Perhaps the hardest part about having a lactose intolerance is not having access to the crème de la crème of desserts—literally. There are plenty of lactose-free baked goods and snacks, but what about the straight-up dairy treats like ice cream, pudding or cheesecake?
Good substitutes for those are a bit harder to find because they're all about that smooth, creamy texture that you get from...well, cream. My lactose intolerance isn't that bad, so I'll risk a little tummy trouble occasionally for a bomb pint of Ben & Jerry's (which also sells dairy-free options) or Halo Top.
For those of you who can't play it so fast and loose with dairy, I found some alternatives that will leave you convinced you're eating full-fat, full-lactose desserts.
This sweet treat gets its smooth creaminess from the pectin found in bananas. The pectin prevents those pesky ice crystals you get with non-dairy milks with low fat contents, such as coconut milk or almond milk. Make this simple banana ice cream more interesting by adding Oreos or peanut butter before blending or by mixing in chunks of cookie dough or brownie.
Don't be put off by the avocado in this recipe. The flavor is mild enough that it's easily masked by the chocolate, and the natural texture of the fruit makes for a light, fluffy, lactose-free mousse. With no added sugars or dairy, this creamy treat will leave you feeling satisfied.
Chocolate pudding, mousse's thicker and less fancy cousin, throws me back to elementary school when my mom still packed my lunch and everything was simple and happy. This lactose-free recipe brings back all those good feelings without all the bad feelings. Using silken tofu is a must to achieving the proper thickness and silkiness.
With butter in the crust and cream cheese in the filling, there's no escaping the dairy in cheesecakes unless you take away its very essence. But fear not! Cashews, whose milk is a lesser known dairy substitute, can be soaked and blended with coconut milk and four other simple ingredients for a rich, totally believable "cheesecake."banana, or chocolate, is something almost everyone grew up eating. The dairy in cream pies can easily be replaced by an alternative milk like coconut or almond milk, sugar, and cornstarch.
These alternatives are lactose-free, vegan, and way better for you than the real thing, whether you're lactose-intolerant or not. Of course, these substitutes aren't going to taste and feel exactly like the real thing to a hard critic, but they're so convincingly creamy that the unsuspecting foodie would never be able to tell.