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26 Times Fruits and Vegetables Disguised Themselves as Dairy & Fooled Us All

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​Sometimes the word "creamy" is incredibly apt: when describing ice cream, for example, or a gratin, or macaroni and cheese.

And sometimes, "creamy" is simply the best approximation we have: when describing a ripe avocado or a satiny pawpaw, for example.

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Creamy Vegan Avocado Potato Salad

Creamy Vegan Avocado Potato Salad by Gena Hamshaw

Creamy Carrot Ginger Bisque with Cashew Cream

Creamy Carrot Ginger Bisque with Cashew Cream by Gena Hamshaw

Creamy Spring Pasta with Shiitake Mushrooms and Peas

Creamy Spring Pasta with Shiitake Mushrooms and Peas by Gena Hamshaw

Creamy Vegan Bircher Muesli

Creamy Vegan Bircher Muesli by Gena Hamshaw

Above: Four instances of cream-free creaminess.


Creamy—that word we use to mean the slick that coats the mouth and sits on the tongue—is the defining characteristic of the rather plain-tasting cream (dictionary definition: "resembling cream in consistency or color"). But for the fruits and vegetables that we call creamy, there's often a whole lot more going on—and this can sometimes make for an even more exciting eating sensation.

Without further ado, here are 26 times fruits and vegetables (and okay, beans, too because I got a little carried away!) were tricksters, harnessing their powers—their slick-silkiness (in the case of roasted-'til-molten onions) or smooth-softness (in the case of blended avocados)—and masquerading as something that can only be described as "creamy." Fruity, vegetable-y, bean-y—they are all of those things too. But creamy, definitely.

Caveat: Despite the absence of cream, not all of these recipes are vegan! But for those that are not, substitutes abound.


With a little manipulation and a blender, onions can stand in for—and maybe even one-up!—cream:

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ChefSteps' Genius Roasted Onion Cream
ChefSteps' Genius Roasted Onion Cream

Don't use it just to top soup! Grant Lee Crilly, who dreamt this up, suggests adding it to risotto, to herby pasta, to mashed potatoes, or even to quiche. Or how about to this Kale Gratin? ​


Sneaky, sneaky cauliflower:

Paul Bertolli's Cauliflower Soup
Paul Bertolli's Cauliflower Soup
Vegan Cauliflower Alfredo Bake
Vegan Cauliflower Alfredo Bake

Ugh, avocados have us fooled... again!!

Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles
Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles
Chilled Cucumber and Avocado Soup with Mango Salsa
Chilled Cucumber and Avocado Soup with Mango Salsa
Raw Mini Key Lime Pies
Raw Mini Key Lime Pies
Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Avocado Chocolate Mousse by zora

Everyday Avocado Dressing

Everyday Avocado Dressing by Jessie Snyder | Faring Well

Beans aren't a vegetable, but this dip certainly is creamy, as is the soup and the pasta​. Plus 2016 is the International Year of the Pulses so give me a break.

White Bean Dip with Fresh Herbs
White Bean Dip with Fresh Herbs
Marcella Hazan's White Bean Soup with Garlic and Parsley
Marcella Hazan's White Bean Soup with Garlic and Parsley
Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas)
Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas)

In the freezer, bananas get brain-freeze and convince themselves they're ice cream (same is true when they come into close contact with soaked cashews, another cream impersonator):​

Vegan Chocolate Milkshake
Vegan Chocolate Milkshake
Vegan Banana Cashew Yogurt
Vegan Banana Cashew Yogurt
Berry Banana Oat Smoothie

Berry Banana Oat Smoothie by Gena Hamshaw

The Kitchn's One-Ingredient Ice Cream

The Kitchn's One-Ingredient Ice Cream by Genius Recipes

Corn, when the cobs are milked for all they're worth, is a particularly skilled master of disguise:

Corn Soup with Tofu Larb
Corn Soup with Tofu Larb
Kevin Gillespie's Creamless Creamed Corn with Mushrooms and Lemon

Kevin Gillespie's Creamless Creamed Corn with Mushrooms a... by Genius Recipes

Yotam Ottolenghi's Sweet Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce

Yotam Ottolenghi's Sweet Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce by Genius Recipes

Chard—the stalks, specifically. Leaves: We see right through you!

Tara Duggan's Chard Stalk Hummus
Tara Duggan's Chard Stalk Hummus

Coconut, its "milk" and its "cream," mostly. (See, even the official words are confusing!)

Coconut Whipped Cream
Coconut Whipped Cream
Frozen Vegan Coconut Chocolate Almond Bars
Frozen Vegan Coconut Chocolate Almond Bars

There's tofu in there, too! A double whammy.

Vegan Cream of Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup
Vegan Cream of Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup
Strawberry Vanilla Coconut Ice Cream
Strawberry Vanilla Coconut Ice Cream

Hey, now how'd this peach get in my ice cream?

Peach Pie Ice Cream
Peach Pie Ice Cream

Squash, but we have until fall to try to learn its sly ways: ​

Butternut Squash Soup with Miso and Coconut
Butternut Squash Soup with Miso and Coconut
Vegan, Gluten Free Butternut Squash Gratin
Vegan, Gluten Free Butternut Squash Gratin

What's the cream-free dish that's surprised you most? Tell us in the comments below!