Nut-free Dairy-free Cream
Nut-free, dairy-free cream -brought to you by... sunflower seeds! For those times when you're avoiding dairy or your guest has nut or dairy allergies or food sensitivities. This is the mildest cream substitution I’ve tried and I’m really surprised it isn’t more widely known.
1 cup sunflower seeds, hulled, unsalted
2 cups water
4-5 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice, or more, to taste (my addition)
**The original recipe includes other spices which are optional. I left them out for a neutral flavor.
To make the cream, soak the sunflower seeds for 2-8 hours, or use a quick soak method, which I’m doing here - boil the seeds for 15 minutes. After boiling or soaking, drain and rinse them well. In blender, add the seeds, soy sauce, and salt. And blend until smooth. I’m using a Vitamix & I blended for about a minute. If you don’t have a Vitamix, blend longer to get the smoothest consistency.
The original recipe, from VeganSandra.com, adds a couple spices to complement how she’s using the cream in a recipe. I’m looking for something neutral, so I left out the extras. But as it turns out, lemon juice brightens up the whole thing. I used at least 2 tablespoons. I recommend starting with that amount and adding more a little at a time. Stop adding lemon juice when your tongue starts to notice the acidity.
Use the cream immediately or store it in the frig for up to 3 days in an airtight container. This does not freeze well. Luckily, if you don’t use it all, sunflower seeds are super cheap.
Now for the extra tips and notes!
This recipe makes over 2 cups, so feel free to half it if you know you won't be using that much cream in the next few days.
Depending on what you’re using this for, you can use less water to make it thicker, but you need at least 1 cup of water for 1 cup of seeds. You can also use sunflower seeds for a sour cream & a ranch dressing substitute! Those recipes are also on VeganSandra.com. I’m eager to try them both!
If you’ve been watching my channel for long, you know I’m not a vegan. And I pursue good food made with fresh ingredients. I always prioritize quality over anything else because that automatically equates to a nutritious meal, in my definition of healthy. While I'm not lactose intolerant, I do react to cream and that can really ruin a meal for me - the entire night really. I’m get bloated and gassy and very mucusy. And my French husband is the same way. We love dairy, but sometimes it’s just too much.
So, I like to have non-dairy options ready to plug in for those times when we don’t feel like dealing with the cream consequences and/or when we entertain friends with allergies. Having something like sunflower seed cream in my back pocket makes entertaining on a whim so much easier b/c I’m prepared to make a satisfactory substitution if needed. My food still stays stellar, instead of being “good considering the massive substitution I had to make.” I’d rather change my whole menu than explain why a dish looks funny because I had to use a nut milk and everything fell apart, but it still tastes ok - and then all anyone can taste is the nut milk because I called it out.
And that’s the kind of food I like to make - no apologies, no justifications. Just elegant food that makes everyone feel good.