Easy dairy-free recipes used to elude me. While I don’t prescribe to any specific ways of eating beyond filling my plate with vibrant veggies, satiating protein, and plenty o’ fiber (among other supportive components), sometimes, I like to experiment. Cooking vegetarian? I have 12+ cookbooks for that. Searching for a gluten-free substitute? Internet ideas abound. But honestly, when it comes to being dairy-free, the options haven’t always been endless.
Historically, my favorite dishes and recipes didn’t take well to a dairy-free interpretation. I was a mac and cheese-devouring, ice cream-eating, and all the creamy deliciousness-consuming kind of eater. But in an effort to be a bit more intentional about the foods I eat, I’ve looked to crowd out some of these things that made me feel… less than great, and create more space in my diet for delicious, nutritious goodness. Of course, I’ve worked hard to be mindful that this doesn’t turn into restriction. Instead, I’ve shifted to approaching all things, but eating in particular, with an abundance mindset. It’s inspiring to eat the rainbow and a delight to indulge in energy- (and joy!) supporting foods.
With that disclaimer in mind, let’s get to the recipes. Behold easy, dairy-free recipes that definitely don’t compromise on deliciousness.
Feature image by Belathée Photography.
5-Minute Vegan Cashew Queso from Minimalist Baker
Why We Love It: Honestly? What’s not to love about queso. I don’t say this often (and I definitely don’t say it lightly), but I could swim in a pool of this dip. But, and it probably goes without saying, consuming my weight in liquefied cheese doesn’t do my stomach a service. Enter: vegan queso. Seven ingredients, five minutes, one blender. Yes, this is real life.
Hero Ingredient: You can thank the cashews for that familiar creaminess.
Get the recipe for 5-Minute Vegan Cashew Queso.
Vegan Jalapeño Popper Dip from The First Mess
Why We Love It: Creamy and dreamy, but spicy and (surprise!) dairy-free, this Vegan Jalapeño Popper Dip defies all odds. The next time you host your crew, you’re going to want a bowl of this on the app table. FYI—it’s also fully acceptable to pair with crackers and call it dinner.
Hero Ingredient: I love the uniquely salty, fermented flavor even just a teaspoon of miso gives this dip.
Get the recipe for Vegan Jalapeño Popper Dip.
Lani’s Blueberry Power Muffins
Why We Love It: These dairy-free delights come straight from the incredible mind of Brooklyn-based chef Lani Halliday. They’re a perfect gluten-free, grab-and-go weekday breakfast option. No more excuses—you have convenience on your side.
Hero Ingredient: Almond or hazelnut flour keeps these super-moist muffins free of grains but also lends each bite a nice, nutty flavor.
Get the recipe for Lani’s Blueberry Power Muffins.
One-Bowl Morning Glory Muffins
Why We Love It: When our food editor, Suruchi, first shared this genius recipe for moist and carrot-packed muffins, the internet rejoiced. They came right at the perfect time—post-holiday indulgence and at the beginning of the New Year’s dive into all the healthy, energizing, and supportive foods. The recipe is an innovative take on my personal favorite muffin of choice, but it’s a far cry from the dense and oftentimes stale Morning Glory Muffins stashed away in the bakery case. They satisfy every sweet tooth without being sugary and help kickstart your day with the most beautiful mix of fresh fruits and veggies, spices, and oats. And I can’t emphasize this enough: one bowl is all it takes.
Hero Ingredient: Olive oil gives these muffins a perfect crumb and infuses every bite with a slightly savory fruitiness.
Get the recipe for One-Bowl Morning Glory Muffins.
Vegan Pasta Al Limone from Minimalist Baker
Why We Love It: Can weeknight dinners be both fancy and a breeze to whip up? You bet. Case in point, this luscious pasta that basically screams spring. The sauce is creamy and zesty thanks to the combo of cashews and lemon, and the nutritional yeast helps cover your pasta in crave-worthy cheesiness.
Hero Ingredient: Nothing gets the point across quite like lemon zest.
Get the recipe for Vegan Pasta Al Limone.
Dairy-Free Spinach Quiche from Eating Bird Food
Why We Love It: Dairy-free quiche? You better believe it. Quiche is the perfect make-ahead meal that’s fit for feeding a crowd. What’s more, with a quiche in the fridge, you’re all set for a few days of easy eating. Warm it up in the oven or enjoy it cold. Breakfast, lunch, and yes, dinner—solved.
Hero Ingredient: If you’re not in the mood to labor over a homemade pie crust, totally understandable. A pre-made crust or dough helps this meal come together, stat.
Get the recipe for Dairy-Free Spinach Quiche.
The Best Simple Vegan Potato Salad from Half-Baked Harvest
Why We Love It: I don’t know about you, but for me, spring and summer translate to potato salad season. But the gloppy recipes of yesteryear? No thanks. Mayo gets swapped out for a creamy cashew dressing that’s downright delightful. It’s full of herby and bright flavor that’ll be the envy of all other picnic sides.
Hero Ingredient: Tahini’s an unexpected add, but its rich and slightly bitter flavor is totally welcome.
Get the recipe for The Best Simple Vegan Potato Salad.
Roasted Cauliflower Steak from Love & Lemons
Why We Love It: What might’ve seemed like a passing food trend should actually be considered a timeless take on meat-heavy mains. 1 1/2-inch-thick cauliflower steaks get pan-seared and golden brown. The result is a stalk that’s tender and—the best part—caramelized, crispy florets.
Hero Ingredient: I love the briny, bright bites of saltiness that only capers can deliver.
Get the recipe for Roasted Cauliflower Steak.
Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese from Candice Kumai
Why We Love It: I’ve made this macaroni and cheese more times than I can count. As a self-professed passionate pasta lover, I can attest to its easy indulgence. The combo of coconut milk and three tablespoons of miso give the sauce its velvety goodness and the crumb topping is exactly the crunch it needs.
Hero Ingredient: A tablespoon of garlic powder in the topping might seem like a lot, but trust me, it’s just right.
Get the recipe for Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese.
Zucchini Lasagna With Dairy-Free Mozzarella
Why We Love It: This genius recipe is perhaps this list’s biggest surprise. A lasagna that doesn’t include any dairy? This is real life, y’all. I’ve encountered a whole host of zucchini lasagnas that aren’t worthy of the hype, but this one holds up. It’s comfort food, totally transformed. If you’re keeping things 100% dairy-free (I suppose that’s the goal here), be sure to use vegan parmesan.
Hero Ingredient: While pesto can be made with just about any nut, I’m a fan of keeping things classic with pine nuts.
Get the recipe for Zucchini Lasagna With Dairy-Free Mozzarella.
Lemon Tarts and Orange Blossom Whipped Cream
Why We Love It: I had to wrap things up on a sweet note, of course. These pretty, dainty tarts are worthy of a Bridgerton-esque tea party, but would also be right at home served at the end of a spring dinner party. And while the traditional take is notoriously rich (time for a nap after said dinner party), this spin is 100% food sensitivity-friendly.
Hero Ingredient: The orange blossom whipped cream is lightly, subtly floral thanks to, of course, a half-teaspoon of orange blossom water.
Get the recipe for Lemon Tarts and Orange Blossom Whipped Cream.
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