But Cheese, Though... An Introduction to Substituting Plants for Dairy


When one begins the transition to plant based eating, it can seem daunting – what do vegans even eat?! The answer is quite simple these days – there is a wealth of information online regarding substitution products for meat, milk, eggs and cheese - but the Frauxmagerie team knows all too well that there’s nothing like homemade.  


Having been a chef myself for many years, I couldn’t ever bring myself to purchase pre-made alfredo sauces and always made my own by reducing whipping cream with fresh garlic and onions. That was the one thing I missed after ditching dairy, and with no botanic alfredo sauces on the market in Canada, I began experimenting!


I was taught classic French cooking in school, so I began with the concept of Mother Sauces – boiling half an onion and a clove in almond milk. It tasted savoury, but almond milk doesn’t contain enough fat to reduce… It was too watery to be used for alfredo. I came across some recipes for ranch and Caesar dressing, using soaked cashews and wondered if it may work to thicken my botanic béchamel. It was a beautiful thing at last, and I couldn’t be stopped! I made roasted garlic alfredo, cheese sauce, rosee sauce, pesto alfredo: the options for pastas, gnocchi and pizza sauces were suddenly endless.


The brilliant idea for an avocado gnocchi came from our Director of Operations, Merlot Duncan-Cole. She made an amazing fresh and savoury dish for lunch using healthful ingredients and we couldn’t get enough of it. I used her recipe as inspiration for my avocado alfredo and together we created something rich and beautiful!


Merlot’s Green Gnocchi

 Servings: 2 mains or 4 side dishes

1.5 tbsp Frauxmagerie Plant Parm

4 cups gnocchi

2 medium sized avocados

½ white or Spanish onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and diced

1 cup cashews, unsalted and soaked

1.5 cups almond milk

6 leaves basil

1 tbsp olive oil

Salt & Pepper to taste


Put cashews and almond milk in a sealed container - soak overnight in fridge

Cook gnocchi as per package directions

Over medium heat, warm olive oil in non-stick pan

Add onions and garlic, sauté until onions are translucent

Cut and scoop out avocados, place in a blender

Take your soaked cashews from the fridge, place in blender

Blend until fully mixed and creamy

Toss cooked gnocchi in the pan until coated in the olive oil

Add sauce to pan, and let reduce to desired consistency

Stir 1 tbsp Plant Parm into the sauce

Top with fresh basil and ½ tbsp Plant Parm and enjoy!

Special Thank you to Merlot Duncan-Cole and Jaime Sirna for the recipe