I recently received a box of Go Veggie!’s entire vegan line of alterna-cheese products to test out (thank you Go Veggie!). This is a brand my local grocery carries, but they only have the Lactose free line (it has been my experience that unlike gluten intolerance, the average person has never heard of casein intolerance and they assume that a dairy allergy is lactose intolerance–not the same thing, peeps), so I was eager to give these a try, as I feel like if Kroger carries one, they might be willing to start carrying the other. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be trying all of them, but for now, we’re starting with the mozzarella shreds.
We had pizza for dinner tonight, which gives a great opportunity for a head to head comparison of my usual Daiya mozzarella shreds vs. these Go Veggie shreds vs. the real cheese at my hubby’s end of the pizza. Here you can see what all three look like before going into the oven. Straight out of the bag, you can see that the Go Veggie! looks a bit more like thick shredded mozzarella than the Daiya.
Now, let’s look at this OUT of the oven. Right off the bat I was SHOCKED that the Go Veggie! shreds MELTED LIKE REAL CHEESE. I mean, look at that! It CONFORMED TO THE PIZZA TOPPINGS (chicken and bacon, in case you were wondering). It even oozed off the side. In fact, it melted a little bit more than regular cheese, but I can deal with that. The Daiya, by contrast, still looks much as it did when it went in the oven. Now one of the weird things about Daiya is that when it heats, the inside liquefies, so as soon as the surface tension of the outside of the cheese is broken, you get this glorious, creamy texture. So when you EAT Daiya on pizza, it’s all melty in your mouth. Just not for your eyes.
Now, finally, let’s talk about taste. I really enjoyed both of these mozzarella shreds. Taste wise, I don’t think they were too terribly different. If blindfolded, I don’t know if I’d know which was which by taste alone–at least not in this dish where there are a lot of other flavors competing. So, since at least part of eating is a visual experience, for pizza, I’m actually going to call the Go Veggie! Mozzarella shreds the winner. I could have a pizza with this and looking at it never know I wasn’t eating real cheese. Anything that makes me feel like less of a freak with this dairy allergy is a real winner for me.
I recently got a smoked Boston butt for a youth group fundraiser (and how great an idea is that? Allergen friendly, not crap processed food, and OMG it’s fabulous) that netted me a gallon and quart freezer bags full of pulled pork. I can only eat so many barbeque sandwiches, so once the weather started cooling down, I decided to see if I could adapt it to a soup. Because we love all things Mexi-flavored in this house, the most obvious thing to convert was my chicken tortilla soup. The end result was spicy and delicious and perfect. Servings: 6 at 337 calories and 17 grams of fat (before toppings)
- 3 cups pulled pork
- 4 ounces diced green chilies
- 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 32 ounces chicken stock
- 8 ounces Mexican tomato sauce (if you don’t like heat, just use regular tomato sauce)
- 2 cups black beans, rinsed
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tbs chili powder
- 1 tbs cumin
- 1 cup water
- 2 tsp sea salt
1. This is one of those fabulous fix it and forget it recipes. It’s literally dump all the ingredients in the crock pot and cook on low for 6 hours.
2. Serve with sour cream, cheese, avocado, tortilla chips–whatever floats your boat.
It’s football Armageddon here in Mississippi today. The Bulldogs are taking on the Aggies and the Rebels are going head to head with Alabama. All four are undefeated. It’s TENSE. This means marathon game watching all day and requires appropriate game time sustenance. This is a bit harder now that cheese dip has been taken off the menu (because, dude, nothing says football like chips and rotel). But I didn’t give up! I had half a pack of uncured beef hot dogs from Kroger’s Simple Truth line, so I decided to whip out my mini muffin pan and try my hand at corn dog bites. Since they disappeared in about five minutes, I’m gonna call this a win. Makes 24 corn dog bites. #HailState #HottyToddy
- 1/4 cup melted Earth Balance
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup almond milk (soured with 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar)
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup all-purpose gluten free flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 hot dogs cut into 6 pieces each
- Spray mini muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a glass measuring cup, measure almond milk and add the vinegar and let sit a bit.
