8 More Delicious Low-Lactose Recipes from “Cooking With Caitlin”

We had the honor of hosting Chef Caitlin in San Antonio earlier this year. She shared ways to enjoy a lactose friendly meal and discussed the benefits of choosing real cow’s milk that’s lactose-free versus nondairy milk alternatives.

The process of menu development for the evening is very interesting. Chef Caitlin incorporates the local flavor of the city and captures some of the history of the local cuisine.


Texas Flair

  • Our guests enjoyed BBQ with a yogurt-based creamy potato salad – an unexpected spin on a familiar BBQ dish.
  • Chicken-Fried Shrimp with Herb Gravy. The shrimp are twice dredged in a simple lactose-free flour batter. Then, a super herbaceous lemon-pepper gravy made with lactose-free milk is spooned over top.
  • A simple salt and pepper watermelon-jalapeno salad is served on the side of the Chicken-Fried Shrimp.

New Mexico Spice

  • Catlin took the chile relleno from yummy to delectable. You can, too! First, take a poblano chile and stuff it with gouda and Monterey Jack cheese. Then, lightly fry it and add a light charred tomato sauce with a hint of spice and the creaminess of Greek yogurt which adds some protein and calcium in a low lactose way.
  • As we head into fall, pumpkin soup screams falling leaves and cooling temperatures. This is a simple weeknight dinner that is quick to prepare with hints of sage and vanilla, a dollop of Greek yogurt on top and the spicy pumpkin seeds, it is a satisfying combo of sweet, salty and spicy.

These recipes are a delectable combination of flavors to satisfy anyone who is lactose intolerant. But it’s important to remember that a nondairy milk alternative will not deliver the same flavor profile and recipe outcome as real cow’s milk. Not to mention the boost in nutrition you forgo when you do not use lactose-free milk, cheese or yogurt.

So put your chef hat on and enjoy these scrumptious lactose-friendly recipes!

Greek Yogurt Potato Salad

Yields: 4 cups
Serves: 8
Serving size: ½ cup 
Prep time: 15 minutes

  • 1 lb. baby Red Potatoes
  • 1/4-1/2 White Onion
  • 3 Sweet Baby Gherkins
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh Chives
  • Salt + Pepper


  1. Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water, enough to submerge them completely with 2 additional inches. Turn to high heat and bring to a boil.
  2. Cook the potatoes until they are tender enough that when poked with a knife, they slide off the knife. Drain and transfer to a bowl to cool in the fridge.
  3. While the potatoes cool, prepare the sauce: In a mixing bowl, grate the onion until you get 1-2 Tbsp. of onion pulp and juice. Combine with roughly chopped sweet gherkins, Dijon mustard, Greek yogurt, mayonnaise and chopped chives.
  4. Pull the cooled potatoes from the fridge, cut into large chunks, season with salt and pepper, and then toss with the sauce. Stir together until all of the potatoes are coated and then transfer to an airtight container to refrigerate until serving.

Tips + Tricks:

**Boil the potatoes whole. Overcooked potatoes will fall apart in the sauce and give the salad a mealy texture. Keeping them whole makes for a longer cook time, but protects you from overcooking them.

**This is a classic side to any picnic or BBQ – but try serving it as an appetizer too. Scoop individual spoonfuls and top with your favorite chopped BBQ and a drizzle of BBQ sauce. 

Chicken-Fried Shrimp

Yields: 16-20 pieces
Serves: 8-10
Serving size: 2 pieces
Cook time: 20 minutes

  • Vegetable Oil
  • 1 lb. large Shrimp
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup lactose-free Whole Milk
  • Salt + Pepper
  • Skewers
  • 1 Lemon


  1. Fill a pot halfway full of vegetable oil; bring to medium-high heat until it reaches 350 degrees.
  2. While you are waiting for the oil to come to temperature, spear a pair of shrimp on each skewer until all the shrimp is used. 
  3. Create two dredging stations – one with flour and another with the eggs and milk whisked together. Season both sides of the shrimp with salt and pepper.
  4. Now, dredge the shrimp in flour, dusting off any extra. Run the skewer through the egg mixture and then back in the flour. Repeat until all the shrimp is coated.
  5. When the oil is hot enough, add two skewers to the hot oil. Cook until the shrimp is golden brown and firm to touch. Remove from the oil and let rest and drain on paper towels.
  6. While the shrimp is still hot, season with a pinch of salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Serve while still hot.

