If you don’t eat dairy for whatever reason, because you’re vegan, lactose intolerant, or just trying to cut down on animal products, chances are that you’ve forayed into the world of non-dairy cheeses. You’ll know that not all non-dairy, vegan cheeses are made the same – they melt differently than dairy cheese, often have… unique textures, and more importantly, they vary in taste. For me, the ultimate test of a good alternative to conventional cheese is none other than the grilled cheese sandwich – a classic comfort food (especially if you’re in college).
I think the best non-dairy cheese on the market is currently made by Daiya, Deliciously Non-Dairy Cheese. Why? It makes a dern good grilled cheese sandwich and doesn’t taste like I just licked a orangutan’s foot.
Here are my steps for a perfect grilled cheese sandwich (great for Daiya cheeses, but also works for your regular shredded cheddar too):
1) Butter both sides of two pieces of nice bread. I like to use Earth Balance.
2) Heat the pan to medium-high heat before putting in the sandwiches.
3) Add your sandwich and turn down the heat to medium.
4) Put a lid over your sandwich, this is trap the heat and guarantee melted cheese-y goodness.
5) Grilled on each side until golden brown (about 3-4 minutes per side).
Here’s a fresh take on the classic pizza pie. Bring in some spices from Southeast Asia, add some fragrant chopped up Thai basil, top it off with some cheese (in this casem, Daiya, the best dern non-dairy cheese) and you’ve got yourself a Thai Pesto Pizza. Who knew peanut butter would ever find itself on a pizza?
Behold! A vegan mac and cheese dish and will satisfy even the most discriminating devotees of the more traditional, blue and yellow boxed version. The best part? It’s nearly just as quick to whip up and packs a satisfying cheesy, rich flavour punch, sans the dairy. Save the old box for a rainy day, or when your dinner options are limited to KD or the condiments in the back of your fridge.
Wondering what the heck is nutritional yeast? It’s a deactivated yeast (similar to Brewer’s yeast) that comes in flakes and is high in B vitamins. It has an awesomely, rich cheese-like taste and texture when combined with other foods like pasta or even popcorn. You can find it in most natural food stores. I like to use the Red Star brand.
1 lb of macaroni or rotini
1 c soymilk
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoons soy sauce (sodium-reduced)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 tablespoon of prepared mustard
1 tablespoon corn starch
1/4-1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/3 cup of oil
1 teaspoon of tumeric
salt and pepper to taste
crushed crackers or breadcrumbs for topping
1. Preheat oven to 350F, if baking.
2. Cook your mac in boiling, salted water for 8 minutes or until al dante (Italian for “firm to the tooth).
3. Put everything else in a blender or food processor and until it’s nice and saucy like.
4. Drain your noodles and put it in a bowl with the sauce, toss until each noodle is well coated.
5. Optional: Dish the smack and cheeze into ramekins or an over-proof dish, top with crushed crackers and/or pumpkin seeds.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the browned on top.