9 Creative Low-Lactose Recipes

9 Low-Lactose Recipes from Chef Caitlin Steininger of “Cooking with Caitlin” 

We’re teaming up with the South Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to host a pop-up restaurant event in San Antonio with Chef Caitlin Steininger from “Cooking with Caitlin.” 

Only a limited number of people will be able to attend, but we wanted to make sure everyone could get ahold of some of our favorite of Caitlin’s amazing low-lactose recipes – so enjoy!

Monterey Jack Tuilles with Pico de Gallo
Yields: 16-24 pieces
Serves: about 12
Serving size: 1-2 pieces
Cook time: 15 minutes
2 cups Monterrey Jack, finely shredded


  1. Prepare your equipment: Find a nonstick skillet and a mini muffin tin. Flip the mini muffin tin to use the bottom to form the tuilles into taco shapes.
  2. Into your skillet pinch two 2-inch flat rounds of shredded cheese; bring to medium-high heat.
  3. Allow the cheese to melt and bubble. Within 1 minute, as it starts to form a golden brown crust, remove from the sauté pan, fold up like a taco and let rest between the cups of the mini muffin tin.
  4. Allow enough time for the cheese to cool completely, approximately 10-15 minutes, before removing them from the the muffin tin.
  5. To assemble the "tacos," fill each one with a slice of avocado and a spoonful of homemade pico de gallo; serve right away.

Tips + Tricks:

  • If the cheese becomes too brown (although equally delicious), it will be too crispy to fold into the taco shape. Be sure to remove the rounds of cheese just as they become golden brown. Adjust the heat if the cheese is cooking too quickly.
  • You may also fold the tuilles over the handle of a wooden spoon to achieve the taco shape. Make sure there is something in place to catch any melty cheese as they cool.
  • Consider filling these with roasted vegetables, crumbled taco meat, or even fresh fruit!

Pico de Gallo

Yields: 2 cups
Serves: 8
Serving size: ¼ cup
Prep time: 15-20 minutes

6 Roma Tomatoes
1 small White Onion
½ Jalapeño
¼ cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
Juice of 2 Limes
Salt + Pepper


  1. Prep your ingredients: seed and dice the tomatoes, finely chop the onions, mince the jalapeños.
  2. Combine the tomatoes, onions, jalapeno, cilantro in a bowl. Squeeze the fresh lime juice over top and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container until you are ready to serve.

Tips + Tricks:

  • This is a very basic pico de gallo and should be made with the freshest ingredients you can find. Tailor it to your tastes, however. Fresh minced garlic, toasted cumin, hot sauce, and even more jalapeño are great additions if you are looking for more flavor.


Blender Black Bean Soup

Yields: 4-5 cups
Serves: 4
Serving size: 1 cup
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes

2 15-oz. cans reduced-sodium Black Beans
½ cup Greek Yogurt, plain, non-fat
¾ cup reduced-sodium Chicken Broth
1 tsp. Coriander
½ tsp. Cumin
¼ tsp. Cayenne
Juice of 1 lime
2 cups Popcorn, air popped, no butter
Kosher Salt, season to taste


  1. Drain the beans and pour all ingredients (except the popcorn) into a blender; blend together until smooth.
  2. On the stovetop or in the microwave, heat the soup to preference. Garnish with a handful of popcorn and one last squeeze of fresh lime on top to serve.

Tips + Tricks:

  • Offer as an appetizer in cocktail or shot glasses. Garnish with a dollop of plain yogurt, popcorn, fresh lime zest, or shredded cheese.
  • Make the soup vegetarian-friendly by substituting vegetable broth.
  • Omit the broth entirely and serve as a simple dip for fresh vegetables, a quick side to tacos, or a hearty addition to a layered salad.

Greek Yogurt Dressing

Yields: 2 cups
Serves: 16
Serving size: 2 Tbsp.
Prep time: 5-10 minutes

1 cup Greek Yogurt
1 cup Mayonnaise
¼ cup fresh Parsley
2-3 Tbsp. fresh Dill
2-3 Tbsp. fresh Chives
1 clove Garlic
1½ tsp. Worcestershire
Salt + Pepper to taste


  1. Combine the parsley, dill, chives and garlic clove in a food processor; chop until everything is finely minced.
  2. Next, add the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise and Worcestershire to the food processor and blend together.
  3. Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.