- In a large mixing bowl, melt Earth Balance in microwave. Add sugar and use a spatula or wooden spoon, to mix into Earth Balance. Add eggs.
- Then add baking soda, mix together.
- Add almond milk/baking soda to the Earth Balance/sugar/egg mixture and mix just until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, and salt. Add to wet ingredients and stir until well mixed.
- Fill muffin tin cups with 1 Tbsp of batter per cup.
- Press a bite sized piece of hot dog into each muffin cup.
- Bake at 375º for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with crumbs only and muffin top doesn’t sink in if pressed with fingertip.
- Cool in pan for 2-3 minutes. Remove muffins from pan to cool on a cooling rack until ready to serve. So, you know, 2 minutes to keep from burning your mouth.
It’s officially football season. No Southern party or gathering is complete without sausage balls. The original kind that pop up in every Southern household in the country involves Bisquick and good cheddar cheese, which makes them a no go for those of us with food allergies. I had already successfully made these gluten free in the past with an easy substitution of gluten free baking mix (Pamela’s is best–step away from the brand name Gluten Free Bisquick–that stuff is nasty), so for yesterday’s opening season party, I determined to try to make them dairy free and see how our guests responded (Beware–if you come to eat in MY kitchen, you’re liable to be a guinea pig!). I made the simple substitution of Daiya cheddar shreds and the end results were MARVELOUS. While they were hot, the interiors were actually really creamy with the Daiya (which normal sausage balls aren’t). The whole batch disappeared between the 4 of us in rapid order. Everybody declared them a win. #PartyFoodAchievementUnlocked
- 1 pound turkey breakfast sausage, room temp
- 1 8 oz. package Daiya cheddar shreds
- 2 cups Pamela’s gluten free baking mix
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (omit if you can actually find spicy turkey breakfast sausage)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large stand mixer with paddle attachment, dump in the sausage and cayenne pepper. Mix until well blended.
- Add in the Daiya shreds and mix until combined.
- One cup at a time, add in the Pamela’s baking mix and stir until well combined.
- On prepared baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat, roll mixture into balls (about 1 to 1.5 inches diameter). I got maybe 30 out of this batch.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
On my list of Things I Must Figure Out for this whole Dairy Free living thing is mac and cheese. I LOVE mac and cheese. I have probably six different variations on the blog. But obviously a dairy free version is a challenge. After a great deal of disappointment in the offerings from The Uncheese Cookbook, I wanted to try making a cheese sauce with Daiya, which is the vegan cheese substitute that has saved my life (or at least my sanity). Since I was making it for dinner, I made it gluten free for hubby as well. Now Daiya has a pretty decent cheddar cheese flavor, but it’s not exactly nuanced, so I had to get a little more creative. One of the things that IS useful from The Uncheese Cookbook is some of the different things it suggests to get the various savory tastes of cheese. Among them is sweet miso, which adds a lovely umami depth to dishes. At the end of the day, it seems like I put in everything but the kitchen sink. I was really happy with the end result. Hubby, who can still eat real cheese…well, not so much. So…your mileage may vary. Makes 4 servings if you’re eating it as a meal unto itself, 6-8 if you’re making it as a side.
- 12 ounces brown rice pasta
- 7.1 ounces Daiya cheddar cheese wedge, shredded
- 1 cup pureed squash (this is about 4 jars of baby food)
- 2.5 cups almond milk
- 2.5 Tbs corn starch
- 3/4 Tbs sweet miso
- 2 Tbs earth Balance spread
- 1 tbs minced dried onion
- 2 tsp dried mustard
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1/8 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
- 1/3 cup gluten free panko breadcrumbs
1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
2. Prepare pasta according to package directions (less about 4 minutes of cook time).
3. Melt Earth Balance spread in a large pot, over medium heat.
4. Add minced onion and garlic and saute for approximately 1 minute.
5. Slowly whisk in 2 cups of the almond milk.
6. To the remaining cup of almond milk, add the cornstarch and stir until no longer lumpy.
7. Whisk this mixture into the sauce pot.
8. Stir until well combined.
9. Add the mustard, paprika, miso, and seasoned salt.
10. Cook, stirring frequently, for approximately 5 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken and bubble.
11. Add the shredded Daiya, one handful at a time, and stir until melted and combined.
12. Once all Daiya has been added, turn heat to simmer and add the squash puree.
13. Stir until well combined. This might be enough, but I prefer to hit it with my immersion blender, just to make sure the sauce is well emulsified.
