Pie: Don’t think of every meat or vegetable in pot pie as absolute. Depending on dietary preferences and needs, both can be adjusted rather easily.

  10. Shishlik: Fire up the grill and mix and match different meats and vegetables for the Israeli skewer treatment. Wrap the finished products into pita sandwiches or eat them straight off the stick for a dairy-free meal.


  1. Caramel Corn: In spite of the name, this Amish-style caramel corn does not utilize store-bought candies that may or may not have been produced with dairy.

  2. Vanilla Walnuts: Close out a meal with these sweet, spicy and crunchy treats, which also make for an excellent homemade gift.

  3. Strawberry Shortcake: This recipe uses no dairy or egg products for those with allergies or other conditions. It can also be adapted to bake delicious scones as well!

  4. Ashure: Traditionally served during Eid in Turkey, ashure takes a while to make, but the rich, flavorful results easily satisfy the sweet tooth of the lactose intolerant.

  5. Raw Brownies: Vegans, raw foodists and — of course — individuals unable to consume dairy products can still enjoy the chewy, chocolatey delight of a brownie without ever having to prepare their ovens.

  6. Tres Leches: Almond milk and cream of coconut form the base of a dairy-free alternative to the wildly popular Latin American dessert.

  7. Cranberry-Pistachio Biscotti: Close out an evening with a steaming mug of (obviously lactose-less) hot cocoa, coffee or tea and a couple of crisp, blissful biscotti.

  8. Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies: Parents hoping to share the joy of baking with their children will find flourless peanut butter cookies a nice starter project.

  9. Vegan Marshmallows: Vegan or not, marshmallows are not the easiest sweets to make. Try this recipe when looking for a challenge or a unique personal gift to friends and family who can’t eat dairy.

  10. Basil-Lime Sorbet: Step outside on swarthy summer nights with a unique frozen dessert featuring some unexpected, but ultimately complimentary, flavors.

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