Tips + Tricks:

  • If you prefer a lighter consistency for your salads, thin the dressing by slowly pouring lactose-free milk into the food processor as it blends. Taste between each addition so as not to make the dressing too thin.
  • Drizzle this simple dressing over crunchy greens with roasted tomatoes, creamy avocado, and crunchy bacon, offer it as a dip with crudité, or use it as a marinade for chicken breasts to be grilled.

Chipotle Grilled Shrimp

Yields: 1 lb. of shrimp
Serves: 4
Serving size: 4 oz.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes

1 lb. large Shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
Salt + Pepper


  1. In a resealable plastic bag, combine the shrimp, chipotle peppers and their sauce, and a seasoning of salt and pepper; refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Just before serving, bring a skillet to medium-high heat, remove the shrimp from the marinade, and place in the skillet.
  3. Cook until the shrimp becomes opaque, flip and finish cooking. Remove from the pan and serve hot.

Tips Tricks:

  • Pair this with something fresh and bright to contrast the spiciness of the shrimp. I like to serve over sweet Coconut-Lime Street Corn, on a green salad with jewels of fresh fruit, or alone, drizzled with honey and fresh cilantro.
  • The longer the shrimp marinates the spicier it becomes – and a glass of milk always tempers the heat.

Root Beer-Braised Short Ribs with Spicy Greek Yogurt Slaw Short Ribs

Yields: 12 servings
Serves: 12
Serving size: 1 short rib
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 6+ hours

1 large Onion
12 Beef Short Ribs
3-4 bottles Root Beer
3 Bay Leaves
Salt + Pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 275 degrees.
  2. Prepare your ingredients: roughly chop the onion and season the short ribs with salt and pepper.
  3. Spread the hunks of onion on the bottom of a roasting pan. Layer the short ribs on top of the onions and scatter the bay leaves in the roasting pan. Finally, pour the root beer into the pan so that it surrounds the beef, but doesn't completely submerge it. Cover with foil and place in the oven.
  4. Let the beef cook for 6 hours, or until tender and falling off the bones. Drain most of the liquid and place in the freezer; let the beef cool completely.
  5. Once the fat has solidified on the top of the cooking liquid, remove from the freezer. Discard the fat, and transfer to a sauté pan to reduce by half.
  6. When the beef has cooled, remove the bone and discard the tendon that was holding the bone in place. Just before serving, warm the beef in the root beer sauce, and serve warm.

Tips + Tricks:

  • Consider starting this recipe a day in advance so you have plenty of time to cook the beef, remove the bones, and reduce the liquid into the root beer sauce.
  • When shopping for short ribs, look for the super meaty ones – not the ones with a lot of fat that will dissolve over the long cooking time.
  • This is a classic technique with a play on flavors. You can always substitute beef broth or red wine for the root beer.

Greek Yogurt Slaw

Yields: 3 cups
Serves: 12
Serving size: ¼ cup
Prep time: 30 minutes

1 head Red Cabbage
½ cup chopped Green Onion
1 cup Greek Yogurt
2 Tbsp. Ginger
1 Tbsp. Jalapeño
1 Tbsp. Honey
1 Orange
Salt + Pepper


  1. Prepare your ingredients: Remove the bottom of the cabbage, slice into quarters, remove the core, and thinly slice. Finely mince the jalapeño and ginger. Chop the green portion of your green onions. Zest your orange.
  2. In a large mixing bowl toss together the cabbage, Greek yogurt, green onion, ginger, jalapeño, honey, and orange zest, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.

Tips + Tricks:

  • The longer you let the slaw sit, the more tender the cabbage becomes. If you prefer the cabbage to be extra crunchy, whisk together the yogurt, honey, zest, ginger, jalapeño, salt and pepper, and set aside. Just before you are ready to serve, then, toss together the cabbage, green onion and yogurt dressing.

Asiago Polenta

Yields: 4 cups
Serves: 8
Serving size: ½ cup
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes

4 cups Lactose-Free Milk, divided
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 cup Cornmeal
4 oz. Mascarpone Cheese
½ cup shredded Asiago Cheese
3 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1 tsp. Kosher Salt


  1. Pour 3 cups of the milk into a sauce pot and bring to high heat.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the baking soda, cornmeal, and last cup of milk; stir together.
  3. When the milk comes to a boil, add the cornmeal mixture to the pot and whisk continuously until the cornmeal begins to thicken; then turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 6 minutes.
  4. After the cornmeal has cooled for 6 minutes, stir in the Mascarpone, Asiago, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and serve warm.

