Heavy cream can elevate many dishes, but its high saturated fat and calorie content doesn’t exactly make it the healthiest option. And if you’re vegan or lactose intolerant, your meals may be lacking that distinct texture from the dairy product. Stop pining and get the creaminess back with these five vegan substitutes!
Avocado. The creamy high-fat content of avocados make them a perfect substitute for milk and cream. Use avocado in baking or as a base for creamy sauces; one of our favorite ways is this vegan creamy avocado pasta from Oh She Glows.
Beans. Pureed beans can offer the consistency you’re missing in those comforting creamy soups. Use canned cannellini beans; not only are the white beans the right hue when substituting for heavy cream, but their mild taste also won’t overpower other flavors in your dish.
Bananas. Who needs ice cream when you’ve got frozen bananas? Keep a few ripe ones in your freezer (peel them and put in a container before you do for easier handling once they’re frozen). Before creamy cravings strike, toss one or two in a food processor or blender with a little peanut butter and freeze for two hours. You’ll have a 150-calorie vegan ice cream treat to enjoy after dinner.
Coconut milk. It’s a convenient and obvious option for many dishes, but watch out for the fat content — like regular cream, coconut milk is high in saturated fat and calories as well. But if you just have to have that creamy taste, this vegan options works as an occasional indulgence. We love to use chilled and whipped coconut cream (from a can of full-fat coconut milk) in desserts like this strawberry coconut cream parfait.
Root vegetables. Like beans, adding pureed root veggies like sweet potatoes or celeriac to sauces and savory dishes adds a thick consistency that is similar to cream. You can try cooked and pureed root veggies in dishes like this delicious-looking vegan mac and cheese, which uses cannellini beans, sweet potato, and nutritional yeast to make a creamy thick sauce that rivals the Kraft version.
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