Dairy-Free Swaps for Your Favorite Cheesy Recipes

Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to recreate the salty, fatty, creamy goodness of cheese without dairy.

Don’t believe us? Well, get ready to have your mind blown.

By using ingredients like tofu, cashews, nutritional yeast, and cauliflower, you can add richness and a smooth, silky texture to recipes without altering the flavor or character of the original dish.

This Monday, check out our list below of our favorite cheesy recipes made plant-based, and make sure to read our complete guide to making plant-based dairy products at home.

Photo credit: Foodie with Family

All-Purpose Cheese Sauce

Add creaminess to any dish with this recipe for magic all-purpose cauliflower sauce from Foodie with Family. This simple-to-make sauce goes beautifully with pasta, pizza, biscuits and gravy, and macaroni and cheese. You can also mix in some spinach and diced artichoke hearts for a quick and creamy, plant-based dip.

Photo credit: Detoxinista

Alfredo Sauce

Traditional Alfredo sauce uses generous amounts of butter and cream, making the dish notoriously rich. Using cauliflower blended with sautéed garlic, broth, and olive creates a lighter, but equally flavorful, version of this classic sauce. Try this creamy, dairy-free version of cauliflower Alfredo sauce from Detoxinista.

Photo credit: VeselovaElena / Getty Images


Food doesn’t get more comforting than lasagna. Approach this dish as you would your favorite lasagna recipe, but instead of ricotta cheese, blend together pressed tofu, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and salt and pepper.

Photo credit: Healthier Steps

Macaroni and Cheese

The ultimate gooey, cheesy, creamy dish, there’s no way we could leave macaroni and cheese off of this list. Recreating the taste and texture of classic mac is actually pretty easy with the right ingredients. Healthier Steps has developed an amazing recipe for plant-based macaroni and cheese that uses cashew cream, coconut milk, and tons of herbs and spices.

Photo credit: The Edgy Veg

Bagel and Cream Cheese

A bagel with cream cheese (toasted or untoasted) is just as satisfying and delicious when made using plant-based ingredients. Once you become familiar with this recipe for a basic tofu cream cheese from The Easy Veg, you can experiment with different flavors, like cinnamon-walnut, veggie, or scallion-herb.

Photo credit: Namely Marly

Jalapeño Poppers

Spicy, creamy, and perfect for parties, this version of vegan jalapeño poppers from Namely Marly uses tofu-based cream cheese and nutritional yeast to recreate the salty cheese flavor. Use shredded plant-based cheese for some extra gooiness.

Photo credit: The Curious Chickpea

Caramelized Mushroom Pizza

Traditional pizza is great, but elevating the toppings is a clever way to avoid relying on cups of shredded mozzarella. This recipe for caramelized mushroom pizza from The Curious Chickpea uses mushrooms, rosemary, and a vegan garlic cream sauce, making it totally vegan, as well as crispy and delicious.

Creamy Polenta with Mushrooms and Spinach

Polenta is a smooth cornmeal porridge often served beneath a pile of sautéed mushrooms, leafy greens, beans, or roasted tomatoes. Traditionally, the dish gets its creamy consistency from generous amounts of cream, cheese, and butter, but this plant-based version from Bianca Zapatka replaces the dairy products with full-fat coconut milk, nutritional yeast, and a vegan butter substitute.

jalapeno cashew cheese dipSpicy Jalapeño Cashew “Cheese” Dip

Turn up the heat and remove the dairy to make this spicy jalapeño cashew-cheese dip. Ideal for parties and gathering, this dip gets its punchy flavor from a blend of jalapeño, cashew cream, fresh garlic, and nutritional yeast.

creamy vegetable soupCreamy Vegetable Noodle Soup

This recipe for creamy vegetable noodle soup doesn’t use any dairy at all. So how does it get so silky smooth? The answer is a combination of almond milk, vegetable stock, and flour, which thickens the soup base and adds a hearty texture.

Tag @MeatlessMonday and use #MeatlessMonday when posting your delicious plant-based meals. Check out our Meatless Monday recipe gallery for more easy and tasty meatless meals.