Tips + Tricks:

  • This is a basic recipe with tons of opportunity to tailor to your tastes and preferences: Try adding chipotle pepper for heat, bacon for saltiness, or lots of fresh herbs for a punch of flavor. You can thin out the texture by whisking in more milk, too.

Gingerbread Trifle with Lemon Yogurt

Yields: 10-12 desserts
Serves: 10-12
Serving size: 1 trifle
Prep time: 15 minutes

1 Gingerbread Cake
4 cups Low-Fat Lemon Yogurt
Fresh Raspberries


  1. Choose your serveware. Crumble the cake with your hands and fill the glasses 1/3 of the way full with cake.
  2. Next, top the cake with hearty dollops of lemon yogurt and handfuls of fresh raspberries. Add another layer of crumbled cake, topped with more yogurt and more fresh raspberries.
  3. Loosely cover the individual trifles with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Serve chilled.

Tips + Tricks:

  • Assemble these in advance to give the flavors of the yogurt and the cake time to melt together.
  • Offer up this recipe for breakfast or dessert and use leftover cake if you’ve got it. Enjoy a trifle as a lighter alternative to dense cake with mounds of frosting.


Homemade Horchata

Yields: about 5 cups
Serves: 4-6
Serving size: 1 cup
Prep time: 5 minutes
Resting time: 3 hours
Chill time:

1 cup uncooked White Rice3 cups warm Water
2½ cups fat-free (or low-fat) Lactose-Free Dairy Milk
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 tsp. Cinnamon
2/3 cup White Sugar


  1. Blend together the rice and warm water in a blender and transfer to a resealable plastic bag. Let sit at room temperature for 3 hours.
  2. After 3 hours, pour the mixture into a separate container through a fine mesh sieve to strain out the rice. Whisk the water with the milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and sugar.
  3. Chill to desired coldness and enjoy.

Tips + Tricks:

  • This may be made up to a week in advance if refrigerated in an airtight container.
  • Enjoy this all by itself or play with it. Use the horchata as the star ingredient in a panna cotta recipe, or offer it alongside homemade cookies for dipping. Stir it into warm oatmeal, or pour it over rice cereal for a sweet, quick breakfast. Or, infuse the horchata with black tea and serve it hot or cold as an afternoon pick-me-up.

Hot Dulce de Leche Crepes

Yields: 12-15 crepes
Serves: 12-15
Serving size: 1 stuffed crepe
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

2 Eggs
¾ cup Lactose-Free Milk
½ cup Water
1 cup Flour
3 Tbsp. melted Butter + 4 Tbsp. Butter
1 cup Dulce de Leche
½ Vanilla Bean
Lactose-Free Ice Cream


  1. In a blender, combine the eggs, lactose-free milk, water, flour, and 3 Tbsp. of melted butter; blend to a smooth consistency.
  2. Lightly coat a small nonstick skillet with butter and bring to medium-high heat. When the pan is warm, pour a little less than a ¼ cup of batter into the pan. Rotate the pan until the crepe covers the entire bottom of the pan in a thin layer.
  3. Return the pan to the heat and cook until the center is done and the sides of the crepe start pulling away from pan. Using a rubber spatula, loosen the edges and flip the crepe. Cook another 30 seconds on the second side and then slide onto a piece of parchment paper.
  4. Repeat until the batter is all used, yielding approximately 12-15 crepes, allowing all of them to cool in a single layer on the parchment paper.
  5. Now, spoon 1-2 Tbsp. of dulce de leche into the center of each crepe. Fold the sides of each crepe inward, while flattening the dulce de leche. Next, roll the crepe away from you until it is sealed. Repeat with all the crepes.
  6. Finally, into a large sauté pan, scrape the seeds of half a vanilla bean and cut the remaining butter. Bring the heat to medium-high and cook until the butter is melted and you can smell the vanilla.
  7. Place the crepes seal side down into the pan. Cook until golden brown, flip, and crisp on the second side.
  8. Serve hot from the pan and top with a scoop of lactose-free ice cream.

Tips + Tricks:

  • Simplify this by making and assembling the crepes up to a day in advance. Then, just before serving, crisp the filled crepes in the vanilla butter and serve warm.
  • Substitute yogurt for lactose-free ice cream and serve this recipe for breakfast.
By Sara Robbins, RD

Sara is a registered dietitian nutritionist who has a special passion for the healing power of healthy food. She appears regularly as a nutrition expert on local New Mexico news stations and is a Dairy MAX spokesperson. When she's not working, Sara enjoys spending time with her two kids and their new puppy. Learn more about Sara

Get Content Like This in Your Inbox.