I've been dairy-free for almost 10 years. I also love cooking, namely finding new recipes that use trending and in-season ingredients. So as you'd imagine, I've become pretty adept at modifying recipes to account for dairy alternatives. This becomes an even more — dare I say — exciting task during the holidays, a time of year saturated with butter, heavy cream, and cheese. I take great pride in creating holiday dishes that my friends and family have no idea were made with dairy alternatives — it's become almost a sport every year (no one send this article to my dad). So take a page out of my book and make all your holiday meals using Country Crock® Plant Butter, and prepare to be converted to that nondairy life. Keep reading for some of my favorite dairy-free recipes using all those trendy ingredients you've been hearing about all year long.
This cranberry relish is a welcome alternative to all those traditional sugary sauces. It's super crisp and juicy, and the dates counteract the sharpness of the raw cranberries perfectly. Ingredients:
3 tablespoons Medjool dates
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
½ cup walnuts
12 ounces fresh (or frozen, thawed) cranberries
⅓ cup fresh mint Chop your dates into small bits — if you want them to be a little softer, sauté them on low for a few minutes with Country Crock® Plant Butter with Almond Oil. Combine the dates, maple syrup, vinegar, allspice, and ½ teaspoon salt, and stir. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes until cooled. Toast walnuts on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes at 350°F, tossing halfway through. Once they've cooled, pulse the walnuts and cranberries in a food processor until very coarsely chopped. Make sure to leave about half of the whole cranberries and walnuts out of the mix. Transfer to your serving bowl, and let cool for at least 30 minutes, preferably in the refrigerator. Just before serving, garnish with chopped mint leaves.
Dear acorn squash: you are the light of my Winter life. I like to keep it super simple and focus on the fresh herbs. You can also make this with my other favorite squash varietal: honeynut (just cut in half, not in slivers). Ingredients:
2 acorn squashes
½ cup Country Crock® Plant Butter Sticks with Avocado Oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Fresh thyme, rosemary, and sage
Preheat oven to 400°F. Slice squash lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Slice into half-moon-shaped pieces and arrange on a large baking sheet. Melt 1 stick of Country Crock® Plant Butter, and mix in maple syrup. Drizzle the mixture, salt, and pepper over the squash. Scatter fresh herbs around the squash. Roast for 25 minutes. Remove squash from oven, and flip each slice to the opposite side. Scatter with a few more fresh herbs, and drizzle on more of the butter and maple syrup mix. Roast for another 10 minutes, and serve.
Brussels sprouts are such an underappreciated star ingredient — they're both a versatile and yummy little veggie. I prefer to cut them super thin so they get a nice caramelized brown when you sauté them. Ingredients:
½ cup pecans
1½ pounds brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 medium shallots
½ cup Country Crock® Plant Butter with Olive Oil Preheat your oven to 350°F. Chop the pecans into small pieces, and toast on a baking sheet for about 10-15 minutes. Trim your brussels sprouts, and slice them very thin — almost shredded. Add mustard, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and maple syrup to a small bowl, and whisk together until smooth. Chop your shallots, and sauté them in Country Crock® Plant Butter until they're soft (about 3-4 minutes). Add brussels sprouts, stir, and cover. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding a bit more butter if it's been soaked up. Add the sauce and pecans, and cook for another 5 minutes until the brussels sprouts are slightly caramelized.
Stuffing is my absolute favorite holiday dish, especially when made with my absolute favorite type of bread: sourdough. This is one of the most flavorful stuffings I've ever made and is a standout on the table. Ingredients:
1-2 loaves sourdough bread
¼ cup pumpkin seeds or pine nuts
1 pound wild mushrooms (maitake, oyster, or chanterelles)
½ cup Country Crock® Plant Butter Sticks with Olive Oil
Salt and ground black pepper
4 celery stalks
1 bunch kale, ribs and stems removed, leaves torn
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
3 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth Preheat oven to 350°F. Tear up the bread into course pieces, and place in a large bowl. Toast your seeds or nuts on a baking sheet until golden brown (10 minutes), and add to bread bowl once cooled. Depending on the size of your skillet, sauté all or half of the mushrooms in Country Crock® Plant Butter, salt, and pepper over medium heat. Cook for about 7 minutes, until they are soft. Transfer to a bowl. Sauté chopped celery and shallots in Country Crock® Plant Butter, salt, and pepper until soft (about 7 minutes), then add kale, sage, and rosemary for about 2 minutes. Add to the same bowl as the mushrooms. Combine all the prepared ingredients in an oiled casserole dish. Whisk eggs, 2 cups stock, and ½ cup melted plant butter in a medium bowl; pour over bread mixture. Season with salt and pepper, and toss, adding more stock ¼-cupful at a time as needed until combined, and drizzle with oil. Cover with foil, and bake for 30-35 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 450°F, and uncover and bake until top is golden brown and crisp, about 20-25 more minutes.
Crisps are almost too easy to make. Up the ante on your crumble by using your favorite juicy stone fruits — no need to even peel them. I'm personally a big fan of the nectarine and plum combo.
⅓ cup all-purpose flour (or almond flour)
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup old-fashioned oats
½ cup Country Crock® Plant Butter Sticks with Almond Oil
3 pounds ripe peaches, nectarines, plums, or apricots (or a combination of all)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon kosher salt Preheat oven to 375°F. Using your hands, mix flour, ¾ cup brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, oats, and a warmed (not melted) stick of Country Crock® Plant Butter. Mix until no dry spots remain. Slice the fruit, and toss with remaining brown sugar, cornstarch, vanilla extract, and salt. Transfer the fruit mixture to a baking dish. Scatter oat topping over the fruit — clumping is fine! — and bake for about 1 hour, until fruit juices are bubbling and topping is golden brown.