Tips + Tricks:

**This is a basic recipe with so many options: Try adding your favorite spices to the flour mixture, mustard to the wet mixture, or even substituting cornmeal for the flour.

**Serve this simply as we suggested above, or dress the shrimp with Green Onion Gravy and a side of fresh Watermelon-Jalapeño salad.

Green Onion Gravy

Yields: About 2½ cups
Serves: About 16
Serving size: 2 Tbsp. 
Cook time: 15 minutes

  • 2 bunches of Green Onions
  • 4 Tbsp. Butter
  • 1/3 cup Flour
  • 2 cups lactose-free Whole Milk
  • Salt + Pepper


  1. Remove and discard the stems from the green onions. Thinly slice the rest of the green onion, separating the green from the firm white portion.
  2. Add butter and the white portion of the green onions to a small saucepot and bring to medium-high heat; cook until the onions become tender and start to caramelize.
  3. Once the onions are cooked, add the flour to the pan. Stir together until all of the oil is absorbed and let the roux cook for a couple minutes.
  4. When the roux starts to turn golden brown, slowly pour in your milk while continually whisking. Reduce the heat to medium and keep whisking until the roux thickens to gravy.
  5. After the gravy reaches your desired thickness, turn off the heat, season generously with salt and pepper. Stir in the rest of the green onions and serve.

Tips + Tricks:

**This is a delicious, flavorful substitution for classic sausage gravy. Perfect over anything country-fried, and homemade biscuits, too.

**If the gravy becomes too thick for you, just add a bit more milk to thin it.

**Do not add the remaining green onions until right before serving so they maintain their bright green color.

Watermelon Jalapeño Salad

Yields: 3 cups
Serves: 6
Serving size: ½ cup
Prep time: 20 minutes

  • 3 cups cubed Watermelon
  • 1 Jalapeño
  • ½ cup crumbled Feta
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt + Pepper


  1. Prepare your ingredients: Cube the watermelon and finely dice the jalapeño.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the jalapeño, watermelon and crumbled Feta. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Toss everything together and let marinate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Tips + Tricks:

**Try adding basil or fresh mint for brightness

Chile Rellenos 

Yields: 3 stuffed peppers
Serves: 3
Serving size: 1 stuffed pepper
Prep time: 30-45 minutes

  • 3 Poblano Peppers
  • 1 cup shredded Smoked Gouda
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack
  • Oil
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. Cornmeal
  • Salt + Pepper


  1. Rinse your peppers. Then, using a broiler, a hot grill or the open flame of a stovetop burner, char the exterior of the peppers. Once all of the outsides are burned, place the peppers in a plastic bag to trap the steam and make removing the charred skin easier.
  2. After peeling the peppers, make a little slit in the side of each one. Remove as much of the ribs and seeds from the interior as possible. 
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the Monterey Jack cheese and smoked Gouda. Fill the peppers with as much cheese as they can hold, still allowing room to fold the peppers closed.
  4. Next, fill a sauté pan halfway up with oil. Turn to medium-high heat.
  5. While you are waiting for the oil to come to temperature, make the batter. First, separate the egg whites and yolks. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks, and the yolks until light and frothy in a separate bowl. 
  6. Fold the yolks into the whites, add the cornmeal, and generously season with salt and pepper. Now, dredge each pepper in the batter and lower directly into the hot oil.
  7. Cook each side for 1-2 minutes, or until the batter is golden brown and crispy. Flip and finish cooking on the second side. Repeat until all the peppers are cooked.
  8. Drain on a paper towel for 1 minute. Transfer to a dish, finish with Charred Tomato Sauce, and serve warm.

