Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Daiya Cheese!

Ok so this isn't a post dedicated to just one recipe. It's not like you really need special recipes for cheese dishes anyway...you just throw it on stuff! Cheese was, by far, the hardest thing for me to give up when I went dairy-free. I found almond milk to be an excellent substitute for low-fat cow's milk, there are a variety of ice cream brands and flavors that are just as good, if not better than, dairy ice cream, and things like cakes, cookies, and other treats are super easy to make dairy-free at home. Cheese...well, it's a little more difficult. Most of the vegan cheeses suck. There are some soy substitutes that aren't TOO bad, like Veggie Shreds, but they still have some dairy ingredients in them.

Well Daiya Cheese has been out for a while but Whole Foods only started carrying it April 1st of this year. And I just managed to make my way up there to get some about a week ago. I was a little nervous after reading the reviews...seems people either love it or hate it. My own opinion? I'm not head over heels in love with it, but it's the best vegan cheese I've tried. It tastes good but the texture is still just a bit off. Nothing too bad. It melts, it stretches, it gets creamy when you need it to...overall, not bad. So far I've done mini pizzas on thin buns, mac and cheese, a bean burrito, and a hawaiian pizza (with mock ham, which is pretty good!).

You can get mozzarella shreds or cheddar shreds. The mozzarella is pretty accurate with the flavor. The cheddar reminds me a bit of Kraft mac and cheese. So not BAD, just not like "real" cheese. I figured it would be excellent on mac and cheese because of that. Funny though, once I got the milk and margarine in there, it dampened that Kraft taste and it tasted more like real cheese.

I used a combo of the two on the burrito.

Don't you just LOVE how creamy it is!?

You don't need a lot on pizza. Too much and you might get a mouthful of a bit of a slimy texture. Just enough for the TASTE of cheese is all you need. A very thin layer, with the sauce showing through is more than sufficient.

Everyone says this stuff is NOT good right out of the package. I'll trust them on that.

I'm pretty excited to try some of my old favorites with this cheese! I'll probably do lasagna next. Or maybe chicken parmesean with some mock chicken.

Oh the greatest thing about Daiya? It's not soy! Nope, it's completely dairy free and soy free. Here's the ingredient list:

Filtered water, tapioca and/or arrowroot flours, non-GMO expeller pressed canola and /or non-GMO expeller pressed safflower oil, coconut oil, pea protein, salt, inactive yeast, vegan natural flavours, vegetable glycerin, xanthan gum, citric acid (for flavor), annatto.

It's only 90 calories per 1/4 cup and since you don't need a lot to get a great cheesy flavor, this is definitely a nice low-cal option.

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