14. Remove from heat.
15. Add the drained pasta and stir until well combined.
16. Pour into a 2.5 quart baking dish.
17. Top with gluten free breadcrumbs (I use a mix of pulverized corn and rice Chex).
18. Spritz with buttery spray.
19. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
One of my favorite easy soups is my spicy corn chowder. It’s creamy and sweet, with just a little bite. But, of course, it gets the creamy from dairy–cream cheese in particular. So it was definitely back to the drawing board for how to duplicate or adapt this to be dairy free and still retain the characteristics that I like. One of the adaptations is to actually use corn stock rather than chicken stock. This is super simple to make at this time of year when fresh corn on the cob is really cheap at the grocery. After you eat your corn, just save the cobs in the freezer until you have about 8 or so. Then toss them in the crock pot and cover with water. Cook on low for about 8 hours. You only need a cup or so for this recipe, so freeze the rest. Be sure to label! It looks just like chicken stock. For thickening, I opted to go for a little bit of masa flour (this is the finely ground corn meal used for tortillas). The next thing I needed to do was sub out the evaporated milk. My go to creamy choices in non dairy milks are unsweetened almond and coconut milks. Or, in this particular case, a blend of both by Almond Breeze. The end result wasn’t exactly like my original spicy corn chowder, but it was a darn tasty alternative. Better the second day. Serves 4.
- 1 can creamed corn (no sugar added if you can find it)
- 1 can whole kernel corn (no sugar added), drained (or 1.5 cups frozen corn kernels)
- 1 can Rotel tomatoes and peppers, undrained
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 diced onion
- 1 cup chicken or corn stock
- 1 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
- 2 tbsp masa flour + 1/4 cup stock or water
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp. paprika
- 1/4 tsp. cumin
- pinch cayenne (optional)
- Heat the oil over medium heat.
- Add onion and saute until just softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the corn kernels and saute until it gets just a little bit of color (about 3 minutes).
- Add tomatoes and peppers, stock, and creamed corn. Stir.
- Add garlic powder, paprika, cumin, and pepper. Stir well.
- Reduce heat to medium low and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Mix the masa with about a quarter cup of water or stock and stir until smooth. Add to the pot and simmer for about five minutes or until thickened.
- Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of almond or coconut milk, slowly.
Serve with a slice of dense bread, like sourdough for a light lunch, or add a spinach salad for a full meal. Serves 4.
So in the whole wake of the no cheese drama, there was much flailing and wailing and gnashing of teeth. I grabbed The Uncheese Cookbook and kept trying stuff. There was a recipe in there for a faux buffalo mozzarella that the author swore would melt. It totally didn’t and the pizza I tried to make with it was possibly the most demoralizing food experience of my life and triggered a total food depression. Various other dairy free friends had been recommending Daiya as THE CHEESE SUBSTITUTE. They don’t carry it at my local grocery and I was expecting to have to wait until I drove through the state capitol next month to pick some up at the Whole Foods there. But as luck would have it, I found some in a town an hour away. I picked up the cheddar shreds, the mozzarella shreds, the cheddar wedge (actually their version of block cheese), and the jalapeno garlic havarti wedge.
That night, I came home and tried tacos. They tasted like tacos and the cheddar shreds melted like cheese. I had a cheeseburger after that and the Daiya melted all over my fingers just like a real cheeseburger. Tonight I tried the mozzarella shreds with mini pizzas. OMG, y’all, I cannot tell you how happy I am. IT MELTS. IT TASTES LIKE CHEESE. I give it, two thumbs up! I no longer feel like my food life is over.