Tips + Tricks:

**To make this recipe a little easier, you can prep everything in advance – except the batter. Mix the batter just before dredging the peppers so it is as light as possible after being fried.

**This is a basic recipe; consider also stuffing the peppers with ground beef, sautéed vegetables, or different cheeses.

Charred Tomato Sauce

Yields: 2 cups
Serves: About 4
Serving size: ½ cup
Cook time: 10 minutes

  • 2 Roma Tomatoes
  • 3 Guajillo Chiles
  • 1 cup Vegetable Broth
  • 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 Lime
  • Salt


  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Slice the tomatoes in half and spread them skin side up on the cookie sheet. Place in the oven and roast until the tomatoes have charred, about 7-10 minutes.
  3. When the tomatoes are dark, remove the cookie sheet from the oven. Place your chiles on the cookie sheet and place back in the oven for 1 minute.
  4. Place your vegetable broth in a small saucepot and bring to a boil over high heat.
  5. Once the peppers are toasted, remove everything from the oven and transfer to a blender. Pour the vegetable broth over the chiles and tomatoes; blend together.
  6. Add the Greek yogurt and lime juice; pulse together again.
  7. Season with salt to taste.

Tips + Tricks:

**Spoon this sauce over homemade Chile Rellenos, or use it as an easy enchilada sauce, a marinade for grilled vegetables, or simply a salsa.

Pumpkin Soup

Yields: About 5 cups
Serves: 4-6
Serving size: About ½ cup 
Cook time: 30 minutes

  • 1/2 White Onion
  • 2-3 Tbsp. fresh Sage, chopped
  • ½ Vanilla Bean
  • 4 Tbsp. Butter
  • 1 1/2 cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 2 cups lactose-free Whole Milk
  • Salt + Pepper


  1. Prep the ingredients: Petite dice the onion, chop the sage, halve the vanilla bean lengthwise.
  2. Melt the butter in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook until it starts to brown and then add the onions and vanilla pods.
  3. Cook until the onions are translucent. Next, add the pumpkin puree, sage and milk. Whisk together and reduce the heat to medium. Let simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. After 15 minutes, remove the vanilla pods and blend everything together with an immersion blender.
  5. Return to medium heat, season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  6. Ladle into a bowl, garnish with a dollop of tangy Greek yogurt and a sprinkling of spicy, crunchy Chipotle-Roasted Sunflower Seeds for the ultimate serving of sweet and savory comfort.

Tips + Tricks:

**The thickness of this soup is determined by the amount of milk you add to the recipe. To serve it as more a puree as a side dish, add a little bit of milk. If you want this to become a pasta sauce, completely omit the milk.

**If you do not have an immersion blender, puree the soup in an upright blender. Wait for the soup to cool before blending so the heat doesn’t make the soup explode.

Chipotle-Roasted Sunflower Seeds

Yields: ¼ cup
Serves: 4-6
Serving size: A sprinkling
Cook time: 3 minutes

  • 1/4 cup Sunflower Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1/4 tsp. Chipotle Powder


  1. In a sauté pan, combine the sunflower seeds, olive oil and chipotle powder; bring to high heat.
  2. Toss together to coat all the sunflower seeds with oil and spice, and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until they are golden brown and toasted.

Tips + Tricks:

**These are the perfect nutty, smoky addition to salad, soups or everyday snacking.

**For flavor without heat, substitute chili powder for the chipotle powder.

By Lana Frantzen, Ph.D.

Lana has been part of the Dairy MAX team for over 18 years. She has a Ph.D. in nutrition and is a Dairy MAX and National Dairy Council spokesperson. When she's not working, Lana enjoys hot yoga and spending time with her two sons. Learn more about Lana

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