Oh, holy cow you guys. I think I might be allergic to dairy (cue sarcastic half-hearted woo’s). I currently am working on eating dairy-free and egg-free (already an allergen I just didn’t take it as seriously as I should’ve) for the next four weeks to test the waters, and we’ve been gluten-free for a couple years now. When thinking of going dairy-free it sounded really daunting, not gonna lie.
However, after making the switch I realized there was still a lot of meals we could make and enjoy. So, If you’re in the same boat as us or just starting a GF & DF journey, here are some great meal ideas with some tips and tricks as well. To provide as much info and as many tips as possible, I will list lunch and dinner as separate recipes even though we usually always make enough for two meals and have dinner leftovers for lunch the next day.
Ah, the start of the week. This is actually a really easy day for us and more like a Sunday because Derek normally has it off work and no classes! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for us because we generally need this meal to last for several hours before either of us have a chance to eat again. It is a bit more complicated than most people’s breakfast routine, but again, we need it to be big and filling for our schedule.
We eat the same breakfast every morning subbing a few things here and there, so I will only list it once.
- Mango & Blueberry Ginger Smoothie – Blend together: one 1-inch piece peeled and finely chopped ginger, 1 cup of orange juice, 1/2 cup of apple juice, 1/4 cup coconut cream (yogurt replacement), a large handful of prepared spinach, 1 banana, 1 cup frozen mango chunks, and 1/2 cup frozen blueberries. This makes two 16 oz smoothies.
- Breakfast Sausages (double check they are free of any allergies!). I cook/brown these on our least busy day, let them cool, wrap them in wax paper, place in a freezer bag and into the freezer! We reheat them in the microwave.
- Hashbrown patties, country potatoes, or other potato products – We cook these in the air fryer while making everything else. We can just put them in at 400F for 15 minutes and they will brown up and taste great all on their own with no preheating necessary. For small bits of potatoes/fries, we shake the basket around every so often for even cooking. I wouldn’t recommend the oven as it will take a while including the preheat time the oven needs.
- Sweet Bread of some sort – No, I did not say ‘sweetbreads’. This is usually banana, zucchini, sweet potato, or carrot bread. I use a highly rated recipe online and sub regular flour for my favorite GF flour blend, increase the baking powder and soda by about 25% (usually just do rounded teaspoons and tablespoons), and then replace the egg with banana (the final product will taste like banana), unsweetened plain applesauce, or aquafaba. I also use vegan butter (Earth Balance buttery sticks) to replace the butter in recipes or some other form of oil (vegetable/coconut/etc.). Here are a few tried and tested recipes I like
- Oatmeal – we just make it in the microwave and add a splash of milk (non-dairy one of your choice), cinnamon, and some sweetener (agave or brown sugar). We also will make steel cut oats at the beginning of the week and reheat in the microwave since they take much longer to cook properly.
- Espresso & Matcha – We will usually have some espresso or matcha (sometimes both). Don’t think this needs much more information.
Pumpkin Sage Pasta – This recipe is from the vegan blog Hot for Food. I love all of her recipes that I’ve tried and think she is a great resource for finding new dairy free and egg free substitutes/alternatives. Get the recipe for the pasta here. I have changed this recipe over time to fit my tastes a bit more and to recreate a similar taste to her much more involved pumpkin and sage ravioli (an amazing recipe you can find here).
Basically, I add in a 1/4 cup of white wine to deglaze the pan a bit and allow it to cook down for a minute before adding the coconut milk. I take out the cinnamon completely and replace it with 1/2 tsp dried basil and a 1/8 tsp clove. I also use white pepper (to taste) instead of black and add in 1 tbs of tomato paste with the pumpkin puree. I also don’t add any vegan parmesan and just add a bit more of the nutritional yeast.
This recipe, if eaten with sides, gives us 2 meals each (or four portions total). We usually eat this with two veggie sides.
Tikka Masala & Rice – I have a recipe already on the blog for this and you can find it here. We now cut out the heavy cream altogether (the can of good quality coconut cream/milk is enough for us). We use coconut cream/milk for the yogurt part too. We will also just straight up skip the yogurt and marinating process altogether. If you are vegan/veggie, you can use garbanzo beans, cauliflower florets, and/or diced red potato for the meat part.
This recipe with rice will usually give us 2 meals each (or 4 large portions).
Breakfast (same as Monday’s breakfast)
Coconut Curry ‘Buttermilk’ Chicken Strips – You can get the full recipe here. I replace the cup of buttermilk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice, lime juice, or white vinegar and fill the rest of a 1 cup measuring cup with coconut milk/cream. I also replace the butter with vegan butter.
This meal usually gives us two meals or one very large one (w/o sides) (or 4 servings total). However, these don’t reheat super great the next day, so half the recipe if needed.
Some form of Chinese food – I know this sounds vague but hear me out. We try to make sure not all of our meals have meat in them. So, when we are feeling like a bit of Chinese food and want a meat-free day (although you could totally still use chicken), we use battered cauliflower tossed in the sauce we want over rice. I originally got the idea from Ella at The Whacky Spoon (go check her out!).
Here is how to get the cauliflower ready to be sauced. Tear half a head of cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. Mix together 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1/4 GF flour (your favorite), 1/2 cup water, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, and salt and pepper. Then throw the cauliflower florets in and shake them around (or toss). Then I carefully put them into a preheated Air Fryer (400°F for 13 minutes) stirring often. You can definitely pull them off in an oven too. Then I add whatever sauce (orange sauce, teriyaki, etc.) that I make at home (don’t really find too many GF ones I like).
If this is served over rice, it gives 1 large meal for us each (or two larger servings).
Fajita Style Burrito Bowl (vegan, gluten-free, grain-free) – This is a great recipe for a take on the traditional burrito bowl. Use vegan cheese and sour cream if you’d like.
Pineapple Fried Rice – This recipe is a great way to use leftover rice, and although you’re not ‘supposed to’ we have made it on a whim with fresh rice (just don’t tell anybody). I like this recipe. We will sometimes add chicken or pork to it for a more filling meal, but it is great and easy as is.
Mac and Cheese – Okay, So we’re going to be using another Hot for Food recipe because she’s a little cooking genius. She has a recipe for Nacho Cheese (get it here), and we will use it on nachos, tacos, burritos, the whole nine. However, Derek really loves mac and cheese and one day I thought, “this cheese sauce could probably make a really good mac and cheese”. So here we are.
Use the recipe except remove the jalapeno slices and juice, onion powder, and garlic powder. I also sub the arrowroot flour for cornstarch. Then add:
- 1 to 1 1/4 teaspoon dry ground mustard (don’t add any of that hotdog accompaniment, it’s nowhere near the same)
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- Cracked pepper to taste
Then, once the cheese sauce is all made up, cook up some pasta (save some pasta water), and add the cheese sauce to the drained and cooked pasta (we use Barilla but it isn’t as good and chewy as normal pasta). Add in pasta water if it is too thick (will probably add in 1/4-1/2 cup), then serve and enjoy! You can also add any other toppings to this that you would like (Derek adds jalapeno slices and bacon bits sometimes).
This isn’t like next level mac and cheese or anything, but it makes a good and healthy meal and helps with missing that cheese taste.
Shrimp Scampi – Sometimes we like to eat a little extravagant and have a nice date night in. We use Bon Appetit’s recipe (get it here), except I double the sauce ingredients and put it over noodles instead of bread. I also use vegan butter to make it dairy-free. We eat all the shrimp the first night it is made and then save the buttery herb pasta for lunch the next day.
Grilled Steak Kebabs with Sweet Soy Glaze (Gluten-Free Option) – (Use a gluten-free soy sauce or tamari). We eat this with rice and get one large meal out of it each (or two large servings).
Fajitas – For a quick dinner we will whip up some fajitas on corn tortillas. We usually just use McCormick’s Gluten Free Fajita Spice Blend for quick results. We eat these with a bit of guac and refried beans.
Blush Wine Vinaigrette Summer Salad – This is one of my favorite salad recipes that happens to be vegan and gluten-free. Get the recipe here.
Meat and Veggie Sides – Since we’re not actually vegan, we often will do pork chops or steak with some veggie sides such as peas, lima beans, Brussels sprouts, and mashed potatoes. Here are some of my favorite pork chop and tenderloin recipes:
Ginger Honey Roasted Pork Tenderloin (replace the soy sauce with a GF alternative)
The Best Juicy Skillet Pork Chops (I don’t coat mine in flour as I don’t see much of a difference and it makes it easier)
Premade Chicken Strips – Since we find it nearly impossible to eat out (and we don’t have a huge budget to do so anyway), we love when we find easy to throw together meals since we make 99% of them at home.
I will use chicken strips to make a copycat famous bowl from KFC. Basically, cook up your favorite chicken strips and serve with mashed potatoes, gravy, and corn. You can also add vegan cheese on top if you’d like.
I will also use these for a chicken ‘parm’ (or basically chicken and a dairy-free red sauce over noodles) and you can add vegan parmesan if you’d like. Chicken strips are also great for making a quick wrap or coat the suckers in some hot sauce and call it hot wings. Plus, they are always great plain with some french fries and ketchup!
My favorite kind of chicken strips are the gluten-free ones by Tyson that ‘contain no allergens’ (link to them here).
P.S. Love Mom: Pot Roast (A Passed Down Recipe) – This is a super easy recipe from my mom. It is a meat and potatoes dish, but sometimes the comfort food is nice to have. Replace butter with vegan butter.
Like I said before, we don’t normally make this many meals all in one week. We will usually make 3-4 and eat leftovers the next day. We also sometimes only eat breakfast + one other meal in a day, but I wanted to give as many recipes as possible.
I’ll be making a post next about how to alter much-loved recipes to an allergy-friendly lifestyle! Thank you so much for reading and I hope you have a wonderful week!
*All day of the week pictures are free to use images from Canva*